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11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
Just returned from the 7 day Alaska cruise. This was the first time on HAL but have over 12 cruises on other lines. It been several years since our last cruise so the comparison is from over time. Last cruised Alaska about 8 years ago ... Read More
Just returned from the 7 day Alaska cruise. This was the first time on HAL but have over 12 cruises on other lines. It been several years since our last cruise so the comparison is from over time. Last cruised Alaska about 8 years ago Everything very clean- including cabin- no complaints about ship or cabin. Very satisfied there. Thankful we had great weather- no rain at any port and saw Hubbard Glacier fairly close. Main issues were food and entertainment. Poor entertainment....very little to do during the "at sea" days unless you watched a movie...surprisingly they had a good selection but why pay hundreds of dollars to watch a movie when it can be had for $10 at home. I walked every deck for exercise at night...by 10 o"clock the ship was deserted. Some people in Casino, BB King and listening to twin pianos but all combined maybe 50-75 people out of 2,000 passengers. This is a seniors ship...( note: we are seniors in our 80's but still full of life.) Food was blah. Many of the selections did not appeal to me and you were given small portions. Buffet had same food and if you are into desserts--FORGET IT. Had ice cream scooped for you and 3-4 cake selections and that was it. No great broadway-type entertainment...no steak at all at main meal...no midnight buffet...no tables full of various desserts..no joy of cruising. The 'good old days of cruising" not available here. Probably gone from other cruise lines too. Will go back to Las Vegas where you pay the same or less but get more bang for your buck. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2019
Holland American Alaskan cruise. Very disappointed. Have taken other cruises on Carnival, Norwegian etc.. but this was the first cruise we've ever taken that had no activities. No entertain to speak of. We spent three out of seven ... Read More
Holland American Alaskan cruise. Very disappointed. Have taken other cruises on Carnival, Norwegian etc.. but this was the first cruise we've ever taken that had no activities. No entertain to speak of. We spent three out of seven days sitting on the lido deck staring out the windows. There's nothing else to do!! We finally accept the fact that this was just a vessel/transportation place to sleep and eat while going to Alaska. Thank goodness Alaska was worth the price of the cruise. The food was pretty good on the ship also the servers were helpful and friendly.I give then both 4 stars. The room we had for three people was actually set up for two people. It had a fold out that blocked the entire walk way to the cabin door and to the restroom. Anyone having to use the restroom during the night once the bed was folded out had to wake up who ever was sleeping in that fold out. It was a nightmare all week!! We complained to our steward we complained to customer relations. They already had our money. This is an issue that Holland America is aware but refuses to fix. Alaska was great but this cruise we could have done without. NEVER AGAIN HOLLAND AMERICA NEVER AGAIN!!!! Read Less
Sail Date: May 2019
As someone with Celiac Disease (gluten), I can't begin to tell you my frustration levels for first 3 days. Confusion, lack of training, poor communication and largely indifferent. The exact scenario someone who has Celiac wants to ... Read More
As someone with Celiac Disease (gluten), I can't begin to tell you my frustration levels for first 3 days. Confusion, lack of training, poor communication and largely indifferent. The exact scenario someone who has Celiac wants to avoid. I sure was glad I was trapped on a cruise ship! If you have food allergies, be prepared that every day will be full of conflict and misinformation. Note, that 1/2 way through the trip, I DID find a great waiter and Asst. Maitre'd who took care of my needs, but they can't be at every meal. Now, onto the cruise. Embarkation in Seattle was easy and well run. Meal times and daily activities were often wrong in the Daily Schedule (if you were lucky enough to get one, it's not a given). Ship was in good condition. Entertainment was horrible. Comedian was no funny, many walked out. Illusionist was amusing the 1st time, not so the 2nd show. The Dancers were "fine", certainly not impressive. The crew show was pleasant. The Dualing Piano Players were average, not engaged. Trivia was 30 minutes, no prizes. Kid/Teen Club failed to open on time 1st night, not promoted, NO other kids...daughter never wanted go back. Casino, staff was nice, but do the guests really have to urge them to open the Poker Table ..when the dealer is an electronic program? Seriously, set it up and let us play. Also, it's been 10 weeks since I got home and I still can't get the casino folks to give me an answer if I qualified for any future offers. Live music, why are the classical musicians stuck in too small of a room? EVERY performance was standing room only...in the hallway. Use the Showroom. BB Kings. I have seen the real BB King multiple times. I love the Blues, but the venue and showtimes just weren't convenient somehow. Shows too short, venue too small, conflicted times. Wanted to love it. Also, why not use one or more of these talented musicians to play some acoustic numbers? they're already in the ship! Lido Bar and outside deck. Why do gues5s have to open umbrellas and clean tables? Lastly, the ENDLESS hounding to buy something; wine, photos, knick knacks over and over and over. That blankin' Photographer yelling "SMILE!" every time anyone passed near the elevators, was deserving of being thrown overboard. I could go on, but suddenly all of my frustration came back. It could and should have been a trip of a lifetime. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
I once considered Holland America the most upscale of the mainstream cruise lines. I found the service, amenities, entertainment and dining far superior to Carnival, Princess and Royal Caribbean. However, after my weeklong Alaskan cruise ... Read More
I once considered Holland America the most upscale of the mainstream cruise lines. I found the service, amenities, entertainment and dining far superior to Carnival, Princess and Royal Caribbean. However, after my weeklong Alaskan cruise on the Eurodam in May, I believe HAL has slipped to just average. That much being said, "average" is still a great vacation when you're cruising Holland America. We still had a wonderful time on board and you will too. The staff went out of their way to make us feel special from embarkation until our last minutes on board. We sailed round trip from Seattle and spent a day touring the city before boarding. Pike Place Market was our starting point. We spent hours there seeing the sights and tasting the free samples. We also went for one of the underground city tours, which was a fascinating way to learn about the history of Seattle. HAL's cruise terminal is about a $40 cab ride from downtown hotels. There were no porters standing by to help us with our luggage, which shows more poorly on the port authority than the cruise line. I finally found a group of four porters, standing around socializing. They were eager to help once I asked them if any of them were working. Check-in was easy and smooth. We were Neptune Suite guests so we breezed through embarkation. The only delay was for the obligatory pre-boarding photo from the pesky cruise photographers. It normally wouldn't be so bad, but it was cold and rainy in Seattle and we were uncomfortable waiting for photo-ops. One great change for Holland America is letting guests into their cabin as soon as they board. I loved being able to drop off our carry-ons before exploring the ship. We were met in Cabin 7065 by our two room stewards, who greeted us and asked us if we had any special requests. We did. One of the great perks of staying in a Neptune Suite is complimentary laundry and dry-cleaning. We had a lot of wrinkled clothing from our flight in. The stewards took care of it. We then headed to the Neptune Lounge, another great perk for suite guests, for a light snack. While there, I made reservations, with the concierge, for the Tamarind restaurant ($25 surcharge), Pinnacle Grille ($35 surcharge) and Sur La Mer ($49 surcharge). Experience has taught me, if you can afford it, the premium restaurants are worth the extra money. The Eurodam is a beautiful ship, although starting to show some wear. You can walk from one end to the other except on decks 10 and 11. To go fore and aft on those decks requires you to go down to deck 9. The midship pool area (Deck 9) was covered, giving folks a place to sit outside, without wearing jackets. There were plenty of bars, although there were times when we had to search to find an open one. Here's a tip: Deck two has two bars adjacent to the casino. One of them is almost always open. The Lido Deck (9) bar is also open most of the day. The other bars are open sporadically, making it a challenge to find adult beverages at times. The gym is fairly well equipped, although most of the treadmills were broken. Some didn't incline. Others would only run two minutes at a time. Some didn't have a place to put a tablet for reading. This led to a wait for the machines, even at 6:30 in the morning. My wife ended up walking around deck three, where three laps=one mile. There were plenty of weight machines and free weights in the gym. No wait for weights (sorry, I couldn't help myself). I was a bit put off to find exercise classes that were once free, now costs money. The spa & salon are nice, but terribly overpriced. The biggest rip-off, to me. may be the thermal spa which is marketed at $279 per couple for the week. $169 for a single. Our traveling companions found it overcrowded and difficult to enjoy for more than an hour at a time. We did splurge on a couples massage ($379 for 75 minutes). It was very relaxing, but three times what we would pay for a similar massage in Florida. Our cabin (7065) was large, well equipped and starting to fall apart from age. A broken drawer, makeup mirror and stained furniture were my chief complaints. It was still a wonderful place to share a pre-dinner bottle of wine with friends and we loved the oversized balcony. The best part of the cabin were our stewards Gede and Franz. They seemed to know intuitively what we would need or want and provide it. We had the signature beverage package, which includes 15 drinks per person per day. It was comped to us as part of our cruise package. However, even if we paid for it, I think it would be a great value. I was never able to come close to 15 drinks, even with several cappuccinos throughout the day. Of course, that may be because our traveling companions brought six bottles of wine on board and preferred to drink that with us. A note about the bottled wine. No-one checked our carry-on while we brought the extra wine on board. We were only charged a corkage fee ($18) if we brought a bottle to the restaurant. Even that was waved one night when we also bought two bottles of wine from the menu.. I found the main dining room below average for both dinner and lunch. The menu options were not appealing and they were very limited. The service was friendly and efficient, but the food didn't cut it. However, all of the upscale restaurants were great. The Tamarind ($25), serving Asian food, was my favorite for service and food. We literally ordered every appetizer and dessert on the menu to try and they gladly brought it for us. I also liked the Pinnacle Grille. The service was top notch, although the kitchen was not five star. Too many little things that gave me a sense the head chef took the night off. The pizza parlor on deck 9 aft was a huge hit, Great individual pizzas with most of my favorite toppings. They did run out of mushrooms halfway through the cruise. I liked the salad bar, which never seemed crowded. Huge bowls of fresh lettuce and vegetables. The Dive-in hamburger stand was SLOW SLOW SLOW! It frequently took 20-25 minutes to get a burger or chicken sandwich. The entertainment was not great. There was no pre-dinner cocktail music on board. Most cruise ships have two options for pre-dinner music. The Blues Club was fun and lively, although it was basically the same show every night. Billboard On Board sounds like a Dee Jay, but is actually a piano duo. They were great, but only played late. I would have loved an earlier show. The comedian just wasn't funny. In fact, the illusionist was far funnier, more polished and provided a super show. Fortunately, the comedian has left the ship. The illusionist is staying on board for an extended run. My favorite part of the entertainment was the game room on deck two adjacent to the casino. We had loads of fun playing old fashioned games with other on chilly sea days. The best part of the Eurodam is the service. Everyone on board seemed to have a "can-do" attitude aimed at giving people a positive cruise experience. The ports in Alaska are very all similar to me. In fact, the excursions are also very similar. In Juneau: I highly recommend the helicopter ride to Herbert Glacier for dog sledding. It is a once in a lifetime experience that we've done on three Alaskan cruises because it's so much fun! Expect to pay a lot ($600-$800 per person) depending on who you choose for a tour operator. Glacier Bay: is a trip around a bay with a few glaciers. I found it boring to watch glaciers from a mile away, having just gone dog sledding on one! But HAL had some nice touches, offering hot soup to chilly guests on board. In Sitka: We took the free shuttle into town and hired a private taxi for a tour. The three hour tour was 1/3 the cost of the similar tour offered by the ship. The plus side was we had a private car instead of a crowded bus. In Ketchikan: we took our only Holland American shore excursion, the off road kart ride. It is a blast. We got filthy and had fun doing it. Highly recommend it. Victoria, BC: is a waste. We docked at 6:00 for five hours. At dinnertime! So, we were left with a decision to et on board and waste time in port or skip dinner. Alaska is supposed to be a once in a lifetime cruise destination. We've now been there four times. It's that good. And while Holland America, has slipped a bit in service, dining and entertainment, I had a fantastic cruise. You won't be disappointed. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
I chose this cruise because of the chance to see the Inner Passageway up close, and because it sailed round-trip from Seattle. Visits (and excursions) in both Juneau and Sitka were beautiful and worthwhile; Ketchikan is just one big ... Read More
I chose this cruise because of the chance to see the Inner Passageway up close, and because it sailed round-trip from Seattle. Visits (and excursions) in both Juneau and Sitka were beautiful and worthwhile; Ketchikan is just one big souvenir shop and hardly worth the stop. This was only my 2nd ocean cruise (the first was on Viking; all others were various river cruises) and I admit to having been spoiled by smaller ship size and ambience. In my opinion, this ship does not deserve a 4.5/5 rating. We ate at the Lido, in the Dining Room and in Pinnacle Grille and, at best, the food deserves a 4 (in the Lido, a 3 would be all I would give it). Service in the Dining Room and Pinnacle was good and efficient. Lido was hit or miss service (usually ended up filling and refilling all drinks ourselves), and food was cafeteria quality (except for omelet station, which was good tho' lines were usually quite long). Food stations were not organized well for crowd flow and table bussing was often slow. Onboard entertainment was not very exciting: America's Test Kitchen was just watching from a distance as someone else prepared a meal, and the Billboard OnLine performers were just OK. Best entertainment was the movie "Alaska in Concert," which was excellent (shown two times on one night of the cruise). I had paid for a spa pass and was sorry I had. The 6 lounge chairs in the spa were usually full and there was a separate aqua pool but no hot tub. Sauna's were nice but how long can you stay in one of those? WiFi was awful: slow and sporadic and you can only connect it to one device at a time. Very expensive for what you get. The worst thing about this cruise was the constant "upselling" that went on. We were interrupted several times during lunch conversations with waitresses telling us about specials in Pinnacle and Tamarind (the additional cost restaurants). Every fitness and spa experience was an infomercial and the absolute worst were the ship photographers who were in your face at meals, on the deck and as you were heading off for shore excursions. If I heard "let's see those smiles!" from the male photographer once I heard it 24 times during the 7 days of the cruise. Finally, I would not recommend going on the Eurodam as a single traveler. Fortunately, I had family travelling in another cabin, but the large ship size makes it more difficult to meet and connect with new people. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We have sailed many times with Hal and have always had a good experience. This cruise had the potential to have problems but Hal solved them in prompt fashion. We were assigned to cabin 7138. The first evening we experienced vibrations ... Read More
We have sailed many times with Hal and have always had a good experience. This cruise had the potential to have problems but Hal solved them in prompt fashion. We were assigned to cabin 7138. The first evening we experienced vibrations so severe that we could not sleep. Hal solved the problem by finding a new cabin for us. Since the sailing was full they went out of their way to help us. The best thing about Hal is their commitment to service and concern for passenger comfort. They came through for us beautifully. We feel dining is the best of the large ship lines. We were pleased with the food preparation in all of the dining venues. They have really upgraded their pizza and dive in restaurants. The dining room is great but we did notice that the menus are beginning to show a cut back in finer offerings. There are many choices but less so than in the past. Entertainment has been improved by adding several music venues. They were all good.We also enjoyed a dance troupe and a magican and comedian. Daytime activities are stll lacking and need to be increased. The strongest element is the service provided by staff in all areas from cabins to dining to activities. The ports are all great with the exception to the stop in Victoria. The ship arrives so late there is little time to do much./ A free shuttle usewd to be provided to the town but now a $15.00 charge is in effect. We had another great cruise and look forward to our next. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
My wife and I have been on two other cruise lines so a friend of ours invited us on a vacation to Alaska on the line HAL Oosterdam. The staff was very friendly but when we needed some guidance we couldn't understand what they were ... Read More
My wife and I have been on two other cruise lines so a friend of ours invited us on a vacation to Alaska on the line HAL Oosterdam. The staff was very friendly but when we needed some guidance we couldn't understand what they were saying and they didn't even know the answer to our question so make sure your staff who works on the ship knows everything about it like where's the nearest bathroom . While going down the hall to my room it smelt like sewage that was just not normal and it wasn't just my hall... we made a shore excursion n Ketchikan as soon as we were down we had 2 go back 2 the ship we had no time to explore Ketchiken cause we only hade 4 hours to stay. Now the food in the restaurants were EXCELLENT but n the lido deck buffet u couldn't serve yourself , same food every day , when they served you they gave you little portions . Now my main concern on my list is the ENTERTAINMENT !!! To talking to some of the other passengers there was nothing 2 do. Sure they had the comedian which who was hilarious and the magician which who could of had did something more than what she did if Lance Burton is her idol. Every day u should have some kind of ENTERTAINMENT it doesn't have to be something big but just something. Hope this helps cause I will not be recommending this cruise ship 2 anyone Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
Introduction: We are frequent cruisers with Platinum Plus status on NCL and Black Card status on MSC. NCL was our go to company for N.A.cruises and MSC was our go to company for everywhere else in the world. Unfortunately, both companies ... Read More
Introduction: We are frequent cruisers with Platinum Plus status on NCL and Black Card status on MSC. NCL was our go to company for N.A.cruises and MSC was our go to company for everywhere else in the world. Unfortunately, both companies have adopted strategies of bigger and bigger ships and more fees beyond the cruise fare. After our last cruise on the 5,700 passenger MSC Meravigilia, we decided bigger is not necessarily better. This led to our selection of a smaller ship with a new company for us: Holland America's Oosterdam to Alaska. Cabin: We selected a Neptune cabin, because we were travelling as a family of four. The cabin is spacious with a king bed, sofa bed for two and large balcony. The cabin had a large screen 55" T.V. and a bathroom with an independent shower and independent shower/tub combo. Overall a very nice cabin, and the balcony is excellent for Alaska sightseeing. Dining: We dined at the Pinnacle Grill for breakfast, the Lido market for lunch and the MDR for dinner. All meals were excellent, and better than similar offerings in NCL and MSC's buffet and MDR. Embarkation: Embarking was smooth. We arrived at 11 a.m. and walked on the ship after check-in. Disembarkation was a bit more crowded, but we were off the ship in about twenty minutes. Entertainment: We saw the comedian Tim Kaminsky twice. Very funny shows. We also went to the dance company show. Fairly typical dance fare. We missed the magician because dinner ran late one night. Overall, Kaminsky was the star of the show. Fitness Center: I used the fitness center several times. A bit smaller than the larger ships, but had similar amenities to those ships. The center was crowded in the early a.m., but wide open in the p.m. Onboard Experience: The onboard experience was where you notice the difference between big and small ships. It was much easier to get around the ship, elevators, dining room, etc. No waves of people even after shows. Definitely easier to move around the ship compared to the 4,000 to 6,000 passenger mega ships Service: Service was excellent. Our room steward figured out early in the cruise when we went to breakfast and dinner. The room was made up and turned down during those times. The ship, although older, is in excellent shape and the crew keeps it spotless. Shore Excursions: We did our own excursions. Easy to do in Alaska. We drove to the Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau. We took the Raptor/Bear shuttle in Sitka. We walked the Downtown area in Ketchikan which was mostly a shopping stop. Value for money: Holland's price for a Neptune suite was 50% less than a similar NCL Haven suite. NCL continues to raise it fares. Value for money is hands down in favor of Holland. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
5 star first: HAL has the best access to Glacier Bay. We cruised all the way up and spent time at the foot of the glaciers. ( Some cruise lines advertising GB don’t go as far into the bay). The service was impeccable and the food ... Read More
5 star first: HAL has the best access to Glacier Bay. We cruised all the way up and spent time at the foot of the glaciers. ( Some cruise lines advertising GB don’t go as far into the bay). The service was impeccable and the food was excellent. We ate at Lido for breakfast, in the MDR for dinner with one dinner at Tamarind and both NY pizza and Dive In for lunch. Drinks were mostly good with a couple not but not really a complaint. Wonderful to wake up & walk out on our verandah to spectacular scenery. Room was comfortable and our steward very efficient. Now 3 stars: the entertainment was horrible at BB King’s Blues Club. Billboard On Board was nice. We were disappointed to find most presentations sales-based but I guess that’s across the board on cruises. 1 star: We were shocked at the rudeness of people. We saw people blowing by the elderly practically knocking them down. And at one activity, a couple snuck out before the bartender could charge them for the mixology class. How low class! And yes, obnoxious dinner companions! In summary: A wonderful vacation. We will cruise with HAL again and enjoy it. Did everything go perfectly? No. But does it ever?Those who are complaining just want to find something to complain about. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2019
We really enjoyed this cruise for the most part, the price we couldn't believe, we got it on a flash sale. We hadn't really intended to cruise back to Alaska but when I saw the price, there was no saying not now. Our cabin ... Read More
We really enjoyed this cruise for the most part, the price we couldn't believe, we got it on a flash sale. We hadn't really intended to cruise back to Alaska but when I saw the price, there was no saying not now. Our cabin was perfect, at first it was to be an obstructed, but 2 hours after paying for our cruise the price dropped again, they upgraded us to an unobstructed cabin and even offered a balcony for a few dollars more, we chose to stay with the oceanview. The food was a bit different then we were used to on RCCL. we did like RCCL better but it was fine, kinda fun to try something different. We did like it better when we could select our own food items like on RCCL ships, I like my asparagus a bit more raw then mush. But it was fine, some of the little plates we had no idea what it was and no one explained it. We loved tea at 3pm, but most people had no idea that they did this. The entertainment at night was a huge disappointment, we have been spoiled by RCCL, 9 cruises, so expect a bit more to do at night especially on Gala Nights. Their comedian was horrible, people even got up and walked out on him, we thought to do that too, but stayed stupid, what a waste, the magician was just ok, nothing great, just ok, the dancing was not even as good as most high schools and they do not sing its all canned. The lights are interesting BUT they need better techies, more then half the time, more then half of the programs were all mixed up, starting and stopping, lights not in sync. The piano and quartet in Lincoln Stage was not our cup of tea, there was more to do then listen to that and there were not enough seats anyhow. They did have classes that we loved, we took all the photography ones, not any of the windows as we have apple, we didn't do cooking classes either as just want what we were interested in but heard they were great. Loved the way they handled Glacier Bay, loved the blankets on the decks. We would do another Holland cruise to Alaska. We did not like the fact that they kept trying to sell you the alternative dining plans, they wouldn't take no. also the photography, we always get the photo packages, not this time, but they too kept bugging us about their black and white, $350-400 for 1-2 photos is ridiculous. Not one time did any of the crew ask us to give them a good review, on RCCL, the waiters drive us crazy asking. We did not purchase any excursions this time, just walked around each port. The biggest disappointment was the length in a few ports, Ketchikan was way to short and Victoria a big joke, arriving after 6pm, everything was closed that we wanted to see after a very long walk into town, only a few souvenir stores and pubs were open, with 3 ships in town it was ridiculous, people were not happy at all. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
This was our first cruise and we really enjoyed ourselves. Embarkation - We got to Seattle a day before (unrelated - Hyatt Olive 8 was an excellent hotel) and took a shuttle from our hotel to the port. A porter took our luggage within ... Read More
This was our first cruise and we really enjoyed ourselves. Embarkation - We got to Seattle a day before (unrelated - Hyatt Olive 8 was an excellent hotel) and took a shuttle from our hotel to the port. A porter took our luggage within 2 minutes of getting off the shuttle, and we walked towards the terminal building. It was a little chaotic getting into the building to show our passports, but it was smooth from that point forward. We showed our passports, went up the escalator, and got into the very short priority line to get our key cards. We boarded quickly, and were able to go to our room right away. I don't know when our bags arrived as we were at lunch, but we had them pretty quickly. Ship - The ship is understated but elegant. There had been some mechanical repairs done a few weeks before our cruise and there was a lot of vibration in the MDR. There were ample options for getting out on deck to view scenery/glaciers/wildlife. I loved the Explorations Cafe area and the lounge chairs up by the front windows, but it could be hard to get those as they were very popular. We were able to grab two for the morning of sailing into Glacier Bay, but we also got up there before 6 AM and it was starting to fill up already. Food - Overall - the food was OK with one notable exception (Tamarind). The Lido was typically crowded and chaotic. Dive In and NY Pizza had tasty options but took a while (usually 20-30 minutes each). MDR was nothing special as far as food. As far as Specialty Dining, we had the Explore4 package which included a Pinnacle Grill dinner. This was not much of an improvement over MDR (I had crab legs but they were over-cooked and reminded me of imitation crab). We did also book Tamarind based on others' reviews and everything there was excellent. We used in room dining on 3 occasions - breakfast the day we arrived in Ketchikan (early morning arrival), late night desserts one evening, and to request a bottle of distilled water. Service each time was very quick. Excursions - We booked all of ours through the cruise line before getting on board, and didn't make any modifications. As a result, we didn't really interact with the excursions desk staff at all. The three that we took were enjoyable and ran on time. Ports - My one regret from this trip is it did not include Skagway, but from what I can tell, there were no routes offered through this line that would have included Sitka and Glacier Bay with Skagway, and I wouldn't have wanted to give either of those up. Juneau and especially Ketchikan both had a bit of a tourist trap vibe, although that being said, we loved our time at Mendenhall Glacier. Sitka was my favorite stop, and scenic cruising in Glacier Bay was the biggest highlight for me. Victoria was pretty but we got in in the evening and the port is a few miles from the downtown area. We just walked along the pier rather than getting too far from the ship. We also had excellent weather for most of the trip - it was rainy in Ketchikan, but we had clear weather every other day including the Glacier Bay day. Entertainment - Lincoln Center Stage and America's Test Kitchen were highlights for me. We did not go to the B.B. King Blues Club, and we watched a Billboard On Board performance one evening. Something billed as "Hot Country" should probably include at least some songs from this century, but the performers were good. We only went to the Main Stage for an exc talk (Whales of Alaska) and the Ask the Captain event. The evening events didn't interest us much. I also went to watch a BBC video presentation in there one afternoon, but they were having technical difficulties so I (and many others) left early. Overall, the entertainment offerings were somewhat lacking. I would have enjoyed ATK cooking classes that were hands on in addition to or place of some of the staged demonstrations, even for a small fee. Service - Overall, we found the service to be excellent - attentive and courteous - with one exception, which was our wine steward in MDR because we don't really drink. He was less interested in helping us when realizing this. Disembarkation - This was very efficient. Again, suite perks played a role here as we were the 2nd group to be called. We were off the ship, had our luggage, got into a cab, and made it to our hotel by 8:15 AM. Overall, we were very impressed with our trip and had a great time. We enjoyed the route, stops, scenery, and ship. There is room for improvement in dining and entertainment. This cruise line would not be for everyone, but we were not looking for wild parties or water slides, rather a relaxing and enjoyable vacation. I felt the trip was well paced and look forward to cruising with HAL again. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
My husband and I are an active couple in our 30's/40's. Last summer, we took an Alaskan cruise on HAL's Eurodam. We really enjoyed that experience (https://www.cruisecritic.com/memberreviews/memberreview.cfm?EntryID=624622) ... Read More
My husband and I are an active couple in our 30's/40's. Last summer, we took an Alaskan cruise on HAL's Eurodam. We really enjoyed that experience (https://www.cruisecritic.com/memberreviews/memberreview.cfm?EntryID=624622) and wanted to repeat it. For this cruise, we got a good price with discounted airfare. We were even able to upgrade from an inside cabin to a balcony for a fraction of the difference. Before the cruise, we spent 3 nights at an Airbnb in Seattle's Magnolia neighborhood. We had a fantastic time visiting the Ballard Locks and Discovery Park! This is a very walkable area, and it's tucked away from the downtown tourists. Also, it was a short drive to Pier 91. My feelings for this cruise were mixed, so I will divide my thoughts between pros and cons. PROS ~ There is only one designated smoking area, and it is located outside at the back of deck 9. For a nonsmoker, this was truly a breath of fresh air! ~ Our room was wonderful, and our stewards were excellent. ~ The fresh floral arrangements found throughout the ship are gorgeous. ~ We absolutely loved Lincoln Center Stage! On our previous cruise, we went to a few concerts. The musicians on the Oosterdam were even better. Besides being talented, they had a special chemistry that made their concerts extra special. ~ We enjoyed the food. There was decent variety, and waiters were able to accommodate special requests. For some meals, we pre-ordered from the vegetarian menu. The fruit selection in the buffet was great for a cruise (apples, bananas, oranges, plums, kiwis, peaches, nectarines, pineapple, melons, berries). ~ Each evening, there were a variety of drink specials (BOGO for $2, $5 wines, $4 cocktail samples). These are definitely a good value. ~ Each morning, we had room service breakfast. Unlike many other major cruise lines, HAL still offers hot breakfast items on their complimentary menu. Also, we would request other items not listed on the menu (e.g. grapefruit, plain yogurt), and these items were always included. Orders arrived on time, and it was relaxing to start each morning with breakfast in our room. ~ We did have one small issue with room service. One morning, the wrong omelet was delivered, and we did not discover the mistake until after the waiter left. I quickly fixed the situation by running up to the buffet and getting a new omelet. Later that day, I told guest services about what happened because I wanted to ensure future orders would be correct. To my surprise, we were sent a bottle of sparkling wine and chocolate covered strawberries. This was a small mistake, and HAL did a great job making up for it. Kudos for great customer service! ~ The Promenade deck was a nice place for walking. Even on rainy or misty days, we were able to enjoy long walks outside. ~ We liked the daily newspapers and puzzles provided each day on deck 1. CONS ~ Entertainment was lacking. Each evening, we would find ourselves wandering around after dinner without anything to do. We don't go to the main shows in the theater. We prefer listening to bands in lounges and dancing. Lincoln Center Stage ends rather early. BB King has talented musicians, but their venue is small and has a poor layout. It felt more like a concert than a dance club. Most nights, very few dancers came out on the floor. There was very little energy and excitement at night. ~ The atrium is tiny and dull. For me, the atrium should be the heart of the ship, but this area is lackluster and often deserted. ~ This is a small ship. When the weather was cold, the ship felt even smaller. There were very few public areas and most of them were clustered together. ~ During the day, there are not many scheduled activities. Computer workshops and cooking demos don't interest me. I prefer more active things, such as dance classes. ~ We did freestyle dining, and we usually went to the dining room between 7 and 8pm. I was surprised at the first set dining time. 5pm seems entirely too early. Since so many people were eating during the cocktail hour, it made time before dinner dull too. ~ The dress code is not enforced at dinner. On Gala Night, I saw people in t-shirts and guys wearing baseball caps. ~ The ports were wonderful, and Hubbard Glacier was awesome! However, the timing in most of the ports is odd. The all aboard for Ketchikan was 12:30pm, and we weren't allowed off the ship in Victoria until after 6:30pm. These short stops make it difficult to fully enjoy these ports. ~ The excursion prices are ridiculously expensive. We planned ahead and did our own thing in each port. If the excursions had been more reasonably prices, we might have gone on one or two. Overall, we enjoyed the cruise because the ports are beautiful and interesting. Shipboard life, on the other hand, proved a little too boring for us. We would consider HAL again if the itinerary is port intensive. If we do an Alaskan cruise again, we will try another line. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We selected this cruise because it was raining in San Diego the week after New Years and we decided to treat ourselves. We were on a family vacation and it was too rainy so we did the illogical thing and jumped on an Alaskan cruise in May, ... Read More
We selected this cruise because it was raining in San Diego the week after New Years and we decided to treat ourselves. We were on a family vacation and it was too rainy so we did the illogical thing and jumped on an Alaskan cruise in May, the rainy season. We live in Eastern Washington so a Seattle departure and a short trip were the most critical elements. Sunday to Sunday works. We both had been on Alaskan cruises before so this wasn't about anything other than a nice boat ride in spring. We knew we wouldn't be taking any excursions because only flight related ones appealed and the weather is not predictable enough to spend that kind of money for marginal ceilings. So we rode the boat for the experience. And we had a great time. While not night owls, we spent every evening moving back and forth between the BB King venue and the pianos in the Billboard Onboard section. Made it worth the trip. Stage shows were fine, but we don't care much for magicians, even though the young lady was good, and dance troupes don't grab our hearts, and again they were good. The comedian did a great job with audience participation, but that meant he picked people from the crowd, so we absented ourselves. Our travel agent suggested an aft cabin and picked one for us on the stern. Loved it. Yes, there is motion. Yes, it is the ocean. Decks are slightly larger on the stern. Had it been warmer, this would have been even better, but we had some chilly times so indoors was the choice. Liked the stern so much we booked another one for our next adventure. Ship was in great shape, clean, constantly being cleaned, and bright and reasonably cheery. (Day before our departure the Oosterdam bumped another Holland ship in Vancouver, slight damage, but just below our room) We were contacted when the crew was going to be working below to repair the cosmetic damage to the ship, great communication. Public areas were great, as well. Service wonderful with attentive, positive folks everywhere, except maybe the guy at the dining room check in. Tough job. No big deal. Food was great when it was great, okay part of the time, and never lousy. Gala nights were the best food. The Lido was more hit and miss. Best food was generally anything Asian. Might be comfort zone for staff. American breakfast was okay, step above Best Western free breakfast, but not a full flight better. Lots of other options. Our last Holland cruise was through the Panama Canal so longer cruise. That trip did not have a huge number of ball cap, ragged jeans, with Jack Daniels shirts. We had some of these. (sorry for the stereotype) Things like lines, personal space, and gentle conversation weren't what I was used to, but this was only apparent on the Lido. Crowd management was a bit rough there as far as seating went. Too many large tables with one person sitting while unseated guests were searching for a table. In defense, this was the first Alaska cruise of the season and was a sell out, so maybe some ramping up. Same was true for first destination. Disembarking was rough with some frustration. Later ports were better. We had a great time, met some wonderful folks, enjoyed wonderful entertainment and signed up for more, just on a different ship going elsewhere. No knock on the Oosterdam, just wanted something different and smaller. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
It's been a few years since we've cruised on Holland America. Our last cruise on Royal Caribbean was not good so for our next cruise we chose HAL. Overall HAL provides good value for the money. Everyone has different cruise ... Read More
It's been a few years since we've cruised on Holland America. Our last cruise on Royal Caribbean was not good so for our next cruise we chose HAL. Overall HAL provides good value for the money. Everyone has different cruise expectations and HAL checks many of our boxes, though not all. We will continue to experience different cruise lines. For us, we cruise to spend time with our family. We enjoy the food, the destinations, shore excursions, and to be at sea. We do not care for drinking, partying, and childrens entertainments. For us, HAL is a good choice. This review is of the Oosterdam May 5 Alaskan Explorer cruise from Seattle. The Ship: The Oosterdam was in good shape, though I wish the last refit had kept more of the old Dutch Masters feel. The public areas were spacious and well appointed (I think the HAL Vista class ships have the highest area per passenger rating of all the majors). I like a full promenade deck, and it was the place to be during the cruise down the inside passage from Ketchikan. The card room(s) were well used by groups playing all kinds of games together. One plus of the Vista Class of ships is the retractable dome over the Lido Pool area. This is very helpful in Alaska as it can rain at any moment, and can be quite chilly at times. The Exploration Cafe was my favorite public area. The gym was well used and I thought the class instructors were quite good. I did two yoga classes on the 7 day cruise and worked out daily. The Food: I was especially impressed with the Lido Market (buffet) which we used for breakfast and lunch. There were special selections from around the world daily, and all manner of offerings for every taste. Some of our party really enjoyed the Dive In for burgers and fries. We ate at the Pinnacle Grill one night ($35 surcharge but ours was a gift from the travel agency). The food there was very good. Not quite as good as Ruth's Chris or something like that, but better than Outback for sure. The main dining room was pretty good for the MDR on a major cruise line. Some of the menu selections weren't that great and so it was hit or miss if you picked the right thing. One night I chose a fish (not great) and my spouse chose the deconstructed pot roast (good). Service started out a bit shaky, but I learned many of the staff had just joined the ship as our cruise was the first cruise of the Alaska season. They got better as the week progressed. Destinations: Juneau, Sitka, Hubbard Glacier, Ketchikan, Victoria. We were on a Coral Princess Southbound cruise from Anchorage to Vancouver a few years ago. We chose that cruise because it went to Glacier Bay. On this cruise we were looking for value, as we were cruising with relatives and cost was a concern. If I was only going on one Alaska cruise in my life, I would want to do Glacier Bay. And I would cruise later in the season. That said, Hubbard Glacier was worthwhile. Despite the rain and lots of ice in the water our captain was able to get us a pretty good view of the glacier face. It was a fun day, and a lot of us went out to the bow to take photos. I spent some time on the promenade as well. And a secret spot - Deck 9 Forward in front of the Gym was a good and mostly empty spot for viewing, though you are further up from the water. Shore Excursions: Good excursions overall. We did the Mount Roberts Tramway in Juneau as we had been to Mendenhall previously. It is worthwhile. We were not in Juneau long or else we would have probably gone up to Mendenhall again. We did Birds, Bears, and Barnacles in Sitka. Fun excursion. The bear place is still under renovation. We went to see the Totem Poles in Ketchikan. I would like to spend more time in Ketchikan someday. We were only in Victoria for 5 hours so we didn't do much. We have been there several times in the past. It was evening so options were limited. I would like to see Bouchard Gardens in the spring, though. At Sea: I like the feeling of being at sea. I am not looking for the floating hotel experience. I think a lot of the newer ships (ahem Royal) are very inward focused. The Oosterdam is very much in the vein of a classic cruise ship. I like hanging out outside, playing cards with family, enjoying good food, relaxing. Passengers were a good mix. HAL has a reputation of being the cruise line of choice for elders. I have not found this to be true. Though there were few children, most age groups were well represented, with a diversity of passengers from mostly North America and Asia. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We are back, mostly unpacked and exhausted. We have been on cruises to Alaska 4 other times, 3 of them on HAL. We picked this one since it docked in Sitka where most others do not, preferring Skagway. It was well worth it. Embarkation ... Read More
We are back, mostly unpacked and exhausted. We have been on cruises to Alaska 4 other times, 3 of them on HAL. We picked this one since it docked in Sitka where most others do not, preferring Skagway. It was well worth it. Embarkation was the easiest we have ever experienced. It all went smoothly and we were on the ship much earlier than the time we had been assigned (since we transferred from a hotel). We went right to our cabin where we found the scooter and oxygen concentrator I had ordered already in the cabin. There was more than enough room for the rented scooter, my own scooter and walking around. The Lido beckoned and lunch was good. Then, there was one hitch...the drink card I had ordered was nowhere to be found. Down to Guest Services where I was promised it would be delivered in 9-10 minutes. It wasn't. It took 2 more contacts with Guest Services before they printed it for me at the desk. The only other problem was, one evening while trying to watch a movie in the cabin, there was a pop and the electricity on one side of the room was out. There was a maintenance man at the cabin in 15 minutes and it was fixed. Probably a breaker needed to be thrown. We ate in the dining room most of the time since my husband has trouble walking and the Lido is hard on him. I found, however, that the selection was not as good as on past cruises. The food was good, just the selection was poor. The main dining room was very good although, here as well, the selection wasn't up to previous cruises. The table staff and hosts were wonderful. Adi (host) and Von (wine steward) were especially wonderful. We had open seating and had the same table every evening with different companions, all fantastic people. We are not night people and only attended one show. The ports were wonderful. We only did one excursion (since we'd done this so many times before) and it was good. There was some confusion as to an ADA bus, but that got cleared up pretty quickly. The rest of the time we just wandered around...exactly what I wanted to do. There was one particular shop on Creek Street in Ketchikan (Perfect Partners) that I wanted to visit and it had just opened. I was thrilled. Disembarkation was as smooth as glass. We were on the bus before the time we were scheduled to leave the ship. Then there was the airport..... This may be our last cruise due to medical reasons. It was a wonderful week. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
As a Seattle resident, it may seem strange to go to Alaska four times but the Last Frontier is so spectacular, it never fails to thrill. Embarkation was very smooth, although porters were few. Lines were almost non-existent and we on board ... Read More
As a Seattle resident, it may seem strange to go to Alaska four times but the Last Frontier is so spectacular, it never fails to thrill. Embarkation was very smooth, although porters were few. Lines were almost non-existent and we on board in about 20 minutes from car to room. The Oosterdam is lovely - understated decor with some beautiful touches like hammered brass elevator doors.Unfortunately, the "library" is a few shelves located in the Crow's Nest and not the opulent club setting like the Amsterdam or Prinsendam. Bars were lively and plentiful. B.B. Kings is a blues option and Billboard Onboard was two very talented piano playing, singing guys who played over five decades of music during the seven days we were sailing. Other entertainment included a comedienne and great magician. The only trivia session was at 4:30 pm which interfered with our dining time. The MDR was tasteful with excellent service. Food was served in proper courses and we never waited too long, except on the first night. As this was the first trip of the season for Oosterdam, I don't fault that. Entree selections (5) were a bit fewer than I remember from past cruises, but salmon, steak, a vegetarian pasta and turkey tetrazzini was served every day. I loved all the soups and the desserts were often spectacular. Fresh bread daily and everything served with a smile! We usually book an outside cabin to Alaska as a balcony is just too cold for us. We actually had great weather in May with the only rain coming in Juneau. Hubbard Glacier is amazing and even with some fog, it took my breath away. The wildlife expert on board was very helpful and HAL even provides hot soup to hardy souls who venture out on deck. We visited Sitka, Ketchikan and Juneau as well as a stop in Victoria to satisfy the Jones Act. Victoria is a waste - expensive ($35.00) to get to town and too late to do much except eat dinner or ride in the horse-drawn carriages ($1.00 per minute with minimums) Suggest guests arrive early in Seattle or stay one day extra to experience the Pike Place Market, Space Needle, Puget Sound ferries, Monorail, Big Wheel and all our fantastic seafood. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2019
We enjoyed our Oosterdam cruise in April very much. The Ship: Embarkation was a breeze. We expected there would be many people waiting to board but we literally walked in, checked in, and boarded in less about 15 minutes. Upon ... Read More
We enjoyed our Oosterdam cruise in April very much. The Ship: Embarkation was a breeze. We expected there would be many people waiting to board but we literally walked in, checked in, and boarded in less about 15 minutes. Upon boarding, we headed to the Lido deck for lunch and by the time we went to our room, the luggage was already there. We immediately began hanging our clothes in the three closets. In addition to hanging rods in two closets, one closet had shelves for clothes that did not need hanging. The storage space in the cabin was ample and easily accessible. There are drawers in the desk/vanity in the room and drawers under the bed. There were ample outlets in the room and a small fridge. We enjoyed being able to keep drinks cold and fruit refrigerated while in our room. We stayed in an aft balcony room and liked this location. It was convenient to get to the dining rooms, pools, and bars. Our room was located at the back of the ship on the portside and we did not experience any additional turbulence or rocking due to the location. The balcony room provided us the opportunity to lie in bed and watch the ocean or to sit on the nice sized balcony. The bathroom had a tub which I enjoyed as I do enjoy a bath rather than a shower sometimes. The storage in the bathroom was adequate. Overall, the room met all of our expectations with a large screen tv placed on the wall in front of the bed. It was a nice room. The ship is an older ship but I did not see any big problems and I could see that somethings had been updated. The dining rooms were beautiful and the theatre was easy to navigate and had plenty of seating. Overall, we were pleased with the condition of the ship. It has been well-maintained and the staff were constantly cleaning all areas of the ship. In addition, the pool areas were well-kept and seating was plentiful. We never had a problem on ship days finding a place to lounge by the pools. Debarkation was quick and we were at the airport by 9am on our last day Dining Room Service: We did enjoy ordering room service a few times and service was excellent and on time each time we ordered by phone or by placing a card on our door at night. Lido Deck Dining: We enjoyed the food we were served on the Lido Deck. Choices were varied and service was never slow. Usually, there were no more than two to four people in any one line at a time. The servers were all polite and welcoming. I, particularly, enjoyed the Pasta station and the Omelet station. The taco station was also a favorite. The diversity in the food choices made it easy to find something to eat. At times, the table area was crowded but we always found some place to sit and enjoy our meals. I felt the food was more sanitary by having the staff serve our food at the buffet. The wait staff kept our drinks filled and cleaned tables quickly upon someone leaving the dining area. Overall, I would rate the food excellent and the service outstanding on the Lido Deck Dining. Formal Dining Room: The dining room was beautiful and the service was outstanding. We never had to wait long for any of our order to arrive. After the first night, our drinks were on the table when we arrived. The wait staff were very friendly and exuded happiness each night. We enjoyed our evening meal and a couple of lunches in the dining room. We could not ask for better service than we experienced on the Oosterdam. My favorite foods were the lobster, the soups, and the desserts. Entertainment: We love to dance and the B.B. Blues Club was a perfect venue for that. The band played music that people could dance to and enjoy listening to as they relaxed with a beverage. The only thing I would change is that the band play longer. Beverage service was excellent in this club. We did enjoy the Piano Bar music on a couple of evenings but there was no area to dance. The shows in the theatre needed more singing and dancing type shows. Also, I think the theatre should have a show on the first night of the cruise to welcome guests and set the tone for the trip. Fitness & Recreation: The fitness center offered a variety of equipment and classes for those who wanted to work out. The Spa offers diversity in services as well. Enrichment Activities: There were opportunities to join in enrichment activities each day. We chose to relax and enjoy the pool area rather than attend classes offered. Service: I cannot say enough good things about our room stewards and the services they provided. They cleaned the room at least twice a day and always responded positively to any requests. They placed fresh fruit in the room daily and intentionally interacted with us daily to see if we had any requests or concerns. I requested a fan and a mattress topper and both were provided promptly. I could not ask for more from our room stewards. The wait staff in the dining room and on the Lido dining area were friendly and provided outstanding service to us. Around the ship, we always saw crew members cleaning and replenishing supplies as needed. This is an area where this ship excels--providing outstanding service. Shore Excursions: Turks & Caicos: We took a bus tour of the island and enjoyed seeing the entire island in addition to visiting a small market area. There had been some storm damage from the hurricane but one could tell that progress was being made in the clean-up and rebuilding. The guide provided us with an extensive history of the island which was interesting. Key West: The trolley car excursion provided us with a good overview of the history and sights of Key West. After the tour, we walked around the town and enjoyed mingling with the locals. Dominican Republic: I took a bus tour that took us into Puerta Plata where we shopped and visited a beautiful church. In addition, the tour guide provided us with a history of the island. We did not visit Haiti. My boyfriend did the excursion to the water falls and he had a wonderful time. He hiked through the jungle and then slid down about four waterfalls which he said was an exhilarating experience. Due to my health, I could not experience the waterfall excursion but I did enjoy the tour. Half Moon Cay: This island is beautiful with sand as white as snow. There are many activities available such as horse back riding, jet skiing, sailing, and a waterpark that would be great for children to enjoy. Just swimming and enjoying the beauty was what we chose to do. The ship provides a lunch on the island for those who do not want to return to the ship to eat. The bar area is convenient and easy to procure drinks. Cabanas are available for rent. We chose to sit on the beach in one of the many lounge chairs provided. It was a wonderful and relaxing day. Next time we sail in November, we plan to rent a small sail boat and enjoy this experience. In conclusion, I would like to say that even though the Oosterdam is an older ship, it is beautiful and well-kept. The service on the ship is outstanding and the food is excellent. I highly recommend sailing on this ship. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
This was our first cruise in many years. We were very happy with the cruise ports except for Sitka. Ketchikan was delightful and we took a cruise excursion to Misty Fjords. Excellent with photo ops galore. The cabin- 4053- was an excellent ... Read More
This was our first cruise in many years. We were very happy with the cruise ports except for Sitka. Ketchikan was delightful and we took a cruise excursion to Misty Fjords. Excellent with photo ops galore. The cabin- 4053- was an excellent choice with a huge balcony and great views. The stewards were top notch and extremely accommodating. The food was delicious and I highly recommend the Pinnacle Grill and Tamarind. We ate at these specialty restaurants 3 times. But wait until you get on the ship to book more than 1 nite. They gave people a 25% discount on the ship. That was aggravating but not worth complaining about. The embarkation was very simple and the long line moved quickly although they paid zero attention to your assigned boarding time. Same with disembarking. No attention to what assignment they gave you to get off the ship. There was a bad mixup the final night with our flight. We used the luggage service and they got the wrong flight on our bags even though our boarding pass they gave us was correct. We ended up getting our luggage 3 days after we arrived home. The Crow’s Nest has awesome views. The entertainment was not anything great. I expected much more. I also didn’t like the constant upselling in the shopping area which was mostly jewelry. Overall it was a great cruise and I would sail on Holland America again. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2019
This was my first trip to Alaska and was very excited to be on it. We choose a Spa Veranda Guaranteed cabin with an upgrade possible. Well the upgrade did not happen (not sure what they would upgrade us too) about 10 days before we ... Read More
This was my first trip to Alaska and was very excited to be on it. We choose a Spa Veranda Guaranteed cabin with an upgrade possible. Well the upgrade did not happen (not sure what they would upgrade us too) about 10 days before we sailed we go our room assignment 10046 The cabin was good on the 10 th deck and next to the door but there was no problem with noise this was my 3rd ever cruise and the others two where on MS Westerdam so that was my ship to reference too. first my one and really only complaint was the ship felt funny in the way it was vibrating, I did read that there was a problem and it had to stay in San Diego for a extra day or two. but it was like someone was shaking the bed every 5 seconds it was pretty consistent for the first 3 days, then when in Glacier bay it stopped and then returned when we went to Sitka i guess the speed of the ship was the reason. Dinning was good really only used the main dining room one time.. we to each of the specialty restaurants once Italian one was very good the food was good service great Steak house was good the service was great but the food was not as good as i remembered it Asian was really good best food on the ship great service The buffet was standard fair the burgers and fries at the Dive in was fantastic Pizza was good but long wait I did not see any shows there so i can comment on the entertainment my two excursions where great 1. helicopter ride to the glacier and dog sledding i cant say it was cheap as it was not but i loved it 2. I also did a sea food feast and boat ride to a resort island that was very enjoyable I will go again Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2018
We liked: the itinerary - 10 days at sea, embark from Seattle, verandah stateroom, good food, good service, good selection of at-sea activities, excellent cleanliness, good selection of in-room movies, large state room TV, had a bath tub, ... Read More
We liked: the itinerary - 10 days at sea, embark from Seattle, verandah stateroom, good food, good service, good selection of at-sea activities, excellent cleanliness, good selection of in-room movies, large state room TV, had a bath tub, free room service, excellent performances at the "Lincoln Center Stage" (The very best part of the whole cruise!), free seating option in main dinning room Didn't like: excursions - extremely over priced & poor selection (only offered excursions from a company owned by HAL), hard mattress, AC directed at head of the bed, very poor main stage performances, outrageous price to get online, HAL charges for up-grades ("Buy Ups"), very high required daily gratuity fee, no booking incentives like offered with other cruise lines, poor shops on board with overly high prices Would cruise with HAL only if we can get an extremely good price. Otherwise, there are other cruise lines that are a far better value for the price (see above). Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
Holland America Eurodam, Sept 29, 2018, 18-day Circle Hawaii cruise, Seattle to Vancouver, BC Embarkation was very quick, easy, smooth. Luggage arrived quickly enough. Disembarkation was the same, but then we just walked off the ship ... Read More
Holland America Eurodam, Sept 29, 2018, 18-day Circle Hawaii cruise, Seattle to Vancouver, BC Embarkation was very quick, easy, smooth. Luggage arrived quickly enough. Disembarkation was the same, but then we just walked off the ship with our luggage to a taxi. Activities/Entertainment: Lincoln Center Stage - fantastic program!! Might sail HAL again just for that one aspect! Liked the many and varied daily activity choices - i.e. lectures, Test Kitchen, tours Two very important aspects of cruising for us were an extreme disappointment with HAL: Extremely disappointed with nightly main stage entertainment - mediocre to poor quality in all categories HAL was notably bad in this area when we last sailed with them (1985). No improvement! We had abandoned HAL and become loyal NCL cruisers since 1985 because of that. Extremely disappointed with HAL excursions: completely over priced, few choices, limited variety We are convinced it is because of HAL's monopoly of this service - a huge rip-off of their passengers!! We only bought one excursion. We will only use prearranged excursions with locals if we sail HAL again. This is a complete reversal from our usual practice when cruising. NCL does very well in this area. Stateroom service was very good! Stateroom was adequate in size/appointments, large closet space with adjustable shelving, A deck 8 aft cabin was nice for the veranda, but was very noisy at two times EVERY day: gathering of all deck furniture at midnight, setting out of same at 6:00 AM (Banging, dragging furniture across deck floor.) Very annoying if you like to sleep at either of those two times of the day. Appreciated the high quality, removable wooden hangers. Very annoyed with the AC vent that aimed the draft directly at the head of the bed - great negative affect on our quality/quantity of sleep. Loved the verandah furniture! Mattress was too hard, pillows didn't work for me (one too large to be practical and too hard; only one was nice soft and regular, usable size) Fridge did not work well - always too warm, no matter the dial setting Bathroom was always wonderfully clean!! enjoyed the tub, nice personal products A 2-day toilet problem was quickly fixed when reported Loved the large TV on the wall! TV programing was very good. Good movies that could be stopped and restarted later Appreciated continuous current news networks The entire ship was very clean! very little wear/tear of any kind was in evidence anywhere Loved the cloth towels in all public bathrooms - high class! Loved the self-contained rooms in public restrooms rather than toilet stalls - again, high class! Service staff was always friendly!! On board shopping extremely limited - therefore, not very useful. Main dining room food was very good to excellent, except for desserts. Desserts seemed to be designed more to look good on a plate rather than for eating enjoyment. Bread was always too dried out / hard - probably from being dished up too early. Appreciated not being constantly bugged by photographers in the dinning room. Dinning room service varied from barely adequate/slow (esp for large tables) to very good (We were open seating.) Main dining room reservations were messed up several times, so we finally gave up. Waiting for a table actually wasn't that bad. Wine service was very good, knowledgeable. Dress code was very relaxed (thank goodness), including for Gala nights. Lido Market lunch food was very good and quite varied - very good service there! Breakfast was only fair for my personal taste until I discovered the yummy, custom made-while-you-wait omelets. Fruit was always too green, poor yogurt choices, bread was hard/dried out (except for croissants). Dive In Burger was good, fries were excellent Very nice wine tasting events, excellent Cellar Master dinner!! Pinnacle Grill was very good Covered pool was lovely! Loved the Crow's Nest: quiet, nice view, comfortable chairs, appreciated the library (though limited), nice jigsaw puzzles, fun computerized maps to manipulate Nice, quiet Gallery Bar with table shuffleboard and good supply of board-games, card-games Tender was only used at one port. It was handled nicely. Bottom line - If given a good itinerary and a very good price, there MIGHT be enough good aspects with HAL for us to sail with them again. However, there are some major negative areas that greatly affected the overall quality of our cruise trip. It will be a toss-up. Read Less
21 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
When I was 17 I did a road trip from British Columbia to Southern Alaska. It was the best trip I had ever been on. The scenery, the wildlife, and the splendor of it all took my breath away. I did not think anything could top that ... Read More
When I was 17 I did a road trip from British Columbia to Southern Alaska. It was the best trip I had ever been on. The scenery, the wildlife, and the splendor of it all took my breath away. I did not think anything could top that experience. Then I booked with Holland America and the adventure was better than I remembered. Embarkation. You are given an assigned time to arrive at the port in Seattle. Ours was 1pm so like all good travelers we arrived at 11:45. I did think it would take us longer to get there but this was fine. Having cruised four previous times I knew what to expect. Hurry and wait to drop off luggage, hurry up to wait in line to pass through security, hurry up to get in line to check in, wait for a few hours in a waiting room. Take the eternal walk to get on board, go to Lido deck and eat for four hours and then go to room to wait for your luggage. Yeah, I have played this game before and this time...was an exception. We dropped off our luggage straight away, no line at all. Then we went to security and... no line at all, got in line to check in and get our key. That took forever at about 3 to 5 minutes to get up there and 3 to 5 minutes to get processed. The they gave us free cookies and water which I had to eat while walking on to the ship. Wait did I skip the waiting room part? Oh, wait there was none, we got our key and went on board. 20 minutes after getting out of the Uber we were on the ship. On the ship an elevator was standing by and we were directed to the buff... wait not the buffet but our stateroom. It was 1215 and we were walking to our ready stateroom. We met our cabin steward and sat down wondering...what do we do now. Well first we unpack. Our luggage arrived 5 minutes after we did. Then we went to the buffet to eat some of the best meals at sea. The Cabin Standard industry sized veranda with a 45-inch TV. So, we could watch it and enjoy it. It was loaded with some great new and a little older movies and live TV. The bed was firm and comfortable. There was a bathtub but for a 6'2" guy it was a bit tight and smaller than what is at home. The linens and fluffy stuff was soft and nice. There were plenty of outlets and enough closet space for our clothes, shoes and Jacket. On our way up the weather was rocky but we love that because it helps us sleep. The rocking was gentle and not jolting at all. The veranda came with the usual appointments and was the same size as other ships. The Food The food was a cut above. There was a unique combination of standard fair, fancy, and really fancy. It was all well prepared and very good. Even the Buffet which can many times get stale and feel second rate was fresh and changing. The pizza was worth the wait and was delicious. Tea time at 3pm was amazing with many pastry's and other delicious snacks. Also, the chocolate event on deck two was a blast. Entertainment Was sparse. Almost every day we were in some port or some location so the need to entertain people on board with exciting activities was less. Not to mention it is a senor crowd and that limits the options available of activities to do. The activities there are, are very enriching, fun, and amazing. I was never bored but very relaxed. The wine tasting, bar hop, mixology class, etc were fantastic. The jewel of the trip was the orchestra that played classical music every night and the jazz club that got people dancing and singing till late in the night. The piano bars were very nice as well and a lot of fun to be in. Glacier Bay The benefit of a veranda, when it is 45 F outside is that between great shots and scenery is you watch movies in you cabin. The balcony offered timeless views and warmth. Whale watching, glacier and wilderness tour in Juneau This was a great investment. We had the wonderful captain Buck who found us orcas and humpbacks. Also provided insight into the local history along the way. The Glacier was amazing and awe inspiring to look at. We saw other amazing scenery of the area and it was a wonderful day. The Towns All the towns had the requisite tourist shops that you see on any other cruise ever. Juneau being the capital had interesting history and nature, especially the mines. Sitka had an old Russian Church and stores. Kechihan was the most interesting town with Creek St houses (brothels) being a very interesting history, as well as the totem poles and other sights to see. At the port BE ON TIME. They tell you be back at 12:30 PM. They must leave at that time to make it to Victoria on time. We saw 5 people get to the dock after the gang plank was removed and we were sailing away. A missed boat can cost you between $1,500 to $2,000 in extra costs. Did not get off at Victoria. just not enough time and you arrive at 7PM leave at 11:30 PM. The Ship The ship with its covered pool, fantastic fitness room, great food, and super staff was the best I had ever been on. I do look forward to going back, maybe to the Mexican Riviera. Tip: If you go on a cruise at the end of the season, the clearance sails are superb. I got a very nice coat for $15, and other items were 75%$ off. Jewelry related to Alaska was also super discounted (This was true onshore as well). Disembarkation Was as fast as embarkation, we left at 8:50 AM and was in the Uber at 9:10 AM Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
This was our first cruise. We chose the Amsterdam specifically for its smaller size and itinerary that included Hubbard Glacier. We loved the presentations by Kelly who shared about wildlife, points of interest and historical significance. ... Read More
This was our first cruise. We chose the Amsterdam specifically for its smaller size and itinerary that included Hubbard Glacier. We loved the presentations by Kelly who shared about wildlife, points of interest and historical significance. She came across as smart and witty. We also really enjoyed the entertainment. I’m still humming songs that Don the piano guy chose. Seats in the piano bar were prime real estate when he was singing oldies, Neil Diamond hits, and rock n roll tunes. We were super impressed with a BBC wildlife film set to live music on the main stage. Magical. We went to one gala night, of two, in the main dining room and found the food and service less than spectacular, so most of our meals were taken at the Lido Market. Hubby loved the pasta station where you chose the sauce, veggies and meats that were cooked right there. There was steak on the daily menu and delicious desserts that tickled my palate. My favorite lunch spot was the Dive-In for juicy, delicious, charred to perfection burgers. Breakfast was nearly always served to us via room service. We alternated between fresh fruit and yogurt or perfectly cooked scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage and toast. Coffee was hot and strong! Speaking of rooms, we had a veranda suite. The stewards, Bagus and Yoga, tended to our every need—including finding duct tape to patch one of our aged suitcases. The young men were cheerful and attentive. In port, we did a couple excursions. One was booked through the ship and the other through the travel company we booked with via United Airlines. Both were memorable and offered us great subjects for photographs. We did a whale watch in Juneau on a smaller vessel—17 passengers. In Sitka, we went to the raptor center, saw salmon spawning in a stream, visited a park with totems and local carvers, then a native dance performance—all on one excursion. Amelia, our guide, was knowledgeable and witty. We felt that both excursions were money well spent. So, embarkation and debarkation seemed daunting before we went through it. We found it super efficient and organized. No lines. Lots of helpful, cheerful people to show us the way. We used the port porter service in Seattle that allowed us to check in for our United flight onboard and handled our baggage all the way to Colorado Springs, our final destination. No charge! (At this writing, we haven’t gotten to Colorado Springs yet, so I can’t report on whether our luggage will actually get there, so I’ll update once we know the final outcome. The Amsterdam is a beautiful ship. There were lots of different kinds of “public” spaces to enjoy our time at sea. We’d grab a coffee at the Explorer Cafe and spend quiet time nearby where folks were reading, playing games or completing puzzles. The Crow’s Nest offered spectacular views and a bit more energy than the coffee spot. We viewed the approach to Hubbard Glacier from there with Kelly narrating. We chose to take pictures from our stateroom balcony once we got there. The captain positioned the ship so each side, port and starboard, had significant viewing time. I still can’t believe how close we got. The whole Hubbard Glacier event was surreal, unlike anything we’ve ever experienced. So, we loved our cruise. We actually started planning our next cruise before the first was done. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
This was my 4th cruise to Alaska.(HAL) This time on Amsterdam. She is a lovely ship with many beautiful greek statues. Layout of the ship was very easy. Embarkation and disembarkation was amazingly smooth and fast (as compared to 3 ... Read More
This was my 4th cruise to Alaska.(HAL) This time on Amsterdam. She is a lovely ship with many beautiful greek statues. Layout of the ship was very easy. Embarkation and disembarkation was amazingly smooth and fast (as compared to 3 prior cruises). Cabin was inside with a view on lower prom. deck. Only noise was 9:30 PM approx. when cleaning the deck. We ate all meals in the Lido and the food was outstanding. Entertainment was piano bar (very good) and "On Tour" singers, dancers and musicians was very good. Husband attended all Windows workshops and rates A+. He used the gym and movie theater daily. The service from our cabin to the Lido was excellent (as always in past cruises). Every crew member was happy, smiling, and very courteous. Only shore excursions this time was Fortress of the Bear (Sitka) and the Raptor Center(Sitka) - SO GOOD. In all other ports we walked around on our own. First cruise we had time to enjoy shipboard activities. "Ask The Captain" virtual bridge tour was excellent, as was America's Test Kitchen shows daily. Enjoyed the casino. We have booked a 14 day Alaskan tour onboard Amsterdam in June 2019 and looking forward to it! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
I really enjoyed the musical entertainment on board; also enjoyed cooking classes, lectures, library, swimming pools and hot tubs. The food was pretty good especially the dining room where you dress up to go to dinner. The lido deck diner ... Read More
I really enjoyed the musical entertainment on board; also enjoyed cooking classes, lectures, library, swimming pools and hot tubs. The food was pretty good especially the dining room where you dress up to go to dinner. The lido deck diner was convenient but often the food was cold so it was only good for a sandwhich, cold cereal, or dessert. I found the staff to be very friendly and personable; especially the guys who cleaned our cabin. We were in room 5013 and the guys were so good to remember our names and bring anything we needed. Some of the things I didn't like was how tiny and cramped our room was. I traveled with my mom and brother so we shared a state room. It said online that a state room can comfortably hold 3 adults but that wasn't true. The room had 2 twin beds and then a flimsy hide-away bed in the couch. The hide-away bed wan't very comfortable but the twin beds were good. Overall my experience was a positive one and I will sail with Eurodam again if given the opportunity. Read Less
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