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5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
Just returned from the 7 day Alaska cruise. This was the first time on HAL but have over 12 cruises on other lines. It been several years since our last cruise so the comparison is from over time. Last cruised Alaska about 8 years ago ... Read More
Just returned from the 7 day Alaska cruise. This was the first time on HAL but have over 12 cruises on other lines. It been several years since our last cruise so the comparison is from over time. Last cruised Alaska about 8 years ago Everything very clean- including cabin- no complaints about ship or cabin. Very satisfied there. Thankful we had great weather- no rain at any port and saw Hubbard Glacier fairly close. Main issues were food and entertainment. Poor entertainment....very little to do during the "at sea" days unless you watched a movie...surprisingly they had a good selection but why pay hundreds of dollars to watch a movie when it can be had for $10 at home. I walked every deck for exercise at night...by 10 o"clock the ship was deserted. Some people in Casino, BB King and listening to twin pianos but all combined maybe 50-75 people out of 2,000 passengers. This is a seniors ship...( note: we are seniors in our 80's but still full of life.) Food was blah. Many of the selections did not appeal to me and you were given small portions. Buffet had same food and if you are into desserts--FORGET IT. Had ice cream scooped for you and 3-4 cake selections and that was it. No great broadway-type entertainment...no steak at all at main meal...no midnight buffet...no tables full of various desserts..no joy of cruising. The 'good old days of cruising" not available here. Probably gone from other cruise lines too. Will go back to Las Vegas where you pay the same or less but get more bang for your buck. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2019
Loved the Westerdam. Great cabin 10018 with excellent location. Good viewing when on a southbound cruise. Entertainment great and went late into the night. BB Kings good. The 2 piano players in the Billboard Bar were also great. ... Read More
Loved the Westerdam. Great cabin 10018 with excellent location. Good viewing when on a southbound cruise. Entertainment great and went late into the night. BB Kings good. The 2 piano players in the Billboard Bar were also great. Food good. Only disappointment was lunch in the Pinnacle Restaurant. Not worth the extra $. Not sure why a Coconut Trifle would gave 2 layers of rich chocolate that overpowered the taste of anything else...inedible. Strawberry pavlova...better pavlova in the Lido. Crab cakes for appetizer were excellent. Entrees (mains) pretty ordinary. Dinner may have been better. Santos and Otto did a great job in looking after us in our stateroom on Deck 10. Recommend this Stateroom, in particular location. Great service with a smile everywhere. Plenty of updates from the Captain. Smooth sailing. Embarkation was easy and we were able to board earlier than designated. Disembarkation needed more signs for lines of group colours. Easy to look up everything on TV in cabin, e.g. account and dining menus for the day. Good movies too. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
Cruise was part of 23 day Rockies and Alaska package. Paid extra $1200 to be upgraded to Verandah and had a cabin that was partially obstructed and the balconies from higher decks looked down on our balcony. Food in the main dining room ... Read More
Cruise was part of 23 day Rockies and Alaska package. Paid extra $1200 to be upgraded to Verandah and had a cabin that was partially obstructed and the balconies from higher decks looked down on our balcony. Food in the main dining room was extremely patchy and not of the standard promoted. The embarkation process at Vancouver was very prolonged as guests were herded like cattle from area to area. Once on the ship the cabins were available which was a plus. Found it almost impossible to hear announcements as they are not on the ships TV. The information provided on the ship tv was respective and the same movies/ shows played all day. Our cabin attendants were helpful but were not fluent in English - great service with always replacing towels etc. The whole experience was mediocre at best and it is an experience I do not wish to replicate Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We chose this cruise primarily for the itinerary, both sea and land portions along with Holland America's experience in Alaska. Our first time on HAL. We really appreciated the opportunities provided by HAL to upgrade our cabin and ... Read More
We chose this cruise primarily for the itinerary, both sea and land portions along with Holland America's experience in Alaska. Our first time on HAL. We really appreciated the opportunities provided by HAL to upgrade our cabin and ended up in a Neptune Suite for a nominal fee. Our room steward and Neptune Lounge concierges were fantastic. Pre-cruise in Vancouver at the Pan Pacific hotel was perfect. Embarkation was good except for an hour delay due to a surprise Coast Guard inspection. We liked being able to use our Signature Beverage Package in the Neptune Lounge. However, we were misinformed on what we could order. We were told beverages up to $9 but learned after the cruise it was $11. We booked two excursions through HAL - the Discover Whale Watch in Juneau and Husky Homestead in Denali. Both great - well organized and delivered as promised. We planned to participate in more onboard entertainment but only managed to make it to Billboard Onboard, the casino, and a couple EXC presentations. All good! Some of the presentations offered in the EXC lounge were standing room only. Dining overall was good. We tried the Main Dining Room, Pinnacle Grill, Room Service, Lido Market, Dive-In and taco bar. We only tried a couple of the bars because we primarily used the honor bar in the Neptune Lounge. We cruise primarily for the destinations and excursions, not the ship itself. However, all were very good. The only significant negative was the hotel in Anchorage. Holland American needs to seriously renovate this hotel. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2019
We have sailed many times with Hal and have always had a good experience. This cruise had the potential to have problems but Hal solved them in prompt fashion. We were assigned to cabin 7138. The first evening we experienced vibrations ... Read More
We have sailed many times with Hal and have always had a good experience. This cruise had the potential to have problems but Hal solved them in prompt fashion. We were assigned to cabin 7138. The first evening we experienced vibrations so severe that we could not sleep. Hal solved the problem by finding a new cabin for us. Since the sailing was full they went out of their way to help us. The best thing about Hal is their commitment to service and concern for passenger comfort. They came through for us beautifully. We feel dining is the best of the large ship lines. We were pleased with the food preparation in all of the dining venues. They have really upgraded their pizza and dive in restaurants. The dining room is great but we did notice that the menus are beginning to show a cut back in finer offerings. There are many choices but less so than in the past. Entertainment has been improved by adding several music venues. They were all good.We also enjoyed a dance troupe and a magican and comedian. Daytime activities are stll lacking and need to be increased. The strongest element is the service provided by staff in all areas from cabins to dining to activities. The ports are all great with the exception to the stop in Victoria. The ship arrives so late there is little time to do much./ A free shuttle usewd to be provided to the town but now a $15.00 charge is in effect. We had another great cruise and look forward to our next. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
This was our fifth cruise, with Holland America, so I have no comparison to make with other cruise lines. It is obvious during the embarkation, that this is not “their first go-round”. Moving 2000+ people onto the floating hotel is no ... Read More
This was our fifth cruise, with Holland America, so I have no comparison to make with other cruise lines. It is obvious during the embarkation, that this is not “their first go-round”. Moving 2000+ people onto the floating hotel is no mean feat. Add to the fact there’s another cruise ship, different line, loading for the same departure time. These folks do a marvelous job, the Port of Vancouver is a great place to depart from. I am totally amazed by the comments of folks doing reviews for Cruise Critic. Fortunately you can read all the comments, and sometimes wonder “did these folks travel on the same ship?” How can one person be so positive and another negative. Well that’s the way it is, we are all different and we all see things through different eyes. But with the Cruise Critics’ review, you can at least sort out the wheat from the chaff. every review was negative, then the cruise line has a problem - a mixture gives each line a chance to iron out the negatives. Our fifth cruise, this time on the Nieuw Amsterdam, went without a hitch. Embarkation was as smooth as the previous four trips. Our cabin was ready and we met our cabin stewards. Now, these folks meet several people each trip, how do they remember our names? Holland America trains these stewards to do their job, and part of that is getting to know your clients (and that’s what we are). Our Veranda stateroom was everything we’d expected. There is plenty of room for two and the outside deck is an added benefit. The Nieuw Amsterdam is a beautiful ship, wandering around you get to appreciate the effort in making this ship. If your only efforts take you from your stateroom to the Lido or Main Dining Room, you are wasting your travel time. In many reviews I have read that critics have said the trip is boring, there’s nothing to do. HAL regularly prints daily schedules of activities and events. Should you chose to ignore those, then yes, you will have a boring do nothing cruise. Food, does that interest anyone - the Nieuw Amsterdam has every type of venue available, and I had to say they are all top notch. From the Dive In and Pizza place to the Main Dining Room and the pay extra dining. You can have whatever you may wish, you will not be disappointed. On this trip at each stop, Juneau, Skagway, and Ketchikan there were three other cruise ships, all arriving and departing at similar times. That’s somewhere between 8,000 and 10,000 cruisers joining the locals. And yet it doesn’t seem excessive. There was a little sea movement between Ketchikan and the northern Vancouver Island, this was to be expected, but had very little effect on us. Weather forecasting sometimes is misleading. If we’d planned our trips on two-week forecasts, we’d never travel. On the week 18-25 May 2019, the weather gods blessed us. Arriving back in Vancouver, our disembarkation was as smooth and our embarkation Read Less
Sail Date: May 2019
My wife and I had been wanting to visit these countries for the Outlander Tours (wife and Viking interests. Celtic portion, 14 Days: We enjoyed our foray to Jersey and visited the castle and enjoyed local food. Many of the towns that ... Read More
My wife and I had been wanting to visit these countries for the Outlander Tours (wife and Viking interests. Celtic portion, 14 Days: We enjoyed our foray to Jersey and visited the castle and enjoyed local food. Many of the towns that Holland America Line chose to stop at were small and quaint. We found some had absolutely nothing to do except to walk around have a beer and a bite of local food. Tobermory, Scotland had a great scotch distillery. They invited us to take the tour for free and were generous with bottling up some free samples of the whiskey. We walked about a mile out of town to visit a dairy and see some cheese making. No one was in sight so we walked through the barns and saw the cows and had a close up wet tongue visit with the calves. Dublin Ireland is a very busy and bustling city. The tourist maps that are put out make the town look very walkable. It is walkable but not as much as the maps make you think. DO NOT TAKE THE GREEN HOP ON HOP OF BUS. There are 3 HOHO lines, Green, Red & Blue. TAKE THE RED HOHO BUS. the blue seemed like it did not cover too much. The green line covers a lot, too long of a route, and time consuming especially if you are riding when they change drivers. The drivers will talk for 15 minutes and then the new driver will sit there and take a 30 minute break which cost us a taxi back to the ship on our 2nd day there. We ate at Nancy Hands at their back bar and had a great salmon meal on slate and of course, some pints of Guinness .We also ate ate at The Guinness Storehouse on the top floor. It was good but not real good. DO GO TO THE GUINNESS STOREHOUSE. What a wonderful story the tour has to tell. Get there in the morning and there will probably not be much of or no line to get in. We took a really good Outlander Tour with Clansman Tours. Tom (owner) was great to spend the day with and share some good scotch in the van at the drop off. He picked us up at the dock. Brugge Belgium was very interesting. We (3 couples) hired a round trip taxi at the Zeebrugge port Very cheap splitting the cost. Antwerp was good also. Don't miss the Chocolate Museum, (Chocolate Nation). We wanted to go into the diamond district but since it was Saturday and Jewish Shabbat, nothing was open so we had to skip it. In Amsterdam we took a canal tour with a red HOHO boat and spent quite some time at a street market. The food was great and some stalls were difficult to pass up. In Alesund , Norway we had to ask 8 different people for directions to the bus stop going to the Sea Park Aquarium. It was very nice. In Bergen, Norway we ate at Bernard Tonghandel's stall in the fish market and had great mussels and fish. It was located near the end and close to the information cent with a good view of the Bay. er. He offered sit down dining with a good view of the Bay. Don't miss it. Take the ferry across the bay to the 3 Viking museums. Very good and informational.In Flam (Pronounced Flome), (Norwegian town names get butchered in English), we took the train and had a good time. One hour up and one hour back. The best souvenir prices we found were at the main building by the railway. Other towns had a lot of the same things but were moderately to much higher priced. This is the place to buy a caribou hide if you want one. They are MUCH less costly. There was a food truck there and we tried grilled whale. Along with generous samples they offered it was very good and the samples also. In Stavenger, Norway you will want to go to the very interesting Canning Museum, with a great guide Piers Crocker. He was funny and very informative and the Petroleum Museum. It's a very walkable town. See the Viking Center across from the docks. As with just about all European towns the streets may be curvy and not well named, Most street names are on the corner of the buildings if they are there at all. We are an older couple and find it difficult to find our way around the towns. It can be difficult to find people to give good directions. The tourist maps can also be inaccurate. As for the Holland America cruise we were on the Prinsendam which is the oldest and smallest of their ships. Our cruise was from May 6 to June 3, 2019. The ship has been sold to a German line and will go out of service for HAL on July 1. Our stateroom was not an expensive one but had a good sized unobstructed window. How ever that window along with every other window on the ship was always dirty on the outside, unlike other lines we have been on. The room was comfortable and had plenty of room for two. The TV and DVD player were constant problem all through the voyage. I think they didn't want to repair it as the ship was sold. The dining buffet was not good. Most of the food was over cooked or too salty and very repetitive almost every day. On HAL I have always found their salmon benedict my go to breakfast but not on the Prinsendam. The 1st morning I had to tell the cook how to make one and found their hollandaise sauce to be like mayonnaise with some strange flavor. I tried it the next day and it hadn't improved. It remained unimproved for the rest of the cruise. There were a few things that were acceptable for breakfast but most were repetitive. The coffee was great. Lunch usually found us on shore except for "at sea" days. Lunch and some suppers found me at the hot dog stand by the pool. This was a cool to cold weather cruise. I found the main dining room very noisy as I wear hearing aids. The waiters were very attentive to our needs and good at what they did. The menu was somewhat repetitive here also and portion size was not consistent. We would find a dish we liked with a nice size portion and the next time get a very small portion. The ship was small and some people have been lead to believe the small, older ships have a quaint ambiance that is lost on the larger ships. We ran onto people on the Prinsendam that had been on board 100+ days. I got bored and couldn't even drink my way through it due to the high cost plus a 15% sure charge on every drink. There was a movie every night and some were good. Theater was comfortable there was popcorn for the viewers. In that same room during the day America's Test Kitchen would put on a live demonstration. Went once and it was a joke. The demonstrator couldn't even make a simple omelette. I like their TV show. I couldn't figure out why Oprah is the "godmother" of HAL. All she does is appear on their on board TV channel and promoted a book she liked. The crew was friendly and for the most part helpful and caring. On the good side, Prinsendam offered a couple of free laundry rooms with 6 washers and dryers each unfortunately many were routinely out of service. The exercise room, steam room and dry sauna were free also. These we enjoyed immensely and used them often. The EXC excursions purchased from HAL were very expensive. Many passengers did not take them for that reason. I hope that HAL keeps up their ships as we have found them in the past. I also realize Prinsendam was pretty worn out. I would also recommend to HAL to install free laundry to all ships. This is such a big plus and so helpful to be able to have clean clothes. Keeps your room smelling fresher too. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We are back, mostly unpacked and exhausted. We have been on cruises to Alaska 4 other times, 3 of them on HAL. We picked this one since it docked in Sitka where most others do not, preferring Skagway. It was well worth it. Embarkation ... Read More
We are back, mostly unpacked and exhausted. We have been on cruises to Alaska 4 other times, 3 of them on HAL. We picked this one since it docked in Sitka where most others do not, preferring Skagway. It was well worth it. Embarkation was the easiest we have ever experienced. It all went smoothly and we were on the ship much earlier than the time we had been assigned (since we transferred from a hotel). We went right to our cabin where we found the scooter and oxygen concentrator I had ordered already in the cabin. There was more than enough room for the rented scooter, my own scooter and walking around. The Lido beckoned and lunch was good. Then, there was one hitch...the drink card I had ordered was nowhere to be found. Down to Guest Services where I was promised it would be delivered in 9-10 minutes. It wasn't. It took 2 more contacts with Guest Services before they printed it for me at the desk. The only other problem was, one evening while trying to watch a movie in the cabin, there was a pop and the electricity on one side of the room was out. There was a maintenance man at the cabin in 15 minutes and it was fixed. Probably a breaker needed to be thrown. We ate in the dining room most of the time since my husband has trouble walking and the Lido is hard on him. I found, however, that the selection was not as good as on past cruises. The food was good, just the selection was poor. The main dining room was very good although, here as well, the selection wasn't up to previous cruises. The table staff and hosts were wonderful. Adi (host) and Von (wine steward) were especially wonderful. We had open seating and had the same table every evening with different companions, all fantastic people. We are not night people and only attended one show. The ports were wonderful. We only did one excursion (since we'd done this so many times before) and it was good. There was some confusion as to an ADA bus, but that got cleared up pretty quickly. The rest of the time we just wandered around...exactly what I wanted to do. There was one particular shop on Creek Street in Ketchikan (Perfect Partners) that I wanted to visit and it had just opened. I was thrilled. Disembarkation was as smooth as glass. We were on the bus before the time we were scheduled to leave the ship. Then there was the airport..... This may be our last cruise due to medical reasons. It was a wonderful week. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We wanted to sail from Ft. Lauderdale to Rome, and Holland America had two choices. We have always liked the Veendam because of its classic design and the quality of the service and the size of the Neptune Suites. There were no glitches ... Read More
We wanted to sail from Ft. Lauderdale to Rome, and Holland America had two choices. We have always liked the Veendam because of its classic design and the quality of the service and the size of the Neptune Suites. There were no glitches on embarkation and disembarkation. The lectures were informative and pleasing; the Kitchen at Sea was great as was the entertainment. We were the first passengers to enjoy the new carpets and the new chairs and the number of renovations on this ship! There will always be a place for these smaller ships in the industry. (1200 Passengers, but about 1000 on our crossing) the captain was all around the ship, available for questions, and very informative about the nuts and bolts of the ship and the navigaion. He was from Scotland and had the sense of humor, understated, and excellent rapport with his staff and of course the passengers! Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
We are not cruisers.One 4 day disaster to the Carribbean on another line was all we had to go on. We were looking for a five star floating hotel to cruise the Greek Islands and spend a few days in Athens, and we found it in spades with the ... Read More
We are not cruisers.One 4 day disaster to the Carribbean on another line was all we had to go on. We were looking for a five star floating hotel to cruise the Greek Islands and spend a few days in Athens, and we found it in spades with the HA Koningsdam! Flew into Rome, were met immediately by HA staff, and transported seamlessly to the port. Our boarding was easy, and our cabin everything I had envisioned. Now for the trip itself. We NEVER waited for anything on board.The longest line we ever had was 5 people in front of us for an omelet. The Lido deck is a thing of beauty, with all food served individually, plexi-glass covering every station (phew!), and too many choices to take in. Silverware wrapped in cloth napkins at every place, beverages served by wait staff, and, oh..desserts to die for with a killer view! For dinner, we opted for the open seating plan, and are so happy we did. We chose to sit with other couples each night (you CAN sit solo), and met so many fascinating people. The wait staff had just won a HA award for service, and were working to live up to it. The food was 4 star worthy, and no one ever rushed us or forgot we were there. A wine steward approached us each night, but there was no feeling of being "sold" anything. We paid extra for the Pinnacle Room one night and loved it. The Canneletto disappointed only because of the location.The entertainment was top notch every night, and our stop at the BB KIng lounge--a must if you love music and/or dancing--ended our nights on an up note every time. I even got to play Pickle Ball on our sea days. Deck 12 was the lounge and internet cafe with private rooms for meetings like our CruiseCritic meet and greet the first day. The fitness room is extensive with the usual forward view. Two pools and many hot tubs for relaxing. We booked tours thru Viator, and one with CruiseCritic buddies, and loved every one. Met right off the boat, on time, just as advertised, with incredible guides. Heard nothing but raves about Viator tours...not so much about those booked through the ship. And Hop-on, Hop off in Athens, Rome and Naples worked great, as usual. Do not miss Ephesus. No words to describe it accurately. MInd blowing is all I can think of. And our guide was phenomenal. If you are thinking of this HA tour-- DO IT! For adults 50 and over. Ave. age about 55-65 Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Previous trip on HAL Westerdam was so nice that we made a special effort to get the same cabin on this trip. Partially obstructed view, but twofold panels of glass kept the room bright even on the cloudiest day (and we had about 5 of ... Read More
Previous trip on HAL Westerdam was so nice that we made a special effort to get the same cabin on this trip. Partially obstructed view, but twofold panels of glass kept the room bright even on the cloudiest day (and we had about 5 of them). Cheerful, gracious crew always seemed to be looking for a way to improve the experience. They were available without being intrusive. In various lounges and bars, if you declined a drink, they just leave a napkin there so that you won't be approached by every last server. Great idea. As I said, 5 rainy, windy days across the north Pacific, and the crew were resolutely cheerful at all times. Captain Mark took us a bit out of the way to avoid the worst weather, which was so very thoughtful. We stopped at Kushiro in Japan, and the rain was blowing, but many us took the free shuttle to a kind of mall which gave us an insight into some of the Japanese culture. Stops in Alaska were fortunately sunny, and Icy Straits is one of the most hauntingly beautiful place I've seen. We were sorry to leave, and we learned how difficult it had been to dock due to winds and nearby reefs. We saw a couple of whales, which for most of us was a first. Overall, a serenely beautiful cruise with the most amazingly gracious staff ever. Once again, Denny and Theo, thanks for taking such good care of us. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2019
Like the maritime provinces and wanted to see more. Embarkation was somewhat disorganized; we arrived in Boston on a redeye at 7:30 am but couldn't board until 11:00 am. Spent most of this time on folding chairs. Enjoyed room ... Read More
Like the maritime provinces and wanted to see more. Embarkation was somewhat disorganized; we arrived in Boston on a redeye at 7:30 am but couldn't board until 11:00 am. Spent most of this time on folding chairs. Enjoyed room service breakfast EVERY MORNING! My husband went early to Lido Deck each morning for his favorite SMOKED SALMON! Puff pastry sweet rolls every morning, also! Lido Deck pool area was great, 2 hot tubs and pool 81 degrees F. Never too crowded. I sat at a table for lunch occasionally; taco bar/hamburger/french fries stand open until 5pm. Service was exemplary. Sometimes a bit too obsequious, but staff were very well trained. Magician show and ventriloquist shows were very, very funny. Disappointed that the organ recital was recorded; thought there would be an actual organist (was not made clear). Met some interesting Canadians on the cruise who were familiar with the area, but still enjoyed the cruise!! Read Less
Sail Date: April 2019
Prinsendam European River Explorer 4-24-19 Note this is a long; log-style review. For just the summary scroll on down to the end. We left Pennsylvania on Monday evening April 22 on American non-stop to Rome. The flight was on time ... Read More
Prinsendam European River Explorer 4-24-19 Note this is a long; log-style review. For just the summary scroll on down to the end. We left Pennsylvania on Monday evening April 22 on American non-stop to Rome. The flight was on time and arrived 35 minutes early into Rome. We met one of our fellow cruisers at the airport and had arranged a shared transfer to Civitavecchia. Despite some airport confusion, it all worked out. Note that after leaving through customs I did not find an ATM at the airport. They must be there, but not in the places they used to be! Our driver with Civitavecchia Shuttle Express was kind and professional. He did not talk very much. We were dropped off at our guest house, “MyHomeBLU” at about 10:40. MyHomeBLUE is an interesting guest house on the top floor of a condo building. It has some great views of the city as well as the Mediterranean. We went back to visit our new friend at her hotel and found an ATM. We attempted a walking tour I had downloaded from the port website. Streets are poorly marked, and while we found the two churches they were both locked and we could not enter inside. We were too late for the market. We stopped at a supermarket for two bottles of wine to bring on board and a small gelato container. The gelato became lunch. At 4:00 we met our new friend and went for dinner. Many restaurants are closed from 3 – 7 PM but along the seaside promenade several were open. The “New Gran Caffe” has a very nice upstairs dining room with views of the sea. My dinner was good although not what I expected. We walked along the sea for a while afterwards taking photos. Walking back to our temporary home DW said she was still hungry. There is a supermarket on the first floor of our building so we visited there and she bought some cheese and olives. This was very satisfying as it was enjoyed in the “Living room” overlooking the coast. At about 8:30 we called it a day! Wednesday, April 24, 2019 – embarkation We slept very well. We woke to my phone alarm to get ready for the day. We had a light breakfast in the MyHomeBLUE living room. There is cheese and olives left from last evening and that was helpful as little that was available met DW’s dietary needs. We took a nice walk to the town market. About half the market was fruits, veggies, seafood, & meats. The other half was an assortment of goods including clothing and electronics. We walked back and enjoyed a few minutes rest chatting with the proprietor until heading down for our prearranged 10:30 taxi. He was waiting for us at 10:25 and off we went to the port. We were in the terminal before 11:00. They told us boarding would begin at 11:30 and handed us boarding card #1. At 11:10 they called for #1. We had our photo taken for our last embarkation on Prinsendam, and headed to our cabin. It seemed a few things were not as cleaned as DW prefers but our room steward took care of everything. We sent away the soiled laundry from our travels and headed to the Ocean Bar. Here we found the maître’ de and discussed dinner plans. We handed him our prepared list of DW’s dietary restrictions and he kindly assigned us to table 143, a four top all the way aft. He also took a preorder for dinner. We also stopped at the Pinnacle Grille to preorder tomorrow’s lunch which we are having with several roll call members. Lunch was enjoyed in the dining room and all our special orders were very nicely taken care of. We headed to the cabin and our luggage was just being delivered. We unpacked and had everything stowed away prior to the 2:30 Mariner’s welcome aboard gathering. We attended the welcome aboard party and it was the best one we’ve ever enjoyed. The wait staff kept the beverages flowing freely and we had a great conversation with a couple we met in the elevator. After the party there was just enough time to shower and put on evening clothes before the 4:30 muster drill. The muster drill was pleasant enough with only about ½ the normal crowd as so many have stayed on from the prior cruise segment and they were excused. We were finished by 4:44. We headed straight to the Ocean Bar. At the Ocean Bar we renewed acquaintances with roll call members who we had shared tours with last year on the Iceland cruise. Other roll call members also joined us; it was a lot of fun. We went to dinner at 5:30 and had two sisters join our table. Conversation was very enjoyable and while I thought the menu tonight a little sparse my chicken was better than expected and the sisters both ordered the “Flank steak” but it looked more like a nice London broil. We left dinner with just enough time to stop in our cabin before the 7:30 welcome aboard show. Linda the cruise director was also CD on last year’s Iceland cruise. The Ocean Bar quartet is good with a strong vocalist. After the short show we visited the Ocean Bar to listen to the quartet but by 8:30 called it a night. Tomorrow is a busy day at sea and we are looking forward to it! Thursday, April 25 – at Sea After all our travels this was a morning to sleep in. We were up by about 7:45 but by the time we were ready to leave the room it was getting close to 9:30. With a 10:10 appointment with the future cruise consultant, we decided to head to the lido. To our delight the special of the day was Gingerbread Waffles with Orange Butter. I had asked for these on the Rotterdam recently and they did not know what I was talking about. DW ordered an omelet to her specific desire. To our further delight, Rosiato was serving in the lido. We got to know Rosiato last year on the Iceland cruise and she remembered us right away. We enjoyed breakfast with a couple from Australia and it was very nice. We were five minutes early for our appointment and she was ready for us. Knowing what we were looking for the booking was expeditious and quickly handled. We were also able to book a cabin for our friends who had asked to go with us. We finished just in time to head to the crow’s nest for the 10:30 Cruise Critic meet and greet. This was a tremendous event! Special thanks to cruise critic member KAZU for all her efforts in organizing our roll call and the wonderful name tags that remain on display in our cabin. Only one couple she had name tags for did not attend. We met many folks we have scheduled tours with and it was a super meet and greet. At noon we had a reservation with cruise critic members at the Pinnacle Grille. Our “Captains table” was delightful. The food was good and the conversation terrific. This was a busy sea day as at 2:00 we had our complimentary wine tasting session. This was really not as nice as the tasting we had on Rotterdam’s Christmas cruise. It had become very windy out on deck putting a literal damper on our hopes for a few laps on the promenade deck. All too soon it was time to get ready for gala night. We enjoyed happy hour in the Ocean Bar while the Ocean quartet entertained. On the way to dinner we found another crew member who remembered us from last year. As they say, Prinsendam is like a large family. We will miss the chance to sail her in the future. Friends from the Iceland cruise joined us for dinner. We had a very nice time. After dinner was the captain’s welcome toast in the theater followed by “Atlantic Crossing” by the cast. We have seen this show before but it was worth seeing again. The four vocalists are very talented. I’ve always felt the cast on Prinsendam are a cut above those on the other ships. After the show we went to listen to Daniel in the Crow’s Nest. We had a nice time but it was getting late so by about 9:40 we called it a night. Tomorrow we are in Alicante, Spain and have a full day tour scheduled. Friday, April 26, 2019 – Alicante, Spain The alarm went off at 6:45 although DW was up before that. Our tea order arrived at 6:55. We enjoyed a cup of tea in the cabin while getting ready. It is very sunny today so sunscreen is a must. We went to the lido for breakfast where I enjoyed one of today’s specials, a meat-lovers omelet. We were talking with a couple from Calgary during breakfast. The meeting time for our tour is 8:45. We watched the docking process from our balcony and then went to meet our group. The ship was cleared and off we went. Our tour was with Spain day tours with our guide David and driver Juan Carlos. First we drove to the historic center of Alicante (not very far). We visited the cathedral and the town hall. David took us over to the seaside promenade and introduced us to the specialty Alicante ice cream flavor which is honey and almond. We had just enough free time to walk down the promenade to the first leather merchant where I was able to obtain a ratchet style belt for 12 euros. Back to the van we were off to Guadalest in the mountains. It is about a 1 hr. drive mostly along the coast before crossing a mountain range. Guadalest is very photogenic being set among the hills. Leather and chocolate is produced locally and could be purchased, although we did not find anything that could not be passed up. One of the shops had purses at very good prices (at least so we thought). We returned to the van and headed back to Alicante to visit the castle. We certainly got our exercise climbing from the mini-bus parking area up to the top of the castle. This was a crystal clear day and being able to see everything around for many miles was quite a treat. No one will believe the photos were not enhanced as the color of the sea is just stunning. Back at the van at 3:30 and David and Juan Carlos had us back at the ship before 4:00 for our 4:30 all-aboard. We quickly got ready for dinner although missed happy hour. Dinner tonight was just all right. I was excited to see prime rib on the menu and having skipped lunch was looking forward to it. It just wasn’t juicy as prime rib should be. DW’s fish entrée was also just okay. We listed to the Ocean Quartet until they finished their set and then enjoyed the show. Yaniv Zarif gave a tremendous show with his interpretation of several Broadway and west end hits, in multiple languages. He was excellent and this was one of the best shows seen on a HAL ship in a few cruises. After Yaniv’s performance we called it a night as we have a long tour tomorrow and also King’s Day festivities on board. Saturday, April 27, 2019 – Malaga, Spain Prinsendam docked on schedule this morning in Malaga Spain. We enjoyed a quick lido breakfast with today’s special of Cinnamon & Bacon Waffles and a small ham omelet. We met our cruise critic group for our tour with Spain Day Tours to Granada and the Alhambra. This was a really great tour. We had plenty of time for our guided tour of the Alhambra and the gardens. We really enjoyed hearing of the 800 year history of the palace and fortress. From the Alhambra we were taken into Granada and had 90 minutes of free time. Our guide showed us where the department store and supermarket was, along with a variety of tapa bars. DW wanted shoes as her dress shoes were not working. We were successful in finding shoes. We then picked up a few apples and some local chocolate at a supermarket. The apples were “Lunch.” All too soon our 90 minutes were over and everyone was back on the bus. We returned to the port just after 6:30. After a quick stop at our cabin we went to the lido for the special “King’s day” Dutch dinner. DW’s special order dinner was delivered from the dining room, along with our wine bottle. I enjoyed many of the dinner options served, including poffertjes. The desserts were extra special with almond cookies, Dutch Apple Pie, and Ollie Bolen available. After dinner we enjoyed a little balcony time until we went to the showroom for “Authentic flamenco.” I always enjoy it when the cruise line brings local talent on board; in this case I just wish the troupe had explained the dances a bit. All in all this was an exceptional day and at 10:30 it was past time to call it a night! Sunday, April 28, 2019 – Gibraltar, UK Territory We enjoyed watching the Prinsendam wind its way to the dock this morning. “The rock” of Gibraltar blocked the sunrise. We docked on time and after a nice lido breakfast of today’s special Buttermilk and Corn waffles we met our tour group in the Ocean Bar at 7:45. We all made our way down to deck 4 at 7:50 and were allowed ashore at 7:55. We were the first group ashore and the first van leaving the parking area. This proved to be important. Our guide Rachel took us first to the Pillars of Hercules to view the strait of Gibraltar and in the hazy distance we could see the coast of Africa. From there we visited St. Michael’s Cave. We spent quite a bit of time at the cave. We’ve been to many caves over the years and this was impressive as I don’t recall ever seeing a natural open cave environment so huge. The sheets of limestone formations are extremely impressive. Outside the cave we had our first encounter with a Barbary Macaque Ape. This one was posing for photos and we enjoyed the opportunity. We were the second van to leave the caves and we made our way up the hill to the “Top of the Rock” and the upper Apes den. We spent maybe 30 minutes here watching the apes, taking photos, and being well entertained by the apes. Next we visited the Great Siege Tunnels. In addition to the natural caves, there is over 50 miles of man-made tunnels carved into the rock. These were made to move cannons and soldiers in case of war and siege. After exploring some of the tunnels, we visited and climbed the steps of the Moorish Castle, originally from 1160 and enlarged in the 14th century. This structure has withstood many wars and sieges over the centuries. We drove to Europa Point, the southernmost point of mainland Europe. This means we have now visited the northernmost and southernmost point of Europe. We drove the east side of the rock and Catalan Bay, with colorful houses along the beach. We crossed the active airport runway as the main road does to reach the border with Spain. This was a terrific tour and highly recommended. Back on Prinsendam at 12:10 we enjoyed the British Fish & Chips lunch being served at the Dive Inn pool grille. It was a gorgeous day to enjoy outside dining. DW had some fare from the lido. We met friends who joined us for lunch and had a similar tour. During the sail away we enjoyed watching the African coastline slide by from our balcony. I used the pool and hot tub for a while before getting ready for dinner. Dinner was a nice time in the dining room with a cruise critic member joining us. The show was “Sessions” featuring the Prinsendam cast singers. This was a very nice show. After the show we enjoyed the Crow’s nest piano bar and happy hour, before calling it a night at 10:30. All in all, another super day on Prinsendam! Monday, April 29, 2019 – Lisbon, Portugal We woke at 6:00 (after gaining an extra hour due to a time change!) and found we were already close to shore as we sailed towards the Lisbon cruise dock. As the sun rose we passed the Moor tower along the river and sailed under the Lisbon “Golden Gate” bridge. We enjoyed a lido breakfast and met our tour group at 8:10 in the Ocean Bar. Everyone was early so we headed out to meet our guide. Our group of six had booked the “Setubal Wine Tasting tour” with Lisbon Riders. This was a superb tour. We were met outside the cruise terminal at about 8:20 and our guide gave us a quick drive by of Lisbon and we twisted and turned our way towards the highway over the Golden Gate Bridge. He gave us the recent (and not so recent) history of Portugal on the way. We headed south to the wine region of Azeitao. We visited the small local family owned cellar “Quinta de Alcube” in the middle of the peaceful Arrabida Mountain. We tasted four different wines and visited their very nice shop. Bottles ranged from two to seven Euros each. We ended up buying one of the seven Euro bottles of White “Reserve” to hopefully enjoy on the balcony. From there, we crossed Arrabida Mountain & Arrabida Natural Park. We were always close to the sea and passed a number of beaches with azure waters enjoying the incredible views. Our next stop was the fishing town of Sesimbra. We enjoyed the oldest fish restaurant, owned by generations of fishermen. This place, called, Isaias, was outstanding. We would never have gone there without our guide, as from the outside it is a “Little hole in the wall.” They cook fresh fish, just off the boat, on a charcoal grille built into the exterior wall of the building. We both ordered Swordfish and it was both incredible tasting and a large portion. All meals came with a simple family style served salad, warm rolls out of the oven, and boiled potatoes. I enjoyed a “Lemon beer” and a coke zero while DW had a glass of white wine and bottled water. We all agreed to cover our guide’s meal and the total bill was just under 15 Euros per person. After lunch we walked down to the beachfront and went into the restored beach front fortress. Our guide went to retrieve the van and he took us to an overlook of the town for photos. From there we traveled back towards Azeitao for our second winery visit. Next we visited the oldest cellar of the region, owned by the same family for more than 7 generations. The Jose Maria de Fonseca winery gave a very nice tour and the wine cellars were impressive. We really enjoyed the tour and the samples of two wines, including a 16 year aged Moscatel. From here we headed back to the ship. This trip took longer than expected due to unusual traffic according to our guide. We returned at 4:30 for a 5:30 all aboard. The Lisbon cruise terminal makes you walk through a maze to get past security and it was 4:50 by the time we returned to Prinsendam. That gave us just 40 minutes to prepare for dinner but we made it. We enjoyed dinner and left port on schedule by 6:00. Sailing down the river I took a break to get photos of the Christ the King statue on the hillside near the Golden Gate Bridge. Later that evening we enjoyed a comedian, Rikki Jay. His routine was entertaining. We are exhausted from the last few days and called it a night after the show. Tuesday, April 30, 2019 – Porto, Portugal Prinsendam was just a little late on arrival to Porto today. Our 8:00 arrival became more like 8:25 by the time guests were able to disembark. We enjoyed breakfast in the lido, nothing special today but still a good start to the day. We met the one other roll call member on our “Off the beaten track” photo discovery tour with Pictuary photo tours. Jose was great and met us as we left the cruise port. He drove the three of us in his car to the end of the tram line where two Tuk-tuks were waiting for us. The first 2+ hours of our tour were by tuk-tuk. This was literally a little “Cool” but it was fun, and it sure beats climbing the hills of Porto by foot! We saw so much it is too much to list, but certainly one highlight is the six bridges crossing the Duro River. After one incredible viewpoint to another we bade farewell to our tuk-tuks at the Bridge of Luis 1st. This dual layered bridge was a pleasure to walk over. The top level is for pedestrians and trains. Beware the trains!!! The bottom level (much lower) is for vehicles. After a light lunch, we then rode the Rodonorte Funicular down to the river level. We walked along the river enjoying the sights and incredible buildings of the historical Ribeira neighborhood and went shopping in a 100% made in Portugal shop where DW picked up a handbag made of cork (from cork trees). To end the tour, we rode the #1 “Electric” streetcar back to where the car was parked and returned to Prinsendam at 3:10 for a 3:30 all aboard. DW shot over 200 photos and I took about 300. What a day! Back on board we ran into friends enjoying the lido sunshine and stayed there for sail away. Tonight is “Rudi’s Sel de Mer” at the Pinnacle Grille that we are trying for the first time. We met friends at the Ocean Bar at 5:30 for pre-dinner conversation. At the last minute, they decided to join us and the Pinnacle was happy to oblige changing our reservation for two to four. Sel de Mer was enjoyable and we would do that again on a future cruise. Dinner went for 2 ½ hours but the conversation was most enjoyable. After dinner we visited Daniel at the Crow’s Nest Piano Bar for “Sing along night.” By 9:45 it was time to call it a night. Tonight we LOSE an hour as we are headed to France which is in the European time zone. Wednesday, May 01, 2019 – 2nd day at Sea After five port days in a row a day at sea was most welcome. No alarm, no room service, just sleep. Sleep until 8:30 or a bit after! We got the day rolling by heading to breakfast in the lido. Today’s special was listed as “Dutch pancakes” but other than being made on a Holland America ship I’m not sure what was “Dutch” about them. We were invited to the 10:30 Mariner’s reception which was a nice event. About 20+ copper medallions, five silver medallions, and one gold medallion were handed out. The nibbles were nice and drinks ample, but I did not see wine being offered as an option. The mariner’s lunch followed and we were able to sit with several friends and one couple we had not met earlier in the cruise. The Prinsendam tiles were most appreciated and will be added to our collection. After a cabin stop to store our tiles we visited the lido for ice cream. The ice cream man was funny as he was really ‘pushing’ the macadamia nut ice cream with caramel. It was pretty good but neither of us found any macadamia nuts in our serving! We chatted with friends and before you know it the clock was at 1:45. At 2:00 KAZU from cruise critic had invited the roll call to her Neptune Suite for a “Wine tasting.” At least two dozen (likely more) from the roll call visited and we had great conversation along with lots of wines to try as well as a bunch of nibbles provided by the ship. My favorite was the Tempura Shrimp. Most folks stayed until nearly 4:00 when several, including the host, had an appointment with the Bingo game. DW was the winner of one of two door prizes, a hand-made wine bottle stopper / corkscrew donated by one of the roll call members. We truly appreciate this and will both treasure it and use it regularly at home! A brief cat nap (after all that wine) in our cabin brought us to 5:15 when we headed down to deck 5 for passport collection. For some reason, Bordeaux customs wants to inspect non-EU passports. These will be returned on Saturday. Dinner (and more wine) was enjoyed in the dining room. Prime Rib was on the menu and now having learned the ‘secret’ to ask for a “King’s cut” it was superb and very much enjoyed. The show tonight is “Dance” by the dancers. We have seen this before and decided to pass, just enjoying being on the ship with nowhere specific we needed to be. We caught up with the travel expert’s Bordeaux talk on the TV and called it a night. Thursday, May 2, 2019 – Bordeaux, France We awoke to catch a slight glimpse of Prinsendam sailing under a bridge as we approached Bordeaux. We docked on schedule and the ship was cleared at 7:30. Our tour is not until 10:00 so we had time for a leisurely breakfast in the Lido with today’s special of Gingerbread waffles. We met our tour group at 9:50 in the Ocean Bar and departed the ship. We met our guide from Ophorus Wine Tours right outside and off we went to the town of St. Emilion. During the 45 minute drive our guide told us about the area we drove through as well as about the development of wine in the area. St. Emilion is an incredibly original / restored medieval town centered around a church that was begun by St. Emilion. We toured the underground church – a very impressive structure considering the work was done with medieval age tools. The stones were quarried out and used to make buildings, and the church and catacombs were built in the resulting cave. Regretfully no photos were allowed and after the tour we could not find any postcards to be purchased of the underground monuments. After touring the underground our guide showed us the highlights of town and we had two hours to explore further and have lunch. We ended up at a suggested place for lunch, chosen due to the outdoors patio. We also stopped at Moulierac bakery for almond macarons. These small almond cookies are the closest to what I enjoyed as Dutch almond cookies when I was young. They have just three ingredients; Almonds, Egg Whites, and sugar. Gluten free even DW could enjoy them. After the village we toured two St. Emilion chateau/wineries. To be honest, we didn’t care for the wines. All St. Emilion wines are reds with Merlot being the dominant grape in the region. We returned to Prinsendam about 5:45 and had dinner in the dining room. One note I haven’t mentioned yet is that the dining room menus have been somewhat disappointing this cruise. I’ve eaten three times off the everyday menu, something I have never done in the past. This evening the fish entrée was not very good to my taste, although DW enjoyed hers. I then had the Wiener schnitzel instead. After dinner we left the ship and walked. We passed by the reflecting pool and took photos. We went half way out on the nearby bridge and took photos. We wandered around part of the old town until back at the reflecting pool. The wind was picking up and we became cold and thus returned to the ship at about 8:50. We were bushed and called it a day after watching the sun set from the verandah. Friday, May 03, 2019 – Bordeaux, France day 2 This morning we woke without alarms and enjoyed breakfast in the lido. Today’s special of a meat lovers Omelet called my name and it was nice. We met one other roll call member at 9:15 to head out for our 10:30 “Free walking tour.” We managed to figure out the tram system tickets and rode the tram to the meeting spot. The tour was enjoyable and ended up not far from the ship. We did want to walk the “Longest pedestrian street” in Europe, Rue St. Catherine, at 1.2KM. So we did. We stopped to look in one shop along the way but nothing else. We took the tram back towards the ship and stopped at a Patisserie recommended by the guide from the prior day. They had a Meringue cookie that DW could enjoy while I had a raisin bun and chocolate croissant. From there we walked back to the ship and reached the lido just as they were cleaning up lunch. DW was able to get some chicken and salad, while I ordered a Dive-Inn burger. We returned to our cabin and were entertained by the dogs playing in the park next to the ship. The crew gave one of the dogs a cup of water and that was a happy dog! It soon became time to get ready for dinner and sail away. Dinner was again a bit of a letdown. The Arctic Char was pretty good but the short ribs were overcooked, dry, and inedible. I certainly didn’t go hungry but if you are going to spend 90+ minutes in the dining room the food should at least be good. We ran into friends before the show and they stayed outside for sail away and had dinner in the lido. They said the lido had whole turkeys and delicious fish & chips. I ended up going to the lido to have two slices of turkey with gravy before they shut down. The show was different. This was the “Pianist with the hair” aka as Julian G. Classical piano is not my cup of tea but Julian made it entertaining in various ways so I would give his show thumbs up. After the show we enjoyed Daniel in the piano bar and called it a night at about 10:15. The Indonesian crew show was at 11:00 but there was just no way to stay up for this. Saturday, May 04, 2019 – Sea day #3 Prinsendam spent the day sailing leisurely through the bay of Biscayne with a still head wind but rather calm seas. With the wind from the northwest it was much cooler than our two days in Bordeaux. A 9:00 deck sale of previous port gear had us buying ‘South America’ cruising sweatshirts at 75% off. We’ve been there and are going again so this was a good buy for us. We enjoyed breakfast in the lido and spent 90 minutes talking with another roll call couple before leaving for the 11:00 “Ask the captain” session. No new information was shared during this 45 minute chat. We went with friends to lunch and even though not hungry after the late breakfast, they were serving Turkey again! Two slices with gravy made for a delicious light lunch. I had an appointment at 12:50 with the future cruise consultant to obtain future cruise deposits for a friend that texted me the prior day. We tried walking the promenade but the wind made it too cold, even with multiple layers. We also tried sitting on our verandah and in a sheltered area it was tolerable for a while. A friend made it to the final in the blackjack tournament so we went to support him. He was the third of five to be eliminated. It is a gala night so afterwards it was back to the cabin to get ready for dinner. We met friends before dinner in the Ocean Bar as the time passed quickly. They joined us for the gala dinner. I will say without question this was the best dining room dinner of the cruise. After dinner we exchanged the tulip vase I had purchased earlier in the cruise for one more to DW’s preference. We enjoyed the show with the singers and dancers, “Concerto.” The Crow’s nest Piano bar was hopping with Daniel doing a tribute to the Beatles. At 9:45 the “Chocolate Surprise” took place and everyone had a few specialty chocolates. By 10:15 it was time to call it a day and prepare for our last port. Sunday, May 05, 2019 – St. Peter Port, Guernsey, UK. Last evening we received notice of a mandatory immigration inspection prior to going ashore in St. Peter Port. Well, okay, but they could have notified us much sooner. This caused a lot of concern with the private walking tour that one of the roll call members set up. As immigration began their process early, it all worked out, but this was just poor planning on the part of Holland America. We arrived ashore at about 8:45 and shortly thereafter began our walking tour with Annette Henry. Annette was one of the most interesting walking tour guides we’ve ever experienced with her bag of props and she told very detailed stories of Guernsey’s history. This was a very worthwhile 2.5 hours and we left her at the tour’s conclusion at the sunken garden. Annette gave us directions to the local flower garden, just a few blocks away. This was very nice and a tea room was open. We enjoyed a pot of tea and hot chocolate. While a beautiful sunny day it is cool so the warm drinks were welcome. I took a bunch of photos of various plant arrangements and we headed down the hill towards the harbor. We stopped in a few shops along the way and ended up at the pharmacy as we had a few pounds of coins to spend before leaving. This was successful! Back to the tender and we returned to Prinsendam for the very last time  just after 1:00. We went straight to the lido and enjoyed some lunch. We lingered talking to some folks before returning to our cabin at 2:30 to begin packing. By 3:30 with the majority of the packing complete we began getting ready for dinner. It became pleasant on the verandah. We ran into one of our roll call friends who just returned from a fantastic day exploring all around Guernsey AND taking the ferry for 90 minutes on one of the out-islands. We got to talking so we ended up skipping the Ocean Bar and heading right to dinner. Tonight one of my favorites “Sweet & Sour Shrimp” was on the menu. Scallops were an appetizer. Sorry, HAL, and no disrespect to the chefs, but these had to be about the worst scallops ever. The muscle was not removed and they just looked ugly and did not taste much better. But the Shrimp dinner was good. After dinner we wondered the ship a little and listened to the quartet in the Ocean Bar. Roll call friends stopped by to chat and we wished each other safe travels home. There was a one-time variety show at 9:30 but we did not stay up for that. I wish we could have paid Daniel a farewell visit to the Crow’s nest but with the last minute packing and setting out the luggage that was not to be. At a little after 9:00 we called it a night. Monday, May 06, 2019 – Dover, UK (Disembarkation and travel home) At 6:00 we were entering the port. It took nearly 50 minutes, and the help of a tug before we were securely docked. We enjoyed one last breakfast in the lido. No “Specials” today. We ran into roll call friends to bid them farewell. I’m sorry we never ran into a few others. They began calling for disembarkation right on schedule at 7:15 and with our 8:05 “Purple 1” tags we left the stateroom at 8:00 to head to the elevator. We went up to go down and left the ship at virtually exactly 8:05. By the time we reached the luggage only a part of the Purple 1 had arrived. We waited a few minutes and the cage with purple 1 was unloaded. We retrieved our bags and headed out to the bus. We were the first on the bus and with the luggage stowed underneath it was a pleasant enough ride out to Heathrow. The driver told us to expect it to take 2.5 hours due to “Roadworks” but we actually made it in two hours. I was tracking along with my Waze phone AP. From drop off until check in at the A1 lounge it was less than 30 minutes. We had a few hours to kill so I finished up this log and enjoyed some lunch and beverages. The flight itself was quite pleasant as the plane was far from full. We even landed in Philadelphia 30 minutes early. Then we sat for another HOUR and ended up being 30 minutes “Late” as there was no gate for us (???) By the time we picked up our car it was 7:00 so we had no traffic for the drive home. Conclusion: Oh Prinsendam, Prinsendam, we will miss you Prinsendam. This cruise was a log of fun. With all the ports (except St. Peter Port) new or ‘essentially’ new to us, we had a blast and saw so many things. Prinsendam is the opposite of the flashy new 4,000 – 6,000 passenger ships. The ship is NOT the destination. The trip is for the ports. I doubt HAL has another ship that could go up the river to Bordeaux and fit under the bridge. Is there another that can go to Porto, maybe? Prinsendam is showing its age without question. The new owners will have a lot of work ahead of them. Yet the crew is simply the “Best in the fleet.” I really believe that. We didn’t eat breakfast in the dining room once the entire cruise. Why? I generally dislike the lido. On this cruise, we enjoyed the lido as unlike the other ships, there are always crewmembers to bring tea, coffee, water, etc. And refill them! They help carry items when you are juggling two plates, and the ice cream man is funny and obviously loves his job! On the other hand, it seems that since last year, the lido service times have been further curtailed. I believe HAL is going in the wrong direction here. There is no more “Late night snack” either. If someone takes advantage of a late night or an overnight in port, staying out past 8:00, there is no food available other than room service. Lunch is over at 2:00. We came back one afternoon at 2:10 and while DW was able to grab some left-over chicken, the pickings were slim. We had two mornings that the water in the cabin was yellowish. We used the bottled water from the mini bar to brush our teeth. The front desk couldn’t tell us much about what was going on, but the last afternoon of the cruise they called to apologize and offered a small token as an apology. Customer Service needs a refresher course at the upper levels (likely in Seattle). We had a roll call group tour planned in St. Peter Port. Then, the evening before, the ship springs on everyone that there is a mandatory immigration inspection. Why not notify the passengers at boarding, or even earlier (like, when they changed the port) so those of us making plans outside of ship tours can plan accurately? Our cabin team of Agus & Heri was super, going above and beyond when some sticky substance got all over our hard sided suitcase between embarkation check in and stateroom delivery. They scrubbed it down the best they could. The laundry service is terrific even if at times things may not be as perfect as we like them at home. But they sure do press things to make the clothes so neat! Our dining room team of Setaji & Andrian took very good care of DW’s special dietary needs. The Wine Steward Theresa was great and found nice alternatives that were to our liking and fit within our package. Amin was outstanding both in the morning in the lido and after dinner always greeting us with a smile and a taste of ginger. All in all, the good ship Prinsendam on her fifth to last HAL voyage gets 3 ½ out of 5 stars for the cruise experience. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
This is HA newest and largest cruise ship and we wanted to try it after having done the Volendam in December 2018. Happy that we did. Embarkation and disembarkation both went smoothly. We arrived in FLL the day before, which allowed ... Read More
This is HA newest and largest cruise ship and we wanted to try it after having done the Volendam in December 2018. Happy that we did. Embarkation and disembarkation both went smoothly. We arrived in FLL the day before, which allowed us to arrive at the ship about 1 pm when embarkation was just beginning, so it went smoothly. We miscalculated on disembarkation. We had booked a 8:50 AM flight from FLL to IAD. We took our luggage and rolled off the Nieuw Statendam at 7:30 AM, grabbed a taxi to FLL, but couldn't get our luggage checked in time, in time being 8:30 AM, and thus we couldn't get our boarding passes in time either. We got lucky; there was a 1:05 PM flight from FLL to IAD and we were able to check our luggage and get our boarding passes for that flight. The World Stage theater was very impressive, cutting edge, and entertaining. The décor of the Dining Room was somewhat spartan to our tastes. But the food and service and our table mates were all outstanding. The social interactions added so much to our cruise experience. The live music at the Rolling Stones and the B.B. King and the Lincoln Center Stage, and the twin piano players played to full houses. Our Vista Suite was obviously new and well designed. The tv screen was 55 inches. On the Volendam it was 30 inches. We missed the library that was on the Volendam, but was absent, or radically downsized, on the Nieuw Statendam. FWIW, we are Platinum members on RCCL, but now we prefer Holland America. It caters to an older demographics and Holland America knows how to appeal to us seniors really well. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Just got back from a Holland America Cruise on the Rotterdam. One of the last from the Port of Tampa. Not sure if the staff onboard is starting to get tired or what but some of the services were less than favorable. Embarkation & ... Read More
Just got back from a Holland America Cruise on the Rotterdam. One of the last from the Port of Tampa. Not sure if the staff onboard is starting to get tired or what but some of the services were less than favorable. Embarkation & Disembarkation Very easy. They have this process down very well . Rotterdam ship: Very nice ship, Teak wood upkept very nice. You see the improvements they have done over the years and it looks very nice and clean. Cabin: We had an outside Cabin which seemed very roomie for what it was. Very supprised with all the closet space. nice Touch with the free safe in the room. Bed was very comfortable and the Stewards always kept the room clean and always supplying us with clean towels Dinning: Lido Deck food was very good. Nice that the HAL buffet is served by staff and not a bunch of people reaching in and grabbing food. Food was always fresh and hot. Never needed to add salt to anything we got from the line. Burgers & Hot dogs were good from the Dive Inn grill as long as you didn't get the burger well done.. There Pizza grill did a great job with the NY style pizza. They did keep strange hours on the burger and Pizza service, as neither was 24 hours. Pinnacle Grill- In my opinion, the Main dining room food was better than here. We spent over 2.5 Hours in the Grill. Appetizers were good and hot. Main course I got the Porterhouse and Wife got the Strip Steak. We both asked for Medium Rare and both came back very Rare. I ate mine, but we sent hers back. We cut a piece off right away to check the temp. They took her's back for about 15-20 minutes and brought back the same piece of meat still under cooked (but hot this time) All of the sides came out at room temp initially. When they brought back her steak, they never refreshed the sides for her. For Desert we decide to bring back to the room as we were already there for over 2.25 hours. so she got the lollipop desert cakes along with the chocolates from the table. The waiter put them in aluminum foil and twisted the top.. It looked like one of those weights used to hold down balloons. So when we got back to the cabin it was just a big ball of chocolate. We had a 4 top table come in when She got her second try and they were getting dessert at the same time we did.. Ship services did eventually refund us the up charge and the Pinnacle manager called us to apologize and offered another try on the last night, but we already planned the evening. Entertainment and Activities: Comedians were very good. My wife Participated in the Americas test Kitchen and had a blast!! She said she would do that over and over again... Also, did the bar hop with Jeremy and that was an awesome time. There was never a shortage of things to do. Services: Room Stewards - These guys are great, never needed anything... Spa Services: Very Disappointed with spa services. First, My wife got a manicure. Her nails were chipping after 1 day.. Spa did redo the color, but talked my wife out of the color she wanted and the top of her nails by the cuticle look as if they were 1 week growth and her skin was peeling. The Facial she received left her with bruising and a sore/scar on her nose. She received the facial on the 1st sea day, so had the embarrassment the rest of the cruise. When addressed with spa manager she gave her a discount on the facial. She then gave a third chance for a massage and the tech kept going to deep after she said something several times. This left bruises on her back. Then the spa manager accosted her after her massage, because I had brought these issues up with the Ship services counter. They eventually took off the price of the facial. But during dining one evening another guest complained about being under the kitchen and got a 150 on board credit, so needless to say that was more upsetting to me. Ports and Excursions: Guatemala - We only went thru the bazaar. Prepare your self as they do not take no easily. You must walk away and not feel you are hurting feelings. Honduras: We went with Victor Bordon's Sloth and Monkey Tour - This was a lot of fun getting to touch the animals and see all the birds.. Relaxing at the resort was a really nice addition. Costa Maya, very nice and very clean port.. We didn't do much here as it was really windy ( 7-10 foot waves) made getting back on the boat a real challenge. Summary: Loved the ship and would probably give them another try. Hopefully the managers get a little training so that they stop trying to explain why there staff was making their errors and just fix things.. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
This new ship is gorgeous! The staff is uniformly marvelous. The choices on the Lido were more than adequate. My problem with the ship had to do with my cabin #1006. I decided to save money by getting a "guaranteed" fare for an ... Read More
This new ship is gorgeous! The staff is uniformly marvelous. The choices on the Lido were more than adequate. My problem with the ship had to do with my cabin #1006. I decided to save money by getting a "guaranteed" fare for an inside cabin. Being such a new ship, I erroneously thought that all the cabins would be fine. I was upgraded to an ocean view that had a nice large window. Turns out it is a "single" cabin. Being tiny was not the problem. Being in that location was a HUGE problem. When the stabilizers were on the noise was horrendous. They were on all day every port day that we had to be positioned off shore for the tenders to operate. It was too noisy to read, nap, or even to watch TV. The other problem with this location was the loud and very forceful banging from the waves as we traveled. It would feel like a huge weight was hitting the cabin and especially the bed...all...night...long! I don't feel that the cabin is at all suitable for human habitation. Th music was mostly raucous to my ears. The dueling pianos were absurdly bad. Not at all a matched set of artists. I don't care for outdoor movies, but was very pleased with the variety on the TV in the cabin. The activity I was interested in, the singles get-togethers, was non-existent except for one announcement for trivia. The Lido does not have a menu listing on the TV, or on a wall. Service on the Lido was very nice. my only comment was the people in the kitchen and serving area that yelled at each other. Not lending to a lovely experience. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
We arrived in Florida amid a flood of other cruisers. Definitely not accustomed to thousands of other confused people charging 0r standing around. We had finally located our luggage at a different.station, other than on the banner. At ... Read More
We arrived in Florida amid a flood of other cruisers. Definitely not accustomed to thousands of other confused people charging 0r standing around. We had finally located our luggage at a different.station, other than on the banner. At least Four cruise ships were departing on the same day..Holiday Inn at hollywood had a shuttle waiting for it and Candlewood hotel, we loaded up..Dispite them doubling their rates for rush at HI, they serve a decent breakfast, and accomadations were very nice.. Mind you there is not much else close here and 8 lanes of high speed traffic in front if you want to cross the hwy...I believe one 4x4 pu tried to see how close he could get, defintely did NOT slow down, There is NO crosswalk for protection. Ok, we paid $15.00 each for the ride to the port #21. and tipped the driver. I was satisfied with the process of checking in and forming groups to board..We were in a SY suite for our cruise and it was nice too, except for the heavy deck doors. the one next door #8076, closed loudly and disturbed me in the evenings. I turned in a request to have their closer and shock tested and repaired, but Hal did not fix it.So it reminded me of a cheap thin motel room when slammed..They were seniors next to us and I did not speak with them about it. The hot water controls were great in the Jetted tub and shower, you could get very hot water if you soaked. I did use the hot-tub on the rear of the ship, there were about 5 . The food was hit or miss after breakfast, which was great and so was the room service. By this I mean you could get great Fish and vegs, but their pasta sauce was not flavored enough, simular to Ragu..Pizza and Pasta was there all the time and hot served any time. There was a huge salad available at all meals, built with care by an attendant and plenty of vegetarian food.Ice Cream was served all day and lots of flavors, Seniors Love their Cold deserts.The whole ships crew worked hard to please anyone..The Steelband performance was the best, and second was the Magician show.. The port stops were nice, we enjoyed Willenstad, Curacoa in the old dutch section...We stayed on board at the canal, and went exploring in beautiful Costa Rica. This was our Diamond anniversary, and we were recognised at Gala Dinner..Thanks to HAl and the crew, especially a very efficient Captain, We will book another cruise with them soon...Jonyyuma Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
We chose this cruise because it worked out as a back to back cruise after we got off the Regal Princess at the same port. Also, we were on the Koningsdam (sister ship) last year and we liked the ports it was going to. As always, the ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it worked out as a back to back cruise after we got off the Regal Princess at the same port. Also, we were on the Koningsdam (sister ship) last year and we liked the ports it was going to. As always, the food was excellent in taste, quality and variety we experienced before on Holland America. The ship was extremely clean in the well appointed cabin as well as all the common areas. Staff, crew and officers were so very friendly, courteous and helpful. The entertainment in BB King's lounge and the Rolling Stones lounge were very good but so disappointed in the piano lounge duo who sang off key and their voices did not compliment each other. We saw such a better duo on the Koningsdam last year. We enjoyed the entertainment in the main theatre but it would have been so much better if there had been more use of the theatre throughout the week. The movies under the stars and in the staterooms were recent and a good variety but there really wasn't a lot doing after 10:45 pm unless you went to the Casino, which we did not. We were disappointed in the embarkation procedure in the terminal waiting room, which appeared to be quite chaotic with older staff not knowing what to do and not agreeing with other staff. Even though Holland America has a very good product, we have decided that we will probably not be sailing with them again as we found the cruise to be too boring for us. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
We are quite loyal to HAL (4-Star Mariners) and wanted to go on their newest ship. We also liked this particular itinerary. Our back aft suite was wonderful. I gave dining five stars ... but we only eat in the Pinnacle (and once in ... Read More
We are quite loyal to HAL (4-Star Mariners) and wanted to go on their newest ship. We also liked this particular itinerary. Our back aft suite was wonderful. I gave dining five stars ... but we only eat in the Pinnacle (and once in Tamarind) so can't say much about the dining room. The Pinnacle has added new items to their menu which were wonderful. Finally, they changed up their desserts! Yea! We just like eating in the specialty restaurants and not the dining room. Being 4-star Mariners we get it for half price. The new Pinnacle had its tables layed out oddly ... miss the nice window booths on the prior class ship. What I didn't like: this new ship (and the Konningsdam) does not offer breakfast in the Pinnacle for suite guests! They have changed it to "Club Orange" which originally was going to be Culinary Arts Center dining venue but tanked on other ships. So CO is a more casual, cafe-type restaurant. Also, anyone can use Club Orange if they want to pay $50 per day per person which also entitles them to expedited boarding/disembarkation. Don't like this. Suites guests pay a huge price and this Club Orange thing isn't right. Another weird thing: They have new scanners for luggage and my hot curlers were pulled as dangerous! Really??? The Indonesian guy kept calling them "hot plates." I don't think he knew what they were! I've been on 21 HAL cruise and never have my curlers caused a problem. They do not get very hot -- not even close to a curling iron's heat. What's next? No curling irons or flat irons or hair dryers??? Steamers were taken away, too. And, or course, clothes irons. I did get mine back on day 2 thanks to my suite concierge who explained what they were. MAJOR HASSLE! The music venues were very nice but wish the violinists had better times. We always missed them due to our dinner hour. Loved the Gelatto! Many people complained they had to pay $1 or $2 ... but we didn't mind. It was wonderful and no line because people were too cheap -- lol. Half Moon Cay (always beautiful!) was way too crowded as the Konningsdam was also there. Too many people!!! And - to get the tender back to the ship we had to wait in huge lines in the hot sun. It took at least an hour to get our tender in a long line that looked more like Disneyland. HAL does have a lot of seniors but we don't mind. Would rather have them than hundreds of kids running around. All in all, wonderful time. Ship is gorgeous! Would love to go again. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
The quality of this cruise line and the ship speaks for itself. My wife and I from Florida Have sailed 7 different cruise lines. The Oosterdam in December 2018 was the first HAL which we so enjoyed. The crew from the Captain from Canada ... Read More
The quality of this cruise line and the ship speaks for itself. My wife and I from Florida Have sailed 7 different cruise lines. The Oosterdam in December 2018 was the first HAL which we so enjoyed. The crew from the Captain from Canada , who was informative in the Q and A session, the cruise director, Nathan from Texas, who was the CD on the Oosterdam and remembered us as we boarded the ship ,to the assistant director, Ines,from Portugal is what made this Trip so much fun. We enjoyed Lincoln Center Stage, played Pickleball, played trivia, where we met friends that we played trivia with the whole cruise .We did morning stretching, went to afternoon tea and evening shows. We did not use the casino,or the computer classes this time. We ate in the dining rooms and buffet, which was very,very good. We used the thermal spa. The room was fine and our steward wonderful.We encountered NO ONE that was not polite,friendly, respectful and fair. We look forward to our next visit cruise, that we booked on the ship , to New England/ Canada. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We have cruised with HAL for 10 years and are 4 star mariners, did 2 cruises on Veendam starting March 3 to April 6th 2019. Embarkation long, tedious and very hot no assistance from HAL some very sick elderly people made to stand in heat ... Read More
We have cruised with HAL for 10 years and are 4 star mariners, did 2 cruises on Veendam starting March 3 to April 6th 2019. Embarkation long, tedious and very hot no assistance from HAL some very sick elderly people made to stand in heat for hours. Cabins poorly serviced, beds lumpy and hard. Advised of food allergy well in advance of cruise very poor choices, all meals and menu in Dining poor, meals served Luke warm to cold and not together with partner. Veendam Singers and Dancers excellent other entertainment poor to average. Ports good Shore Excursions ok. Disembarkation disgusting, had tour and airport booked, colour and number we were due to leave at 8.00 am, but kept telling us, no bus hasn’t arrived, 3-1/2 hours later we were all still waiting told tour was cancelled Staff member in charge returned to ship and left us all outside some sitting on limited seating the rest standing waiting for a bus to maybe come for us. Hoping HAL has the common decency to take care of airport transfer for all disappointed passengers looking forward to tour, we of FLL Everglades which we will now never see. Lastly emphasise Kitchen staff and Head Chef Orly, who should be responsible, all the time have let the Company down inexcusably Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
We chose this cruise because we were traveling with my elderly father. We knew Holland America typically caters activities and meals to the more mature crowd, so we thought it would be a good fit. My father enjoyed his cruise. But we had ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we were traveling with my elderly father. We knew Holland America typically caters activities and meals to the more mature crowd, so we thought it would be a good fit. My father enjoyed his cruise. But we had to work at it. Starting with positives.... Holland America has disembarkation and customs down to a science. I would give this a high five star rating. The concept of staff serving guests at the buffet line is genius. Our cabin was pretty clean, after we asked the steward to come back and get the soap scum off the soap holder. Mixology, martini tasting, and bar hop were the highlights of our cruise. No, we are not alcoholics. This is the first cruise I have ever taken where I actually lost weight! But there were problems. -THE DINING ROOM SERVICE was very slow, and inaccurate. When we questioned the length of time we were waiting, or tried to get what we had ordered, we were told the kitchen was backed up. We tried three times, two dinners and a lunch, and gave up, eating the rest of our meals at the overcooked and tasteless buffet. Dining room meals were always cold. FOOD ALLERGIES and dietary restrictions were totally ignored until Day 5 and a LOT of complaints to guest services. My hubby printed a card in four languages stating I had a life threatening allergy to shrimp. Only shrimp. I pointed it out to every waiter, at every meal, and laid it on the table. Only the servers in the Lido seemed to pay attention and cater to our needs. My dad gained 14 pounds in three days due to the excess salt in the food. The evening of Day 5 on our 7 night cruise the cruise staff finally addressed these issues. -there was NO WHEELCHAIR AT THE PORT for embarkation as promised. After a lengthy walk, we sat for literally two hours waiting for a wheelchair to assist us the rest of the way through the ship to our cabin. Hubby and I were discouraged from being on the elevators with my dad. We had to hike up the stairs with luggage in tow to leave elevator room for “those who really needed it”. -there was NO PREBOARDING for Mariners as promised. We arrived at the port as directed at 11 am. It turns out it’s not ANY mariner status, as we were told on the phone, but only 3 star and above that get priority boarding. It’s the same for most every “mariner “ function on the cruise. 1 and 2 star mariners are only allowed to attend the luncheon at the end of the cruise. The port staff in Tampa was not helpful at all. They kept pointing to the stale cookies and water to pass our time. -PORTS OF CALL. Even the cruise staff would caution about getting off the ship if you weren’t on an organized tour. Organized tours with “handicapped accessible “ options did not include getting from the ship to the tour, often a 10 minute walk. We were instructed to stay in the designated areas (aka shopping areas). Why did the ship even stop here? -there’s NO MAINSTAGE ENTERTAINMENT. They put lounge caliber entertainment (A magician, a comedian, a pianist, and a doo whop a cappella group) on the main stage as “featured entertainment”. Movies shown were old. Classes were taught by untrained crew members. -my fathers BATHROOM TRASH WAS NEVER EMPTIED during the 7 day cruise. Our hallway smelled like a sewer, but our room was ok. Obviously, Dad’s smelled. And, we may never stop teasing my dad about the ladies’ panties than ended up on his balcony on Day 4 that were never removed. Throughout the ship there are raised “speed bumps” as we nicknamed them. Just enough height difference to trip an older person walking. Most public space chairs do not have armrests. I would not have noticed, until watching my father try to get in or out of a chair. For a ship that boasts catering to mature clientele, they might try to accommodate better in the public areas. We had travelled on Holland America a decade ago. We were very disappointed with what we witnessed on this cruise. ADVICE TO FUTURE TRAVELERS: bring a cane, and steady walking shoes. Keep expectations low. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
We loved the music venues at night! We loved the ship! It was beautiful, our balcony room was amazing on the 11th floor. The showers with glass doors are revolutionary..mostly we loved the lido market! We NEVER usually eat in the buffet ... Read More
We loved the music venues at night! We loved the ship! It was beautiful, our balcony room was amazing on the 11th floor. The showers with glass doors are revolutionary..mostly we loved the lido market! We NEVER usually eat in the buffet on cruises but we ate there very often ! We actually enjoyed the food choices there more than the dining room..... which means I think they need to work on the menu in the dining room. The boat was very quite ... everything started early and ended pretty early. We would’ve liked a little bit more excitement on the boat but they cater to an older clientele. I have to say it was the most well run for getting on and off the boat ! Absolutely no lineups at any of our ports ... in hindsight we wondered if the majority of the cruisers didn’t get off the boat. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
We love the Caribbean destinations and have had good experiences with HAL. The ship is beautiful with art and flowers everywhere. It sails smoothly and with great comfort. Our Vista Suite was a great choice and only slightly more money ... Read More
We love the Caribbean destinations and have had good experiences with HAL. The ship is beautiful with art and flowers everywhere. It sails smoothly and with great comfort. Our Vista Suite was a great choice and only slightly more money than a Veranda Cabin. Embarkation was fast and courteous. From the start we knew that the food was the best we ever got on a cruise ship. The crew was friendly and efficient. The entertainment was mostly good with a new theater in the round main showroom and super dancers. The comedian act was unfortunate but that can be fixed. Music everywhere with something for everyone. An Adults Only pool along with a main pool with a glass roof in case it rains. Nice lectures and Country Kitchen events. The usual Shore Excursions and ports of call. We didn't much care for Ocho Rios but no big deal because we're not much for shore excursions. Many dining options but food in the Main Dining Room was so good we didn't go to extra charge offerings. Easy disembark wheeling our own luggage. If you miss the Skeet Shooting or the Baked Alaska waiters marching around the dining room this ship is not going to provide that. Good value and worth going. Passengers tend to be more Seniors. I'm a Seniors and I believe everyone wants to be one. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
We normally sail with Royal Caribbean but this cruise opportunity came up at a thousand dollars less expensive for a similar itinerary so we gave HA a try. We were not disappointed. Nieuw Statendam is a brand new vessel which carries ... Read More
We normally sail with Royal Caribbean but this cruise opportunity came up at a thousand dollars less expensive for a similar itinerary so we gave HA a try. We were not disappointed. Nieuw Statendam is a brand new vessel which carries around 2700 passengers. There are not a lot of superfluous amenities (from a 60+ perspective) so mostly 50+ passengers. Our ocean view cabin was small but laid out such that nothing was in your way getting around. The bathroom/shower were surprisingly large with a glass walled shower with nice amenities (shampoo, conditioner and body wash). Our cabin was between midships and the bow and was very quiet with quick access to the theater and also to the fabulous Music Walk which included a Rock bar, a Blues bar and a double piano bar which alternated sets throughout the evening. The music was varied and outstanding. There were classical music show in the afternoons as well. The stage shows were new as the ship does not have a traditional stage with an orchestra pit. Only massive screens that surround the whole venue. The first dance show was cutting edge featuring six dancers with no singing in an elaborate presentation showcasing the dancers' talents as well as the advanced technology of the theater. It drew standing ovations from the attendees. The second show was less spectacular but enjoyable. An illusionist wowed the audience with his skills in another show and a comedian also performed. Food was excellent at the general Lido buffet with numerous choices for all tastes. Some food kiosks prepared fresh hot food (Thai wok, omelets, pizza, hot dogs, deli sandwiches) for those willing to wait a bit. We dined only once in the main dining room and it was excellent. We did not try the specialty restaurants. Shore excursions were well organized with departures from the ship well supervised by the crew/cruise director such that we always knew where to go and what to do for our excursion. First visit was to the private beach leased by HA, Half Moon Cay, Bahamas. A lovely spot with lots of beach chairs available. A complimentary buffet was offered to the passengers at the beach. In Jamaica (Ocho Rios) we did river tubing which was excellent! In George Town, Grand Cayman, we did a short trolley tour and then went to Seven Mile Beach using the local bus service which was reliable and inexpensive ($5 per person return). Lunch at a beachfront café was about $75 US but great view and WiFi. Last stop was Cozumel. Just a beer and some shopping there. Transfer from Port Everglades to FLL was well organized by HA and stress free. We will definitely seek other occasions to sail on Nieuw Statendam again. Embarkation in Fort Lauderdale can be harrowing given the traffic at cruise departure times especially if you're trying to return a rental car. Make sure you fill up well outside of downtown as getting to a gas station in the rush hour traffic could take an hour there and back. Because Nieuw Statendam has a casino which allows smoking, the smell of smoke can permeate other public areas such as the Music Walk. Why the casino wasn't hermetically sealed and separately vented on this brand new ship is beyond me. Read Less
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