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1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2019
Visited wifes family in Tacoma and booked Holland to see Sitka and Hubbard Glacier and to see what Holland has to offer compared to other cruise lines. Very little action in pre cruise comments and no interest in a meet and greet. The ... Read More
Visited wifes family in Tacoma and booked Holland to see Sitka and Hubbard Glacier and to see what Holland has to offer compared to other cruise lines. Very little action in pre cruise comments and no interest in a meet and greet. The cruise itself followed this scenario as it was most uneventful and very subdued. The ship design does not appear conducive to a lot of social activity as promenade decks 2 and 3 take you in tunnel fashion through the ship and shops and bars and service locations. There is no central Atrium where things come together on a multi level agenda as we have come used to on Princess. No band playing on top deck as we left Seattle nor at any other time. Except for the Crowsnest there was really no central meeting place to celebrate or converse with new friends. Did visit BB Kings Club one night and the lady singer was great, but never made it to the Mainstage as saw nothing advertised there at night except a magician. Life after dinner was totally subdued as we are not gamblers and had no interest in the casino nor were there any other enticements to our interests. Room and service there was fine and the loading and unloading of the ship was exceptional as we were on and off with no problem. The Port Valet program unique to Seattle is remarkable and should be utilized by all. Food service on Lido deck is a problem as no trays are provided and you have to take one plate at a time to a table and then go back for your other needs. Too much foot traffic. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2019
We chose an Alaskan cruise to celebrate husbands 60th birthday with our four adult children. We’ve been regular cruisers on Hal, so very disappointed with some of the changes.. Ship is in great shape and the wait staff and cabin stewards ... Read More
We chose an Alaskan cruise to celebrate husbands 60th birthday with our four adult children. We’ve been regular cruisers on Hal, so very disappointed with some of the changes.. Ship is in great shape and the wait staff and cabin stewards fantastic as usual. Front desk folks not helpful or friendly...took Many trips to resolve a couple of small issues. Wait staff in Pinacle were surly and unfriendly. New photo policy requires you purchase the digital image for each photo for $29.99 plus an additional $10.00 if you want a print...no option for print only. Pkgs only bring down to $20 each....as i have no intention of reprinting, each print costs $39.99. We used to pay $10 each .... Shore excursion talks were 60 min long infomercials for the diamond gem shops owned by Holland . Total waste of time. The new daily schedule format lacks basic information about activities and length of programs. Most activities were just an opportunity for Hal to sell you something. Shows were poor to mediocre at best. Scheduling was poor... 3:00 bingo ran late into the 4:00 trivia time and left no seats for the Trivia crowd...Catholic mass was in an open room next to Crows Nest bar during Happy Hour..poor priest had to shout over reveling drunks and whirling blenders. Could they have changed Mass tme or move happy hour to a different bar? Not scheduling another Hal cruise any time soon. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2019
This was my 12th cruise. Fourth to Alaska. First on Holland. We chose this cruise because I love Alaska. The scenery is amazing; the excursions can be great, and, if you get great food, service, entertainment and accommodations, it ... Read More
This was my 12th cruise. Fourth to Alaska. First on Holland. We chose this cruise because I love Alaska. The scenery is amazing; the excursions can be great, and, if you get great food, service, entertainment and accommodations, it can be blissful. There were things I really like about this cruise that lift it to an overall rating of 3 stars. There were things that were poor, which brought the overall experience down. We stayed in a Neptune Suite -- 6109. There were 3 of us, and we needed the space. Let me begin by saying embarkation and disembarkation were flawless -- probably the best I ever experienced. Our Suite. The room and verandah are wonderful. The room was clean. We had space to roam and enjoy the sights from inside the suite or out on the balcony. Our room attendants, Heru and Tri were excellent. They represent HAL so well and did a great job for us all week. The suite, however, was tired. The carpet and couch were tattered and worn. The furniture was old and in need of replacement. . Some of the wood was chipped or scraped. At the price of a suite, I did not expect that.Despite that, Heru and Tri were great and keeping our room feeling fresh and tidy. One major complaint was the sofa bed. On the first night, after the bed was open, I sat on it. The mattress was completely worn and you felt springs on your bottom, on your back, every where. No one could reasonably be expected to sleep or even rest on that uncomfortable mess.If you are going to charge for a suite you should deliver a suite. Fortunately, that night I ran into Heru and asked for a mattress pad. fortunately, he installed it when we were at dinner. Meals. As suite customers we were able to eat breakfast at the Pinacle. The staff there was awesome and we had the best service there and the best dining experience there bar none. We ate there 6 mornings. They were fantastic. We felt special. Dining in the Main Dining Room and in the Lido Buffet are another story. The MDR is noisy, chaotic, rushed, and the food is not that great. They seemed under staffed.The portions are smaller than I would like. Salads were scarce. They rushed around. They some times rushed us. Every dinner we had there was not served hot. Every meal was warm or cool. They are disorganized and it should be better. Even though we purchased three drink packages, we struggled to get a wine steward to get us a glass of wine or even a drink from the bar before we were being hawked by the waiters to give our order -- and this was before we got to examine the menu. This happened every night. it made me feel they wanted us in and out of the MDR as fast as possible We took a shore excursion in Juneau that was outstanding. We got back late, dropped our belongings in the room, went to the rest room and got to the MDR at 9:05 pm. The maitre'd would not seat us. He said it was closed. There were plenty of diners still eating. We explained we just got back from the excursion (it was a HAL excursion) and could they please seat us. He told us they close at 9 PM We were denied and told to go to the Lido. The stations in the Lido were mostly closed. The one small portion that was still open had a line of about 50 people and it was moving slowly. Very frustrating. I noticed a few items in the Lido market. I put 4 pieces of cold poached salmon on my plate and went to the back deck to eat it. My wife joined me and our adult daughter went back to the room and went to bed with no dinner. When I sat to eat, I discovered that all 4 pieces of salmon were RAW, disgusting and inedible.I had no choice but to push them away. My wife and I then waited 45 minutes to be served a pizza. This was such a bad experience -- to be denied seating -- then to be directed to an over crowded understocked location that served RAW fish was just incredible on a premium cruise line. nothing like this ever happened on my other cruises where it seems the staff cannot do enough for you. One more note on the Lido. It is jammed packed all the time. The lines are long and the aisles are not clear. It is bumper cars with your fellow passengers. We never once found seating all week in the Lido. When chairs were empty, the tables were not been bussed and were messy and probably full of germs. we occasionally bussed and wiped our own table after 2 PM when things calmed a bit -- all while carrying our plates. One time they ran out of an item I wanted at that time. Lido is chaotic and messy. I felt like cattle Two nights after we were denied service in the MDR, the maitre'd in the Club Orange (not the one who would not seat us) just happened to ask us how the cruise was going. I told him how disappointing the night in Juneau was. He was great. Highly professional and apologetic. For me, dining is such a big part of a cruise and HAL fell way short of my expectations. The concierge in the Neptune room as great Glacier Bay was fantastic and the park ranger(s) were amazing. The comedian and magician were good too, I really liked the Lincoln Center and BB King rooms at night although there was very little variety -- same stuff every night -- but they were good. Dueling pianos were boring and the first dance show was disjointed so I walked out after 15 minutes. The gym was well equipped and clean. Used it 5 times. The kayak excursion in Ketchikan from the ship was good. I would have loved another hour in the water. I am not sure I would give HAL another try given the experience this time and the experiences I have had elsewhere Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2019
I had cruised with Holland America to Alaska with my father ~10 years ago. I wanted to now share the experience with my son and my wife, so I picked Holland America again. My expectations were high, especially for the food. When I ... Read More
I had cruised with Holland America to Alaska with my father ~10 years ago. I wanted to now share the experience with my son and my wife, so I picked Holland America again. My expectations were high, especially for the food. When I cruised with HAL before, the food was fantastic. Every meal at the MDR was excellent. Unfortunately, the food was the most disappointing aspect of this cruise. MDR food quality was exactly the same as buffet quality (the MDR selections were also available from the Lido). Both were average for the most part. It appears they are looking to force people to eat at the specialty dining restaurants to get high quality food and have let MDR food quality devolve. Lido was ok as a buffet, but food quality was also just average. And the lines! Be prepared. The hours of Lido were limited, so be prepared for lots of lines and lots of waiting. It wasn't unusual for us to take 20-30 minutes or more to get all the food after stopping and waiting at multiple stations. The Dive In had good food, but it closes at 530? Why??? And the minimum order time for food was 25 minutes, at one point got up to 45 minutes. For a burger. Pizza was good, but again, be prepared for waiting. Most times wait for a pizza was 25 minutes, and it closes at 1130. So if you're looking for a late night snack options become limited, and lines and waiting are likely. Entertainment was great - i enjoyed the Billboard pianists, the mainstage acts (magician and comedian), and the blues club. I wish they would bring the movie theater back, the mainstage setup for movies isn't great. Crow's nest is beautiful - make sure you spend time there. Gym machines were ok - many treadmills don't work. On one treadmill the machine just stopped while i was running, luckily i didn't fall. My family and i had cruised on Princess last year. I was telling them how much better this cruise would be, in particular the food, having cruised with HAL before, but it appears that my expectations were set too high. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
We have taken several Alaskan cruises, the most recent on the Amsterdam. While we enjoyed the ports, it was not our best cruise. The Amsterdam is worn and dated (although I've read a drydock is in her future). We took our chances ... Read More
We have taken several Alaskan cruises, the most recent on the Amsterdam. While we enjoyed the ports, it was not our best cruise. The Amsterdam is worn and dated (although I've read a drydock is in her future). We took our chances and flew to Seattle the day of the cruise. We arrived before noon and our shared shuttle driver had us to the pier in no time. Check in was fast and our cabin was ready for us. Muster drill was held outdoors. We had a Vista suite and it was similar to what Norwegian calls a mini suite. There was nothing special about the cabin. No butler, sparking wine or afternoon treats. We had a walk in shower instead of a tub and we were grateful for that. Except for the lack of water pressure! The cabin was tight for two. A larger person would have to walk sideways to get around the bed. We had a sofa, glass top coffee table and and end table. The lamp on the end table had a single USB port. The lamp can be switched on and off from a wall switch. More than once, the wall switch was off and our device didn't charge. The refrigerator was inside the end table. It functioned but was completely iced over. The desk area held the 32" tv, DVD player, ice bucket, a make up mirror that once lit up and more drawers than we could use. A handheld hair dryer and another mirror were in one of the drawers. The tv had horrible resolution and more often than not, no satellite reception. The ship does have an extensive DVD library for just this very reason. The balcony held 2 chairs and ottomans along with a tiny end table. We sometimes brought the ottomans inside the cabin so we could watch a movie a little more comfortably. The room darkening drapes were a necessity in the Land of the Midnight Sun. Also, one person could sleep while the other watched tv, with the additional drape adjacent to the bed pulled closed. Food is always subjective but after 50+ cruises, I wasn't impressed. Food was often cold. How can pancakes be cold and hard when you are one of the first guests served in the dining room? Buffet food was not at all appetizing. I did appreciate buffet items being served to you but the selections were very limited as were the times the Lido was open. Don't expect to stop for a snack after attending a show in the theater as the Lido is closed from 8pm til 10:30pm. If the show on the main stage isn't your cup of tea, a movie is shown nightly in the much smaller Wajang theater. America's Test Kitchen shared this space. If you want a seat for ATK get there 45 minutes before the program starts. It is one of the few activities available on sea days. Other activities included Microsoft and photography workshops and several EXC pesentations. Mahjongg was offered every afternoon but at strange times. The casino is small but was never crowded. As a non-smoker, it did not seem smoky. The shops were constantly trying to sell old stock from the 2019 World Cruise. We had been to Ketchikan, Juneau, Icy Strait, Sitka and Victoria on previous cruises. Weather was not on our side so our rain gear came in handy. One morning, I did a load of laundry before we went ashore. $2 to wash and the dryer was free. Best deal on board the ship. They even provide the detergent. We enjoyed walking around Anchorage and Kodiak Island. Our friends have a summer home in the Homer area so we spent the day with them. A highlight was visiting the Kilcher homestead from the Discover program Alaska: The Last Frontier. We also cruised Dawes and Hubbard Glaciers. Amazing! We purchased the Victoria shuttle through Holland. We could've purchased the exact shuttle from the provider at 2/3rds of the cost. We should've known better. We do enjoy cruising Holland America but the Amsterdam was too small for us. My husband was quite bored, especially during the day time hours. Our past experience was on the Eurodam, so we'll stick with a similar size ship in the future. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
This was a charter cruise so most of the standards don't apply. Overall it was nice. I just wish the bow was open all the time not just for special occasions. The buffet was ok nothing to brag about and the staff were very nice ... Read More
This was a charter cruise so most of the standards don't apply. Overall it was nice. I just wish the bow was open all the time not just for special occasions. The buffet was ok nothing to brag about and the staff were very nice and always accommodated us. The ship was clean and reasonably well maintained, but the cherry on top was the cloth towels in the public bathrooms. Each bathroom had individual cloth towels for your hand as well as paper to open the door but 90% of the time I could use the cloth and drop in the towel receptacle. The best part of the trip was the cabin. It was very roomy and comfortable and the staff took care of my request to empty the mini fridge so I could put my own soda in it. It was also nice to have USB charging ports on the desk and night stands for electronics. Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
We just returned from a 14 day cruise on a the venerable Grande Dame, Holland America MS Amsterdam. Let me preface this review by saying we (my husband, son and DIL) very much enjoyed this cruise. We chose it for the unique Alaska ... Read More
We just returned from a 14 day cruise on a the venerable Grande Dame, Holland America MS Amsterdam. Let me preface this review by saying we (my husband, son and DIL) very much enjoyed this cruise. We chose it for the unique Alaska Itinerary that included many ports to which we had not been on our previous Alaska cruises. This was our 4th Alaska cruise and first time on Holland America. We have also cruised with Carnival, Norwegian, Celebrity and Viking Ocean. By reading all the previous reviews, we knew that HAL caters to an older crowd; however, "older" is a relative term which in this case means "floating nursing home." I myself am 70 but I felt young and spry on this ship of canes, walkers and wheelchairs. Don't expect to move anywhere quickly, but do expect to meet educated, well traveled shipmates with much good information to share. One of our shipmates reported going to the Lido late-night buffet, when an elderly man wandered in completely naked. Yes, that happened. Holland America knows their target market well, and have staff to help the frail get food at the buffet, enter and exit the ship, and even have the day of the week printed on the rugs in the elevators to help with orientation. This ship still has the great viewing room with floor to ceiling windows that many newer ships have replaced with fee restaurants. There is also a big library/gameroom/computer room with large windows, which is a great place for hanging out. We flew in a day early and had arranged for a car to pick us up at the airport through Seattle Town Cars. Their service was prompt and friendly. They delivered us to The Inn at the Market, which has a good location near Pike Place Market. We did the Savour Seattle food tour, which I recommend. We got to taste many of Pike Place Market's highlight foods including crab cakes, chowder, doughnuts, chocolates, dried cherries, Beecher's cheese and mac'n'cheese, to name a few items. My favorite was the salmon pate piroshky and rhubarb piroshky from "Piroshky, Piroshky." Absolutely delicious! We Uber'd to port, arrived later than most, so there was very little wait in line. We boarded and were able to go straight to our cabin, which I will review in the appropriate section. Dining: I would describe it as hit or miss. It is sometimes hard to find a clean table in the Lido Buffet. Or the table would be clean but the chair greasy or the wide carpeted window bases next to the table would be littered with food crumbs, etc. The bread baker is awesome, the assortment of breads varied and all delicious. And the pastries! You won't find better in Paris--flaky, light and baked to a golden brown perfection. Bravo! We found the Japanese, Chinese and Thai selections to be very good overall. Some soups were very tasty and well-seasoned, others were bland. The gravies on this ship are all deep rich and hearty. I wish I could make gravy that well! If you order filet in the main dining room you will receive a slice of baked tenderloin, good but lacking the crisp sear of a good filet. For that, you would need to eat in Pinnacle Grill, which currently has a $35. per person up charge. It is a bargain at lunch though--only a $10 per person. Make reservations early and know that the Pinnacle has no view and Cannaletto is a closed off section of the buffet (and serves many of the same foods). The Italian foods on this ship are in general just OK. Some dishes (rigatoni) were dried out, some sauces bland or watery. Avoid anything with spinach in it--the veggie lasagna consists of noodles, alfredo sauce and a blob of boiled spinach. Spinach omelettes are similarly yucky. Some foods that would have been delicious had they been served hot, suffered by being served lukewarm or cold. The Dive-Inn burgers fell into the lukewarm category (congealed cheese), but were served with tasty hot fries. Avoid anything with guacamole. It is a blackish-green color. My kids enjoyed the sushi choices and we all liked the salad bar, with many fresh choices, and some excellent house made dressings. I highly recommend the Asian Sesame. The ice cream was a lower quality that I have experienced on any ship, with some choices (chocolate) tasting more like ice milk. My DIL loved the sorbet choices. The Lido has some serve yourself sections, but most hot sections were served by behind the counter servers. This, along with limited hours, led to lines. It was not unusual to wait in a line for your eggs, then wait in another line for your toast. If you do the egg line first, your eggs will be lukewarm, if you do the toast first, it will be cold by the time you get your eggs. The main dining room is beautiful, but has problems. Service varies from very good to glacial, depending on the wait staff in your section and the time of day. We quickly learned where the best wait staff worked and requested their section. (Kudos to waiter Anas at dinner time--- ask for table #177 folks). Be advised that the MDR fills the worst seats first-- the ones that back up to a service station, face a wall, have a view blocked by a large column or surprisingly, are on the side so sunny that you have to pull the curtains and miss the view, while the shady side goes unoccupied. I avoided breakfast in the MDR after two tries. Are they deliberately trying to funnel people to the buffet by making them wait 45 minutes to order and another 45 minutes to receive the order? And then you receive lukewarm eggs, cold toast and cold pancakes. What a disappointment. The room service folks try very hard to get your food to you on time, as ordered and still warm. It is just a long way from the kitchen to the cabins. Toast will be cold (order pastry instead), eggs lukewarm. Do not order the scrambled eggs unless you write in "use fresh eggs," or you will receive tasteless, weird-textured pre-fab eggs. Hint to Holland America: please get some lighter-weight dishes for your hard working servers. Those trays are heavy! And they need a heated cart to keep the food hot. A napkin wrapped around toast is not going to hold in the heat. I only used room service at breakfast--my son and DIL used it once for dinner and commented that it wasn't good. Staff: There were many friendly staff members, but some who seemed stressed, unhappy or unfocused. At breakfast one morning as I waited for my eggs, I watched a (novice?) server mix up the orders, break the over easy eggs, walk away to wipe his nose and then walk back to wipe the edges of the fry pan with the same paper towel. I asked him if he realized what he had just done and he presented a blank stare. After that, I avoided any station where I saw him working. (I did report that to a supervisor.) The room stewards were all very personable and friendly, and there were always smiling folks to wish you a great day as you entered or left the ship. Download the Holland America Navigator App for easy reservations at any of the extra fee dining venues. It has a free chat service with fellow travelers which we found helpful and which was operational most days of our cruise. It also has a list of the days activities, although some days it was not a complete listing and we found it safer to carry our daily newsletter. There was less entertainment on this ship than on any of the other lines on which we have traveled. There were some mediocre to very good singers and dancers, a very funny ventriloquist, an amusing comedian. We liked the violin and piano duo "Adagio." Some evenings the highlight entertainment was a not so current movie or a BBC documentary accompanied by music. Small 1/2-filled bags of cold popcorn were available at the movies. There were also the usual Trivia and Bingo. The Test Kitchen presentations were well attended. If you don't want to stand, you need to arrive 1/2 hour early. They need a mirror over the work surface of the chef, as even if you sit in front, you can't really see what the chef is doing unless you watch the two TV screens at the sides. Might as well skip it, and watch it later in your room. My DIL attended a stretching class which she enjoyed. Each day there is a tea offered at 3 PM. We attended once and it was enjoyable to share a table with new friends, but the bread on the little sandwiches was stale. If you are a swimmer or hot tub lover, this is your ship. They were sparkling clean, the pool is also heated and they were often empty. No problem ever getting a lounge chair and the roof closes whenever the weather is cool/cold. We avoided the casino area because it was so smoky. Unfortunately, the ship's shops are across from the casino and also smoky. I usually enjoy on shop browsing, but not this time. Ketchikan: We booked the George Inlet Crab Feast privately. We have done this before and loved it. I must say that there has been some erosion in quality. Gone was the tasty potato that used to accompany the crab. The dressing on the salad, which was delicious in the past, was not as tangy. In the past, all the crab was fresh and delicious. This time, about one in three tasted watery and not fresh. The fresh ones though were awesome and the cheesecake is creamy and delicious. Be aware that there are many steps to climb to reach the Inn whether you arrive by bus or boat. You can request a ride if you need it. That afternoon, our son and DIL did the Lumberjack show (we just walked up and bought tickets) and they loved it. Juneau: We have done Taku Lodge excursion in the past and it stands out in our memories as one of the best tours we have taken. This time, our son and DIL did it and also loved it. It is expensive, but so worth it. Anchorage: We rented a car from Avis (the "B" street location). We took the free shuttle from port to the drop off point and walked the approximate 5 blocks to Avis. We arrived at around 8:30 AM and there was no line. We drove south along Turnagin Arm which is one of the most beautiful drives in the world. We stopped at Potters' Marsh and watched a pair of geese herd their brood of goslings. We drove on to Girdwood and had a yummy lunch of fried fish and chips at the 5 Chairs Restaurant. It has a charming log cabin feel and a beautiful mountain view. We also stopped at a quirky little coffee shop called "The Grind." We moved on to the Mt. Alyeska Lodge where our son and DIL met their tour for the "Summer Sled Dog Adventure." Both really enjoyed it. Meanwhile my husband and I took the hike through the beautiful woods behind the Inn. There is also a tram up the Mountain for scenic views. We then re-united and finished our day at the Alaska Wildlife and Conservation Center. If I go back, I will rent a car again and do the Portage Glacier Boat ride, which you can book privately. Homer: We loved this port. We took the free bus out onto the Spit. Word of advice--if you plan on shopping, there is no need to arrive before 10AM. We shopped, stopped at the Memorial, walked on the beach and had lunch at The Little Mermaid Restaurant, which I highly recommend. Everything we ordered was top quality and perfectly seasoned and prepared. Service was excellent and friendly and the atmosphere is wonderful. They play great upbeat music and you can hear the happy cooks singing along. Our kids took the Katchemak Bay tour offered by the ship and said it was good. Sitka: We did the Wildlife Quest and Finn Island Lodge tour offered by the ship and enjoyed it. The boat was large, comfortable, with plenty of indoor and outdoor viewing space. We saw one whale blow about 3 times and then dive. We saw many otters and eagles. We then proceeded to the lodge. The room where they serve you is a calm and pleasant banquet hall with a vaulted ceiling and wall of windows overlooking the expansive deck and water view. Everything seems new, fresh and meticulously clean. The food was wonderful--everything fresh, perfectly seasoned, piping hot. It was one of the best meals we had on the entire voyage. After eating, we went out by the bonfire where they had all the ingredients for s'mores, including Reese's cups, which make a surprisingly delicious addition. Sitka is almost always under cloud cover--dress for the likely misty rain. I can only imagine how beautiful this lodge/setting must be on the very rare sunny days they get. Icy Strait Point: We have been before and enjoy this made-for-cruisers stop. This is one of my favorite places for souvenir shopping. There is a nice shoreline walk, and a free exhibition of old canning equipment. Don't miss the trail through the woods behind the main buildings. It is an easy walk that evokes the Frost poem, "The woods are lovely, dark and deep." Seriously, it is the kind of old growth, mossy woods where fairies and hobbits would be right at home. Too bad they are building a ropes course in the center. Kodiak: Next time I will take a flight plane to see the bears. Folks who did that highly recommend it. We did the ship's tour that included a Russian Tea. Our bus arrived a little late. Our guide introduced herself and said that both she and the bus were old but still had good engines. I would add that the bus also had good brakes--more on this later. Every two seats had a washcloth hung over the back, presumably to use on the windows, which had to be closed due to the misty rain. With the windows closed, they quickly misted over and between that and the pea-soup fog, our sight-seeing drive was a bust. We could see absolutely nothing. If you have allergies, avoid this bus, there was mold/algae growing on a panel over the door and around the seals of the windows. At one pint, we drove around a corner and traffic was at a standstill due to some construction. Our driver slammed on the brakes and we hydroplaned sideways into the oncoming lane. Thankfully, there was no oncoming traffic, but it gave us all a scare. Our guide was also our driver and seemed unable to focus on both her driving and delivering her spiel at the same time. We stopped at a chapel of a Russian Orthodox Seminary and learned some history and went into a Russian Orthodox Church where the Pastor gave a presentation. We almost missed this second stop as our guide said the church was not open, until someone commented that they could see people going in and out, so we did stop. The tea part of the tour was held in a large room at at an Episcopal church. The tables were laid out nicely with cloths, china and Russian knick-knacks. The tea was a delicious citrus blend. The borscht was bland, the piroshky had very little filling and paled in comparison to what we had in Seattle. We each had one cookie, which was very good. The best part of this tour was the music, played by a large group with unique stringed instruments and dressed in Russian costumes. It was obvious that they enjoyed playing together and they were excellent musicians. Victoria: We took a taxi from port to our meeting point for the 5 Star Whale Watching Tour. We booked early and were able to get the smaller boat, the "Sailish Shadow." It was just us 4 and the captain and only cost a little more than the other large-group boat. The small boat does have a bathroom, but it is tiny and you literally have to crawl in and out. The hour long boat ride out to find whales is not recommended for anyone pregnant or with back problems. Heed that advice--the ride is jolting, at times my bottom and the boat's were air-borne. Still, I found the ride exciting and kind of like being on a thrill ride at a a fair. We saw only one whale, a transient male orca but were able to follow him along a coast-line, watching him blow, surface and dive. He even rolled once and showed us his pectoral fin. Our driver was excellent at maneuvering to get the best view. After our tour, we walked down to see the floating houses on the wharf, then took the harbor taxi boat back, had delicious lobster rolls at Nautical Nellie's Restaurant, and caught a taxi back to port. The two taxis to and from port were 1/3 the cost of using the ship's shuttle. We also cruised to Sawyer and Hubbard Glaciers. Amazing. We luckily had sunny days for both. Hubbard Glacier is magnificent, reminds me of the great ice wall in Game of Thrones and is backed by snow capped mountains. The glacier talks to you with loud creaks and thundering cracks and we were lucky so see an active day of calving. Sawyer itself is smaller and less impressive, but the scenery as we cruised toward it was beautiful and the sun on the glacial water turned the water to jade. It looked like it was lit from under the water. Mesmerizing. We Uber'd from our final port to the airport. Easy peasy. So, final judgement... would I cruise with Holland America again? Yes, but... only if it offered a unique itinerary that my favorite cruise line (Viking Ocean!) doesn't offer. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
We chose this cruise (our 5th to Alaska) because it went to four new ports and we live within an hour of the Seattle port. The itinerary was fabulous. New ports besides the usual and two glacier days. We liked cabin 6118 very much. The ... Read More
We chose this cruise (our 5th to Alaska) because it went to four new ports and we live within an hour of the Seattle port. The itinerary was fabulous. New ports besides the usual and two glacier days. We liked cabin 6118 very much. The only downside was that it was portside and we noticed that starboard had the better views when docked at each port. The cabin was close to the elevator, which we like. We never heard the elevator or people in the hallway. It is roomy with a slightly larger veranda than many. We liked being about 8 cabins from the front of the ship. This made our trips to most places, other than the dining room, fairly close. We both have some ambulatory issues but don’t use a wheelchair. We could go outside at the front of our deck level during our glaciers days. The staff are very accommodating for some issues we had. I needed extra ice and a wedge for the bed due to being 9 weeks post op from shoulder surgery. My husband needed larger front for the daily schedule and for the dining room menu. No problem. They accommodated us very well. Now, for a few negatives and the reason for the 3 stars. The entertainment was rather lame. They had the three same entertainers for 14 days in the bars. There was a duet (piano and violin), a trio that played music from the mostly 1940’s, and a piano bar that wasn’t the fun sing along kind. He was an excellent player but didn’t play much that a 67 year old woman (me) enjoyed. Fourteen days with these same three. Really?! Boring. The stage shows were ok. Four were really good, a xylosyth ( xylophone/synthesizer) show, a guy that sang Beattie songs, a comic ventriloquist, and a comedian. The problem with the ship’s Singers and Dancers was that they had very bright backlit wall behind them for all shows except one and no front lighting, like spotlights or just lighting in general. It made seeing them kind of difficult. There wasn’t any karaoke. All and all, the ship was just rather boring. I think if one just wants to relax in a very quiet place with not much going on, this might be the cruise for you. For the food...the dining room room food all looks beautifully presented but it’s all rather bland. Even the “spicy shrimp”, etc was bland. I could hardly taste curry in my curry dish. There are only two specialty dining restaurants and they are very good. One Italian, and one steak place. The Lido buffet is just okay, like they usually are. Our favorite free place to eat was the Dive In by the pool. It had good burgers, hot dogs, and a taco bar. Ahh. Finally some spice. The ship’s entire crew were very friendly and gave excellent service. We like the crew director very much. He wasn’t over the top like some are. I guess no cruise is a bad cruise. We just like more going on and we aren’t young. We are 67and 72. I read six books and I’m not a fast reader! Better load up your kindle before heading out on this ship! I did two loads of laundry. The washers takes $2.00 in quarters and the dryers are free. Read Less
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
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
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
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
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
We chose Holland America as we have cruised with them several times before and were very impressed. Things have apparently taken a turn for the worse lately. We were surprised to find there were no refrigerators in the cabins; there were ... Read More
We chose Holland America as we have cruised with them several times before and were very impressed. Things have apparently taken a turn for the worse lately. We were surprised to find there were no refrigerators in the cabins; there were no bathrobes or slippers. We had the open dining option but when we twice turned up at the dining room we were told to come back at 8pm as they were full. The Lido food was good quality but the same every single night. Ours was a 14 night cruise to Alaska departing Seattle on 16th July 2018 and many of the ports visited were fantastic. Some however I fail to see why they even slowed down let alone stopped. Icy Straight Point, nothing there. Homer, nothing there. In the Northern ports school buses were used as excursion coaches. I can see why other cruise lines do not visit these Northern ports. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2018
Friends and I wanted a cruise that would give us a chance to enjoy each other and be a bit pampered. The Eurodam roundtrip to Mexico from their home town in San Diego was exactly what we wanted. After several excursions on small ships, I ... Read More
Friends and I wanted a cruise that would give us a chance to enjoy each other and be a bit pampered. The Eurodam roundtrip to Mexico from their home town in San Diego was exactly what we wanted. After several excursions on small ships, I was somewhat apprehensive about a large ship so I ordered an electric scooter from Scootaway. I have limitations in walking distances, and the electric scooter was just what I needed on the large cruise ship. I ordered it in advance and found it waiting outside my stateroom when I boarded, and I left the scooter at the gathering spot when I debarked. Our cabin steward put the scooter away and plugged it in to charge in the late evening and brought it back & left it outside our cabin when he came on duty the next morning. The scooter really allowed me to enjoy the ship (and not be wiped out when we mixed up bow and stern and ended up in the wrong end of the ship!) The ship was comfortable and the food was tasty and varied. We were not impressed with the Italian specialty restaurant as it's crammed into an alcove off a busy passage - not relaxing at all. The food is designed as small plates to be shared. There were 3 of us and everything came already divided into two portions. I asked the serving staff if they couldn't alert the chef that there were 3 sharing, but they said that it just was the way it came from the kitchen. And the food was just average. However, our reservation at the Asian specialty restaurant was a complete reverse of the just ok Italian. From the moment of sitting down in a lovely room to the enjoyment of every nuance of the meal, we were delighted. I believe that I can say that was the best part of the whole shipboard experience. We signed up for one excursion in Cabo - that one took us on a boat tour of the bay where we had a chance to see the arch rocks close up and then we boarded a bus to go to the plaza and cathedral with time for lunch at one of the places on the plaza. We then boarded to bus again to go to the quieter Cabo San Lucas to enjoy a drink and heavenly views before finishing up at a glass factory. We had a fantastic tour guide and driver, but the tour involved a little more walking than I expected. I enjoyed the pool most days and learned a few more water exercises from other passengers - and shared a couple of mine. We caught various shows - both in the theater as well as smaller venues. All good but not fantastic. Spent time in the coffee bar and viewing lounge in the bow. Found it a great place to read, play our card games, and play around with the interactive maps - and a bonus of free pieces of very good chocolate.. I found the staff unfailing helpful and pleasant, the stateroom comfortable, the food good, the excursions a bit pricey, and many options for entertainment. All were good but not exceptional (except for the Asian specialty restaurant - that was 5 star!). We had a nice trip, enjoyed each other's company, and felt well taken care of. But, looking back, I think of it as OK - not superb. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
Multiple other cruises. First time on holland America. This trip - Charles Stanley inspiration cruise to Alaska. Poor guest service. Long food lines. Dinner sat at a table for 6. When other guests arrived 1 hour late our meals were held ... Read More
Multiple other cruises. First time on holland America. This trip - Charles Stanley inspiration cruise to Alaska. Poor guest service. Long food lines. Dinner sat at a table for 6. When other guests arrived 1 hour late our meals were held back until everyone else caught up resulting in several dining experiences that lasted 2-3 hours! Cruise excursion cancelled by ship but no one from excursion staff available to assist with booking another excursion prior to next day port arrival. Fitness center staff unfriendly and inaccessible often seen lounging around ship (not in fitness center to assist guests with equipment). Gym hours not suited for early excursion and dining hours. Wrote letter to ship manager with suggestions. Never heard back. Cabin steward friendly and helpful. Balcony for cruising a definite plus! Multiple broken items in room requiring service calls (phone, balcony door). Very disappointed and will never cruise with holland America again. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2018
We cruise several times a year and this was my first time on Holland America. I was told this line catered to a decidedly older age group and was a quieter ship than say a Carnival cruise. We bid to upgrade from our midship inside ... Read More
We cruise several times a year and this was my first time on Holland America. I was told this line catered to a decidedly older age group and was a quieter ship than say a Carnival cruise. We bid to upgrade from our midship inside stateroom, which we typically book because we like the dark for sleep and stable midship inside cabins, to a room with a window due to us cruising Alaska. Embarkation went smoothly as we always choose a late time, so we were able to go directly to our stateroom to drop off our carry on bags. The cabin "upgrade" was room 3300 located at the very front of the ship and had a partially obstructed view. There is definitely more movement being at the front of the ship, but we have our sea-legs and do not get motion sick. However, shortly into our cruise the room flooded due to a broken pipe and Holland America refused to move us to another cabin claiming the ship was full. We had two days of a very loud industrial fan running in our cabin and were unable to use the cabin except to shut the fan off at night to sleep. The humidity in the cabin was awful and sleeping was difficult. Beyond the obvious frustration of the large and loud fan, the cabin was just inside the door in the hall leading out to the deck, so there were people constantly going in and out the door which is steel and quite loud. All day people were coming and going just outside the window. Our destinations and itinerary were fine and we enjoyed seeing Alaska and Canada. If I had it to do over, I would have told my husband not to upgrade. We are about to set sail for a full month of cruising across the Atlantic and up the coast of Norway to the arctic circle for the summer solstice. We did not book Holland America for either leg of our journey and we have returned to our tried and true inside cabin midship. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
The Grand Alaskan appealed to me as I had plenty of time and was in hurry to get home. The itinerary was brilliant, loved it, all the ports and glaciers. The ship is beautiful, food and service terrific, The entertainment well ... Read More
The Grand Alaskan appealed to me as I had plenty of time and was in hurry to get home. The itinerary was brilliant, loved it, all the ports and glaciers. The ship is beautiful, food and service terrific, The entertainment well that's another story, if you like a bit of nightlife Holland America is not for you, there is no disco, karioki, no band. All the bars were closed by midnight. I reckon the average age was about eighty, navigating around walking frames, mobility scooters and wheelchairs was a challenge. I felt like i was on a floating nursing home. Holland America is second to Cunard. Never Again, Holland America. The ultimate drinks package is not ultimate, they limit you to fifteen drinks per day, which is not a lot on a ship with nothing to do and then they slug you. If you like a drink a laugh and stay up late, Stay away from Holland America Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
My husband and I took this cruise (Holland America Eurodam (Alaskan Explorer) May 19, 2018) for our honeymoon. Maybe we should have looked at all of the reviews before we chose this line. Let me say this... this is a cruise geared toward a ... Read More
My husband and I took this cruise (Holland America Eurodam (Alaskan Explorer) May 19, 2018) for our honeymoon. Maybe we should have looked at all of the reviews before we chose this line. Let me say this... this is a cruise geared toward a particular crowd, the older mostly retired crowd. This is NOT a cruise for anyone looking for a full selection of onboard activities. PROS: Clean cabin. The crew member that serviced our room was great, he always greeted us and kept us in a clean room. Plenty of storage space in-cabin. Good food selection. Good lido deck hours. The service to have your luggage taken from your room to the airport at the end of the cruise is very convenient. Vegetarian menu (which you have to ask for specifically) is actually quite inclusive and well prepared even though you have to order the night before. However your regular menu will label Vegan items as Vegetarian. Vegetarian you will basically need to look for but typically each meal had something vegetarian which was very nice. I recommend the Vegetarian Jumbalaya. Awesome. In cabin movies had a great selection. It was well appreciated since there was almost nothing offered in the way of on board activities. A LOT of time was spent just watching movies in our cabin. CONS: The CONSTANT barrage of crew offering/pressuring us to purchase more and more services... relentless! The inability of the crew to enforce ANYTHING such as dress code (jeans on gala night, ROBE in jewelry store, ROBE in lido dining, exposed piss filled urine drainage bag in the lido dining!!!!). REALLY?! Maybe the cruise line needs to invest in someone that can actually take some leadership. The toilet in our cabin stopped working, they did fix it promptly. However, we got a call from guest services asking if WE flushed anything we weren't supposed to. I'll keep my initial reaction out of this review. Lido deck overcrowding. There are not enough tables to sit everyone in peak dining times. This means the tables that they do have are crammed so close together that you are hitting someone else's chair to try and move even. Also there overall isn't enough space in lido where people are walking so close to tables to get around people that they end up touching you when you are trying to eat. Also, lines to get food in lido are not organized properly and as noted above there is no one that knows how to have a command presence or even directs any of the chaos. What you have is people pushing their way in when you are trying to obtain food. Dive-In burger shack hours cut off at 5:30 pm. (great food) The severe lack of on board activities. Expensive excursions. Jewelry, jewelry, jewelry, if your life is jewelry you will love this cruise. Also, if you like 75% off Invicta watches, this is the place to go. You never hear the end of it. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
This was our third Alaskan cruise, and definitely the most uneven experience. Pros: Smaller ship Great itinerary Excellent service in the Lido and from housekeeping staff Naturalist onboard Alaskan scenery Cons: ... Read More
This was our third Alaskan cruise, and definitely the most uneven experience. Pros: Smaller ship Great itinerary Excellent service in the Lido and from housekeeping staff Naturalist onboard Alaskan scenery Cons: Horrible cabin Extremely poor service from front desk Problem with Shore Excursion Very expensive internet plans Let's start with the good: The Zaandam is a smaller ship which allows it to go to ports the bigger ships have to miss. That made for a great itinerary. The service in the Lido was excellent, the staff there really went above and beyond to make passengers happy. Our steward was also excellent, he made sure my husband's can of Coke (we brought a case onboard) was waiting for him in our room's ice bucket every afternoon. Talk about attention to detail! There was a naturalist onboard who was very informative. And of course, Alaskan scenery never disappoints! The bad: Our cabin was awful. We had continual noise problems all the way through the cruise. The first was from our neighbor in the cabin next to us (let's refer to them as NN for noisy neighbor). We've never experienced noise from another cabin like this. The TV or music was so loud that we could have sung along. After 11pm one night, we reported it, and the front desk called the room - no response - and eventually knocked on their door and told them to keep it down. Next night, same loud noise. This time the woman at the front desk refused to do anything. So that continued throughout the cruise. In addition, there were mechanical noises (sawing, drilling, and something that sounded like someone tossing metal tools against a metal wall - go figure!) at all hours of the day and night. Sleep became a near impossibility. Front desk response was "oh, if it's work on the ship it will stop at 5pm." It didn't. Front desk staff came to the room to verify the sounds (and the feel; the floor was vibrating because of whatever was going on), but didn't do anything to resolve the issue. The issue with Shore Excursions was in Kodiak, where the shuttle into the town was a 48 passenger bus. The problem was that there were probably 200+ passengers waiting in the rain and cold to get on that bus and no crowd control by the shore excursions staff. I saw two people nearly get into a fight since it wasn't clear what line to get into - indeed, it wasn't clear that there were any lines at all. And finally, HAL has changed the way they price internet. We used to be able to pay for minutes used on a per minute basis. No more. Now there is a 3 tier plan. If we wanted to be able to check our email, for example, that was on tier 2. $24.99 per day and you had to pay for each day of the cruise, not just the days you actually used it. $350 to check my email? No, thanks. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
This was my second cruise on Holland America, my 10th cruise overall. Husband and I did round trip from Seattle to Alaska. The price was a few hundred below other cruise lines doing this itinerary, and now I know why. The Good: Smooth ... Read More
This was my second cruise on Holland America, my 10th cruise overall. Husband and I did round trip from Seattle to Alaska. The price was a few hundred below other cruise lines doing this itinerary, and now I know why. The Good: Smooth embarkation and disembarkation. Room stewards attentive. 24 hour Room Service fantastic. LOVED BB King Blues Club. Drink prices were quite reasonable. Large selection of movies on the TV in the stateroom. The Bad: Main Dining Room food always lukewarm, quite bland, and service was spotty. On Gala night was seated at 5:30 and did not get entree until 7PM. Activities during the day were sparse. If you like to cook or want to learn more about Windows, you will be fine. Other than that, though, you had best pack a few books because you are on your own! Singers and Dancers on the Main Stage were sub-par. The stateroom seemed poorly designed Holland America has made great strides in reforming its image as catering only to older (read 65-85) passengers, sadly this has happened at a cost to the "Old World Elegance" that HAL was once known for. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
We were recommended by a friend who lived in Canada. It was our golden wedding so we wanted an unforgettable trip. It was amazing, we had glorious weather and saw glaciers,bears,whales etc. BUT Ship was cold, only place we were ... Read More
We were recommended by a friend who lived in Canada. It was our golden wedding so we wanted an unforgettable trip. It was amazing, we had glorious weather and saw glaciers,bears,whales etc. BUT Ship was cold, only place we were warm was our cabin where we could turn heating up. Theatre, CrowsNest ,all public areas, you needed your coat. First 2 nights awake all night due to constant banging, reception said it was the waves, never had that on any previous cruise even if weather bad. After an unfortunate encounter with “man in grey suit” at first breakfast, where i was told breakfast was closed, despite me holding my plate with eggs on it,waiting for toast, we ate breakfast every day in our cabin. Buffet and dining room, queue for everything, food bland, always cold and unless you liked salmon or Japanese cuisine you were in trouble. Lived on fried chicken and pizza. Gala night a joke, no one wore smart clothes, one fellow diner even kept his cap on. Staff very random, always smiled but did not always deliver. We apparently had 2 cabin stewards, never met them, cabin clean but nothing exceptional. Excursions expensive but very good. Cruising to the glacier stunning but surprised to have to pay $9 each for mug in which to drink our Free hot chocolate. We wanted a photo but pushed to buy a package at end of cruise, needless to say we did not bother. Entertainment poor , singers were flat. B.B. king club good , no activities during the day. Never saw Cruise director around the Ship, obviously very busy in the office. Embarkation and disembarkation excellent, best we have ever had. Daily gratuities expensive considering service etc, we adjusted it to Nil, but reception staff made it very difficult and were quite condescending, attempting to explain to me how gratuities worked. After 16 plus cruises I think I know and this is the first time I have ever refused to pay it. The destination, weather and sites made the distance travelled worthwhile ( we flew from London) but Holland America Oosterdam - forget it. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
Cabin 6001...Most all of our cruises are HAL, as we are 3 star mariners. Since last cruising with HAL, the dining room food choices have decreased. The Lido deck is now serving passengers which is a great idea. You can now get your ... Read More
Cabin 6001...Most all of our cruises are HAL, as we are 3 star mariners. Since last cruising with HAL, the dining room food choices have decreased. The Lido deck is now serving passengers which is a great idea. You can now get your salad in a bowl. Our embarkation and disembarkation was without drama, especially since my husband was in a wheelchair. I really liked using the port valet service. Entertainment was ok.. however, the magician they had on board this week was pretty fun to watch. Room service was excellent as our orders arrived when requested and were correct and delicious. Our main dining room steward was entertaining as well as friendly and prompt. I think our best meals for the week was the Pinnacle Grill for lunch and Lobster night. All of the staff seemed to enjoy what they were doing and were always friendly. I did have difficulty speaking with front office personnel as language barrier seemed to be the issue. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
My cousins had never cruised, so we picked an itinerary they were excited about. Thus, we had the chance to see this cruise through the eyes of our cousins who came with us. We found many areas in need of improvement, especially ... Read More
My cousins had never cruised, so we picked an itinerary they were excited about. Thus, we had the chance to see this cruise through the eyes of our cousins who came with us. We found many areas in need of improvement, especially communication. There was no apparent mechanism for hearing most announcements in the room. My cousin is hard of hearing and so felt he missed a lot of information. We were unsure if we needed to be wearing life vests for the safety drill, until the very last minute when they instructed us to proceed to the muster stations. We’ve cruised a lot and have always seen this information in the instructions or heard it on the video. No guest laundry on board the Oosterdam. I told the cousins they should expect a laundry special during the week but there never was. Nor were there any internet specials, even last-minute specials to check boarding passes, etc. Stayed at HIE SEATAC which had a shuttle to the port. This service worked very well. Embarkation: Arrival around 1045 at port, and getting through all the checkpoints was a breeze. We had a 45 min or so wait but the area was pleasant enough. Lido deck was open for lunch but apparently so was a formal dining area. We were informed about only the Lido deck. Although we normally prefer the formal lunches, our travel companions had never cruised before and so having lunch on the Lido was a good introduction to the buffet. The area is nicely designed and was much quieter and less crowded than I expected, although it was starting to get crowded by the time we left. Food options were varied, interesting, and of good quality. Somehow we missed the opportunity to meet the naturalist, but we did make the sail-away party. While the venue was a bit too noisy and crowded for our companions, they enjoyed the beautiful weather and scenery, and meeting other people. Day 1, embarkation: Dinner: we managed to get a 6 pm dining slot. Service is slow. Food was quite good. I had the seafood chowder and rockfish. I could take or leave the chowder but the fish was nice. Day 2: Sea Day. Quite a few options at breakfast. Sit-down lunch was nice with a variety of options, but slow service. Since we also enjoyed high tea a short time later, we ended up skipping formal night dinner as we had early reservations and were still too full. Day 3. Juneau Breakfast. Arrived when the doors opened, asked for window so we got the table at the very rear. Apparently the wait staff find this territory dangerous. Sometime after 8:30 I asked if we could get pastries and several minutes later my oatmeal and the pastries arrived. Sometime after 9 the hot meals arrived. As for service, my oatmeal arrived on one plate, accompanied by a plate with milk and raisins on it, and a separate one with sliced banana. Finding no space to put all these plates, the waiter set them on the edge and shoved the existing plate further in. I hurriedly tried to move plates so the milk didn’t topple. Just not the way food should be served. Day 4 at sea, view of glaciers Bundle up! It’s going to be cold outside, but you’ll want to be outside for the best view. The naturalist was speaking on deck 4 but the PA system seemed to cut out frequently so we stopped trying to make out what she was saying. Just look, and be awed. Day 5. Sitka Sea Otter and Wildlife tour was amazing. We had time for this tour, a very quick bite of lunch in town at the Highliner Coffee Shop, and a little walking around before rushing back to the ship. Most restaurants are sit-down, table service places which take time, according to the Visitors’ Center staff. We wanted time for looking around. So keep in mind how limited your time is here. The ship was docked some distance from town. There is a shuttle station at the town port with free shuttle service to the ship. Although they said it ran every 20 minutes it seemed to be more frequent. Just don’t expect to end a tour in town (as most seemed to do), grab the shuttle back to the ship for lunch and make it back to town to do much of anything. The town library is about a block from the shuttle stop, and has free wi-fi. Day 6 Ketchikan A very short day, with arrival at 7:30 and departure at 12:30. We had time to walk around a little. Bars and restaurants might have free wi-fi if you make a purchase, but otherwise, don’t expect free wi-fi anywhere. We have Google Fi which has worked in some pretty obscure places in the world but not here, at least not for data. Phone worked fine. Day 7 Vancouver Arrival at 6:30 pm and time to be back on board 11:30 pm. Very odd hours, difficult to work around if you didn’t go on a tour. We ate an early dinner and decided to walk around. Disembarkation was chaotic, with the gangway stairs roped off, and most elevators not going to deck A. We got off the elevator on deck 1 to find people milling around and the cordon being removed from the stairwell, but we were there after 7, so the stairwell should have been open. There were no instructions in the Where and When as to what documents we needed to get back aboard. Turns out, just the ship’s card. Arrival in Seattle No information on breakfast hours provided the day before. We had to call and ask. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
We have always wanted to venture to Alaska, and the Inside Passage was truly amazing. So many islands, beautiful terrain. Lovely boat, overall, I must say. GREAT: America's Test Kitchen presentations were amazing. BB King ... Read More
We have always wanted to venture to Alaska, and the Inside Passage was truly amazing. So many islands, beautiful terrain. Lovely boat, overall, I must say. GREAT: America's Test Kitchen presentations were amazing. BB King club was also fantastic and fun! The best, however, was Fusion, the Quartet--such very talented musicians and just so entertaining. Erin was fantastic, and we loved her lovely voice as Cruise Director. The ship's staff was very friendly, mostly Filipino. (The friendliness, though, wasn't the kind of sincere relationships we have had with staff on past cruises. Seems like these poor people are paid miserably, and work very hard.) We loved Alaska and all the stops (Juneau, Ketichkan, & Sitka) -- recommend getting out into wilderness as much as you can. We saw bears and eagles. NOT SO GREAT: The classes at the fitness club were not great. Very mediocre, and meant for a "general" cruise crowd, not those athletic really. Young staff who talked down like you've never used a gym before. Decent gym, but more space needed for stretching and weights. Rudi's dining was a rip off--do not pay the extra money. The Palisade Cafe was good--fresh meat, filet, steak that was worth the extra mark up. In previous cruise experiences, you could get that kind of food on the regular menu. The drink packages are kind of a joke. Think carefully about what you want to consume and choose what package may work. My husband and I both bought the Signature Package, and were very upset that it wouldn't cover my favorite champagne by the glass (Veuve Cluvoe)... I would have been happy to pay the $2.50 difference from the $15.00 maximum charge for my package. They should be very clear about what you can and cannot buy, and the staff also seems to be very confused about this. Over $500 pp for the week is a lot to pay, and not worth all the confusion the packages can bring. The amount of time at the ports was dismal and rushed, especially the last stop in Victoria. Also, the ports are SO VERY touristy, with many of the jewelry and trinket shops being owned by the plethora of cruise companies. The excursions are way too expensive, and we would suggest booking with other, private companies. Read Less
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