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144 Holland America Singapore Cruise Reviews

We booked the first 16 days of the Far East Discovery because of the amazing itinerary and we were not disappointed. From Singapore to Hong Kong, every port had something wonderful to offer. This was our 8th cruise and our first on Holland ... Read More
We booked the first 16 days of the Far East Discovery because of the amazing itinerary and we were not disappointed. From Singapore to Hong Kong, every port had something wonderful to offer. This was our 8th cruise and our first on Holland America. Unfortunately, the embarkation was horrible. We had a 12:00 check in but had to wait about two hours in the cruise terminal before we could check in. We were denied access to the Orange Club line because it wasn’t printed on our cruise documents and by the time we checked in and then straightened out the Orange Club situation, it was 3:00 and we were hungry. Luckily, the hamburgers out by the pool are delicious, but we were pretty upset that we spent our first day onboard straightening out problems and waiting for service. Luckily, the cruise improved after that. Cabin Our cabin was 7147, an aft verandah cabin. It was very spacious with a comfortable bed, a couch with a table, and a desk. The shower was in a small bathtub and was much more roomy than what we’ve experienced on other ships. There was plenty of storage, oodles of hangers, and nice verandah chairs with footstools. With a large TV, access to a few tv stations and many movies, it was a comfortable place to hang out on sea days or when tired. Our steward kept us well supplied with ice and fresh towels throughout our cruise. Ship Activities and Entertainment The public spaces are very comfortable, with nice chairs and comfortable bar areas. The Gallery Bar is especially pretty. The drinks in the bars were not especially good, even a basic dirty Vodka martini just didn’t taste right and the glasses never matched the drinks appropriately. It was weird. Luckily, we had pre-ordered a bottle of vodka and some tonic so our best drinks were those we mixed in our cabin for the first week of the cruise. During the second week, we took advantage of Happy Hour when you can get two identical drinks by paying for the first and just $2 for the second. We were disappointed with the activities and entertainment aboard. It seems that Holland caters to an older crowd than we are used to and the only “fresh” entertainment every night was the chamber music in the Lincoln Center, which was always well attended. We hoped to find BB King’s Blues Club to be a regular stop, but after a few nights it seemed the program didn’t vary much and since each set was only a half hour, we found ourselves going there less and less. We did enjoy the wine tastings and were disappointed when the third wine tasting that had the best wines was cancelled due to a low turnout caused by conflicting popular activities. The port talks were very good but you had to arrive early because the theater was filled every time. We wanted to experience the test kitchen where the chef was preparing local dishes, but never could find a seat. It was immensely popular. I was hoping for a little more destination related travel and we did enjoy the Thai dancing, even though it was only a half hour. One of our favorite days was the day we booked a cabana. We arrived after breakfast to find that the cabana attendant would have served us that too! We were able to enjoy the heat of the day while lounging around reading and playing on the internet. The attendant brought us lunch and also some fruit and Prosecco in the afternoon. Only about four cabanas were booked so we had the deck almost to ourselves. It was very relaxing. Dining We ate most of our meals in the Main Dining Room. Each meal was beautifully presented and there was always a choice of fish, chicken, red meat, and pasta, with two or three choices of some on many nights. Most dinners were prepared with sauces and by the end of the cruise, I was yearning for some simpler fare. The breads were especially delicious. We took advantage of the Cellar Packages and found #1 to have enough good wines to meet our needs at a wonderfully reduced price compared to buying a bottle at a time. We had one meal at the Pinnacle Grill on the Rudi’s Sel de Mer night. The food was very good, but honestly, the service in the MDR was much more attentive. We enjoyed our special night and decided to stick with the dining room after that. We ate a few lunches and breakfasts in the buffet. There was a huge selection and everything we ate was very tasty. It was hard to keep a full cup of coffee in the morning and a lot of tables sat empty with dirty dishes. The atmosphere just wasn’t that great. Our favorite thing was room service breakfast. The menu was very large and we had to stop ourselves from overeating! As part of the Orange Club, the choices included mimosas and smoothies and we took advantage of both several times. Orange Club We were offered a discount on the Orange Club the week before the cruise and we decided to try it. As already mentioned, it was a bit of a trial to get the recognition and appropriate key card. The first night we did not get the Orange Menu in the dining room. (I think a lot of the crew were new.) We didn’t have robes in our room. No one seemed to know about the welcome glass of bubbly. It seemed like no one knew what the Orange Club was all about and we had to advocate pretty heavily for ourselves. But after the first day we enjoyed our in-room breakfast choices, ate in our Orange Club robes, used the Orange Club priority lines at Guest Services and the MDR, and were treated very well. Most nights we were seated at a window and the host remembered us by name and room number within three days. We only tried one or two of the Orange Club dinners because the choices on the main menu were so good. We were also treated to a tour of the galleys and store rooms which were amazing. For a first time Holland Guest, it gave us a few of the perks more frequent cruisers enjoy. It was nice. Ports and Excursions Singapore We arrived three days before the cruise which gave us some time to adjust to the time change. We stayed at the Amoy Hotel near Chinatown which offered an airport pickup. It was just across the street from an MRT station and was the perfect spot to explore Singapore. Glad we took the three days. Nathon (Koh Samui), Thailand We booked the EXC Explore Buddhist Temples tour which included four different stops at Buddhist temples, each quite different. At the Big Buddha there was an opportunity for some shopping, some of the best of the whole trip. It was a great introduction to Buddhism in Thailand. Laem Chabang (Bangkok), Thailand We were here for two days and quite a few people took advantage of the opportunity to stay overnight in Bangkok, which is nearly two hours from the port. We did not. The first day we took the EXC Hidden Treasures with Tuk Tuk tour because I wanted to see the large reclining Buddha. We also visited other temples and Elizabeth Hall. The tuk tuk ride was surprisingly fun. The tour included a lunch of pad thai and other Thai foods. Delicious! The second day we booked the EXC Footsteps of Pad Thai tour that took us into the Nam Tan Sat village, a sugar palm plantation where we watched the farmer scale the palm tree, the Golden Temple with a Standing Buddha, the Wat Pho Bang Kla temple with bats, an organic Botanical Garden with delicious Thai snacks (practically a meal), and a cooking demonstration for Pad Thai and Papaya Salad. It was a super busy day which also included a ride in a long tail boat from the Golden Temple to Wat Pho Bang Kla. We really felt like we saw some authentic Thai life on this tour and were happy to support the local businesses. Tip: Carry toilet paper. The bathrooms do not have it. Sihanoukville, Cambodia This top was both the best and the worst. We took a cooking class I found on TripAdvisor and with only two of us in the class, we had four hours to talk with the chef and learn all about life in Cambodia in a very intimate way. On the other hand, Sihanoukville as a city is a mess and the tuk tuk ride to the class was bumpy and very uncomfortable. I wouldn’t do anything in Sihanoukville without a tour. Phu My (Saigon), Vietnam We booked a private tour with ITourVietnam and it was fantastic. Part Foodie Tour and part History Tour, we were treated to sights, sounds, and tastes all day long. It was a chance to really get into the market and check “eating pho in Vietnam” off the bucket list. Nha Trang, Vietnam We took the EXC Cooking Class in Nha Trang which included a chance to learn to make spring rolls, banana flower salad, and cabbage package soup before we ate the chef prepared lunch of the same dishes. In addition, we got to walk through a dry and wet market (very quickly!) and see some Cham art at the resort where the class was held. DaNang, Vietnam This was a two day stop so the first day I booked a tour from TripAdvisor that included My Son, the Marble Mountain, and the Lady Buddha. It was a lot of walking and climbing, probably our most intensely physical day. We stopped for noodles at a local shop and they were delicious. The second day we joined a Cruise Critic group for Hoi An, the Marble Mountain, and the Cham Museum. Hoi An was primarily an opportunity for shopping and we skipped going into the Marble Mountain since our thighs were still sore from the day before. The Cham Museum was incredibly interesting and really added to our understanding of what we had seen the first day. Halong Bay, Vietnam This was our favorite port. We joined a Cruise Critic group and spent the entire day cruising the beautiful karsts. We also saw a remote fishing village and a pearl farm which were both very interesting. After the hustle and bustle of all the surprisingly large cities of the Far East, this opportunity for relaxation and nature was a real treat. Hong Kong I had booked a hotel near the airport so we took advantage of the EXC Hong Kong Tour with Airport Transfer. Disembarkation was very easy and well organized. The tour itself wasn’t really very good, but it did give us a chance to see Victoria Peak and Aberdeen. The fishing village was really just a marina around the Jumbo restaurant and the jewelry factory was a jewelry store where we were trapped for about a half hour. After being dropped at the airport, we took the Novotel Citygate shuttle to the hotel, which was great. The hotel is connected to the Citygate mall and also provided easy access to the transportation hub of Lantau Island. We stayed two nights and made the trip up to Tian Tan (Big Buddha), which made for a perfect final day. Summary Our first cruise with Holland was a success, primarily because the itinerary was so interesting. The service aboard was fantastic and we were able to name several of our favorites in our survey because they provided such great service. The rooms were comfortable; the food was good. Even still, we probably we wait a few years before we cruise Holland again so that we can age into what they offer. For now, we still like a ship with a little more vibrancy. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
Have been on HAL cruises before and wanted to see some Asian ports. Would not recommend cabin 4166 if you are inclined to suffer seasickness. This ship was very clean and staff were cheerful and helpful. Our cabin stewards were outstanding ... Read More
Have been on HAL cruises before and wanted to see some Asian ports. Would not recommend cabin 4166 if you are inclined to suffer seasickness. This ship was very clean and staff were cheerful and helpful. Our cabin stewards were outstanding and the well trained dining room staff always make sure your dining is enjoyable. Also,The Pinnacle is well worth the extra expense for at least one night. Didn't have one meal that wasn't of a high standard and am missing being spoiled now that we are home! We thought the entertainment was very good, especially the singers and dancers. Didn't expect the comedian to be as good as he was...a very pleasant surprise.Billboard on Board had two very talented people and BB King's Blues Club has a great band of eight. On port days there wasn't as much entertainment but we were tired after excursions so didn't really mind. Disappointed there is no longer a decent library on board. Jeremy's presentations of what to do in the ports, along with the history of the area, is very informative. We did some HAL tours and some independently organised tours. There are for and against for both, but the ship's tours are more expensive than they should be, so check out other options before you book. Our embarkation time was well after lunch so we were not happy with that and once on board we had the emergency drill so it felt like the day was wasted. This cruise we used the gym and participated in the stretching classes as well. Other interesting activities included flower arranging and of course the very popular America's Test Kitchen. We are already looking at where we would like to cruise to next, and yes, it will be on HAL. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
Booked this cruise for its itinerary to asia. Rooms are bigger than usual but Westerdam is smaller than other ships we have sailed with so we felt more rocking at sea. Service was excellent, our safe stopped working and they sent someone ... Read More
Booked this cruise for its itinerary to asia. Rooms are bigger than usual but Westerdam is smaller than other ships we have sailed with so we felt more rocking at sea. Service was excellent, our safe stopped working and they sent someone to fix it within 5 minutes. Food in the dining room was very good and much better than the Lido buffet. Pizza was good but pasta and lasagna were terrible in the Lido buffet. Entertainment and activities were geared towards an older crowd. The Westerdam's shore excursions in Halong Bay and Da Nang were very good but expensive. We did taxi tours in other ports because they were half the price of Westerdam's shore excursions. We also pre-booked a tour in Phu My port going to Vung Tau and Minh Dam mountain with Zoom from dungzoom@gmail.com which turned out to be way better than any of Westerdam's shore excursions and at less than half the price. Not only did Zoom provide free bottled water , but his tour was flexible and did not stop at any unwanted jewelry/art shops. Westerdam's shore excursions did not provide free bottled water (ship charged $5USD for a bottle of water), and made unwanted stops at overpriced jewelry/art shops. Zoom's tour was the best of all the tours we went on. The worst tour that we went on was the Hong Kong tour and airport transfer offered by Westerdam. It only made two stops at tourist sites for less than half an hour each. At the second site, we were told that we would have to pay extra for the taxi boat ride. Then it made a stop at an overpriced jewelry store for an hour. That was our whole tour! We weren't too happy that we paid $99USD per person to be forced to waste an hour of our time at an overpriced jewelry store. We spent more time at the jewelry store than we did at any tourist site. We would've done much better had we taken a taxi. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
This was the 3rd HAL cruise we had taken, and an excellent experience. All ship's amenities were beyond expectation. Any mechanical issue, such as a banging door on the veranda, were taken care of immediately. Our cabin steward, Gede, ... Read More
This was the 3rd HAL cruise we had taken, and an excellent experience. All ship's amenities were beyond expectation. Any mechanical issue, such as a banging door on the veranda, were taken care of immediately. Our cabin steward, Gede, was superbly attentive to our requests and needs. The dining room staff which included our waiter, Antoni, his assistant waiter, Ferry, and our wine steward, Joseph, were professional and not obsequious. Very knowledgeable and helpful with regards to our individual eating habits and requirements. The Neptune Lounge was an added perk, and one worth the money. Sarah and John were always ready to lend a hand. They were a joy to work with. Our only complaint would be the unnecessary need to stop and shop at gem and jewelry shops at the end of an excursion. The added excursion to Angkor Wat, Cambodia, was the most spectacular addition to our cruise. The accommodations were excellent and the guide, Savi, could not have been better. Easy to understand, knowledgeable, and most helpful. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
The exotic itinerary and smaller port destinations made this voyage our choice. Papua New Guinea, 3 stops including the Trobriand Islands and Conflict Islands; Timor Leste, 2 stops on Borneo. Palawan in the Philippines to see the ... Read More
The exotic itinerary and smaller port destinations made this voyage our choice. Papua New Guinea, 3 stops including the Trobriand Islands and Conflict Islands; Timor Leste, 2 stops on Borneo. Palawan in the Philippines to see the underground river. Starting from Singapore, a favorite city of ours, allowed us to take a few days before leaving to explore the wonderful Gardens by the Bay and delicious multicultural city, on to the night zoo and Jurong Bird Park. We also enjoyed staying on in Brisbane at the end. Outstanding! What made this cruise truly exceptional (besides our most excellent large cabin) was that it is on the Maasdam which is now an EXC ship. That means in depth destination lectures and shore excursions. Every sea day there were multiple experts giving interesting lectures on South-East Asia, history, culture, ecology, coral reefs and the danger they are in, sea life, photography, local cooking demonstrations. For once there were more enrichment lectures than I could manage to get to, because sometimes you just want some quiet time to enjoy the sea and the ship. Now I can say I know something about this area and it's extraordinarily diverse marine life, and the ancient cultures that still live a natural life. This is really different and I hope Holland America keeps up EXC cruises! I can't wait to go on another one. There were also more traditional fun events like a St. Patrick's day bar crawl with silly games for those who aren't interested in more in-depth destination knowledge. Also the association of BBC with Holland America had BBC specials shown, such as about Birds of Paradise and those who chase after them, behind the scenes specials and more. Plus a live-orchestra showing of BBC Earth. Very special. It was rather awe-inspiring to see the 5 tribes of Kitava Island sail away at the end of the day in their hand hewn ships after lining up to sell us carvings and other crafts. We also rode in one of their craft from the beach to a small island, Nuratu, where we snorkeled a bit despite a bit of rain. A view of another life that you don't often see. How often do you get to islands with no banks or hotels? Also the Conflict Islands, owned by an Australian and now a center of research on reefs and marine life. Excellent snorkeling there. A real paradise. I do wish the shore excursions were more reasonably priced. But we were able to get together with others on cruise critic for some tours ahead of time, also I arranged private tours for the 4 of us in our party at some stops. Plus taxi tours and local parks make good destinations. As for onboard experience, the food was very good, better than some other cruise lines I've been on. Is there the occasional miss? Sure, but also dishes that were creative and delicious. (I didn't think the French Onion soup was good for example.) But overall, good menus with a number of choices including vegetarian, excellent service from the staff throughout the ship, and always something I wanted to eat. I rather looked forward to ordering the steak on the always available menu in the dining room, very tasty with good sides. The buffet had the staff dishing up the food which sometimes created lines, but usually waiting a little bit would see a lull where you could walk right up and get what you wanted. The salads were delish for lunch, and again, if there's a line, just wait a little while or try the other side - ready made sandwiches were easy to pick up. The pool side grill had great Chicago style hot dogs (other styles available), yummy crispy fries, and good burgers too. And a taco bar. Enjoyed that! Room stewards are very good and I enjoyed the towel animals every night, and the big display they did on the last day around the pool, hundreds of towel creatures, some life sized and fully dressed. Another nice touch: the presentation of the next day schedule along with a card with a different travel quote, and other communications such as time changes placed in a nice folio on the bed. So I high recommend Maasdam especially for the EXC expert lectures. Best daily schedule of any ship I've ever been on for my taste. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
WE took this cruise because we were interested in the ports of call. If we had known in advance that HAL was only interested in the passengers going of EXC tours we wouldn't have taken this cruise. Most of the stops we out of the way ... Read More
WE took this cruise because we were interested in the ports of call. If we had known in advance that HAL was only interested in the passengers going of EXC tours we wouldn't have taken this cruise. Most of the stops we out of the way at some large container port. The cruise director failed to inform us in advance about possible shuttles our of the port. At some of the ports they offered no free shuttle and you could only get out by expensive taxi. As 5 star mariners we have known better cruises with HAL. When in Hongkong they forgot to inform their staff that ONLY the people who went to Macau were not allowed to get off the ship after returning from Macau. We still had half a day left to explore. After a big row with the staff the cruise direction eventually gave out a message that we could leave the ship again. Bad work!!! The entertainment was not exsistent or poor except for the Chinese lady playing the accordeon.On seadays there was NO entertainment except talks for the EXC people. There was no music band on the deck and elevator music played the same music every day. Our cabin was good and spacious as it was a suite and the staff their usual friendly self. Everything was clean. As there were many people with bad cold including me we expected staff to make sure people didn't touch the food or fill their water bottles at the macine themselves.This did not happen. What happened to the coctail party for the past mariners? We didn't get one invitation although we are 5 star.All in all I would say this was not the best cuise we have been on. We will think twice about booking HAL again. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary. What we didn’t know was the cruise was not only an EXC voyage but an In Depth sailing as well ( Holland America needs to do a better job marketing this product). Every sea day was packed ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary. What we didn’t know was the cruise was not only an EXC voyage but an In Depth sailing as well ( Holland America needs to do a better job marketing this product). Every sea day was packed with guest speakers and specialists in history, culture, science and nature, art, photography, food and vine for the regions and countries we would be visiting. Plus the EXC ship staff prepared us for each port visit with practical information to get out on your own or to take an organized ship tour. The staff on the Maasdam were outstanding. We found everyone to be warm, friendly, professional, and service oriented. To mention several exceptional staff, Florin, the Hotel Director, John and Frances from Guest Services, Best, Evi, Christopher, Sara Jane, Nutdawana and Robert provided an excellent experience in the Lido as well. Because of our wonderful experience, we are now Holland America loyalists!! Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
To discover Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam. It was a wonderful cruise (our fifth). We loved the Maasdam, especcially the crew members of the EXC tours and our EXC Guide Matthew. We cruised before with ... Read More
To discover Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam. It was a wonderful cruise (our fifth). We loved the Maasdam, especcially the crew members of the EXC tours and our EXC Guide Matthew. We cruised before with the Zuiderdam, Koningsdam en Amsterdam. Maasdam is the smallest ship of the fleet. We loved the space on board and the personal service and assistance was very very good! We love that we are going to sail with the Maasdam again in May 2020. We loved the Pinnacle Grill, we often went there for lunch. It was the maiden voyage to Hong Kong, our ship was the first one who used the new cruiseterminal. Our captain arranged that in the night, our ship was going to cruise into the channel (in the center of Hong Kong) to watch all the wonderful lightshows and fireworks. We couldn´t used the Zodiacs from the Maasdam during our cruise in Asia and now we are going to Alaska with the Maasdam and we booked an excursion with the Zodiac from the Maasdam! Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
We have travelled on the Maasdam 9 years ago. Everything about the cruise (Panama Canal) was A+. This cruise in S.E. Asia was terrible. Embarkation was very slow (11/2 hour wait). The ship has gotten old and run down. It should be ... Read More
We have travelled on the Maasdam 9 years ago. Everything about the cruise (Panama Canal) was A+. This cruise in S.E. Asia was terrible. Embarkation was very slow (11/2 hour wait). The ship has gotten old and run down. It should be taken out of service. The cabin was nothing special, run of the mill outside cabin. The food in the dining room was was way below average, worse in the buffet. Not as much selection, and the quality well below Holland America standards. The entertainment was sub par whenever there was any. Mostly movies and talks. This was an EXC cruise. Don't go on these cruises. The service was below Holland America standards. The excursions were expensive and not worth the price. Many passengers hired a taxi for half the price. In our opinion, Holland America standards have depreciated considerably. We did a Celebrity cruise after the Maasdam. Infinitly better. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
We chose this cruise because we loved the itinerary. I always wanted to see the Maldives and we hadn't ever dreamed of seeing many of the ports. The Maasdam is a partially refurbished old lady but the crew are always great and we ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we loved the itinerary. I always wanted to see the Maldives and we hadn't ever dreamed of seeing many of the ports. The Maasdam is a partially refurbished old lady but the crew are always great and we prefer the smaller ships. We don'r like arriving in ports and waiting in huge line ups. The cabin was a pretty basic twin porthole outside cabin on deck at the front. Unfortunately it was right above the thrusters so it got noisy when the ship was docking. A small enough problem when taken in context with a 40 night voyage. The other issue is the ancient TV set in the room. I know the whole point of travel is to get out and do things but some days you want to watch TV. We thought the food was great overall. We had any time dining but ate three quarters of our meals in the Lido where the selection was great and the staff friendly. A big shout out for the delicious burgers and fries at the Dive In Bar. The best on the ship. The speakers they had on this cruise were some of the best we have seen on a cruise ship. Terry Greenberg was thought provoking and entertaining and that goes for a few others as well. He gave talks on Asian history and culture in various countries and helped us to see the world through a different perspective. The evening entertainment was hit or miss. The band on the ship is consistently great and we enjoyed the BBC Earth series. We did not suffer from a lack of entertainment though a couple of the entertainers were definitely a miss. I found the service top notch. The crew on this ship seem genuinely happy to see you. From the room stewards to the dining room staff to the Lido deck staff they were all friendly and helpful. The only misstep they made was putting a strange menu on for the Mariner's Loyalty luncheon. I can't understand why they thought providing a two entree menu of stew or pollock would be considered a special lunch by loyal Mariners. We actually walked out on the lunch and went to the Lido for better food. We did not participate in the shore excursions so are not able to judge that but a couple of ports could have been better arranged. Two ports in Sri Lanka had a shuttle to the gate and then nothing but overpriced Tuk Tuks and taxis at the gate. Another port in Malaysia had a shuttle to the gate and then there were no taxis or anything else. The police at the port gate started phoning private cars for passengers but a lot of cruisers just got back on the shuttle and went back to the ship. They got a lot of complaints and by the time we got off the ship they had made better arrangements at the industrial ports. We embarked and disembarked in Singapore. What a great place. Other than their need for additional landing cards the port itself is attached to a mall and we even took the MRT from the airport. It was a breeze. We didn't stay there because the first night the ship stayed in port. If we go back there we would definitely spend a few days. It is a spectacular place. We would go and do another one on this ship any time. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary, particularly Sri Lanka. We had a wonderful time. The Maasdam is a beautiful, elegant ship. My husband and I like the size, even though the ship doesn't offer all of the variety of a ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary, particularly Sri Lanka. We had a wonderful time. The Maasdam is a beautiful, elegant ship. My husband and I like the size, even though the ship doesn't offer all of the variety of a larger one. We stayed in a Neptune suite, which was very nice with exceptional cabin stewards. We did develop a periodic leak close to the door. The staff was very concerned, but never could seem to solve the problem. Eunice in the Neptune Lounge was excellent. As always, the food on the cruise was very good; my husband and I could always fine a delicious choice. We chose the later fixed seating as always, in part because we enjoy going to a bar before dinner to listen to music but also because we enjoy getting to know the dining room and wine stewards. Speaking of music, we mainly went to the Ocean Bar where the ship had an excellent band from South America that performed a wide range of music. Otherwise for entertainment, we didn't mind the shift from entertainers to informative lectures. We did attend a few of the 10 o'clock performances in the showroom, but mainly we caught many of the historical/scientific/cultural presentations as part of the EXC program. They were very interesting and helped us better appreciate the cultures and environment of the stops along the cruise. The gym had a great variety (and good numbers) of equipment and programs, and the spa is always wonderful! We only went on three shore excursion from the ship, but they were great. We typically find our own local guides, but since several of the sites we wanted to see were some distance from the ship, I elected to stick to the safe side and go with the ship. The excursion to see elephants in the national park was exceptional. We saw scores of elephants, water buffalo, crocodiles, birds in the wild. The lunch spots were excellent too. On two of the excursions we stopped at gorgeous resorts with 5 star buffets for lunch. I do think that the information about the ports that is posted on the website could be improved. In many of the ports, there was nothing to see or do immediately off the ship; it would be disappointing if you planned to get off the ship and just walk around. There were stops at industrial ports, where it was a bit of a trick to even find the street with all of the taxis. These were minor problems for experienced travelers, but it would be nice to be forewarned. Overall the service, the food, the ship, and the activities were terrific. We are already looking at our next cruise on HAL. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
We were on this ship for 59 days. For 59 days we smelled SEWAGE in the corridors. The ship and its furnishings appeared rundown, worn out and FILTHY. Cabin ceiling ventilator was encrusted with dirt and dust. Some food served in the ... Read More
We were on this ship for 59 days. For 59 days we smelled SEWAGE in the corridors. The ship and its furnishings appeared rundown, worn out and FILTHY. Cabin ceiling ventilator was encrusted with dirt and dust. Some food served in the main dining room looked and smelled rotten. Kitchen staff paid UNFAITHFUL adherence to special dietary need and illness ensued requiring proximity to bathroom and staying on the ship even when docked. The Lido restaurant was not properly cleaned in the area of the tables and chairs. The same dirt and food particles were visible in the same areas several days in a row. When this was pointed out to a uniformed officer in the restaurant the officer immediately required one of the servers to do a clean-up. Dearth of on board activities and lack of entertainment crew. Consequently, the on-beard experience was often boring. There was no Karaoke, no organized sports event, no choirs, no shuffleboard, steeplechase etc. like we experienced on other cruise ships. The on-shore excursions were BADLY over-priced. Very minimal compensation was given for pain & suffering caused by Thai massage injury to back - a highly recommended ship excursion by excursion staff. The excursion manager was RUDE and insulting when the back injury was brought to her attention. The ship’s hotel manager was RUDE and insensitive to us in a meeting we had requested to tell him our numerous disappointments on the cruise. On a positive note, most of the staff were friendly and caring. The guest relations manager was particularly sensitive to our concerns and very kind. The quintet (four string musicians and pianist) were excellent in the Lincoln Centre. The on-board grand pianos were BADLY out of tune. This greatly compromised the beauty of the artists’ music and talent. In fact, several of the grand pianos on board, including the one on the main stage theatre and the two in the piano bar were badly out of tune. This was confirmed by the on-board musicians themselves in discussions I had with them. The hotel manager’s assistant said that all the pianos had been tuned at the beginning of the cruise because she had written a check to the piano tuner. If the piano tuner had been paid, the tuner did not do the job! The HAL complaint department at the president’s level have been very slow to respond to our written complaints and request for a full refund of our expenses associated with the cruise. They have offered us approximately one-one hundredth (1/100) of our request. Their offer to settle our numerous complaints is clearly an INSULT. Our letter of complaint was submitted while still on board the WESTERDAM. We have been home from the cruise more than TWO MONTHS and HAL has failed to settle our complaint at this point Our happiest day on this cruise was the 59th day when we could leave the ship and go home. We look forward to being treated with the respect we deserve by president’s office in granting us a FULL REFUND. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
I only awarded two points to Westerdam on the 31-day cruise because what little they did well should be expected on a cruise ship of their category, there were many things wrongly done and mishandled by their officers and after many ... Read More
I only awarded two points to Westerdam on the 31-day cruise because what little they did well should be expected on a cruise ship of their category, there were many things wrongly done and mishandled by their officers and after many passengers complained in an consistent manner, They tried to improve absolutely nothing. Other passengers claimed that these problems arise from previous cruises in Westerdam but there is not the least concern for an improvement. What they did well and should be expected: 1.- In my case I did not have any problem in the room. It was noted its continued use for a long time, but had no problems. There were many plumbing problems in other people's cabins. 2.- The dinners in the formal dining room were not very good on most nights, although sometimes the service was very slow. 3.- Protection of passengers in the sense of fumigation of the room and fumigation of the dining room when there was an incident in that area. 4.- The attention in the room was always good. The efforts of waiters in the main dining room also. 5.- Pianists in Piano Bar were good and did their best effort. 6.- Invited artists were good: The violinist Mackay and singer from England. 7.- We chose this boat basically for the itinerary and we had the great opportunity to visit many countries. Offered tours were good but expensive. What I did not find in Westerdam and I have seen and enjoyed in other lines of the same level: 1.- There was no music in the ship, it was a cruise that seemed dead. In other vessels the atrium is the central point of activities for passengers. There were no activities in that area and there were zones of the boat that were not used at all, they were wasted. In other lines I enjoyed excellent music at the pool (before noon), during lunch, in the afternoon at the pool, before dinner in the atrium and many people danced, after the night show and after dinner and until after midnight at the disco. I do not talk about cruising for young people but for seniors. 3.- If my husband bought a package of beverages, I should buy the same and for health reasons, I should limit my consumption of alcohol. We do not buy it. 4.- They do not have musical groups of 3 or 4 people as in other lines that make the ship happy with music and songs. The dance group was without energy, tired, not wanting to work, Their scant and mediocre presentations were 30 minutes ....... Incredible !! They did not have choreography to make their presentations. The choreography was bad and minimal. 5.- The officers did not have the capacity to solve problems. Passengers talked to them and they were slow in resolving matters ..... without results. 6.-The tendering was a disaster in the first port in Thailand. At least 700 people got soaked in water for an hour and a half and the officials did nothing ... They looked at each other's faces and put the blame on the port authorities. In the second tendering there was 600 people waiting for an hour and a half on the boat trying to leave. There was good sunny weather and no wind. I heard in the night that it was said that the sea was rough and the wind very strong and therefore it was impossible to do a normal tendering. Similar situation occurred with the courtesy buses for 2000 passengers. They appeared 3 buses of 70 passengers each one and then ............. to wait another hour to see if the transport arrived. The responses of Holland America ........ NONE. 7.- The food in the LIDO was of medium quality for bad. And the fact that we have to wait for the employees to serve delays the process further. In my opinion food has no creativity or energy to create it. The Italian food area always has too much salt. I am a person who likes cooking and knows how to prepare it. Cutted Small cakes make them dry in a few minutes. It is the same with fruit or cheese served in small plates. 8.- Officers did not do the minimal effort to interact with passengers only to fulfill their duties. What a difference with Officers in other cruises 9.- I saw cruise directors with a lot of energy and personality that irradiate happines and energy to passengers. It was not the case in Westerdam The cruise director did not motivate anybody for the daily activities. 10.- Horrible odor in the halls close to B B Kings. It seems that below that area accumulates all the waste of the ship. The captain was informed at the beginning of the cruise WITHOUT ANY RESULT. 11.- The only place to dance after 10 o'clock at night was BB kings, where the musicians and entertainers never connected with the public. In addition to the terrible smells. The only thing that remained after dinner and going to the piano bar was going to sleep. Other passengers informed me that the option to dance after dinner was eliminated to create .......... A COFFEE BAR on the 10th floor ?. Who takes these decisions ???? I will recommend HAL to friends and family? DEFINITELY NOT!! Will have another cruise with HAL? NOT!!! Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary. We have previously sailed with P&O, Princess and APT. Embarkation was very crowded and took a long time. I don't understand why the times aren't staggered to prevent hundreds ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary. We have previously sailed with P&O, Princess and APT. Embarkation was very crowded and took a long time. I don't understand why the times aren't staggered to prevent hundreds of passengers arriving at the same time. We chose a signature suite and paid the extra $$ for the larger cabin and the location on the ship. Our expectations were a lot higher than what was delivered. We were very disappointed when we entered the cabin because it had a filthy odour and was very worn and used looking. Certainly not up to the standard of previous suites we have stayed in. Not a good start to the holiday! I cannot fault our room stewards because they can only work with what they are given. We prefer to have a more relaxed holiday and not do a lot of fine dining, so we only visited the dining room a couple of times. The food was OK but not remarkable. The drink service was very slow. The food in the Lido dining area was very repetitive. However, I did like the idea that we were served by the staff so that it wasn't a buffet type area. However, there seemed to be a problem with the food as my husband and I had gastrointestinal problems twice. The 2nd bout was definitely from the food eaten on the ship as we had not been onshore, so I am also attributing the 1st bout to that as well. It was not the norovirus because ours responded to antibiotics. We could not fault the Doctor or the medical staff. From our observation it seemed as if a lot of passengers were experiencing the same problem as we were. We also noticed that the hygiene was not up to health standards as far as passengers sanitising their hands before entering the dining areas. On previous cruises there are staff allocated to the entries to make sure that everyone who enters the dining areas are given the hand sanitiser. The entertainment on the main stage was very poor. The corridor leading to the mainstage and the BB kings bar emanated a very unpleasant odour. I had been told that it had been reported but nothing was done to alleviate the problem. We found the gratuities charge was not worth the value that was being charged. As did many other passengers, we also chose to opt out and decided to personally pay staff that served us well. The beverage packages need to be reviewed. It is completely unreasonable that everyone in the same cabin has to have the same beverage package. The tour desk weren't fully informed about certain aspects of different ports. e.g. not informing passengers about shuttle services at different ports. Disembarkation was a disaster! If you are disembarking at Kai Tak terminal do not take any notice when the tour staff produces photos of long queues and saying there will be no taxis available. We were told that it was too far out of town for the taxis to come. We were then offered to be transferred by bus for $US15 to the airport express station in Hong Kong. BUT surprise, surprise, as we exited the terminal at least 50 taxis were waiting. We then had to walk at least a kilometre to a bus that didn't have enough storage space underneath for the luggage. SO we were packed into the bus with the excess luggage piled on top of one another on the seats. A very dangerous situation if the bus had to brake suddenly! HOWEVER, it only gets better!! As the bus was driving to the station the luggage door on the outside of the bus opened and luggage spilled onto the road. NOT happy travellers! Another example of the tour staff being out of touch with what is available at terminals. Or is it just so they can fill the buses?? Surprisingly there was a survey waiting for us when we returned home. We truthfully answered all of the questions. However, it seems they choose to ignore unfavourable feedback as we have not had a response from them. Our advice if you are considering cruising on Westerdam…… 1. DON'T waste your money. There are so many nicer ships to holiday on. 2. Take plenty of immodium with you. ( prescriptions are extremely expensive compared to Aussie prices ) 3. Have travel insurance. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
We chose this cruise because the itinerary was what we were looking for and the dates suited us. Let's start with the positives. The ship was clean and the staff were generally very good; some of them gave us exceptional service. ... Read More
We chose this cruise because the itinerary was what we were looking for and the dates suited us. Let's start with the positives. The ship was clean and the staff were generally very good; some of them gave us exceptional service. The cabin was very good as was the food on board. We ate in the both the Pinnacle and the Italian speciality restaurants and they were well worth the additional cost. We had one of the drinks packages and the choice of drinks was perfectly adequate, although it did make us smile when we saw the number of drinks priced at just over our $9 dollar limit. We booked an extra night in Singapore before the cruise and an additional night in Hong Kong afterwards and they were both excellent hotels. Having the additional time in the two cities added greatly to the overall experience. Our cruise was for 16 days, not realising there was an option for a further 15 days, but this was plenty and the itinerary was excellent. Both embarkation and disembarkation were very efficient and ran smoothly. We did 3 excursions booked through Holland America and they were very good although expensive (more on this later). Without a doubt the entertainment highlight for us was the Philippino Staff Show. It was excellent and this was reflected in the feedback from the audience. The other big plus was that we made some very good friends on board and we had a great time together. Now for the negatives: As I have said, we booked 3 trips through HAL but their trips were so expensive that we also looked at other options. We booked tours to Ho Chi Minh City and Hue through ShoreExcursions.Asia and they were top class and around half the price. We resolved to do our own thing at most of the stops and we were so glad that we did. It wasn't until we were on board that we found that at a number of the ports a free courtesy bus was provided to run guests into the city/beach. On most sea days, we were given a presentation by Jeremy about travelling independently once going ashore at the various ports and these presentations were excellent. I assume we were not told this in advance because HAL want you to but their excursions but the demand for the information was clearly illustrated by the fact that by the end of the cruise Jeremy was giving two presentations a day and the theatre was packed. The one trip we did do indepenedently that didn't pay off was at Sanya and this was through a Chinese Travel Agency and this was a disaster. What made it worse was that Sanya was one of the destinations where there was a free courtesy bus to the beach! We were also not told in advance about ports where tender transfers were required. This didn't concern us but would have been a real issue for those passengers with mobility problems. The clientale on the Westerdam were generally older and this was reflected in the entertainment and bar facilities that were provided. On other cruise ships that we have been on, the Atrium is the focal point of the ship but this was certainly not the case on the Westerdam. There were aslo a number of random bars and quiet rooms that we felt could be better used. Overall, the entertainment was not that good. The Request Shows by the pianists were a bit of a mockery as they actually played very few actual requests and the shows in the theatre were also nothing to get excited about. One big criticism of the Westerdam was that it was so cold onboard. Despite numerous complaints, this was never resolved. this was also the case with the unpleasant smell emanating from the toilets near the BB King Club. As I said earlier, we had a drinks package and whilst it was expensive, I'm glad we had it. We were told beforehand that a gratuities charge would be applied and this would have added up to $480. However, in common with a number of other English guests we filled the form in to say we would not be paying it and chose to tip those members of staff who served us well. Generally, the staff were very good but this cannot be said of the ship's officers who made little attempt to interact with us. Whether they were more welcoming to the American guests I don't know. Another excessive additional charge, which I understand is not just applicable to HAL, is the wi-fi. This is purely a money-making exercise and on sea days in particular the coverage was very poor. Overall, I very much doubt that we will be travelling with HAL again. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
It was a great overall experience. The itinerary is what attracted us to this cruise as we had done China, Korea, Japan and a Transpacific to Vancouver in 2015 and this cruise offered new Asian ports - just the 16 day itinerary. The ... Read More
It was a great overall experience. The itinerary is what attracted us to this cruise as we had done China, Korea, Japan and a Transpacific to Vancouver in 2015 and this cruise offered new Asian ports - just the 16 day itinerary. The service as is always the case with HAL was above average. Quality of food was very good, loved the food the artwork and gorgeous flower arrangements. Entertainment was the weakest point on this trip but Planet Earth really stood out and the BB King show was lively and very enjoyable made up for the Theatre offering. Just took one tour with HAL, Koh Samui, the day we got soaked. HAL tours are good but too expensive. I am a regular cruiser with HAL love the cruise line but the cost of the tours is never addressed. Shame. The cabin was as expected, always clean - excellent service. We are Looking forward to our next cruise with HAL. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
We've been on Holland American several times over the years. It was a far better cruise line before being acquired by Carnival. We were onthe old Niew Amsterdam and the newer one. We also cruised on Zandaam. Anyway, it seems to me ... Read More
We've been on Holland American several times over the years. It was a far better cruise line before being acquired by Carnival. We were onthe old Niew Amsterdam and the newer one. We also cruised on Zandaam. Anyway, it seems to me that most of the industry is dumbing downCruising is not what it used to be. Boarding was slow but OK. Our luggage arrived fairly quickly. Our cabin (8115) was tired and showed it's wear. There was no explanation of the shower fixture and one could easily get burned. For the first few days there was a burst of brown water with the first day's use of the shower. In our 15 days on the ship we had two toilet floods. The cabin was well cared for and the stewards were very pleasant. Our major disappointment was the food. The lido was standard fare with breakfast and lunch being average. The service was inconsistent. It was sometimes good and efficient and not so at other times. As the wait staff does the bussing this is probably a factor. Lunch in the dining room was pretty good although the last time we visited the pasta was inedible. We sat next to a table where there seemed to be no rolls for the hamburger that was ordered. The best I can do here is 3 out of 5. Dinner was truly a mixed bag. We ate there about 10 times. I had only one entree which I would rate as very good. The others were fair to good only. I usually didn't finish any of them. We used room service to start the day. One day we got 5 juices and no coffee. I think the extra 3 juices were delivered rather than the 3 cup coffee order. Another day we got no coffee although it was ordered. The breakfast service was always delivered on time We did not buy any of the ship's excursions although by using Cruise Critic we were able to enjoy some good ones. Skipping our first port Koh Samui Thailand was a major disappointment as we had planned to visit an elephant retirement facility. Skipping KS was not the ship's fault as there was a major storm Bangkok was OK and we stayed in a lovely downtown hotel. The river was a joy. Why we stopped in Sihanoukville Cambodia is a mystery to my. It is a dirty dusty port town with almost nothing to offer. The Chinese are developing it in a big way and my guess is that it will be the next Macau in 10 years. Right now it is the current Cambodia shanty town. Some suggested that the stop was to allow those who wished to visit Ankhor Wat. There has to be a better way to do this. It was an unnecessary and stupid place to visit. All of Vietnam was great and our visit changed my opinion of the country. Socialism and Communism seem to be working. Saigon and Halong Bay were knockouts. We bought private tours. A an aside HA (Carnival) charged $55 each for the Vietnam visas. The going rate for a multivisit Vietnam visa is $5. this is gouging I think, $50 pure profit There was a 1 hour bar happy hour each day. One can actually get two beers for about $9 (plus an 18% tip of course). Other second drinks are also $2 during the happy hour. The bartenders were great We did not attend any of the shows. The port talks were quite good. There was a speaker who gave very good presentations on Indochina and each country we were to visit. I think his name was Hicks. He was very good. He was one of the few ship highlights. I earlier mentioned the dumbing down of the industry. This is certainly true in the dress standards. In the dining room I was not always sure if I were on a 'cruiseliner' or at McDonald's. Enough said on that Sometimes one picks the ship and sometimes the itinerary. This time it was the itinerary. The ship was lacking. The best I can give Westerdam is a 3 out of 5. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
This was our first time sailing on Holland America Line, and we were pretty impressed. We’re younger than the typical HAL cruiser, but that didn’t stop us from enjoying all that the MS Westerdam had to offer. We selected this ... Read More
This was our first time sailing on Holland America Line, and we were pretty impressed. We’re younger than the typical HAL cruiser, but that didn’t stop us from enjoying all that the MS Westerdam had to offer. We selected this cruise for the itinerary first. We'd also heard good things about the food and service on HAL, so we were interested in giving it a try. The ship was great. We love the intimacy of a smaller ship, and the renovations HAL has done on the Westerdam seemed tasteful and appropriate. The entertainment was interesting. We didn’t care much for the production shows, but the live music (especially Lincoln Center) was quite good…and a nice change from the typical cruise fare. The itinerary was wonderful – the perfect ratio of ports to sea days for our taste. The food was quite good, especially in the Pinnacle Grill. The service was mixed. We LOVED the staff in the Neptune Lounge and Pinnacle Grill. Our room stewards and service team in the dining room were a mixed bag…not all of the staff seem to engage with the guests in a meaningful way, which I really crave. We only took one ship excursion. We weren’t really interested in the excursions offered by HAL for most of the ports – somehow they felt limited or too basic for us…we really like to dive in head-first to new places. The excursion we DID do through HAL was quite boring and a significant amount of time was spent on a "shopping opportunity” that would have been better spent seeing more of Siagon. Overall, we’d definitely sail HAL again (we actually are booked on a Baltic cruise later this year because of an excellent deal), but it wouldn’t be our first choice. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
We chose the Westerdam because we had sailed on this ship before and were familiar with it. We stayed in a Neptune Suite Aft, level 7, corner suite with a verandah....which was very nice. Our room stewards were wonderful and met every ... Read More
We chose the Westerdam because we had sailed on this ship before and were familiar with it. We stayed in a Neptune Suite Aft, level 7, corner suite with a verandah....which was very nice. Our room stewards were wonderful and met every one of our needs! The Itinerary was great, except Sihanoukville in Cambodia. This port is in it's infancy as far as tourists go, but we joined the ship that day they docked after leaving from the Bangkok excursion to go off on our own to visit Siem Reap and Angor Wat. We planned the excursion on our own (way less expensive than what was offered through Holland America) and found that city in Cambodia to be delightful. If Cambodia is judged by a traveler, only on this port, Cambodia is getting the short end of the stick....Siem Reap was wonderful. The food was good on board and plentiful, especially the Asian themed on the Lido deck, and in the Dining Room. We ate at the Specialty Dining three times....Rudy's Fish (not to our liking at all...probably what we ordered, versus the quality) and at the Pinnacle Grill Twice (food was excellent). We only went to one show, and it was only MEH, in our opinion. Very talented kids doing the same or similar shows we had seen before five years ago. We heard the comic/impersonator was awesome, but he missed that. As a Neptune Suite, we had the use of the Neptune Suite Lounge which was awesome...they had juices, coffees, light snacks, treats, small plates all day long for our consumption, and a wonderful staff (Gabrielle, Paolo) who answered any questions we had. Very kind. Also had unlimited use of the laundry services, which were done in one day, and nice to have (I would've packed way less and had more room for the huge amounts of stuff I bought in ports!) We also had priorty tendering, embarkation, and disembark. Avoiding lines was a positive to that benefit. The cabin was nice, large and suited our needs. HA probably needs to look at refurbishing the overall ship decor sometime soon however as it's a little dated in my opinion. Our dressing mirror was cracked and the tub and shower couldve used a little caulking update, but I'd give the room an A-. Now, the only real negative I have is the smoking issue. My husband and I both smoke. Before we booked this cruise, we most surely asked our cruise consultant about the availability of smoking areas. We were given six or seven spots as smoking areas, plus we were told we could smoke in the Casino. Imagine our surprise when we got on the ship and were told there was only one area to smoke....Lido Deck 9, aft. Thats it. No smoking in or anywhere near the Casino. (sorry Holland America but you lost a ton of money I would've spent had I not gotten up to go for a ten minute walk to smoke every few hours). I am fine with no indoor smoking totally, I get it, but the smoking area consisted of four tables that seated maybe 8 people, and they were hard as hell...no cushions, HARD, SLATTED TEAKWOOD BENCHES & SEATS. Considering the fact that we paid 4k plus each to be there, we were pretty annoyed. You had nowhere to layout where you could smoke. Obviously it took us a few days to kind of work through the annoyance of the misinformation we were given by our HA cruise consultant. Apparently there has been NO SMOKING in the casino and other spots for over 2 years on this ship. (Can't wait to review our cruise consultant on that one.) I think Holland is missing the boat (pun intended) by not having a reasonable accommodation for Casino players closer to the Casino. Another negative, was the fact that they decreased the size of the casino and put the Dueling Piano guys (who had a great show by the way) RIGHT NEXT TO THE BLACKJACK and POKER tables. I swear....it was a pretty popular show, and pretty crowded, but for GOD's SAKE...put a wall up between the two venues. I didn't mind hearing them, but I also liked hearing what the dealer had to say, or delight in the witty banter between players....not possible with two guys pounding out Piano Man just ten feet away! By the way, the casino staff were awesome....very service oriented and fun as well! One of the best choices we made was to come to SIngapore for a few days before the cruise, and to stay for an additional day the day before we flew home. SIngapore was lovely, had tons to do, was clean, great food, great shopping, etc. I loved all of the ports we visited, and we used Tours By Locals and Trip Advisor to find local guides so we could avoid the herds of folks on the busses to the touristy stuff. On each ofour excursions, we got a local flavor, and a real feeling of the culture and people we went to see. HaLong Bay was wonderful, loved Bangkok, my favorte spot was the visit to Da Nang- Hoi An Might Market (Amazing). Would we go again? Hmmmm.....I would go with Holland again, but not this ship...I, for personal reasons, would like to be able to smoke in a Casino, and have a reasonable accommodation and comfort when I do. At the end of the day, we met great people, saw wonderful things, and the vacation was a B+ in my book. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
This was our 5th cruise , our second with Holland America and as always we chose it for the itinerary which offered 3 different Asian countries including 4 in Vietnam and overnight stops in Bangkok and Danang with a round trip from ... Read More
This was our 5th cruise , our second with Holland America and as always we chose it for the itinerary which offered 3 different Asian countries including 4 in Vietnam and overnight stops in Bangkok and Danang with a round trip from Singapore offering the extra opportunity to celerbate the New Year there . Surprisingly the ship was just over half full which meant that the public areas , pool, bar and especially the Lido were easier to navigate than is normally the case. We found the ship and our stateroom to be immaculate. For details of our cabin see below . Service by all the members of staff was excellent - with the obvious note that around the pool and in the buffet is can be a bit slower than elsewhere because of the number of people vying for attention but in general is was better than our experience on other boats . We found the layout and design on the ship pretty friendly in particular the number of different bars and place to hang out - the Gallery bar and the Crow's nest were particular sanctuaries. Even the 4pm happy hour didn't seem overly crowded. We thought the food was pretty good overall. We had one poor experience in the main dining room with an overcooked steak . One poor lunch time service I think because we skipped the starters and somehow that meant our main course still only arrived with everyone else's and one breakfast in the cabin with cold tea - but otherwise service and standards were very acceptable for this kind of ship. The menu choices were good for us and we always had a few options which appealed. Regarding the itinerary - we had to skip Koh Samui due to a tropical storm so we started with two sea days the rest went according to plan .Be aware that most of the ports are not closely located to the key sites , they are industrial container ports and there is nothing to do within walking distance. For Bangkok and HCMC it is a 2 2 1/2 hour drive to the city so you can only really do the highlights. If you want an in depth visit then go by land and not by boat. On the other hand Halong bay is now a docking location and not a tender port which is a big bonus . We had problems with disembarking on two occasions ,one in Nha Trang due to problems with the tenders and once in Hoi An which I think was a late arrival . These delayed us by 1 hour on each occasion and communication from the ship could have been improved in each case leading to crowding in the disembarkation area. The Vietnam stops were excellent in particular Halong Bay where we took a day tour with Indochina junk which was fantastic. Danang - where we went to the utterly charming Hoi An and the ancient city of Hue ( Tour with Shore Excursions Asia ) - was also excellent. We stayed overnight in Bangkok which I would recommend to make the most of the time . With a private transfer ( Oriental Escape) and an overnight hotel stop ( Eastin Sathorn) this was still pretty cost effective and allowed us to have extra time. Cambodia was a big disappointment , the town of Sihanoukville is overdeveloped and dirty and frankly an unpleasant place to spend any time . It was a great shame and i felt sad for the residents . It is not a good reflection for the rest of the country which is worth seeing . We didn't do any ship tours we used Cruise Critic contacts to make groups in all locations and process that worked very well and helped us meet people on board. We probably saved in excess of 500 USD per person through this process. Entertainment on board was OK . On this ship the show times are 20.00 and 22.00 . I didn't like this set up .As a late diner this meant there was nothing to do in the early evening ( 16.00 happy hour a bit early to start if you are n't dining till 20.00 ) and since we had a lot of early morning tours we missed most of the 22.00 shows. I prefer the early show at 18.00 and the late one at 20.00 followed by happy hour from 21.00 for everyone . There were just 4 shows in the two week itinerary and the rest were guest entertainers . Nothing the write home about . The Port experts Jeremy and Kevin ( i think ) and their port talks were EXCELLENT . A great resource not focused on selling the ships tours but helping you make the most of the destination however you are travelling. A real highlight for us . I personally didn't enjoy the ships lecturer Michael HIcks but others I spoke to enjoyed his talks so I guess it is a question of each to his own . The did enjoy the America Test Kitchen and the Trivia Games too . Overall I think the onboard activities were in line with what we expected , not everything to everyone's taste but enough to have something that will appeal to you. We didn't use the SPA or buy a photo package because I felt the prices were just too high . It didn't look like either service was very busy so I don't think I was the only traveller who thought this . Embarkation and Disembarkation at the beginning and end of the cruise worked well . The embarkation desks in Singapore where they do check in are strangely cramped inside a large area leaving everyone huddled around a little desk which could be improved but it was quick and efficient. I think we would travel again with HAL - overall we liked the ambience and thought the service and activities were good for this size and rating of ship. I would in particular recommend the Vietnam itinerary to other travellers . Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
Embarkation/disembarkation: generally quite smooth. Embarkation took a bit longer than other cruises I had been on, but it may be due to the departure procedure in Singapore. Dining: Lido buffet and Main Dining Room In general, the ... Read More
Embarkation/disembarkation: generally quite smooth. Embarkation took a bit longer than other cruises I had been on, but it may be due to the departure procedure in Singapore. Dining: Lido buffet and Main Dining Room In general, the food was over-salted, so much so that I had to ask for half a cup of soup and added a half cup of hot water to make it edible. You can do that to liquids, but there is very little you can do to other dishes. Why can’t they be a little easy on the salt, and let those guests who prefer otherwise add their own salt at the table? The way they served soup (in dining room as well as buffet) seemed a little odd to me. They put a few cold ingredients, for example, pastas, vegetables, in the bowl and ladled hot soup over them, instantly lowering the soup’s temperature. I have honestly never seen anyone do this and find it quite strange. I wish they would do as most do at home: just cook the ingredients in the soup to the correct serving temperature. Most meats were quite dry and seafood tended to be overcooked. The only things they did well, in my opinion, were poultry. The Asian food department is not up to standard at all. I thought that the cruise, starting/ending in Singapore, would stock some shredded pork floss, the one ingredient essential to congee, and for which Singapore is famous. The ship: It is small, with 1850 guests at full capacity. In this voyage, when the ship was in the South China Sea, approaching and leaving Hong Kong, it rocked very badly. Many got seasick. I am not complaining about getting seasick. HAL had anti-seasickness pills, but, strangely, they never told us. I ran into officers a few times and we talked about the ship rocking, but none had informed me they had remedies at Guest Services. I found out from fellow cruisers when it was too late. How hard was it to just announce it and make the voyage a little better for most people? The ports: Koh Samui The port does not seem ready for cruise ships. After a ride on the tender boats for 25 minutes, you arrive at a pier and are bombarded by tour venders and taxi drivers. The port is quite ugly and dirty. Laem Chabang The ship tries to tell you that this is the port for Bangkok, but in fact it’s a 2 ½ hr drive to Bangkok. Public transportation is complicated and takes even longer. So if you don’t want to stay on the ship, you have no choice but to book an excursion, organize your own tour, or use a taxi. The ship’s excursion is expectedly over-priced. We joined a one-day tour organized through Cruise Critic roll call. This has to be done ahead of time. The tour was OK except it was a very long day with the 5 hr travelling time. The port is a cargo port and there’s no port facilities. The nearest shopping mall is almost two miles away. Travelling by bus or taxi to Pattaya is another option. Leisurely wandering around the port area is not. Sihanoukville, Cambodia This port is a joke. There is zero port facilities, except a shuttle bus that takes you to downtown Sihanoukville. We were dropped off in a dirty, ugly and chaotic open air market. Walking on what looks like a sidewalk is downright dangerous because it’s uneven and muddy; motor bikes and scooters can travel anywhere they like, including sidewalks. Before you even get off the bus, tour venders bombard you with local tours. But with the chaotic traffic, how would I know that they could bring us back before the ship departs? Many of our fellow cruisers didn’t even get off the shuttle bus. Some were a little braver and took a walk for several blocks before getting the next available bus back to the ship. This port is totally unprepared for cruise passengers, and they don’t even seem to care. As I said, it’s a joke, and it’s an expensive joke at that, since most passengers have to pay for a visa, even if they decide to stay on the ship the whole time. Phu My It’s a cargo port and there’s nothing to see around the port area. Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) is over an hour away. Again, the ship offers excursions to Saigon, but it’s better if you organize your own. Plan ahead and use roll call on Cruise Critic to gather a group and book a tour together. That’s what we did, and we ended up with something very similar to what the ship offered and paid less than half of what the ship charged. Saigon is quite an interesting city with lots to see, but because it’s so far away, public transportation may not be the most efficient use of the limited time in port. Da Nang The ship offered a shuttle bus to downtown Da Nang, but in my opinion, there are more interesting places farther away. We booked a tour to Bana Hill and Hoi An, through a local tour company, Andy. There are other choices such as Hue and Marble Mountain, but one must pick and choose since there’s just one day in port. Hoi An can be done easily by taxi, if that’s the only place you want to visit. We went there later in the afternoon and stayed till sunset to enjoy the lighting of the lanterns in the Old Town. Our ship did not leave until 11:00 pm that night. Halong Bay Beautiful destination. Again, we joined an organized boat tour through Cruise Critic to see Halong Bay up close, including one of the caves with a huge chamber and interesting rock formations. Hong Kong Here some of our fellow cruisers disembarked. For us, it’s a long day in port since we would be back on board for the next leg of our SE Asia cruise. Among all the ports we visited on this cruise, I would say Hong Kong is the most prepared for cruise ships: modern, clean, and efficient. There is a large park on the roof of the cruise terminal building, with a nice view of the Hong Kong skyline. Lots of transportation options to choose from. I don’t know about other cruise lines, but one thing HAL told us about this port needs to be clarified here. In their onboard talks about Hong Kong, one thing they tried very hard to do is to persuade people to buy the ship’s transfers. They showed us a picture of a couple hundred people at the taxi stand with no taxi in sight. They claimed that taxi drivers don’t like to go into the cruise terminal and so the only other option is their shuttles to the airport or to the airport express station in town. Well, they may be right about fewer taxi drivers wanting to come into the terminal, but they also conveniently omitted an option that all local people know about, which is also on the website of the Kai Tak cruise terminal – a free shuttle that takes you to two of the closest MTR (subway) stations. Even after I asked, they tried to tell me that the free shuttles do not allow you to take your luggage. That was a blatant lie. The driver does not help you load your bags onto the bus, but you can definitely take them with you. Lots of people have done that. I have done that. I understand that this may not be for everybody, but it is a viable option that should not be omitted in any port talk. It does require a bit of planning and research, and you must have some local currency with you, and you must be able to handle your luggage by yourselves, but it’s totally doable and can save you significant amount of money, depending on where you want to go and how many are in your party. Once you get to an MTR station, you have the options of using public transportation or taxi. Hong Kong has many, many interesting places reachable using the MTR, which is fast, clean and efficient. Naha, Japan We went to two gardens and a walking street. Fukushu-en, walkable from the cruise port, is larger and more beautiful than the Y200 entrance fee suggests. So it’s a delightful surprise. Shikina-en is another ½ hour walk from the last station on the YUI rail. The entrance is double that of Fukushu-en, but on the whole, we enjoy it less. It may be the time of year, but there’s not much to see. Both gardens offer a nice and serene space to take a leisurely walk. Lastly, we went to Kokusai-dori, the famous shopping street. There are some interesting things there, but we are not shopping people, and it didn’t really appeal to us too much. The time in port was short, and we did not have time for anything else. On the whole, we enjoyed our stay. The town was clean and orderly, and people were friendly. Not many spoke English, but between gesturing, a map, and a few Japanese phrases here and there, we managed. Ishigaki, Japan There is a free shuttle from the port to the pier (to other islands), which is close to downtown. We just took a walk to a temple, and a few tourist sites. We enjoyed a leisurely day. Keelung, Taiwan There is not much to see in the port area, but it is very close to the train station. Train to Taipei takes about 50 minutes and NT$42. We took the train to Taipei and got a day pass for the metro, which we used to go to a few famous sites. The port stop in Keelung is too short, not enough for even just Taipei. There are other interesting towns we would love to visit, but did not have enough time. Kaohsiung, Taiwan Kaohsiung has a pretty extensive subway system that will get you to most touristy places. You can also use the ferry to get to Cijun Island for street food and open air market. Manila, Philippines As soon as we got off the ship, we were bombarded by tour venders who tried to tell you how far Intramuros is. It is not far at all, easily walkable, but the traffic in that area is kind of chaotic. So one needs to be careful when crossing the street. Our ship had a free shuttle that takes us to Robinson Place Mall, in the modern downtown area of Manila. After visiting the mall, we walked back to the ship through Rizal Park, a large urban park with a Chinese garden and a Japanese garden inside. It is quite a nice space in very busy and noisy Manila. Although there are numerous banks around, you can’t exchange foreign currency unless you have an account with them. This is not very helpful to tourists. So exchange your money ahead of time, or look for a money changer. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
We chose this cruise to visit most of the ports that I had never visited before. Therefore 1st remark, Cruise says it stops in Bangkok, but Bangkok is 3 hours away by car. Had to group together with others and still paid $100 for 2 for ... Read More
We chose this cruise to visit most of the ports that I had never visited before. Therefore 1st remark, Cruise says it stops in Bangkok, but Bangkok is 3 hours away by car. Had to group together with others and still paid $100 for 2 for the round trip. Was very disappointed by Bangkok and would have prefered to have spent the day in Pattaya, which was right next to the ship. We visited Pattaya the second day, by ourselves, by taxi which is inexpensive $75 for 2, private tour all day. We booked for our selves the elephant ride, and the floating village tour. Cambodia is really a surprise and we cannot understand why it is even a stop on the route. Its dirty and poor, the taxi cab drivers or tuk tuk drivers throw them selves on the shuttle bus that takes you into town and most of the people on the bus refused to get off. There is NOTHING there, a big dirty market, no bargains,, same products as found everywhere. A waste of time. We booked ourselves the elephant ride, and the floating village tour. The ship itself, is old and they may say its been refurbished or renovated but where? The fitness club?? The entertainment was non existant. Even the cooking show that they seem to think is the main theme of the cruise was not allowed to give out any food as it was located in the same room as the night club so didnt pass health inspection, If thats the case, move the night club!! The only saving grace we had was that the movies which were free in the cabin for all and they had a lot of them and newer films. Thank goodness. Remember every other day is a sea day!! HAL wants to attract a younger crowd, I really dont see it happening!! The only good show they had was the 2 comedians, and I heard they had played a few extra days as the dancers all got sick. What a break for us. The singing and dancing team looked like amateurs out of high school, certainly no extra money was spent on good entertainment. The one good thing they did have onboard was the guest services crew and the excursion crew, that really didnt push the excursions and were available for advise in all the ports. That was very helpful. The suite we stayed in is very large and agreeable, so is the balcony. It was our first trip on Holland America and hopefully our las and we are very seasoned travelers. the problem is the cruise started off badly as I had booked the trip one year in advance and by the time the date for the trip came around they had lowered the price for the balcony room that we choose down $1140 for 2 of us, I of course complained immediately, I wanted the money difference back but to no avail. They made me a deal to up grade me to a suite at a discount price. I received $200 onboard credit, thats it. Why bother to book in advance!! Never again. If you book this cruise with the same ports, be aware there are free shuttles at a lot of the stops into town, to save you money. You can book most everything in advance on line without the high excursion prices that the ship offers. We took a junk cruise at Halong in Vietnam, it was fun, though it rained, I had booked this myself problem was the tour company didnt give a very good address or directions so with the taxi it was a little difficult to find the correct port as that is the main activity to visit the beautiful Halong bay. We took a luxury cruise which was maybe $20 more per person but it certainly had better quality food and some extras. Booked thru Classy Travel online beforehand, would definitely recommend them. For all additional info or tips send me an email I will be happy to answer all questions. Vickiducanois@gmail.com Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
minus - lower F&B quality than usual at HAL. no fresh OJ, dry / overcooked salmon, coffee quality, etc - below HAL standard service level. less than usual service with a smile. - boring entertainment except for music walk ... Read More
minus - lower F&B quality than usual at HAL. no fresh OJ, dry / overcooked salmon, coffee quality, etc - below HAL standard service level. less than usual service with a smile. - boring entertainment except for music walk - traditional ship. not comparable to fresh looking HAL Koningsdam. plus - music walk with BB King’s club - cooking classes onboard with America’s test kitchen workshops. itenerary was great, especially the Vietnam ports. from Singapore to Hong Kong. Cambodia is really a different level, dirty, messy, rough roads, construction every where, only casino’s and karaoke bars. great stops to former Saigon, Hoi An (“Venice in Asia”) and Halong Bay. tours booked via cruise critic roll call. travel authentic asia is really recommendable, Andy private tours as well, great day tours for competitive prices, good value for money, great guides. on board wifi is poor, slow, many times disconnecting, not worth the money. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
First off I'm solo traveler and second time to Asia on a cruise. I also prebook all excursions, beverage packages, and tranfers prior to leaving. I picked this cruise for ports, price of cruise, and length of time 23 days. Prior to ... Read More
First off I'm solo traveler and second time to Asia on a cruise. I also prebook all excursions, beverage packages, and tranfers prior to leaving. I picked this cruise for ports, price of cruise, and length of time 23 days. Prior to leaving they upgraded me to Neptune suite from guarenteed signature suite. Stayed in Singapore 2 days prior and told port changed no problem got to port and had to inform them I was priority boarding as stated on luggage tag and she had to check but afterwards I was in within 10 minutes. Room was exceptionally large for a solo traveler but loved it (especially the laundry service for a long cruise). I booked 6 holland excursions and 5 private excursions. Holland excursions were overall good just hard to understand due to accent but overall good except for manilla not worth going to at all too much traffic and little to see. My private excursions were excellent and they were all on time. Food was good I only ate in dining room once for singles meeting for lunch and the food was good. I mostly ate in lido market and food was hot and great variety-just did not like the limited times for dinner 530 to 8 and reopens at 1030 to 1130. Did not like the Dive in Burger as it too 10 minutes for burger and fries and it did not taste that good. Ate at Canaleto and service and food good but did not like the selection. Also ate at Pinnacle Grill for dinner and lunch and food and service was excellent would highly recommend. While I was a Neptune Suite with a dedicated lounge and breakfast restaurant did not use restaurant as it was not convient during scheduled ports due to hours of operations which always changed. Laundry service was excellent had it out by 9 am got back by 5 pm. Holland America did an excellent job on the visa and entry forms needed for all ports. They gave detailed notices regarding what was going to happen in each port for each segment of the cruise and gave detailed discriptions on how to fill out forms. Only downfalls on trip was the 1. billing took week to get bev package on card 2. pre paid transfer to airport took till last day to get resolved --need to communicate that it is non refundable and flights need to be after 1 pm--got refund as flight b4 1 pm, 3. poor communication unable to hear notices unless right at cabin door unable to hear on tv although turned to correct station 4. need more places to get specialty coffee as exploration cafe is only open from 6 am to 930. Overall would highly recommend this cruise line and itinerary. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
Full Marks to Holland America ! The Ship excellent very well refurbished & very very clean,balcony cabin very good no complaints but the staff throughout WOW !! brilliant done 32+ cruises with various cruise lines but probably the best ... Read More
Full Marks to Holland America ! The Ship excellent very well refurbished & very very clean,balcony cabin very good no complaints but the staff throughout WOW !! brilliant done 32+ cruises with various cruise lines but probably the best staff. The food was first rate in the restaurant, always tables to share with no waiting.The entertainment a bit lacking around the ship mainly piped music on a loop and the ships production shows just OK but that`s normal I think for Holland America, the bill board on board was brilliant & very entertaining. The main thing the itinerary Brilliant !!!! Cambodia Bangkok Da Nang & Siagon just fantastic not to mention Singapore & Hong Kong , please don`t let others put you off Cambodia they obviously didn`t do there home work cambodia is a third world developing country very raw rough & ready great for me & my photography & the people are lovely,great experience ! Well Done Holland America great cruise . Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
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