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1,324 Holland America Senior Cruise Reviews

This was our sixth cruise to Alaska, all on Holland America ships. People, I know ask “Why Alaska? Why Holland America? Why the same cruise?” I’ll answer the last question first, “Because we can, because it is the most ... Read More
This was our sixth cruise to Alaska, all on Holland America ships. People, I know ask “Why Alaska? Why Holland America? Why the same cruise?” I’ll answer the last question first, “Because we can, because it is the most convenient cruise to take from our home, and because we can afford it”. The Alaska cruise is always a lovely cruise, the scenery cannot be beat, and yes you may encounter some rain, but it still can be a marvelous experience. Why Holland America? Well there aren’t too many surprises on their ships, we have traveled on three different ones, and comments about aging vessels really don’t make a lot of sense, they are all well maintained. For the doubters, every ship will have occasional problems, toilets, and a/c malfunctions, but you will get those on any ship in any fleet. We found that Holland America prides itself on service. On the three ships, we’ve sailed the crews seem to be a happy crew. A smile and a greeting will always get a positive result on a Holland America ship. Something we’d been told and found out for ourselves, once the crew gets to know you, they always call you by your name. When they only know you for a seven-day cruise, I find this amazing. You can be way down the hall, and they’ll call out to you. Thank you Holland America for your hiring system. The dining facilities aboard ship, from the Main Dining Room to the buffet and even the Dive-In, are exceptional and there’s always something to please the palate. Now in fairness, I must admit I haven’t sailed on any other cruise line, yet, so my submission may be tainted. We have found the food service to be well above par, regardless of the venue. We have found a home in the Ocean Bar, and it’s not surprising as do many of our fellow cruisers. The bartenders and wait staff can’t seem to do enough for you. Happy Hour is always packed. And again the crew call you by name, which is even more surprising due to the number of passengers they deal with. Each cruise for us has been different, different ships, different cabins, but the service has always been exceptional. On this trip, we were offered a paid upgrade to a suite. It is larger than the oceanview and balcony that we have had in the past. There is plenty of storage space and the bathrooms had two sinks, a jet tub, and a shower stall. The suite was furnished with a most comfortable queen-sized bed, sofa and two chairs. A large widescreen TV had a multitude of options from ship activities, dining options, live TV and movies. There is little to want for in these cabins, they provide a very relaxed comfort zone. The Westerdam is a beautiful ship, the design is marvelous, there is so much to see and do on the ship. In reading some of the reviews on Cruise Critic I sometimes wonder at some of the negative comments from cruisers that were on the ship I was on, where we actually on the same ship? Throughout the ship is works of art, it's like being in a floating museum. On Deck 1, below the atrium, there are even picture frames that you can use to make your own photo portrait. The ship has plenty of elevators but there are also stairs, to wear off the pounds collected in the dining venues, plus the Promenade deck which is covered and allows you to walk around the outside of the ship. When I hear that there is little to do onboard I wonder where these folks may be. Entertainment abounds, music from classical to blues and jazz to modern pop, plus shows in the main theater nightly. There is a small casino. During the day the ship’s activities are for everyone, take your choice - it seems endless. There is lots to do aboard ship. And when we dock, there is a myriad of shore excursions. The highlight of any Alaska cruise is the time spent looking at glaciers. Usually, this includes several hours in Glacier Bay. On this trip, we encountered a different and most marvelous glacier experience. We traveled up Tracy Arm to the Sawyer Glacier. What makes this cruise so special is getting to the Glacier requires sailing up a narrow passageway, through ice flows. Streams flow down the mountainsides making the whole trip an exciting passage. The ice flows are not large, but much larger than those we’ve experienced in Glacier Bay. It is said if you’ve never cruised to Alaska, you need to see Glacier Bay. Once you’ve seen Glacier Bay, you need to see Tracy Arm, you will never experience a more wonderful site. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
The 24 day Mediterranean cruise to the Adriatic, Malta, Sicily, Italian and then Greek locations in September. This was our 3rd HAL trip and ship. Weather was generally hot. The ship is only 3 years old and shows that they have taken into ... Read More
The 24 day Mediterranean cruise to the Adriatic, Malta, Sicily, Italian and then Greek locations in September. This was our 3rd HAL trip and ship. Weather was generally hot. The ship is only 3 years old and shows that they have taken into consideration factors from other older ships in the fleet. Firstly it is very quiet and manoeuvrable meaning it can and does go where some others do not (eg Santorini). The captain is calming and likes being early at just about ever port (and leaves when he can). The Cruise Director is cheery and direct with no long winded speeches. We liked the cabin - details below. Dining is good - MDR (we had anytime dining) offers varied selections but like all lines when doing back to back cruises the menu is repeated; food quality was good, service very good; the venue (level 2) can get noisy when busy and when certain guests always talk loudly, special dietary service was excellent. Lido has good variation with the policy of 90% being served by staff adds to health safety; the special diet section was appreciated and popular with the only negative comment being the shortage of staff; breakfast was generally pretty quick service. Canaletto has a new menu that was disappointing but service was good. Tamarind has excellent Asian food variations and high quality, quiet atmosphere, excellent service with special mention for the Indonesian theme night, 3 visits in total. Pinnacle Grill was mid range for the 3 special restaurants we attended. Burgers by the pool are OK although the fries are just yuk. Wine selection is reasonable with good geographic coverage but as always prices can be steep. Gala nights are becoming more casual with very limited numbers wearing formal gear. Pool size is a bit small but the level above with lounges overlooking offer a luxurious feel. Massage was good even if a touch expensive and there some some after sell of products but not too bad. Entertainment is geared towards seniors who prefer the occasional activity/performance. This is not a ship for those wanting broadway shows every night! It just does not happen. Instead a few musicians, magicians and cultural shows (entertainers from local areas were the best). Embarkation and disembarkation were the quickest yet on any ship we have sailed! Congrats to the crew who organised entertainment and activities on the day when a port could not be moored because of wharf issues and the change so that an early arrival at the next port allowed an overnight stay. Sum - a large ship with 2600 which has been modernised with many popular features. It is not a 5 star ship eg Silversea but offers excellent value at HAL prices. A ship we would definitely sail on again. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Although the cruise was nice, going through customs at the Vancouver Airport PLUS the registration at Holland America requires a ton of walking and standing. My feet throbbed for two days after getting on the ship. We are both in our ... Read More
Although the cruise was nice, going through customs at the Vancouver Airport PLUS the registration at Holland America requires a ton of walking and standing. My feet throbbed for two days after getting on the ship. We are both in our 70's and are fortunate to not need a wheelchair. However, there was a lot of unnecessary walking at the warehouse prior to boarding. On one leg of the walk we had to go up the escalator, walk down the hall into a room, check-in, down to the end of the room, turn left, turn left again, only to see we were leaving the same room. We had circled rows and rows of empty folding chairs when we could have simply turned around and gone out the same door we came in. After going through customs at the Airport,which was a ton of waiting and walking, we were tired. All of the unnecessry walking involved in Holland America registration just made it worse. I heard many guests complaining about the amount of walking to get there. One said, "it was torture". Another said, "they make you do all that walking so when you get here, you think everything is wonderful". I also wanted to comment on the Totem Pole tour. they should describe is as a "walking tour". If we had known it was all walking, we never would have signed up. Yes, you take the bus to the Totem Pole Park, but you have to walk the entire tour. If you are bothered by cigarette smoke, don't plan on going into their Casino as they allow smoking in the Casino. As soon as you get off the elevator on the 5th level, you can smell the smoke. It was very annoying and prevented us from going into the Casino as much as we would have liked. All in all, the cruise was very nice. The Holland America team offered excellent customer service at every turn. We would use your Cruise line again, but never, never, will we ever cruise out of Vancouver again. Thank you for your time. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
This was a 12-day Transatlantic Cruise from Lisbon to Boston. I was a little ambivalent about going on this smaller and older ship. I knew it had recently been in dry dock for some sprucing up, so I was curious what we would find. Well, it ... Read More
This was a 12-day Transatlantic Cruise from Lisbon to Boston. I was a little ambivalent about going on this smaller and older ship. I knew it had recently been in dry dock for some sprucing up, so I was curious what we would find. Well, it was wonderful. It looked as though all the carpet and furniture in all the public areas had been replaced. The furniture was comfortable and inviting. And, like all Holland America ships, they absorb people well - I never felt like I was in the middle of a huge crowd. It's a relaxing and very pleasant environment. The food, as with our every other HAL cruise, was really excellent. We had two occasions that were a disappointment, though. One evening in the Main Dining Room, I ordered lamb kabobs. They were terrible - cold, hard, dry. I immediately told our server that I wasn't happy with the dish and he very rapidly brought me something else I chose. So, it really was no problem at all. The replacement was paella, which I thoroughly enjoyed. The other less-than-lovely experience was in the Pinnacle Grill, which is HAL's premium added-cost dining venue. We usually go twice during a cruise because we really enjoy it. This time, however, we cancelled our second reservation. We waited 20 minutes for our appetizer, and about two-thirds of the way through my appetizer I found a 10" hair. The manager was mortified. Then we waited over and hour for our main dish. I was ready to walk out, but it was too late to go to the Main Dining Room. The manager was extremely apologetic, and confessed that they had been having difficulties in the kitchen. Needless to say, despite the excellent food, it was an unpleasant experience. The manager called our room a couple days later to apologize again and to say that he hoped we would come back so he could show us a better time. We didn't return. None of this should be taken as a review of all the Pinnacle Grills fleet-wide. Each restaurant is it's own, sort of like a franchise. Every other experience we've had in the Pinnacle Grill on other ships was top-notch. The embarkation in Lisbon wasn't what we expected. We stay in a Neptune Suite, and on every other cruise, as soon as we check in we're told "feel free to board any time". This didn't happen this time. It was a decent length wait. I don't mean this as a complaint, but as an observation that if they say priority boarding is one of the benefits of having a suite, then they should make sure that happens. One notable enrichment activity: on the sea days, they have America's Test Kitchen, which is a cooking instruction - just like there might be on t.v. Each of them were excellent. As a side note: we are a same-sex couple. We have never had one second of a negative encounter/service because of it. (In fact, for the cruise we took for our 25th anniversary, they decorated our door with balloons and streamer and a huge sign. They also brought a decorated cake to our table.) Our 12 days on Veendam were simply great. I would readily choose this ship to sail on again. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
I have recently made a Mediterranean cruise with koningsdam from 21 August 11 days. My tourism agency had recommended koningsdam. They said ”new ship, it is very clean and the food is very good” I believed of course. But unfortunately ... Read More
I have recently made a Mediterranean cruise with koningsdam from 21 August 11 days. My tourism agency had recommended koningsdam. They said ”new ship, it is very clean and the food is very good” I believed of course. But unfortunately as soon as I got on board I realized that this was not what I expected. Because I traveled with many different companies I can compare very easily. I have been cruising last 10 years with several different companies and ships. This time is my first time with Holland America. I wish to share my experience for the sake of other customers and as well as your benefit. (Actually I am very busy person who works 10 hours a day but I hope it will be appreciated that I spend my resting time to write this.) I have a very serious complaint about the reception manager (or chef) his name was M...... He made me angry so much. He treated me very unpleasantly. We are Turkish but since we are high level civil servant (We are professor doctor working in university) we were given a “special passport” which we don’t need any visa in EU countries. In every cruise, in check in desk they understand it and they don’t keep our passports. They know special passports or they can easily understand when they look at the pages there are plenty of stamps of many countries but there was not any visa. In Rome port they did the same. They checked the passports and gave them to us. The first day was sea day we would be in Cartagena following morning, But at night I found a note someone calling me to the reception. I went there a girl in the reception wanted me to give our passports to them. It was so strange. She said “my manager wants them”. I refused of course. The explanation was not adequate. She called the manager He said “Turkey is not EU country that is why I want to keep your passport”. It should not be a personal preference. I tried to explain why we did not need any visa. But he was person who cannot understand the situation. His attitude and words were very very annoying and irritating. He insist to take it. (Be honest even if we are not obliged to give it. Since I am a mature and respectful and respective person, If he had asked nicely and kindly I would give it right a way). I said no. Finally he wanted to scan them, I said “I have a copy I can give it”. In that case he dared to insist to get them before 7 am in the morning!!!!(Look at his personal caprice) I was even angrier he had to understand that I was a guest and on my vacation no one has a right to force me to do something. I said “I don’t want to get up very early in the morning”. Following day I ask an appointment for “hotel manager” to discuss this issue and the other issues related with crew behaviour. No one responded. I asked total 3 times for an appointment in different days. He didn’t even send a message to me. I know he must be very busy (actually I am one of his businesses) but even dough he should have had arrange someone else to meet me. He totally ignored me (as many of them). He didn’t give any value and credit to me as a human being who actually prefer and trust them to spend her holiday on his ship. There are plenty of issues to be mentioned: But I will briefly tell. First of all the behavior of the crew (most of them) was the most unacceptable. It seems almost all of them don’t like their job. Or even they hate with what they are doing. No smiling at all. They don’t make eye contact with you they don’t even say hello or any other greetings. From the barmen to the waiters, from the officers to simple mariners every one was tossing out you. I was shocked . (none of the ship had not had such a crew like that). First day as soon as we settled, we wanted to have a drink. We approached to the bar (opposite to “guest relation”) no one cared. I asked for a menu. He didn’t even move and looked at me very unwillingly and showed the wall (there were some writings on the wall). We didn’t drink anything. We went up to the restaurant (self-service) in deck 9. For lunch There were some stations with different type of food and there was one person in it as if they were in prison (They were looking at you as if somebody forced them to stand unwillingly). It was so strange that the self-service restaurant was not self-service. All stations were covered (protected from the customers) by glass. At dinner in the 2. floor is another story. It takes ages to wait for a dish. I had to speak to restaurant chef to attract the attention to be served. The most important thing is security. In the gang way going out and coming back, IN all other ship companies they ask to take off sun glasses and hats. It is very important to recognize the people. But in Koningsdam most of customers were wearing glasses and hats !! No one asked them to take off. Crew were only concentrated if there was an alcohol in the bags. All other companies they serve water and wet cold towels in the gangways in every port they make a tent. But in koninsdam we had nothing. Even water. No one greeted and no one welcomed us. Only last day in Livorno a couple of officers were standing in front of gangway and told “welcome”. And no entertainment at all.. There are many more to tell but these are facts. I have no intention being rude I didn’t mean to offend anybody. Because I respect everybody who does their job properly, I spent my time to give this feedback. I am sorry to tell these perhaps they reevaluate the issues to please their customers and consider them as "guest" Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
As we were celebrating our 50th wedding anniversary it had all the places we wanted to visit. Very disappointed with the entertainment in the World Stage theatre nightly. We expected live cabaret/Broadway type shows. It was a 23 ... Read More
As we were celebrating our 50th wedding anniversary it had all the places we wanted to visit. Very disappointed with the entertainment in the World Stage theatre nightly. We expected live cabaret/Broadway type shows. It was a 23 night cruise and we had to endure some of the pitiful acts/artists i.e. juggler, magician, comedian. People left the theatre every night after a couple of minutes as it was so boring and headed to other entertainment lounges which were very good. A noticeable lack of activities during the day for the older age group apart from computer courses.. We thought there would have been more outside activities such as deck quoits, mini golf or carpet bowls. The Cruise director was incompetent and lacked initiative. When approached about anything he always had an excuse and said would get back to you but never did, NOT good enough. For these concerns we would not recommend Koningsdam and would not book with Holland America again. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Civitavecchia to Lisbon, sunset cabin deck 9 cabin 219 Vista suite. Veendam is in very good condition overall given her age. The crew were always polite and helpful, no matter how busy they were. Our cabin steward SAN was always ... Read More
Civitavecchia to Lisbon, sunset cabin deck 9 cabin 219 Vista suite. Veendam is in very good condition overall given her age. The crew were always polite and helpful, no matter how busy they were. Our cabin steward SAN was always smiling and ready to assist. HAL appears to have an austerity drive in place. The quality and variety of the food was not up to the standard we experienced on Nkordam in 2014. The same dishes kept appearing day after day. The roast meats were always served rare (still bleeding), With no option for those who prefer meat to be cooked through. The tableware (plastic drinking cups) were all grungy and looked unclean as did the cutlery. The table service crew were obviously distressed by this, searching for the cleanest they could find on the trays, but it was out of their control. Meal portions were also seemingly on the "money saving" hit list, with very small portions served up. This made the guest feel obliged to always ask for more. This should not be the case on a 7 day cruise which cost over AUD 6000 for two people. Another big bear was the imposition of a 15% surcharge on all die ks and onboard shopping and services when the prices were not cheap in the first place. How do HAL justify this charge? A bottle of Evian still water, in cabin was charged at USD 5.00 plus the 15 percent surcharge. The same bottle ashore was € 2.00. I only had 2 alcoholic drinks in 7 days because we refused to pay the high costs being charged. HAL has gone from being one of our favourite cruise lines to "Never again". So sad that the bean counters have forced this decline on a once proud cruise line. The HAL shore excursions were also mega expensive, the same, or better could be had ashore for one third of the price. In Gibraltar, the HAL tour buses could not even negotiate the narrow roads to the top of the Rock. The participants did not even get to see the Barbary Apes. How sad. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
I've written another review of our experience on the Volendam from Vancouver to Skagway Alaska. After that cruise we went on a nine-day land tour of the Yukon and Alaska, and at its completion we boarded the Westerdam for the trip ... Read More
I've written another review of our experience on the Volendam from Vancouver to Skagway Alaska. After that cruise we went on a nine-day land tour of the Yukon and Alaska, and at its completion we boarded the Westerdam for the trip back to Vancouver. To be fair, this seven-day cruise was better overall than three days on the Volendam. Our waiter in the main dining room was great, as was our room steward. We still have complaints about the way food is served in the Marketplace (the buffet restaurant), where people are funneled into a single line for all the main dishes. Not efficient at all, especially if someone simply wants a piece of sausage at breakfast. They are forced to wait for everyone else who are selecting their entire meal. Other cruise lines have numerous stations throughout the room so that lines are short or nonexistent. Beyond that, however things went pretty well. Most of the entertainment was fine. Our only real quarrel was with guest services. Without going into a lot of detail, I was trying to get a refund of several gift cards which we did not use on the Volendam. I was told it could be accomplished on this ship, and spent every one of the entire seven days checking in with them to see the status. Everyday they told me things were moving along well, until the last night. I was then told that, unfortunately, there was nothing they could do and that corporate guest services had been notified and would be taking over. I told them I wished they had simply stated that at the beginning so I didn't have to walk the entire length of the ship everyday to get a progress report. Debarking was a simple process, and we went home the next day. The day after arriving my wife mentioned that the amount of our final bill did not match the amount charged to our credit card (it was nearly $200 more!). I immediately phoned Holland America guest services, waited on hold for a half hour, finally gave up and sent them an email. A day later they had not responded to the email, so I phoned again. After waiting 42 minutes (I timed it this time), someone in the finance department answered the call. Upon hearing about the charging discrepancy, she looked at the account record and asked me if we had removed anything from the minibar. I said we had all the drinks removed when we first embarked. She said that apparently what had happened was the room steward had not restocked the refrigerator before the person checking it came through, and we were charged for everything in the minibar! She apologized, and said a credit would be issued for that, as well as our gift cards. However, refunds take 4-6 weeks to process! I was flabbergasted but apparently that's the way it works with Holland America. Left quite a bad taste in our mouths to say the least. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
This had a very good itinerary, with plenty of time in Anchorage and Victoria. Although, lots of smoke in Anchorage due to nearby fires. The staff on this ship is wonderful. They all seemed to have great attitudes, and were willing ... Read More
This had a very good itinerary, with plenty of time in Anchorage and Victoria. Although, lots of smoke in Anchorage due to nearby fires. The staff on this ship is wonderful. They all seemed to have great attitudes, and were willing to help. The ship still maintains a quiet elegance although it’s scheduled for dry dock next May. The public spaces never seem crowded, and the onboard entertainment on the Main Stage was very good. Three production shows, three comedians/magicians, and a wonderful pianist (Ryan Ahern). Temperatures during the day were in the high 60’s, but I definitely recommend warm clothes for being out on deck. The Hubbard Glacier was a good highlight. We were able to get very close, and their was calving during our visit. We also had a lot of whale sightings off the ship. This was our 4th cruise to Alaska, and I recommend this line for anyone looking for a quiet, and enjoyable experience. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Having sailed on this ship some 18mths ago we were surprised at how some parts of the cabins had deteriorated in particular 5022 Last year we could not fault them after all this was a comparatively new ship but has gone downhill since ... Read More
Having sailed on this ship some 18mths ago we were surprised at how some parts of the cabins had deteriorated in particular 5022 Last year we could not fault them after all this was a comparatively new ship but has gone downhill since The shower recess had mould. Now it would not take much to remove it but in the 21days it was not. Our steward was lovely but they are pushed to the limits so cleaning mould was not part of his cleaning schedule. Our friends shower was the same..yet other people we spoke to said they had no issues. The doona was marked as to was the lounge, the TV did not work nor did the phone for a day or two, which meant we were missing any bridge communications. The common areas were still maintained to a standard. The dining room menu was varied & most of the meals very good. Lido is still the usual scrum and finding a table at peak times is like winning the lottery as it is on most cruise lines which is why we opt for the dining room for breakfast & dinner. Wine list on this cruise was not to a standard with a very nice wine only available in the dining room. Why all bars did not offer this was beyond us. Most wine by the glass $11USD + gratuity which should be at the discretion of each guest not automatically added but the drinks waiters we most times well deserved of it anyway Entertainment on HAL ships is below par. Guests were walking out during performances Shore Excursions: Mostly very good & at times well organised just more info prior would be helpful. If anyone gets a chance to go to Monaco and they offer a cruise to EZE DO IT!!! This old fortress & village was amazing, just be prepared for some uphill climbing but so worth it. TIP: If you do not do a ships shore excursion but still wish to go out & about HIRE a taxi. Talk to them re a price & length of time you wish to spend out & about. We did this a couple of times & so worth it. Embarkation & disembarkation was smooth & effortless. We actually embarked earlier than allotted as it was a back to back As with most cruises you met some wonderful people (we met mostly Aussies) shared some great experiences & were attended by some great staff. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We had never been to Alaska and as we're getting up in years we felt that if we were going to do it, we would do it all in one go. So when we saw a Holland America three-day cruise, followed by a nine-day land tour, followed by ... Read More
We had never been to Alaska and as we're getting up in years we felt that if we were going to do it, we would do it all in one go. So when we saw a Holland America three-day cruise, followed by a nine-day land tour, followed by another seven-day cruise advertised, we jumped on it. Having never cruised with Holland America before we weren't sure what to expect. Our entire cruise history was with Carnival (many many years ago) and more recently with several cruises on Celebrity and Azamara. So with that level of expectation set, we boarded the Volendam in Vancouver. The boarding process was fine, and we got on the ship very quickly, and even found our cabins ready (though the bags had not yet arrived). It took a while to find our room steward to ask for some special requests, but finally found him. We had not purchased a drink package for the cruise so the first thing we asked for was to have someone empty our refrigerator. We didn't want to be accidentally charged for any beverages. We were instructed to take out all the bottles and cans and place them on the top of the refrigerator, and that someone would be there shortly to remove them. Well, by the end of the next day they were still there, and we had to call again to get them removed. Our next not-so-great experience was in the Marketplace, their buffet. Every Celebrity ship we have been on had numerous stations throughout the buffet area so that people could get different types of food in an orderly fashion. Holland America has everyone queued in one line for all the main dishes and sides, so that you have to wait for everyone else to clear, even if you only want one item from that area. I assume one of the reasons they have done this is to ensure that not a lot of guests touch the serving utensils and food, but it seemed really inefficient to us and to everyone we spoke with in the line. The last thing I'll mention is the general lack of consideration of the guests by the staff. This was noticed in the main dining room, where, as one example, it took 15 minutes to get a dessert menu; to lounges where not a single ship employee could be found most times. You get the feeling that the staff knows they will get their gratuities regardless, so why bother? We were quite happy to get off the ship after our three days. We followed that cruise with an Alaska land tour, and I have to say it was very well orchestrated and coordinated, with all the motor coaches, a boat trip, a plane ride, and train rides. Good job with that one Holland America. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
This was our first real cruise and was one of our bucket list items so we took part in the cruise with great expectations. The cruise fulfilled all of our expectations. The cabin stateroom was wonderful and we enjoyed the time in our ... Read More
This was our first real cruise and was one of our bucket list items so we took part in the cruise with great expectations. The cruise fulfilled all of our expectations. The cabin stateroom was wonderful and we enjoyed the time in our stateroom. Bed was exceptionally comfortable. We dined in the main dining room for dinner, and although we were assigned open seating, we talked to our waiter and maitre de the first night and got the same table and time for the remaining nights, giving us the same wait staff. Dinners were exceptional in our opinion and we complemented the meal with a pricey but delicious bottle of california wine. The wine steward would keep the unused wine and bring it out for our dinner each night. We wold eat breakfast and lunch in the Lido buffet and thought the variety and type of foods was always changing, high quality, and appealing. I appreciate that the breakfast room would open early on mornings when we had early excursions so we could always have a good breakfast before embarking. On at sea days we took advantage of the America's Test Kitchen presentations and sat through all of them, sat in on a few naturalists presentations on the Alaskan wildlife, and even managed to attend a few Lincoln Center performances. There always seems like plenty of things to do if you wanted to stay engaged. Service on the ship seems always top notch...people were friendly, courteous, and made us feel welcome at all times. We did the typical shore excursions in Ketchikan, Juneau, and Skagway and enjoyed the time off ship. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
First time sailing Holland America. We a frequent Celebrity and RCCL cruisers, but liked the HA Alaska itinerary, plus there were some pricing specials that made this cruise very affordable. We booked a category VD balcony cabin ... Read More
First time sailing Holland America. We a frequent Celebrity and RCCL cruisers, but liked the HA Alaska itinerary, plus there were some pricing specials that made this cruise very affordable. We booked a category VD balcony cabin (guarantee), and we were assigned our cabin 10 days before sailing. Location was pretty good....all of the VD cabins are either in the front or towards the rear of the ship. We had a cabin towards the front of the ship. Long walk to the dining venues (as they were on the other end of the ship), but we got used to it. The pros.....spacious cabin, quiet, large shower/bathtub combo, nice balcony. Service was first class and very friendly. Embarkation and disembarkation was so incredibly fast....HA blew away their competition on this aspect of the cruise. A nice choice of shore excursions, but pricey (as all Alaskan shore excursions tend to be). The highlight for us was the Tracy Arm Fjord/Sawyer Glacier excursion in Juneau. A long day (7 hour excursion), but well worth the time and money (tour is run by Allen Marine...wonderful tour folks). The one day we were cruising Glacier bay was an experience Holland America does best. This was the main reason we chose this cruise and HA did not disappoint. Had several other shore excursions which were ok....fortunately we got into Victoria before nightfall and got to Bourchart Gardens while it was still light. Had about 2 hours to visit and by the second hour it was nighttime. You cannot get the beauty of these gardens if you only have the night time to visit...so if you can't see the gardens during some daylight time, it is not worth going to (in my opinion, if you are a first time visitor). The not so good stuff had to do with the food and entertainment. The Lido restaurant is where the buffet is and we found the food selection and quality adequate, but nothing compared to the quality and selection you find on RCCL and Celebrity. We ate in the main dining room twice and the good was good in that venue (the gala night surf and turf was excellent.....probably the best we have had on any cruise ship). Service was fine. No quick way to get a slice of pizza or a quick hamburger/hotdog. HA does not do this part of their food routine very well. Also deserts were so so; cookies were lousy. Not much in the way of entertainment, but HA is not known for their big productions that RCCL and Celebrity have. We booked the premium wifi package ahead of time, as it was priced attractively but it was somewhat slow (but expected), and stopped working completely on our Apple devices that had IOS software under 10.0 (because of an HA wifi upgrade while we were at sea). So if your IOS software is not 10.0 or higher, their wifi will not work on those devices (primarily older Ipads). Very easy to catch a taxi from the cruise terminal back to the airport. They all charge a flat fee of $42. Lots of taxi's available despite two large cruise ships arriving at about the same time. Hope this info is helpful to any of you taking the Alaska inside passage cruise on HA. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
This was my third Holland America cruise. My two prior experiences were very good. Food in the main dining room in the past was good to excellent. On my past trips there was sufficient entertainment and on board activities. Not so on ... Read More
This was my third Holland America cruise. My two prior experiences were very good. Food in the main dining room in the past was good to excellent. On my past trips there was sufficient entertainment and on board activities. Not so on this cruise. Food in the main dining room was okay to poor. On the gala evening, the lobster in the surf and turf was old and cooked to death. So too was the filet which was tasteless. I opted for the optional Rudi's Sel de Mer dinner and was well pleased. Excellent food, excellent service. As to the entertainment, the dance numbers in the variety show entertainment were pretty good, but the vocal numbers were aimed at a 12 year old audience and you had to endure them to see the dancers. There was a very good jazz band playing in the ocean lounge, which unfortunately was not the best venue for engaging with the music. A violinist and pianist were the bids for classical type entertainment but the pianist was not very talented. The staff was, as always on HA, excellent. That is, my cabin stewards, the restaurant servers and wine stewards all were exemplary. My suite was always clean and well provisioned. Not so the customer no service staff in the atrium. When they did not know the answer to a questions, they sent me away instead of trying to find the answer for me. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
This was the best cruise ever! The staff was friendly and very helpful as well as cheerful. The food was delicious and plentiful.Every evening it was arranged with care and lovely.Our dining staff was wonderful, especially our wine girl ... Read More
This was the best cruise ever! The staff was friendly and very helpful as well as cheerful. The food was delicious and plentiful.Every evening it was arranged with care and lovely.Our dining staff was wonderful, especially our wine girl (Miraki(Sp?)-from Japan but living in Manilla). Our room was beautiful and the gentlemen that serviced it were quick and efficient. The ship was clean and everything was top notch. The entertainment was great! I can't rave about it enough. The spa package was awesome. Seaweed wrap a must. The girls in the spa were lovely and informative. Mary our morning dining room person was so nice and helpful. She helped us start our day with JOY! The BBKing review was great. We enjoyed the special music provided by WayFM every night. The wine tastings we attended were very informative. Everyone was fabulous! A TRIP FOR THE MEMORIES!!! I am recommending Holland-America to everyone I tell about our trip and I will book again.*** Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
We were a group of 3 couples & a travel agent recommended this cruise & itinerary. In addition to the cruise we also booked a 3 day land tour. Our trip didn’t start very well, as we all flew out of Chicago O’hare Airport for ... Read More
We were a group of 3 couples & a travel agent recommended this cruise & itinerary. In addition to the cruise we also booked a 3 day land tour. Our trip didn’t start very well, as we all flew out of Chicago O’hare Airport for the land portion to Anchorage. Our initial departure of 9:35am turned out to be 10:20pm, due to a brief storm early that morning. The delay was awful. We finally arrived at our hotel in Anchorage about 3:30-4am. We had to have our luggage out at 6am with a full day Glass Dome Train Ride to Denali. We were obviously exhausted. The train ride was really nice with dining facilities on the 1st level of each car & reserved seating on the 2nd floor with all Glass Dome to view the beautiful landscape. Unfortunately there was a family of 21 people in our car with about 6 of them children 6-12 years old. They were understandably noisy as kids would be, but it made for a very disturbing ride, especially with how tired we all were. We had breakfast in the dining level which was very good & peaceful. Our waiter suggested taking a walk to the last car where we could be outside looking at the scenery. It was a great suggestion, although we were in the first car & there were 9 cars. We had to traverse up and down two sets of stairways in each car to get back to the 9th car caboose. The reason was each car had their own kitchen so we couldn’t walk straight through. It was interesting to see how peaceful all of the other cars were without the young kids. In hindsight we should have asked if there were 6 seats available in a different car. We finally arrived in Denali where we checked into our room at the Chalet Lodge, which is owned by Holland America. Our luggage was already in our room. I will say Holland America is unbelievably well organized & ALL of their staff on land & sea were outstanding. Always had a welcoming smile even when just passing by. The next day we did the included Denali Tundra Wilderness Tour through Denali National Park in a somewhat modified school bus. Not real comfortable. The tour was about 8 hours. Our driver & tour guide, Steve, was a great driver, especially when going along the edge of the narrow roads way up high. He was very knowledgeable but unfortunately he had no personality. His narrations throughout the tour came across monotonous which made for a very boring day. Others on the bus had the same sentiment. We did stop along the way several times & saw some bears, moose & bald eagles that made the trip somewhat interesting. But it didn’t make up for Steve’s demeanor. He seems like a really nice guy, but he doesn’t have the ability to make a tour like this interesting. It made for a very long day. That night we went to The Music of Denali, combination dinner & show. The all you can eat food was very good but we were rushed & it felt like the food was being thrown at us. The waitstaff also were the actors in the sophomoric music show that followed. It was a fun time & was at extra cost, not included in the land package. In the Denali Chalet Resort there is a small square area that had a restaurant & some shops. There also was outside seating with a guy playing guitar & singing popular songs. It was very relaxing & entertaining to sit outside & listen to his music each night while in Denali.The next day was a full day motor coach ride to Seward where we started the cruise. Our driver/narrator, Mike, was just the opposite of Steve. He kept us engaged with his enthusiasm, knowledge & humor. He made the drive very interesting with several stops along the way. We were fortunate to be in the 30% that were able to see Mt. Denali/McKinley. When we arrived in Seward at the port our embarkation was amazingly smooth & fast. We soon were in our cabin. Our luggage was in our cabin too. We didn’t have to wait for it which was very nice. We soon met our two cabin stewards who were very nice & did a great job always keeping our cabin fresh. We opted for a cabin with a balcony & the other two couples did an ocean view without a balcony We were very glad we did the balcony. It gave us a little extra room to chill out with beautiful views. Unfortunately for our friends their cabins were just below the dining room kitchen which every morning had loud noises of carts rolling above them & often could hear loud banging noise starting at 5-6 every morning. When they complained to Guest Services they were each provided a bottle of wine, hardly reasonable compensation. The next two days we were at Sea, one of which was cruising around Glacier Bay. It was beautiful & relaxing. It was nice having a vantage point from the bow of the ship, which is normally closed to the public. They served pea soup & hot chocolate was also available. We had open seating for the evening dining which did work out & gave us lots of flexibility for our evening dinners. The cuisine overall on the ship I would rate a strong 7, it was very good. One night we ate in the Pinnacle Grill, one of the specialty restaurants. It was excellent. I had a huge order of king crab legs & my wife had a steak. The service & staff on the entire cruise were extremely friendly & welcoming, always with a smile! The entertainment was excellent as well. The band in the BB King Lounge were fantastic as well as the piano players/singers playing dueling pianos. The Lincoln Center had a nice orchestra too. Also every night there was a show in the Main Showroom with a nice variety of talent, singers, comedian, illusionist & more. Very entertaining. We took some excursions, in Haines we went on a Jet-boat Tour. The driver/narrator was egotistical & there wasn’t much wildlife that we saw. Not a great tour. In Juneau we went on a Whale Watching Cruise on a smaller not crowded boat that was excellent. We saw Killer Whales & lots of Pods of Orcas. Great excursion. Afterwards we did a Helicopter to Mendenhall Glacier with Dog Sledding. That was the highlight of the trip. Worth every penny & an amazing experience. Next stop was Ketchikan where we did The Misty Fjords Wilderness Cruise. It was 4.5 hours & unfortunately very boring. The staff was excellent & very safety conscious although the naturist speaking throughout the tour, very nice, was too monotonous sounding & not very interesting to listen to. She had no enthusiasm or engagement with us passengers. Half way out we did see quite a few beautiful waterfalls that were running due to the recent rain. Other than that the tour was really boring. Our last day on the ship was at sea. Our wives all had massages that they seemed to enjoy. Although they were all over pitched on buying their products. Which they didn’t! The next day we arrived in Vancouver & the disembarkation was extremely well organized as was the entire HAL experience, with a very quick exit from the ship as well as through customs. My brother & his wife live in Seattle. They drove up to Vancouver & we spent one night there & then drove back to Seattle with them for two days followed by our flight back to Milwaukee. We had a very memorable trip with lots of laughs, good cuisine & unforgettable excursions. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
Retired active senior couple desires to leave sunny, humid Florida Summer for two weeks. Have sailed several times on Holland America. This ship and its sister ship Nieu Kolingdon (which we sailed on last December) are HAL newest. About ... Read More
Retired active senior couple desires to leave sunny, humid Florida Summer for two weeks. Have sailed several times on Holland America. This ship and its sister ship Nieu Kolingdon (which we sailed on last December) are HAL newest. About 2,600 passengers...larger than the rest of their fleet. The food, the service and the ships themselves are 5 star. The main shows in the evenings in the main large theater are soso which can be expected on a ship this size. This cruise was about 60% Scandinavian, 30% US/English and 10% Asian with not many children. Vista Suite (4110) was on deck 4 midship and was small but had great storage and a first class cabin attendant. We ate in 2 specialty restaurants ($35pp) (Pinnacle-steak and Calenture-Italian) and came to the conclusion that the food in the main dining room was as good if not better. The made to order pizza and ceasar salads in the New York Deli for lunch are terrific. The highlight for us were the daily classical concerts in the Lincoln Center which consisted of a talented ensemble of piano, cello, base and 2 violins. They also had a blues band in the BBK Room and a R & R band in the Rolling Stone Room which were OK. A hint on the drinks. Different bars have different Happy Hour times which gives you a cocktail at regular price and a second for $2.00 more. Another nice thing about HAL is that you can buy a 5th of vodka or others for about $40 bucks for your cabin which lets you have a nip on the veranda before the evening festivities. Excursions: Bergen was the best. The other tours were soso. I guess after you see a few fiords and cute little colored cottages it becomes redundant. The truth be known,,,,our numerous national parks in the good old USA are the truly spectacular sights! Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
We had previously done a cruise with HA in 2015 and it was amazing. We thought we would receive the same service this time when we chose a 23 day Mediterranean Cruise. The good points; Amazing staff and so happy to greet you each ... Read More
We had previously done a cruise with HA in 2015 and it was amazing. We thought we would receive the same service this time when we chose a 23 day Mediterranean Cruise. The good points; Amazing staff and so happy to greet you each day Great ship, reasonably clean Great Captain Some entertainment was ok but repeated their shows quite often which were the same Great selection of food at the Lido Really well organised embarkation and disembarkation Well organised shore excursions The bad points; Our second trip did give us a $150 credit but talking to new comers they were given more eg a cheap drinks package and a free meal at the Pinnacle etc No water in cabin, no fruit Our biggest gripe is 15% surcharge on WATER, really, 6 one litre bottles cost us $24 plus the surcharge which amounted to around $27 American dollars. In Australian dollars around $42. That is disgusting. 15%surcharge on all drinks, I can understand in a dining room or being waited on but when you buy your own, disgraceful. We were 55minutes outside Spain and I was charged 15% surcharge on a drink that I purchased then another 15% Spain surcharge so that glass of wine cost $26 American dollars Wine waiters trying to sell alcohol constantly The dining room food was very ordinary and the desserts were awful. We walked by ? the Lido and the same desserts were being served there. Really. The Pinnacle was a let down, it has dropped its standard of high quality. I had previously told friends and recommended this Dining Room The excursions were quite expensive and a couple were not worth the time or the money. HA need to clarify their rules on bringing alcohol on board. We were told we could bring 2 bottles of wine on board which we did. People next to us tried this and it was confiscated, so clarification is needed. Would I recommend this ship, probably not. I would certainly tell them of our experience and let them decide. Would we use HA again, no, it is all about the money and how much they can take off you. People save hard for a cruise and one hopes for a great time but unfortunately the hidden costs is bitter. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
Seven day Alaska cruise, is easy for us, no flying It was for our 55th anniversary. HAL screwed up the delivery of flowers for my wife, they never showed up, had to go to service desk, to straighten it out. Finally got them. After ... Read More
Seven day Alaska cruise, is easy for us, no flying It was for our 55th anniversary. HAL screwed up the delivery of flowers for my wife, they never showed up, had to go to service desk, to straighten it out. Finally got them. After dinner that night, other table guest were gone, wife mentioned it was our anniversary. The waiter did not know, told us to wait, ran off and got a cake for us, poor communication. Waiter, probably doing his job, trying to up sale dinners. Card on table, advertises a seafood dinner for $27 and a steak for $76 and waiter tells about it every night, nobody was impressed. Leave this to the specialty restaurants. If this is the way things are going, average people "the bread and butter" cruisers, will stop cruising. The "whole" dinning experience was disappointing, things are going downhill fast. Entertainment, not much better. Really not much to do on board. The Mariners Club lunch was poorly organized two of us stuck at a table for six, other people the same way. The Captain and staff did not even stay. No Captains cocktail party. The best thing was the assistance my wife received, getting on and off the ship thank you. Sailed three times with HAL and this was definitely the last. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
Holland America's cruise from Skagway to Vancouver was wonderful. That is, if you were healthy enough to enjoy it. Once we were done with the aggressive land travel portion, their bus delivered us and many others to the ship ... Read More
Holland America's cruise from Skagway to Vancouver was wonderful. That is, if you were healthy enough to enjoy it. Once we were done with the aggressive land travel portion, their bus delivered us and many others to the ship coughing, sneezing, congested and worn out. Long land transports were ideal pathogen breeding grounds, and HAL was invisible with any contagion prevention. RCL does a much better job in this regard. Also, stayed in a real dive along the way. If you're lucky enough to be healthy at ship embarkation, you will see some gorgeous scenery, and, hopefully, some wildlife. But, wildlife viewing was sporadic at best. Other aspects of the cruise were about what you'd expect: very attentive service by stewards/waiters, good food (but specialty restaurants had the really good food), good entertainment, some good excursions/some to be avoided. If you can afford it, get a room with a veranda. The extra space and additional viewing area was great for relaxing and taking in the scenery. We had to have the steward fix a squeaky door leading out to the veranda, but he was very accomodating and got it done right away (along with fixing a slow drain in the bathtub). We usually dined with the other people in our 16-person group. The wait staff quickly became familiar with our group. We celebrated a couple of birthdays during the trip, and the staff entertained us with some birthday cakes and renditions of Happy Birthday. Food was good but did not blow us away. The ship was an enjoyable size--not so large that it took a long time to get from one end to the other and not too small as to be lacking in venues. Hot tubs were actually hot and not too crowded. Didn't get a chance to use any of the several pools but those that did looked like they were enjoying it. Overall, we were a little underwhelmed by the land portion of this tour. Didn't see much wildlife, smoke was everywhere due to the forest fires, and we're still trying to get better two weeks later. So, avoid that leg of the tour, stick to the cruise and you'll enjoy it more. Don't bank on Alaska being the "trip of a lifetime". It certainly isn't--especially the way HAL operates. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
We are a couple in our early 60’s. We traveled with another couple. We stayed at the Homewood Suites downtown. We took an Uber to the port which was very close to the port at around 10:00 AM. We were on the ship by 11:45. We were ... Read More
We are a couple in our early 60’s. We traveled with another couple. We stayed at the Homewood Suites downtown. We took an Uber to the port which was very close to the port at around 10:00 AM. We were on the ship by 11:45. We were able to go straight to our rooms. We had a nice quiet lunch in the main dining room. The Amsterdam is an amazing ship! Very clean and nicely decorated! Smaller ship but easy to get around. Since our cabin was on the 3rd floor it was very easy to get to the main dining room which was one floor up. Love being in the back of the ship. Dining: We went to the Pinnacle Grill three times. Love the menu and the waiters and waitresses. Lobster bisque, shrimp cocktail, crab cakes, lobster tail and filet were all so amazing! Also had the scallops, candy bacon and porterhouse! All were amazing. Wahyu and Kay were so amazing in the Pinnacle. We also went to the Canalleto one night. Liked their menu also. Mira and Carla were amazing and always friendly and nice when ever we saw them! The main dining room was great. We ate most of our meals there including a couple of lunches and breakfast. Amazing Amin, was one of our favorite waiters! Always had a smile on his face. The last at sea day they served surf and turf and shrimp cocktail in the dining room. Very good! The Lido serves an awesome breakfast. Lots of different juices. Egg making station, pancakes etc station. Lunch they have a great salad station. Ports: Awesome itinerary! Picked this cruise for all the amazing ports! Ketchikan: Bering Sea Fisherman Tour was excellent. We did this tour 11 years ago and couldn’t wait to go back. It was rainy and cold but they provided raincoats and they had heaters on the boat. We watched them catch fish and crabs in the pots. You could hold rock crabs etc. They threw herring and we watched the eagles fly down and catch them . An awesome shore excursion not to be missed! The boat docks right in town. Lots of nice shops etc. Sawyer Glacier at Tracy Arm was beautiful. Nice relaxing day. Juneau: We took the Jeep Wrangler 4 Door Jeep tour. We booked through the ship. We went on our own to the Mendenhall glacier and hiked to Nugget Falls. So nice to take our time and explore at our own pace. We also went to Saint Therese Chapel which was beautiful location in the woods. Amazing area! Then onto the Fish hatchery. Very cool to see that many fish! Icy Strait Point: TOK River Outfitters is a company we found on line. They were awesome! We went halibut fishing! Between the six of us we caught about 25 halibut! The boat was in pristine shape and Nick the captain and Tammy were so amazing! They baited our lines and released all our catches for us. They went out of their way to make our day so awesome! It was a rainy and cold day but we were having so much fun catching fish we didn’t even notice the weather. Anchorage: There is a free shuttle to town. We booked the Glacier Quest Cruise through Phillips 26 Glacier Cruises on line. We actually called direct and got a AAA discount for the cruise. We booked the motor coach for transportation to Whittier which is where the tour begins. The glaciers we visited were beautiful! The lunch was great! This excursion takes all day but it was so amazing to get up so close to the glaciers. We chose the glacier quest which was a shorter cruise because we worried we would not have enough time for the longer 26 glacier cruise. As it turned out though, there was just enough time for the time we had at port to take either cruise. Homer: We took the free shuttle to the Spit. Nice area for souvenir shopping for some unusual things. We booked a private tour through Bay Excursions for a Marine Wildlife Tour. The tour was right down by the water at the spit. We saw puffins and otters and eagles. Very Knowledgeable guys on board our boat. The captain was great! Kodiak: We took the free shuttle to town. The guys booked a Bear Viewing tour through Island Air Service. Expensive but the best tour! Up close to see bears in the wild. They flew them to Fraser Lake in float planes and you are very near where the salmon are. The bears were very close to where they stood and watched them. My friend and I booked a floatplane tour with Andrews Air. We were so close to the mountain peaks that I felt like I could touch them. The take off and landing on the water was so smooth. We highly recommend either place, which were next door to each other, for floatplane trips. Hubbard Glacier: Amazing day to see the Hubbard Glacier up close. The ship offers an excursion to get off the ship to go see the glacier even closer. We didn’t do it though since we had been very close to glaciers in Whittier when we were there. The scenery is just undesirable at the passage into the glacier. Sitka: We took the shuttle to town. We booked a tour on our own with Captain Gary’s Sitka Adventures for a Whale watch. Gary met us in town and took us out on his pristine boat. It was just the four of us. Gary was amazing! We saw so many whales. We saw otters. Beautiful area! Gary was the best! Victoria: The shuttle offered by the ship is $15.95/pp to town. We took a taxi directly to the Butchart Gardens on our own. Way cheaper. The Gardens are about 40 minutes from where the shuttle drops you off at the Empress Hotel in town. The gardens are the most amazing gardens we have ever seen. Highly recommend going there. Embarkation: The Port Valet offered by SEA/TAC is an awesome way to go. Put your bags out at midnight and you don’t have to deal with them until you get to your baggage claim at your final destination. FREE too!!! This itinerary was so awesome! We hoped to go to these same ports next year but they changed them. No Kodiak or Sitka! We hope they bring them back. This was our 16 cruise. 6th cruise with Holland America. We really love Holland!! One big plus for us is that Holland America Line has a priest on board for all their cruises. We really love that they do this! All in all, we can’t say enough how wonderful this cruise was. Alaska is an awesome place to visit! So much untouched amazingly beautiful scenery!! Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
My wife, her sister and husband and I spent 12 days on the Veendam stopping at 10 ports in route from Venice to Barcelona. This was our second cruise on the Veendam, and our 13th cruise across five different cruise lines. We had an ocean ... Read More
My wife, her sister and husband and I spent 12 days on the Veendam stopping at 10 ports in route from Venice to Barcelona. This was our second cruise on the Veendam, and our 13th cruise across five different cruise lines. We had an ocean view cabin on deck six. This deck had the walk around encircling the boat, and our cabin was the last cabin at the aft end with a door to the outside deck just around the corner. Great for walking and lunging right outside our cabin. Our window was exposed to the deck outside, however the reflective glass prevented anyone from looking in. Things we enjoyed: the Lido buffet now has about eight hand washing stations. Stick your hands in and about 15 seconds later they’re washed! Outstanding library. Great gym. Pastries and breads were always wonderful. The main dining room consistently had very tasty meals, especially the fish. Things that were a bit disappointing: ice tea and lemonade were no longer dispensed from machines. Instead they were served from pitchers, a little different but we got used to it. Seems that the fresh squeezed OJ machine is a thing of the past. OJ was inconsistent from overly sweet to diluted. No fridge in the cabin. The HA website states that the Veendam is one of three HA ships to have self serve laundry. But the washers/dryers were removed some time ago. So our plan to bring limited changes of clothing resulted in numerous hand washing in the sink. Ports: three lousy ports - Sarende, Toulon and Sete. Great ports were Venice, Dubrovnik, Monte Carlo and Barcelona. Entertainment: was so so. Wonderful pianist (Naomi Edemariam) and Irish flutist. Ok illusionist. No comedians! Very odd. Veendam singers and dancers were OK. Still a five star cruise it’s the positives far outweighing the negatives. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
There were 2 couples sailing on this cruise (fifth we have done together), we chose it for the itinerary. The embarkation was flawless. We arrived at the cruise terminal and we finished all the paperwork and were boarding the ship by noon, ... Read More
There were 2 couples sailing on this cruise (fifth we have done together), we chose it for the itinerary. The embarkation was flawless. We arrived at the cruise terminal and we finished all the paperwork and were boarding the ship by noon, half hour or so. The ship is older but quite lovely and well maintained. We were in Vista suite 7050 and our friends were next door. The room steward opened the balcony door between so we could share visits and happy hours etc. our room steward was phenomenal. He left ice in the bucket twice a day as well as fruit in the basket on our coffee table. We always bring a small extension cord as there are never enough outlets. We enjoyed the breakfasts in the Lido Cafe. Very wide selection of foods and if you ordered cook to order eggs,pancakes,waffles,omelets they were good. The cooks serve you mostly so as to decrease the cross contamination, which we appreciate. We never took any of HAL excursions due to cost. Over time we have found that going on private tours is much nicer and generally not a huge cost difference. We are then able to stop and take pix as often as we choose. We had the most difficulty with dinner service. We were at the second seating at 730 pm which we liked, however the shows were at 9 pm and even though we told our waiters we wanted to be out in time we never got to a show on time. The shows are only 40-45 mins long so that’s a big deal. The dinner food was ok not great. My husband who is celiac has always been visited by the maitre d on our previous cruises to choose dinner options for next evening. On this cruise we were visited a couple of times and most of the time he was on his own to choose. They did have gf next to a couple of items but we knew from previous experience that some of the other choices could be changed slightly to accommodate. No one was there consistently to help with this. We did enjoy a few of the entertainment acts such as The BBC orchestra,PJ Walsh a comedian and Mike Robinson a ventriloquist comedian who was very good. All in all we were happy with the cruise and the ports and the ship. There were a couple of areas where improvements could be made. Disembarkation was also a breeze. We were able to choose a time and we were off right on time to get our luggage and continue our trip in Boston. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
This was my second trip to Alaska and my first time on Holland America. I was really impressed with this beautiful ship. It looked fresh and felt luxurious. There were plenty of elevators and lots of quiet places throughout the ship ... Read More
This was my second trip to Alaska and my first time on Holland America. I was really impressed with this beautiful ship. It looked fresh and felt luxurious. There were plenty of elevators and lots of quiet places throughout the ship where one could settle in with a good book. The only time it felt crowded was peak times in the buffet. I liked having breakfast and lunch in the dining room. They served steak and lobster on the 2nd gala night and it was very good. Other Dining Room menu items for dinner were hit and miss. The buffet was typical. I noticed they didn't have trays and the staff dished up most of the food for you, which I didn't really like but apparently it reduces the incidence of illness. Unlike some other cruise lines I've been on, there didn't seem to be any theme nights in the buffet. We dined in Canaletto, the Italian specialty restaurant, one night and the food and service were first rate. I liked the films and talks showcasing Alaska. There were none of those dreadful "Vegas type" shows. There was an illusionist one night and a comedian. There was a dance group but it didn't appeal to me and I left. I loved the Lincoln Centre Stage featuring a piano quintette from Hungary and also the B.B. King Blues club. We had lots of fun at Trivia and Music Trivia. The staff were helpful, friendly and service oriented although I found sometimes there was quite a wait to get a drink. Speaking of drinks, I discovered the Ginger Mule and will ask for that next time. I didn't get off the ship in Juneau but took the White Pass and Yukon trip in Skagway and the Wilderness Exploration and Crab Feast in Ketchikan. Both through the ship and both very expensive. Converted to Canadian funds the cost was around $500.00. Our party included a 12 year old and a 16 year old. The younger one had a blast but we worried there didn't seem to be much for the teen. However, she said at the end that she would love to do another cruise. I had wheelchair assistance embarking and disembarking as I am on supplemental oxygen and the batteries don't last too long. I really appreciated this service. Disembarking was really well organized, probably the best I've ever experienced. All in all, a lovely week with family and friends. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
We are 4-star Mariners on HAL, but we are also frequent users of other cruise lines, so it had been two years since we sailed on HAL. The Koningsdam was our first time on one of the line's newer, larger ships. We like smaller ships, ... Read More
We are 4-star Mariners on HAL, but we are also frequent users of other cruise lines, so it had been two years since we sailed on HAL. The Koningsdam was our first time on one of the line's newer, larger ships. We like smaller ships, but we were looking for an Adriatic cruise, and we liked the ports of call on this cruise. In the end, we did not find the Koningsdam too big for our taste, but we did have a mixed reaction to what seems to be Holland America's new direction, though we found the crew among the friendliest we have have experienced in many years of cruising. Getting There: We took advantage of Holland America's great prices on business class air and of their rather pricey hotel package and flew in the day before. I like the idea of having the airport to hotel to ship transfers taken care of for me--it reduces the stress of travel. Our hotel was the Savoy. The room was large and well-furnished, the staff was friendly, and the location was within walking distance of some sights--though we were too tired to take full advantage of that. Embarkation was smooth and fast. Dining: For dinner, we prefer a table for two, though we enjoy sharing a table at other meals. We had a window table (169) for the early seating. We had wonderful service from Kelana and Arisman--when my wife developed a cough, Kelana insisted on bringing her hot tea with honey and lemon and generally fussed over her. The wine steward, Olga, was far more part of the team than usual, though our only order was Diet Coke for me. All three of them recognized and greeted us when we saw them elsewhere around the ship. They really enhanced our dining experience. We liked both the main dining room food and the Lido breakfast and lunch buffets. I would not rate it among the best food we have experienced, but they we certainly a step up from the food on the Princess ship we took earlier this year. The specialty restaurants seemed a bit over-priced based on our previous experience of them, so we did not use them at all this cruise. Drink: I drink only soft drinks, since all of my pills seem to come with warnings not to take with alcohol, and my wife drinks mainly cappuccino and lattes, so I can't speak to the quality of the alcoholic drinks. As with dining, I was particularly impresse with how friendly and accomodating the staff were. Frits at the Grand Dutch Cafe particularly stood out. On the other hand, I never did figure out the arcane coverage of the various beverage packages--cans vs. draft sodas, which specialty drinks were covered, and especially how the package including the new multi-drink soda machine (Lido Bar only) works. The information on the web site is too vague; guest services seemed unclear about things; and different bars seemed to give different incomplete answers, though doing their best to be helpful. I found this very annoying. Shore Excursions: At 80 years old, we try to avoid strenuous excursions, and that was a particular concern on this trip because I managed to develop tendonitis in my right foot just the week before we left. It was particularly irritating to find that the web site information we had used in pre-booking did not match the notes on the tickets we got when we boarded. The latter evidently reflect the experience of the ship's own shore excursion staff, and they did seem more reliable. The staff at the desk was very accomodating when we had to exchange tickets and did their best to recommend excursions we could handle. They probably over-estimated our ability to do walking tours during a historic heat wave, but I don't blame them for that. Other Services: We paid for unlimited surfiing (without streaming) and were generally satisfied with internet reception--partly because our expectations for ship internet are pretty low. The Internet Manager, Danilo, solved a couple of IPhone problems for us, neither of which had much to do with the internet, so we were particularly impressed by him. We checked our my wife's cough with the Medical Center, and again we thought well of the nurses and doctor there. On the other hand, we really deplored the lack of a library. Having sailed just last year on Cunard's QM2 made for a painful contrast. I can understand that e-books have reduced the need for ship libraries, and I came myself with a bunch of e-books stored on my tablet, but my wife is among the many who still prefer real books. Even I miss the serendipity of finding something new while browsing a library--I've first met a couple of my favorite authors that way. Entertainment: They seem to have really cut back on main stage entertainment. It's not just the loss of onboard singers and dancers. The ship's band seemed a bit smaller. And having variety entertainers perform two full shows on a 12-night cruise seemed a bit much. On the other hand, we liked Vox Fortuna very much, and the local kappa group they brought aboard at Dubrovnik was wonderful. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
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