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26 Holland America Singles Cruise Reviews

I enjoyed my cruise! I particularly enjoyed the lincoln center stage and the walking track. I really enjoyed walking around the deck as it was good exercise after the big meals. I didn't find the entertainment that great other then ... Read More
I enjoyed my cruise! I particularly enjoyed the lincoln center stage and the walking track. I really enjoyed walking around the deck as it was good exercise after the big meals. I didn't find the entertainment that great other then the lincoln center stage although I heard one of the comedians was quite good - i'm not interested in comedians. The dance number was good but at the billboard singing event they did the singers were horrible. I found there were a lot of talks during the day to keep me busy but the scenery was the main attraction for most days. One example of a talk was on the Pacific Giants (whales) that was good. There was a naturalist on board and I attended one of her talks on salmon. She also held wildlife sighting sessions, although I didn't attend that. There was a really good Alaska in Concert show where they had a film of alaska accompanied by the musicians of BB Kings and Lincoln Stage. The food was good. I preferred the main dining room to the buffet. There was a seafood night in the buffet though on the ketchikan day that was good. I particularly liked the steak and lobster tail on the second gala night although unfortunately it was rough that night leaving ketchikan and I couldn't completely enjoy it. I was a solo traveller but I found everyone friendly at the dining room. The only tour I did was a rail/bus excursion by Chilkoot charters in Skagway and it was nice it only had 24 people on the bus instead of the 60 provided by cruise lines. Make sure you sit on the right if you are going up to Fraser on the bus as you will have better scenery. Note the bow is open on the Glacier Bay day and the inside passage day. Luckily we had a nice day for Glacier Bay. Note that while overall we had good weather, september has 3 times the rain as May or June. So you are taking your chances in September that you will have good weather - I lucked out. Some people complain of Noordam looking worn but that didn't bother me. I thought it looked nice. I liked being on what felt like a small intimate cruise ship - lots of nooks and crannys to sit in. Disembarkation went really smoothly as I chose to carry my own bags. My only complaint was if i'd know I would have a more leisurely breakfast! Overall, a great first cruise. If cruises weren't so expensive for singles, I would cruise again but as it is I would have to be picky about prices to choose Holland America again. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
The Panama Canal was exciting.it was awesome to see how it was done, The crew on the ship was fabulous expecially as follows Danny , was so amazing always making sure everything was okay, and went out of his way to make you feel so ... Read More
The Panama Canal was exciting.it was awesome to see how it was done, The crew on the ship was fabulous expecially as follows Danny , was so amazing always making sure everything was okay, and went out of his way to make you feel so welcome and enjoyable Rene our drink guy , was so informative of drinks , wines ,if you weren’t sure what you liked he was sure he’d bring something you like and he did Zeri, our mint man after dinner was so entertaining and such a comedian , he even went out of his way to take a picture with the professional photographer. Lucky, our waiter was so deliteful to see every evening, how he remembered everyone’s name was amazing, so astonishing. Aguhn, our server, was so remarkable how he knew everything on the menu. Olivia in Lido restaurant, was so sweet and pleasant. It was a delightful day to see her smiling face every morning and afternoon who went out of her way to make sure you got what you wanted and came and talked to see how your day was going. Sweet as cotton candy, I told her. I will cruise again with Holland American. One complaint, was the evening menu, seem to be a lot of the same, except each night things were changed a little. We did start with the norovirus, it was amazing to see how well everyone was sure not to make it spread. , very well accomplished so our cruise was deli. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
This was my 63 cruise. I have sailed on Carnival, Norwegian, Royal Caribbean, Princess, Holland America, Disney, Costa, Cunard, and Celebrity. I am 46 years old. Hotel Info: We flew down one night early and stayed at Bahia Mar Fort ... Read More
This was my 63 cruise. I have sailed on Carnival, Norwegian, Royal Caribbean, Princess, Holland America, Disney, Costa, Cunard, and Celebrity. I am 46 years old. Hotel Info: We flew down one night early and stayed at Bahia Mar Fort Lauderdale Beach – a DoubleTree by Hilton hotel. This was our second time at this hotel. The employees are very nice. Ship Info: We haven’t sailed on this cruise line since 2004. We enjoy this cruise line because it is geared towards adults and not a drinking crowd. The average age group was probably Baby Boomers (with most being retired). I loved how this cruise line didn’t give you the option on their beverage, dining, and fitness receipts for “additional gratuities” like other cruise lines do. If you enjoy classical music, reading, relaxing, great conversation, and hardly any children, this is for you. The ship was extremely clean and new. If you are looking for a cruise with a lot of night life (disco and pool parties) and people spending time at the bar or getting buckets of beer by the pool, this cruise line didn’t have that. Activities: Their spin classes in the fitness center are $20 each and they hook you up to equipment that keep track of your heart rate, etc. They also offer yoga and Pilates (for a fee). They offer several complimentary fitness classes too like meditation, abs, and stretch classes. They do not offer dance classes. They do an amazing job with their afternoon tea (includes food served by the employees). They do not have karaoke at night. They do not do pool contests/games during the day. They do not have bands playing by the pool during the day. This ship did not offer “family actives” like water slides, rock climbing walls, etc. Service: Service was great in all areas. Shore Excursions: We booked the Snorkel trip in Bonaire with the cruise line (Seacow), and it was excellent. If you like to sit on the beach with shade, I recommend booking the chairs with the shade on their private island several weeks before you cruise because they sell out (you can book it on their website). Stateroom: We originally booked an outside cabin, then a few weeks before our cruise, we received an email from the cruise line asking if we wanted to upgrade to a balcony for $125/person (total for 10 nights), so we took it. They offer complimentary shoeshine service. They had Elemis shampoo, conditioner, body wash, and body lotion in the bathroom. The water pressure in the shower was outstanding; probably the best shower at sea. Out of all the cruise lines, they offer the best complimentary movies available to watch on your TV. As a matter of fact, they don’t charge you for any movies (like some cruise lines do). They offered a package for unlimited laundry and pressing that was $70 per cabin for the 10 nights, so we purchased that and loved it. The balcony did not have lights on it, so if you wanted to sit out there at night and read, this was not an option. Dining: Before you order your meal in the main dining room, ask the waiter what they recommend. If you do not like crowds, eat in the main dining room for breakfast and lunch instead of the buffet. This cruise line has the dining room open for lunch on embarkation day, and we really enjoyed that so we did not have to go to the buffet. We purchased their dining package so we could experience all their specialty restaurants. It cost $95/person for five restaurants, and I felt it was well worth it. We purchased it online a few weeks prior to the cruise, and then when we got on board, we made the reservations. Our favorite restaurant was the Asian restaurant. I recommend eating in a specialty restaurant on the first night because some main dining rooms can be a bit unorganized because all the guests are trying to figure out where they sit, etc. When you eat in the Asian restaurant, make your reservation near the window during the sunset. Their buffet had the best food options I have seen in years. They also serve everything to you, so other guests are not touching the buffet lines. Dress Code: They had two formal nights, and most men were in a dark suit. I wore a cocktail dress on the formal nights. On the other nights, everyone dressed in business attire. I enjoy dressing up. Entertainment: I loved their entertainment, especially the Lincoln Center Stage and the dancers in the main show room. Their main shows are three times per night (6:30, 8:00, and 9:30 p.m.). Disembarkation: If you want to carry all your bags off the ship by yourself, they will let you off starting at around 7:30 a.m. We had a 10:15 am flight and opted to carry our bags off. Other: I prefer Celebrity, Holland America, Cunard, and Princess when not traveling with children or young adults. I like Royal Caribbean, Carnival, and Norwegian Cruise Line when traveling with a younger crowd. Overall: 5 out of 5 stars. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
This was my second time on the Eurodam, the first being back in January of 2010. It was interesting to see how the ship has evolved since then. I cruised solo this time and found the Eurodam well suited for the purpose. Embarkation and ... Read More
This was my second time on the Eurodam, the first being back in January of 2010. It was interesting to see how the ship has evolved since then. I cruised solo this time and found the Eurodam well suited for the purpose. Embarkation and debarkation. Not much to say about it. This was my 6th HAL cruise and every time getting on and off the ship has been swift and painless. I really wish HAL could teach airlines how to organize these sorts of processes. Comments about my cabin are below. It was an inside cabin and offered at a cheap price due to the possibility of noise. It was no different than any cabin I've booked anywhere. Great value for the money. The food on the ship was a disappointment 7 years ago. Not this time around. The variety of food offered on any given night and the quality were both amazingly good. One thing I noticed in the Lido Market was that they always had chicken, fish, beef, and pork on offer as well as lamb most nights. No matter your preference for meat, they had you covered. For vegetarians the salad bar was huge, the ingredients always fresh and there were a variety of non-meat cooked meals as well. I tried a cheeseburger at the Margaritaville in Ocho Rios, and frankly the burgers served on the Eurodam at the Dive In Cafe were vastly superior. That's sort of how it went with all the food. The made to order pizza was amazingly good as well and a big upgrade over what they offered on my first Eurodam cruise. The usual variety of shipboard activities were very good as always. I only took in one show which was a viewing of "Frozen Planet" but with a live orchestra performing the movie's musical score. It was incredible to watch and listen to and I highly recommend it. It's a refreshing change from musicals and comedians. As far as service goes I would give the crew 6 stars if I could. Everybody knows their jobs. Everybody works incredibly hard. Stop and watch them and see how much they get done at any given time. Yet, they are so efficient that you can take it entirely for granted because they make themselves so unobtrusive. One thing I really noticed were a number of little changes that were all obviously aimed at reducing lineups and congestion. The end result is a lot less crowding during tendering, less waiting in line at restaurants, and generally just a very pleasant experience due to a lack of hurrying up and waiting. Again. Airlines take note. The four ports we visited were: Half Moon Cay, Ocho Rios, Grand Cayman and Key West. Half Moon Cay was paradise as usual. If you haven't seen this place, you're doing yourself a massive disservice. HMC was the main reason I chose to go on HAL again. The beach and water are in a league of their own. Ocho Rios is not my favourite port. We ended up docking on the industrial pier instead of the main cruise ship pier which meant a short walk over to the cruise ship pier and downtown. Once in downtown I was beset by the usual collection of locals who won't take no for an answer. I'd prefer almost any stop over this one. Grand Cayman was its usual outstanding self. I meant to do 7 Mile Beach but ended up getting sidetracked shopping. There's lots to see and do in the downtown of Georgetown, and it's very safe and pleasant to walk about. Possible activities on Grand Cayman are well known and too numerous to mention but I highly recommend it as a port of call. Key West was a rain out unfortunately. I will have to go back to see it again I guess... I talked with one of the Club HAL workers and there were about 24 kids on board. From what I could see they were having a grand old time. I would take my kids on a future cruise, even though Eurodam lacks a lot of the kid-friendly stuff (movie screen, waterslide, rock climbing walls, etc etc). Bottom line is I had a phenomenal time, had a great vacation, and I really liked some of the subtle changes HAL has made to make their ships even more enjoyable and efficient. I would go again in a heartbeat. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
Husband and I rate this trip is one of the best we have ever taken. Mostly because of the service of the Holland America staff was amazing? All staff including our Captain to the carpenters who built last minute dock with a Chief where ... Read More
Husband and I rate this trip is one of the best we have ever taken. Mostly because of the service of the Holland America staff was amazing? All staff including our Captain to the carpenters who built last minute dock with a Chief where there was none on the Amazon River's edge. We met wonderful people we now consider friends. Our cruise had its fair share of mishaps which of only added to the cruise experience. There was propeller concerns in Martinique, extra five hours. We drifted in Alantic ocean for 10 hours, our captain kept us informed at all times what was going on and then bough the entire ship drinks for an hour. The presentations were of professional quality and we learned a lot. I would say this was not recommended for children. On our entire ship there was one child. For those who do not do well with traveling with advanced age people, you might want to consider something else also. I will say it was embarrassing when 80 and 90-year-olds were doing far better than my husband and I who are in our 60s. This was a once-in-a-lifetime trip for us. The Amazon itinerary might not be for everybody, but we sure enjoyed it. We are going to be spending many times and years talking about this journey. I would recommend to do this one at least once. Like I said in the beginning this was the best trip we've ever taken. We would not change a thing. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
In August 2017 my wife suffered a fully-detached retina. If you don't know, rehab from surgery requires no change in air pressure for at least 90 days. Well, that meant no flying and our Mediterranean Cruise in September 2017 had to ... Read More
In August 2017 my wife suffered a fully-detached retina. If you don't know, rehab from surgery requires no change in air pressure for at least 90 days. Well, that meant no flying and our Mediterranean Cruise in September 2017 had to be cancelled. Thankfully we had trip insurance so all non-refundable expenses were reimbursed. Six weeks later, we were in the doctor's office for another check-up. Since the eye was healing on schedule, we asked, "Can we take a vacation on a ship?" We live in Seattle so the doctor said, "Absolutely, yes"". A quick call to our AAA travel agent and, 9 days later, we left on a 7 day round-trip to Alaska on HA's Oosterdam. We selected this cruise because we'd previously been to Skagway and the Oosterdam's itinerary included Sitka (instead of Skagway) plus Hubbard Glacier (instead of Tracy Arm). We were so happy with our substitute cruise...while it wasn't Venice and the Adriatic, we had a wonderful time on the Oosterdam, with its emphasis on European Art and Holland America's partnerhsip with America's Test Kitchen. Sitka is a great city to visit...so much Russian and Native Northwest Indian history; we'd love to go back for a few days! If you every get to book a cruise that visits Hubbard Glacier, you'll be very impressed with the immensity of this glacier. Sailing up Tracy Arm provides spectacular scenary but Hubbard Glacier is so huge. Our ship's naturalist said our sunny, 45 degree day was the best weather of the entire 2017 cruising season to Alaska. What's not to love about that? We'd heard a few stories that HA caters to an older cruise clientele. From our first experience, this is probably true, at least compared to our other cruise experiences with Celebrity and Royal Caribbean. There were families with small kids and grandparents with grandchildren, just not as many as on other cruise lines. (Our cruise was in late September, well after the school year started, so that was probably a contributing factor.) We're nearly 70 and had a great time. We really loved the emphasis on classical art and music. Once again, the best part was meeting interesting travelers, which is true on every cruise anywhere. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
Beautiful San Diego,We arrived 1 day early, Dec 3rd, Watched the sunset at Sunset Cliffs.There was the evening Christmas Parade. The King's Inn, authentic Mexican food for dinner next door. Embarkation at 1.00pm was very fast ... Read More
Beautiful San Diego,We arrived 1 day early, Dec 3rd, Watched the sunset at Sunset Cliffs.There was the evening Christmas Parade. The King's Inn, authentic Mexican food for dinner next door. Embarkation at 1.00pm was very fast and our luggage was in our room within the hour.Correction, my luggage was missing, regardless We headed up to Lido Deck 8 like veteran cruisers for lunch...Asian curry noodles and rice quite authentic. Checked with Security where my bag was held and my small travel iron was confiscated until Ensenada.You can not pack extension cords either. My cabin was Ocean View 3343 mid deck, near the Clock Tower Atrium....which was beautifully Xmas decorated with gingerbread houses, train set.Christmas trees lights.. Cabin was great,, quiet and equidistant both ends of the Amsterdam, La Fontaine Dining room and Queens Lounge..Must mention that my Cabin Stewards Agus and Made were warm, friendly and unobtrusive, kept the cabin very clean and tidy. I look forward to the Towel Art and be surprised every evening. All the ports were excellent, You are in Paradise, The ship excursions were pretty good but We decided to rent a car where We can and explore the islands on our own. HAL ships' ON LOCATION .We had Kainoa who gave us lectures on Hawaiian Culture, History and personal stories of the islands, advice,maps, guidelines to plan your day ashore,the many places to see,and shore excursions. There were the Hula Dancers performances and Hula lessons.Ukulele lessons,Hawaiian Lei making classes ,....A deeper Hawaiian experience. Dec 4th, 5 lovely fun filled sea days,This beautiful ship had fresh flowers everywhere. I read books by Dean Koontz and Jeffrey Archer in The Exploration Cafe Library. Dec 10th, HONOLULU (Oahu). We took the bus transit to Hanauma Bay, for swimming and snorkeling,Not environmentally correct to walk on the coral and rocks,then a long walk on Waikiki Beach, and some shopping for a Ukulele (Better buy on Amazon). i've been to the Pearl Harbor Memorial before .. there wasn't enough time to do more. HILO (Hawaii) Dec 11th..We drove up to Mauna Kea (13 796 ft) At 9200 ft,The Onizuka Center, the road to the summit was blocked off because of frozen ice, so We decided to drive South to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.(original plan was to do this from Kona) Moana Loa was spewing lava before the mist covered everything. Took a walk through the Thurston Lava Tube. At the shoreline of black lava fields, Kilauea was actively erupting lava into the sea, shooting massive plumes of smoke and ashes into the sky that can bee seen from afar. Next day, Dec 12th KONA, There was no car rental shuttle.It's USD28 to get to the car rental and USD28 back so no car rental. We did the Hop On for USD15 each,At the beach stop,James went snorkeling with his Go Pro and I walked the tidal pools and beaches.Saw 5 turtles and lots of yellow fishes..James did the Atlantis submarine (USD85).while I went shopping. 6 packs of Macadamia nut chocs ($24) at Target and Ross is my favorite for bargain hunting, shoes, dresses and fine Italian soap.(Bulgari 100ml parfum $30). Dec 13th NAWILIWILI (Kauai). We drove through Lihue to Waimea Canyon,The Grand Canyon of Hawaii.Don't just stop here, keep on driving to the very end of the road and from here you can see the North shore of the island, the jagged cliffs overlooking the sea.here was where they filmed Jurassic Park. A stop at Wailua Falls, there was a rainbow, before heading back to the ship. Dec 14th LAHAINA (Maui). Make sure your car rental pick-up is at JHM Airport.(not Kahului Airport which is too far from Lahaina) and the last car rental shuttle return to pier is 4.00pm ($20 cab return to Pier at 6.30pm). Drove up to Hakeakala National Park, dormant volcano, elevation 10,024 ft. We were above the clouds !!!! Nature enthusiasts would love the unique flora , silver swords. THE ROAD TO HANA, yes, We decided to do partway of this road, time permitting because We don't know when We'll be back this way again, just to say "We were there.". Narrow winding road through rain forest.Stopped at a fruit stand, On the way back, We went to the beach to watch the surfers.I had a Maui shave ice for $5, don't do that, not natural flavoring, inedible I had to throw away. It's my birthday, the dining room staff sang a Happy Happy song, which also works for anniversaries or anything else (I speak the language) and also a Birthday cake. If they sang in reverse, Am I one year younger You think? The 5 sea days to Ensenada, Mexico Dec20th, a seaside town with a wet fish market, lots of touristsy shops.Had a walk around and back to the ship for TEA., delicious scones with berries preserve and clotted cream.Earl Grey. Dec 21st, San Diego.Last breakfast.Disembark,Took the shuttle to the airport USD10. The HiGH POINT of this wonderful and special cruise was the Scenic Sailing of Kilauea Volcano 10.00pm.I videoed from the ship's bow.The lava flowing into the sea, bright orange red spewing up against the dark night.Lots of steam and smoke. Captain Fred Eversen is cool. The Amsterdam Dancers and Singers and the other entertainers were Super Excellent. The Culinary Art Centre was standing room only, Lots of activities like Trivia and stuff.... Cruise director guys were cool. The food was Excellent and ALL the staff did their best to make this an amazing wonderful cruise. I did not win the $25,000 Bingo, ;( I did not win the Cruise Bingo. ;( Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
I chose Koningsdam because it was brand new and happened to be sailing to my favorite destinations, Greece, Italy, Spain, Sardinia, Sicily, Albania, Egypt. Two ports were aborted, one for weather, one for security. The embarkation and ... Read More
I chose Koningsdam because it was brand new and happened to be sailing to my favorite destinations, Greece, Italy, Spain, Sardinia, Sicily, Albania, Egypt. Two ports were aborted, one for weather, one for security. The embarkation and disembarkation was flawless from my perspective...no issues, minimal wait times. The decor indeed drew you out of your cabin, delightful, plush. Loved the new Danish Coffee Bar, missed the Library, music was the main theme of the ship. Did not disappoint. Entertainment was first class. The variety and caliber was extraordinary. This cruise was port heavy, the HAL shore excursions were very pricey. My goal is to sail on each ship at least once and of course build my Star status. My interior cabin was quite small, but sufficed for one person. I repeatedly asked for upgrades, certainly paid enough for an upgrade, but did not receive one. I hope that changes on future cruises. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
I can't compare HAL to any other line as it's the only one I've cruised on. However, my Mother was on almost every line available in the US and Europe. After she tried HAL she stayed with them and became a 4 star mariner ... Read More
I can't compare HAL to any other line as it's the only one I've cruised on. However, my Mother was on almost every line available in the US and Europe. After she tried HAL she stayed with them and became a 4 star mariner until her passing. She introduced me to HAL in 2010 and I was hooked. Since then, I've introduced cruising to my 3 grown daughters. This was my 6th cruise and my daughters 2nd with HAL. If you're looking for glitz/glamor, brass and glass, rock climbing or water slides, this is not the line for you. But if you want elegance, fine dining, and total pampering then Holland America is a must try. My middle daughter JN and I just got back from the Western Caribbean on the Nieuw Amsterdam (April 3-10th). We thoroughly enjoyed our trip and have not one complaint. Our embarkation was without issue and our cabin was clean and ready. We found the ship's staff extremely welcoming and helpful. We ate at the MDR, Lido, Pinnacle, Drive In, NY Pizza and Tamarind. All meals were exceptional. The only disappointment was room service for breakfast on disembarkation day. Our order was incomplete. Totally understandable as the staff is under pressure to prepare for the new passengers boarding. My daughter took advantage of the gym several times. She has a gym membership at home and was pleased with the amount of and condition of the equipment aboard a ship. We went to the casino, she found a quiet spot she liked (Silk Den), she went to the BB King show and had a great experience. My entertainment/destination is the balcony with a glass of wine and my feet up. For me, it doesn't get any better than that. We both absolutely love Half Moon Cay. Clean, everything accessible and the beach was our favorite. The lunch BBQ was very good. My youngest daughter is considering renewing her vows on Half Moon Cay's chapel in 2017. We checked out the chapel and it was ideal. Getting the clam shell on Half Moon was worth every penny and I'll rent one again next cruise. We booked an excursion to Seven Mile Beach on Grand Cayman. I was disappointed in the beach but, I'm spoiled by Half Moon. I found the beach to be very narrow and uneven. Hard to walk. The water there was clean and clear but you really need swim shoes due to the coral and rocks. In summary, I enjoyed the cruise and the Nieuw Amsterdam was all that I expected and more. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
We had planned this cruise before my husband died, but he had made me promise to go even without him. I had mixed feelings but continued on with the cruise. I arrived in San Diego two days before the cruise and was able to tour the ... Read More
We had planned this cruise before my husband died, but he had made me promise to go even without him. I had mixed feelings but continued on with the cruise. I arrived in San Diego two days before the cruise and was able to tour the city before the cruise. I was also able to go to a pre-cruise dinner with some of my new Cruise Critic friends. Embarkation went smoothly for me but from what I hear there was a long wait after our group got through. We did have to wait a while before we were allowed to board but we were able to sit while we waited. I felt sorry for those who were still on the long lines waiting to check in. I had stayed at the HAL hotel (Sheraton Marina) and used the HAL transfer to the port and we arrived before the long lines started. I had a great time in spite of the weather (which only Mother Nature can control) and because of some great friends I made on Cruise Critic before the cruise. I had an obstructed view cabin. I choose this cabin because I knew it had a floor to ceiling window which gives you more light in the room. My stewards were always polite and friendly and if I needed something willing to help me. They would greet me by name every time they saw me and ask how I was doing and if I needed anything. I found the service in the MDR to be very good. I had open seating because I like to meet new people and never had a problem being seated. Depending on who I was seated with the time I spent in the MDR was perfect. Some nights we would be talking so much we didn’t realize how much time had passed. But no one every rushed us out. I prefer to eat breakfast in the MDR so did not eat that often in the Lido. I did use the Salad Bar in the Lido and also the Dive In for their hamburgers. You can ask for the hamburger without some of the toppings if you so choose. The fries were my downfall, they are great. As far as the pre-made sandwiches, I prefer to have one made to order so I didn’t eat those. I am not a sun worshiper so did not use the pool or lounge chairs on the Lido Deck. I did go and sit at a table in the shade to either listen to music by the Hawaiian group or to just sit and read. I found the entertainment to be very good. There were plenty of lectures to go to if that was what you enjoyed to do. Kainoa gave lectures on Hawaii and the Islands we were visiting. Other lectures were things I wasn’t interested in so didn’t attend. But there was so always something to do not matter what you enjoyed doing. Jorge had activities for those who liked to keep moving. He had a Westerdam Treasure Hunt, The Big Kahuna Activity Challenge, to name a few. Also there was Trivia with Mario or Pub Trivia with Jorge. For those who enjoy music there was Anna in the Piano Bar. The entertainment in the Show Lounge was also very good; from the HAL Dancers and Singers to all the other entertainers they brought on board. Through the Cruise Critic Meet & Greet I met a log of new friends and we had a lot of activities and excursions planned long before we even arrived on the ship. So I could never say I was bored or had nothing to do with all that was going on. I did most of my excursions through private vendors which my Cruise Critic friends had arranged before we even started the cruise. There were a few I did with HAL and found them adequate for the price. We did miss two ports (Fanning Island and Rarotonga) because of the weather and the strong sea swells, but that was for safety reasons. I had read of a tender on the World Cruise getting pushed into the coral that surrounds the islands in January so I agreed with the Captain’s call of not going to those islands in the bad seas. We were well compensated with both a $100 on board credit and a 15% credit toward a future cruise booked by April 30 of 2017. I have two more cruises already planned. Disembarkation was pretty smooth and I used the HAL transfer to the airport. Overall I would rate this cruise as outstanding. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
12-night Mediterranean Empires cruise  May 2, 2014 – May 14, 2014 Depart: Venice, Italy (round-trip) Cabin / Suite: 7031 (category PS) Itinerary: Venice, Italy; at sea; Katakolon (Olympia), Greece; Piraeus (Athens), Greece; Istanbul, ... Read More
12-night Mediterranean Empires cruise  May 2, 2014 – May 14, 2014 Depart: Venice, Italy (round-trip) Cabin / Suite: 7031 (category PS) Itinerary: Venice, Italy; at sea; Katakolon (Olympia), Greece; Piraeus (Athens), Greece; Istanbul, Turkey (overnight); Mitilini, Lesbos, Greece; Kusadasi (Ephesus), Turkey; Santorini, Greece; Argostoli, Cephalonia, Greece; at sea; Venice, Italy (overnight) Introduction This 12-night “Mediterranean Empires” cruise aboard Holland America Line’s Nieuw Amsterdam was my 34th cruise, but my first to Europe. I have previously sailed Carnival 23 times, Holland America and Royal Caribbean three times each, and once each on Celebrity, Princess, Majesty, and Premier. I consider myself pretty well-versed and experienced in cruises, but I hadn’t taken a cruise in over two years before my trip on the Nieuw Amsterdam, and I hadn’t taken a cruise as long as this one. My last cruise was a New Years’ trip to the Western Caribbean aboard the Carnival Legend, and my last cruise with Holland America was in July, 2008 to Alaska on the Oosterdam. I had never cruised in a suite on a cruise except for one trip on Carnival’s Imagination back in 2005, so I especially looked forward to this cruise on the Nieuw Amsterdam. This review will cover the various aspects of life onboard the ship since I’ve already provided a port-by-port account of this cruise in previous posts. We traveled in the Pinnacle Suite (PS) #7031 on Rotterdam Deck, and I also posted on that earlier. In Summary… This was easily my most memorable cruise for many reasons. First of all, we were traveling in the largest suite on the ship — the Pinnacle Suite thanks to the generous invitation from my Aunt and Uncle. Since I’m accustomed to standard staterooms, this was a real treat and a definite outlier from my “typical” cruise experience. Secondly, the fact that this cruise allowed us to visit so many destinations to which I had not previously traveled made it an especially memorable experience. Finally, the company with whom I traveled — my Aunt, Uncle, and girlfriend all added to this cruise. I’m not sure if it was because we were suite guests, but the service aboard the Nieuw Amsterdam was exceptional in all aspects. Pretty much everyone we came in contact with went above and beyond throughout the cruise. Just as exceptional was the food. I found the cuisine all over this ship to be some of the best I’ve had on any cruise. The ship itself was beautiful and filled with art, and it had more than adequate facilities for the guests. Entertainment was for the most part pretty good, but considering the port intensive itinerary, it was not a priority for our party during this trip. As mentioned before, the itinerary was sensational, as we visited eight ports during the twelve nights. All in all, this cruise was fantastic and probably my best cruise to date. Food Since this was, after all a cruise, there was naturally food available whenever you wanted. On the Nieuw Amsterdam, there were two primary food venues — The Manhattan Dining Room and the Lido Restaurant. In addition to these two venues were four specialty restaurants — The Pinnacle Grill, Tamarind, Canaletto, and the Dive-In Burger Shack. An extensive room service menu was also available, and for suite guests – snacks, hors d’oeuvres, and canapés were available daily in the Neptune Lounge (concierge lounge). Manhattan Dining Room We enjoyed dinner most of the nights in the Manhattan Dining Room. As the main dining room on the ship, the Manhattan offered open seating for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, as well as two assigned seatings on the upper level for dinner. We chose the late seating dinner and enjoyed a table for six by a window in the aft section of the upper level of the dining room at table #57. Our waiter team led by Slamet and Ming provided impeccable service throughout the week. By the second night, they knew our preferences, and accommodated special requests without hesitation. The Assistant Dining Room Manager, Megan paid us special attention and ensured that our every wish was granted. Starting the second night, we enjoyed most of our dinners with the ship’s doctor Richard and his wife Michelle — they were such nice people, and we enjoyed spending the evening with them on a regular basis. The food served in the Manhattan Dining Room was fantastic. It was a definite notch above the dinners I typically receive in the main dining room on cruise ships. The steaks were cooked properly, the fish and pork dishes were fantastic, and the appetizers and soups were plentiful and tasty. We found the menus each night to be varied and relevant, as fresh, local ingredients were used on regional specialties throughout the cruise. All in all, dinner in the Manhattan Dining Room was a really special experience, and we looked forward to dining there throughout the cruise. As I previously stated, the food was a cut above normal “cruise food” and seemed to be prepared for a much smaller group rather than a ship full of 1,800 guests. Pinnacle Grill and Tamarind On the formal nights, we dined in two of the three specialty restaurants. The first formal night, we chose to eat in the Pinnacle Grill. The Pinnacle Grill is the upscale steakhouse aboard the Nieuw Amsterdam. Though it carries a $29 cover fee, it is well worth it. The menu features an impressive selection of steaks and seafood. I ordered the rib eye, which was excellent, and my girlfriend had the filet mignon. The filet literally melted in your mouth, and was one of the better tasting filets I’ve enjoyed anywhere. We also had the opportunity to have lunch in the Pinnacle Grill on the last day of the cruise ($10) where I had a fantastic shrimp cocktail and a delicious Wagyu beef burger. The last two formal nights, we dined in the ship’s Asian-Fusion restaurant, Tamarind ($20). The food here was simply exquisite. The appetizers and soups were extremely good. On various occasions, we enjoyed the mixed satays, potstickers, pho, tempura fried shrimp, and spring rolls for appetizers. The first trip there, I ordered the excellent Penang Red Currty Coconut Chicken, and the second time I had the Wasabi and Soy Crusted Beef Tenderloin. For desert, the tempura fried ice cream is not to be missed! The tenderloin, along with the appetizers and aforementioned fried ice cream was one of the best meals I’ve had in my life – anywhere, and certainly the best I’ve had on a ship. The day we arrived in Argostoli, my girlfriend and I enjoyed a dim sum lunch in Tamarind, and it was also exceptional. The Lido Restaurant The other main food venue on the Nieuw Amsterdam was the Lido Restaurant. This was the ship’s buffet area, and it was split into several distinct food serving sections. For breakfast, the had a fantastic eggs benedict bar, where one could choose from eight types of eggs benedict; a fresh eggs / omelet bar; several traditional breakfast buffet lines; a fresh Belgian waffle line, and a continental breakfast area complete with every bread, pastry, and fruit one could imagine. I especially enjoyed the eggs benedict bar along with the waffles. For lunch, the area changed with choices for a varying “Taste of Nations” line, two traditional lunch lines, two salad bars lines, an Italian / Mexican line, and of course pizza. Though we only had lunch in Lido a few times (we were in port during lunch on most days), I really enjoyed the Taste of Nations — particularly their Asian specialties. Overall, the food in the Lido was varied, fresh, and delicious. The presentation in the buffet lines was clean and appetizing — it was an extremely good option for a meal onboard the Nieuw Amsterdam. Canaletto and Dive In We did not try the ship’s specialty Italian restaurant, Canaletto simply because we found it pointless to eat Italian food on a ship full of so many different options, on a cruise that started and ended… in Italy. On the other hand, we did eat at the “Dive-In” Burger Bar on a few occasions and found them to prepare a very tasty burger. They utilize a pager operation at “Dive-In” which allows one to go relax at their table until the food is ready. Room Service We utilized room service for the majority of our breakfasts, as we enjoyed having coffee and a light breakfast in our suite or on the balcony. Breakfast always arrived on time, though they did have problems grasping the concept of leaving the food in the butler’s pantry instead of coming through the main door, waking everyone up. We also arranged for room service to provide appetizers on several occasions prior to dinner. One one evening, we even ordered some appetizers from Tamarind and Pinnacle, and they were delicious (there was obviously a cost for this). They really did their best to satisfy our requests throughout the week, as we had some pretty abnormal requests, such as a plate of nachos! As previously mentioned, the food on this ship was probably the best I’ve had on any cruise. It certainly was better than the food we had on my last Holland America cruise, and blows away the notion that cruise food is relatively bland since it’s mass-produced. We found the cuisine onboard to be consistently excellent. Service Service aboard the Nieuw Amsterdam truly was top-notch. From our room stewards, to the concierge team, to the dining room waiters, to the dining room managers, to the bartenders and cocktail waiters — the service was simply spectacular. Our two room stewards, Mugi and Daniel kept our large suite spotless. They were friendly and accommodated all of our special requests. The concierge team of Chris and Nickolai were fantastic. Again, they went out of their way to ensure that all of our needs were met. One of them was always available in the Neptune Lounge, and they arranged for everything from dinner reservations to spa treatments to in-room dining. As previously mentioned, the dining room service was impeccable. The Assistant Dining Room Manager, Megan literally couldn’t do enough for us. He personally delivered a plate of fresh asparagus and spinach to the table nightly with a smile, since we’d asked for it on one occasion. He also arranged for a private tour of the kitchen, led by Petr, the Executive Chef. I know this was likely because we were guests in the Pinnacle Suite, but it was really appreciated and special, nonetheless. The same sort of friendly service was found from all the bartenders and cocktail waiters. They went out of their way to get to know us during the cruise. Our favorite cocktail waiters, Roland and Fritz greeted us with smiles and conversation on a daily basis. Again, the service aboard the Nieuw Amsterdam was consistently excellent for the entire cruise. Entertainment We really didn’t partake in too much of the entertainment on board, simply because we enjoyed very long dinners and we were dead tired and ready to go to bed on almost a nightly basis. However, one of the highlights onboard was the Piano Bar, where we enjoyed a drink on several different occasions. We did see one of the production shows, and it was pretty good — my girlfriend especially enjoyed it. One evening, we stopped in to see the comedian, but he wasn’t all that great. On most evenings, we’d have a post-dinner drink in one of the many bars onboard, but usually we ended up in the Piano Bar as previously mentioned. I did enjoy the casino on a couple of the nights — it wasn’t that large, but plenty big for the ship. We did partake in one of the “pub crawls” and had a great time despite the paltry attendance of only six guests! All in all, I’d rate the entertainment on the Nieuw Amsterdam as adequate. While the entertainment is nowhere near the elaborate shows and non-stop energy found on Royal Caribbean and Carnival, it was certainly plenty for this itinerary and clientele. Gym / Spa The Greenhouse Spa and fitness center is located on Lido deck forward, with large windows and a wrap-around view off the front of the ship. I used the fitness center three times on the trip and found it adequate. I primarily use dumbbells, and they had weights up to 75 pounds, though the lifting area was very small. This wasn’t too much of a problem since I seemed to be the only person in the area. Treadmills were plentiful, though they seemed to be almost always occupied by people walking slowly — isn’t that what the wrap around promenade deck is for? My girlfriend had two treatments at the Greenhouse spa, and seemed to enjoy both of them. On the first day at sea, she enjoyed a massage, which was preceded by an hour or so in the impressive Thelassotherapy pool and steam room. On the day we arrived in Istanbul, she got a manicure, and seemed to like that too. The only negative she mentioned was the price of the manicure seemed to be a bit exorbitant, which can be expected on a cruise ship. Ship The four-year old Nieuw Amsterdam is a beautiful ship. At 935 feet long and 86,700 gross registered tons, she is by no means a small cruise ship, but at the same time, she’s nowhere near being as large as most of the ships our there these days. This mid-sized ship and relatively low passenger count (1,800 on this cruise) made for a ship that really never felt crowded. Not once did I wait in line onboard, nor did I have to wait for an elevator. The Lido Restaurant never had lines except for the first day after embarkation when everyone seems to head straight to the Lido for lunch. The size of this ship is really just perfect. The Nieuw Amsterdam is filled with an impressive art collection. Rich with art at seemingly every turn, one could really pass time checking out the various paintings and pictures that adorned the walls of hallways and public spaces. Since it is, after all, the namesake of the Nieuw Amsterdam, New York City is the over-arching theme of the ship. The atrium is adorned with a crystal, icicle-like sculpture of the Manhattan skyline, and the Explorers Lounge is adorned with a huge mural of the New York skyline in the 1930s. The colors on the ship are very nautical and earthy — certainly the antithesis to the Joe Farcus-designed interiors of Carnival. The interior of the Nieuw Amsterdam had a very classic and elegant feel — I really enjoyed my time onboard this beautiful vessel. Of its twelve bars onboard, my favorite was the Silk Den. Located on deck 11, it features panoramic, 180-degree views of the ocean on either side of the ship, and the pool deck. It is decorated in an Asian theme, and we found it to be relatively empty all week with fantastic waiters. This was our go-to spot for pre-dinner drinks. I do love the Crow’s Nest Lounge as well, but it seemed to be the most crowded lounge on the entire ship. We also really enjoyed the enclosed Lido Pool area. Since the weather was somewhat chilly (60-degrees) for a large part of the cruise, the retractable roof was closed atop the mid-ship pool. This created a nice, relaxing, and open space where we enjoyed a few lunches and beers. One of the great features aboard Holland America ships is the wrap around promenade deck that fully encircles the ship. It’s a great deck on which to take an evening stroll as the world goes by. Since this was, of course, Holland America, the average age of fellow guests onboard was rather… seasoned. My girlfriend and I were pretty clearly the youngest couple onboard. Though there were a few families with children, probably 90% of the passengers onboard were over the age of 60. In its entirety, the Nieuw Amsterdam is a very manageable ship — it’s not too big, and not too small. It’s an extremely pretty ship inside and out. I wouldn’t hesitate to cruise her again in the future! Overall The whole experience was fantastic. The Nieuw Amsterdam is a really special ship with a very warm, attentive, and amazing crew. The service and cuisine were equality excellent, as was the incredible 12-night itinerary. Holland America excels at providing a traditional cruise experience with superior service, food, and onboard experience, and the Nieuw Amsterdam certainly lived up to — and exceeded that standard of excellence. I cannot recommend this ship and cruise enough! Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
This is the reviewer's second cruise. The first was on the Nieuw Amsterdam (same line, western Caribbean), and I enjoyed it so much I booked this cruise on board. The Amsterdam is a beautiful ship, with marvelous artwork throughout. ... Read More
This is the reviewer's second cruise. The first was on the Nieuw Amsterdam (same line, western Caribbean), and I enjoyed it so much I booked this cruise on board. The Amsterdam is a beautiful ship, with marvelous artwork throughout. Pluses of the ship experience: Immaculate cleanliness throughout, the artwork, easy to find things. The ship is well-designed so that families with young children and older people such as myself can both enjoy the cruise and "not get in each others' way" either physically or psychologically. Cabin spacious, well-appointed, and expertly and courteously serviced daily. Water in shower almost instantly hot -- no waste of water! Meals excellent, perfectly cooked (I ate breakfast and lunch in the Lido, dinners in the upper promenade deck. Superb variety of selections (appetizer, soup or salad, main course, dessert) for dinner. Lovely light fluffy omelets cooked to order for breakfast while you watch. Unexpectedly (not advertised in advance) this cruise had a bridge instructor/director who, on all sea days, gave a lecture at 10am and ran a duplicate tournament at 1:30pm. He was Armand Grassi. My previous and first cruise was with Audrey Grant in this role. Armand is her equal in expertise, and surpasses her in patience and clarity of explanations. A Ukrainian duo "Adagio" (pianist and violinist) played lovely classical music almost every evening, a highlight leading up to my 8pm dinner seating. One sea day Eddy deGroot (male) gave a fascinating tour of the lovely flower arrangements he makes for the ship, providing insight into his artistic themes and talents. Lovely music and dancing, showcasing Indonesian culture, on a sea day near the end of the cruise. Excellent shops, wide variety, lovely Faberge eggs (I can't afford one, but I enjoyed admiring them). Library quiet, extensive selection, Internet available (not too terribly expensive if package deal chosen). Daily news leaflets available (US, Canada, UK, Spanish, German, Dutch). Cruising through Panama Canal fascinating and expertly narrated -- narration was informative and interesting without ever being "overmuch" TMI [too much information]. Minuses of the ship experience: Evening dining (our table was in exact center aft of upper promenade deck) area too hot. Incompetent cruise shopping information person Chris Langley. He gave talks, in the theater, on where to shop at each port. These talks were too much "rah-rah" (like high-school cheerleading) and too little information. Very seriously, he never warned people about Cuban cigars (he touted their availability in Cartegena) vis-a-vis the United States. What if an Australian or European buys some, and then disembarks in San Diego or Seattle, or disembarks in Vancouver and then flies home via a US transfer? Prison! He promised to answer my question about post office in Cartagena and never answered it. The day before Costa Rica, he told me a museum would be open; after a long hot walk I found it closed. On Holland America's site (they requested review) he is the specific and only reason I gave the overall rating 6 instead of 7 (highest). Occasional service flaws (slow and/or interchanged entrees) at dinner. I flew into Fort Lauderdale the morning of the cruise and was very favorably impressed with the courtesy and efficiency of the SIX Holland America employees, stationed in baggage claim and responsible for helping passengers transfer to the ship. Embarkation smooth, comfortable, and well-organized. US Customs inefficiency and discourtesy combined to make disembarkation (I disembarked in San Diego; some passengers went on to Vancouver or Seattle) a slow, exasperating mess (Holland American NOT to blame for that!). After the tour, I stayed one night before flying home to the Midwest. I stayed in the San Diego Airport Hilton: superb hotel, immaculately clean and quiet, excellent restaurant, superb service throughout. Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
Just got back yesterday from my 26 day med/transatlantic cruise. Overall it was great cruise except for a few rough nights coming across the Atlantic. Was disappointed with the activities onboard during days at sea. Can see why some name ... Read More
Just got back yesterday from my 26 day med/transatlantic cruise. Overall it was great cruise except for a few rough nights coming across the Atlantic. Was disappointed with the activities onboard during days at sea. Can see why some name this ship the BoringDam. The food was just average. Did eat several times at the Pinnacle grill and it was well worth the extra money that it costs. Highly recommend it to future passengers. The ship was in excellent condition, the staff was friendly. The entertainment was below par and did improve once we departed for the transatlantic crossing. Embarkation and transfers from the Marriott Ledra, in Athens went well. The entire embarkation process went quickly and baggage was delivered to the room I think in record time. The itinerary and ports were interesting though I limited my excursion travels due to the costs involved. Even with the 10% discount that HAL offered the excursion prices were on the high side. Ephesus the first port of call was beautiful and was able to book my own tour off the ship at a much cheaper rate with another couple. In town Kusadasi, the atmosphere was lets rip off the tourists with all the counterfeit merchandise and overpriced carpets. Definitely need to know your prices before you go on rugs and leather products. The next stop was Haifa, Israel. A wonderful place to go, just wish HAL would overnight there as there is so much to see and so little time. Shore excursion prices were pricey. If you can plan well ahead, book your own tours. Going to the ports of Limassol Cyprus was a little disappointing as a port of call. Took the bus into town and walk around a bit. Good place to buy linens and buy a cold beer to drink. Nothing really stands out. On to Katakolon, Greece. What can I say, the ancient grounds of Olympia was a great tour. The town of Katakolon is a small quaint town with a little bit of shopping. Highly recommend going to the Greek Art Gallery there if you want a nice piece of art work. Virginia the owner is from the states and will make you a honest deal on a nice piece of art. Not a rip-off like Christos across the street, where I bought something and I am still waiting to see if it gets delivered. If you want cheap internet, go to the back street as there is a great place for internet at a cheap price as well as a nice little café. And the Gelato Yum! Messina, Italy was disappointing. Should have taken a tour to Toramina, but the tour price was too high. In Naples for the day took the hop-on hop-of bus. Great way to see Naples and feel safe in doing it. Recommend taking the both routes that are offered. If you want to do shopping take the red line and get off at stop 3. If you want excellent pizza, take the red line to stop 9 and try Lombardi, or onto stop 10 and go to Toraminos. Excellent Pizza. Once you eat pizza in Naples and you will not be able to stand the crap they serve here in the states. Also, don't forget to get the Gelato. The next stop I wish to mention in my review is the port for Rome. Have a hard time saying it as well as spelling it. Civitavecchia??? In lieu of going to Rome, I decided to explore this little city. I was surprise by it. If you decided to see the port, make sure you take in the open air market and explore some of the back streets. For internet service at very cheap price go to a little hole in the wall place called SeaMen. From the place where the port bus drops you off, you will see McDonalds then go to the right about 2 blocks and cut in towards town on the narrow street. SeaMens is on the right and is a grocery store up front but a has in internet service in the back along with a little café off to the side. Show them your ship card and then get on their computers. It was just a little over 1 euro for about 45 minutes. Beats the ships rates. Besides the internet, the wine and beer prices there are cheap. The crossing of the Atlantic was a long journey especially with the seas being choppy for many days and the port of calls Allicante, Malaga, and Cadiz were just ok to me. Recommend doing the hop-on- Hop-off buses. Nothing really stood out. Nothing like going like going to Barcelona or Lisbon. If I had to do it all over again, I would skip the transatlantic portion, especially in the fall. Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
I had planned this cruise for many months and love the Holland America line. This was my second cruise (first was Niew Amsterdam Caribbean cruise) with this line, and I highly recommend. Their service and excellent cuisine is very good. ... Read More
I had planned this cruise for many months and love the Holland America line. This was my second cruise (first was Niew Amsterdam Caribbean cruise) with this line, and I highly recommend. Their service and excellent cuisine is very good. There were several special GOURMET barbeques on deck where the chefs created Mediterranean cuisine on the grill--it was exceptional! There are daily digital workshops given twice a day, tea service, etc--all at no additional cost. They had a "Dancing with the Stars" competition which was different. Daily movies, behind the scenes tours never left you with a lack of activities. I felt their tours, which I took 3, were well run and worth the price. I did go with a group on a private taxi in Monte Carlo which worked out great, if you meet some others on the cruise who want to go together for the day in a port. My room stewards were always cheerful and very helpful with any requests. There was always fresh fruit and ice each day, which they asked when I arrived if I would like. The wait staff in the dining and other food venues were always quick and efficient. There was a food 'scare' when we first came onto the ship and the other passengers who'd been on the ship (it was a 30 day start to finish cruise)all had to leave while the crew thoroughly cleaned the ship. I don't know how they were able to do it so quickly, but they did. The crew continued to clean into the night. Their health and safety standards are excellent. Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
Having sailed many of the Dam Ships previously, I was looking forward to the newest in the fleet, and she and her crew did not disappoint. I chose the cruise because of the itinerary, I like port intensive trips with ports that need some ... Read More
Having sailed many of the Dam Ships previously, I was looking forward to the newest in the fleet, and she and her crew did not disappoint. I chose the cruise because of the itinerary, I like port intensive trips with ports that need some research. I used HAL's transfers and hotel in Rome, and thank-goodness I did. My luggage didn't make it through my connection from Delta to Alitalia. The HAL hostess who greeted me took me to the Alitalia luggage desk to file a lost luggage report, which took many hand gestures and multiple copies of forms. I would have been lost without her help. My bag was in my room at the Visconti Palace, well located to St. Peter's, by the time I got back from dinner that evening. I am not certain whether Alitalia or HAl took care of that for me. Embarkation in Civitivecchia was a breeze. It was less than 15 minutes from stepping off the bus to stepping onto the ship. The ship had a noro outbreak on the previous sailing, and they were super cleaning the ship (even the walls were bleached), and anyone who arrived earlier than 1:30pm was not allowed to board. Having done the HAL transfers, we arrived at exactly the right time to board. I know it costs a little more to use their transfers, but the benefits far outweighed the costs, in my opinion. As the fare had been reduced over and over for this repositioning sailing around the Iberian peninsula, I was upgraded to a Spa Cabin, which seemed the same as other verandah cabins, I never used the tabletop fountain, and though the Bose iPod dock was great to listen to my own music, the best part was the location. One quick flight down to Lido deck, the spa, pool and buffet restaurant. One quick flight up to the Crow's Nest lounge and Explorations Cafe for internet and library. My cabin stewards, Hairul and ??? were friendly but non-intrusive. I am one who leaves the "service my room" sign out, and it is always ready when returning from a meal or activity. Because of the port intensive itinerary and my full day tours, I ordered room service breakfast each day using the door card at night. Each time I added extras that weren't listed, like a whole banana to take to shore with me, it was on the tray. They were on time each day and a delightful wake-up call, instead of relying on my cell phone alarm, that didn't change time zones automatically. The food in the Rembrandt Dining Room was always tasty and varied. We had open seating dining and at 7:00pm always walked right into a shared table. Each person we had contact with in the MDR was energetic and helpful. We especially loved Made, who added a bright spot to each evening, and remembered us at the dessert bar in the Lido after lunch. HAL is still not the best for desserts, but for me, it's perfect, a scoop of ice cream is all I need after a long meal. We ate one night in the Tamarind Restaurant. Best meal of the week. It is free at lunch and only $15 additional for dinner. The menu is varied and well prepared, and it's a visual masterpiece! We did have to change tables because of vibration near the window, but everything else went very well throughout the evening. The waitresses are wonderfully attentive. I had a brief problem with noise above my stateroom in the wee hours, the Front Desk staff handled it right away, offering to move me, but I was settled in with friends in cabins nearby. They provided ear plugs that worked like a charm, and left a bottle of wine for me in my cabin. They handled the situation professionally and immediately, calling often thereafter to make sure I was OK. The BB King Blues Club was my hangout after dinner for the entire cruise. The Memphis Sound is highlighted by 5 amazing musicians and CeCe (sp?), the singer, who was terrific! Each night was a different theme, from Elvis to Blues Brothers, to Aretha & Diana, to Otis Redding. This is a new concept for HAL, and I truly hope this is the direction they are going with entertainment, something for we younger cruisers (who grew up in the 70s) to enjoy. I'm not one for big show productions or comedians, so this was a special treat aboard the Eurodam. The Queen's Lounge, where it plays was full for the early set every night, and plenty of people danced when the mood hit them.Our ports were unique, not listed on many sites. In Spain: Cartagena, Malaga, Cadiz, & Vigo. Lisbon, Portugal, St. Peter Port, Guernsey and ZeeBrugge, Belgium, ending in Copenhagen. I used SpainDayTours.com for 3 excursions, one HAL trip to Cordoba, which was excellent, and booked a private taxi tour in Guernsey and taxi transfer to Brugges, which is amazing! More on the ports when they are listed by Cruise Critic. There were many, many Australians aboard. They added a liveliness to the atmosphere. Not a lot of children aboard, but a few and they were well behaved. The hot tubs were closed for the first several days due to the virus, as was the thalassotherapy pool and thermal suite. I had signed up for the entire cruise, but lost interest in waiting and the spa promptly refunded my payment after the 3rd day. Seas were heavy most days and nights, especially in the Atlantic. Often, then promenade deck was closed for walkers, which made the treadmills in the gym full most times I visited there. The ship listed and creaked on a couple of nights, and the Captain came on the PA to advise us that the weather forecasters were wrong, winds were higher than expected, but that the ship could handle the winds we encountered. Disembarkation in Copenhagen was a breeze. My bags were already on the transfer bus when I got off the ship, so went directly to the bus. The Palace Hotel in Copenhagen was a PERFECT location, just off the walking street. I give the itinerary very high marks, the ship and it's crew very high as well. I met a lot of wonderful people on this trip, and hope to sail the Eurodam another day. Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
There is a lot of unrest in the Middle East, needless to say. Our itinerary included: Athens (boarding), and it's general strikes a day before my arrival, Egypt (2 ports) just a few weeks after the American Embassy wall was breached, ... Read More
There is a lot of unrest in the Middle East, needless to say. Our itinerary included: Athens (boarding), and it's general strikes a day before my arrival, Egypt (2 ports) just a few weeks after the American Embassy wall was breached, Israel (2 ports)ongoing skirmishes, one while in Jerusalem, and Turkey (3 ports) bordering Syria and skirmishes taking place at the border and in the air, Greece (3 ports) with their economy diving, and Italy (2 ports & cruising Mt. Etna). Now these places are not for the faint of heart, but I will tell you HAL and ultimately our Captain were gutsy to call on some of these ports, but that is why many of us had taken this itinerary, to see the holy sites. I met some people online at Cruise Critic and Holland America's Facebook page and put together a Meet and Greet on the day after sailing. I made name tage for everyone and we had coffee and cookies, talked shore excursions & ports for quite some time. Many of us got together for shore excursions and dinner after that meeting, and I never felt alone after that. We met for cocktails and Trivia most nights at 6:00pm in the Crow's Nest, then headed for dinner in the Fontaine. With As You Wish dining, we were put at a large table with strangers, who by the end of the meal were delightful acquaintances that we shared shore tips and talked about our homes. On boarding the Prinsendam, there is something so different about her, you can overlook some of the blemishes (she was headed to dry-dock in FLL soon after our trip). You don't have the long, confusing corridors of some of the larger ships, and I have tried most major cruise lines big ships. This is not the ship to choose if you hang in the Casino all night (it's very small), or you want to dance the night away (there is no nightclub). This is a ship with itineraries that are different from the usual, with full day shore excursions, leaving you too beat to even catch the early show most nights. Only 650 passengers makes it easy to meet people, and they had many solo lunches on sea days where I met a plethora of other singles traveling to have meals with and do some shore excursions. With the smaller sized ship, there were no long lines for disembarkation, shore excursions met in the showroom and even the tender produced only one boat waits, ever. The ports this ship can get into that most ships cannot meant tendering was only required in one of the 13 ports we saw in 16 nights. In Marmaris, Turkey, we were the first "large" ship they had seen all season. It was one of my favorite places on the itinerary for that very reason. The days at sea had all the usual activities, including the Culinary Arts Center, which I found interesting each and every time I went there. The food on the ship was as good as I've seen on any other Holland American cruise. The meats were plentiful, seafood delicious, salads available, soups a little blah, but I'm not into soups in a hot climate. Each night there was a spicy entree, Indonesian or Thai, and a delicious looking vegetarian entree. Desserts in the dining room were great! I ate in the Lido every day for lunch and had many wonderful salads and entrees. No sandwich bar like the bigger ships, but plenty of choices. One night we had dinner there, and they were serving lobster tail, IN THE LIDO! I loved the Lido outdoor dining, which I'm told is being enclosed during the dry-dock. Too bad, I thought it was one of the best parts of this lovely ship. No one spent much time at the pool. Chairs were always available on sea days, and there were not "chair hogs" like on the big ships. I have photos of many of the day's activities, port information and menus. You can e-mail me for that information. I realize there are not a lot of reviews of the Prinsendam. Maybe because people aboard are older and probably too busy on return home to write their review. As you can see it's been a month since my return, and I'm just finishing right now. I am not yet retired, but when I do, I'll spend some more quality time aboard the Prinsendam. If you are older, wiser, retired and have "done" all the usual ports of call, try the Prinsendam, make some new friends, enjoy the beauty of this older ship, and the ease in getting around. Read Less
Sail Date October 2012
I love Holland America. Embarkation - I rate this a C. Honestly, I felt they got us on the ship late, (12:00p) and it was really disorganized. No one knew the boarding was numbered and everyone rushed up to try and get in. The lady ... Read More
I love Holland America. Embarkation - I rate this a C. Honestly, I felt they got us on the ship late, (12:00p) and it was really disorganized. No one knew the boarding was numbered and everyone rushed up to try and get in. The lady who was organizing it was doing her best and keeping everyone informed, but it seemed like it could have been done a lot better. Once I was on the ship, I had the pool all to myself for the first hour, even after eating a quick lunch. The food in the Lido was great and the fruit was excellent. The music was pretty good and it was a good feeling to be in the pool on a beautiful Seattle sunny day. The emergency drill was easy, took about 20 minutes. the Casino didn't open till about midnight, Texas Hold em tounry started right after that. I didn't like the electronic style. I felt the breakfast pancakes were not very good, but the rest of the food was great. The Staff was amazing, I had open dining and sat with 7 other wonderful people. After dinner, did Kareokee in the Queens Lounge, then on to the piano bar for a few drinks. A double Rum and coke was 15 dollars and it seemed a bit watered down even though it seemed like he filled the whole glass full of rum. Read Less
Sail Date September 2012
Let me first start out by saying that I have been on three cruises with HAL, and this one was probably my favorite or tied with Alaska! The ship is absolutley gorgeous, with lots to do, very well maintained, with very friendly staff all ... Read More
Let me first start out by saying that I have been on three cruises with HAL, and this one was probably my favorite or tied with Alaska! The ship is absolutley gorgeous, with lots to do, very well maintained, with very friendly staff all around. Our room stewards, were excellent, always making sure that anything we needed was already in place before we even asked for it Dining was very good in the Rembrant Dining Room (not sure why it is not the Rotterdam dining room like the previous two crusies), all the food is excellently prepared, and does have style as well. I wanted to try the new Tamarind resturant, which is open for both lunch and dinner, but reservations book up quickly on it, so be sure to plan in advance on a sea day! We booked our tours through Saint Petersburg Tours, which was also very good in all the ports, and local guides that seemed to generally be interested in the subjects, and not just going through the motions! Entertainment there was so much to do, whether playing in the casino, or listening to Diane in the Piano Bar, or going to one of the many shows that went on every evening, from Jennie and the HAL Cats, to comedians, or other performances on the Mainstage, or if you just wanted to catch a movie, tons of options there as well. Would defiently recommend this cruise for anyone looking to see the Baltic! Read Less
Sail Date July 2012
Having been thoroughly impressed by HAL and the Noordam in December I decided it would be fun to try our their newest ship, the Nieuw Amsterdam. The 7 day Eastern Caribbean cruise has once again exceeded my high expectations to the point ... Read More
Having been thoroughly impressed by HAL and the Noordam in December I decided it would be fun to try our their newest ship, the Nieuw Amsterdam. The 7 day Eastern Caribbean cruise has once again exceeded my high expectations to the point that I will most definately be back for more. Embarkation at Port Everglades was simple and efficient with ground staff Elena remembering me from my previous cruise and expediting my check in. I was onboard the ship within about 50 minutes of arriving at the terminal and was immediately impressed by how stunningly beautiful the Nieue Amsterdam is. Previous cruisers with Holland America are invited to take a leisurely lunch in the MDR where the food is excellent. After a very pleasant 4 course meal followed by coffee I headed for my stateroom where the bag had duly arrived and got settled in. The safety drill is taken extremely seriously as you would expect and does not start until every single stateroom and guest is accounted for as being present and correct. We departed on time as part of a procession of ships leaving on Sunday afternoon, including the Celebrity Solstice, the Allure of the Seas, HALs Westerdam and a Carnival ship. I have an inside cabin for the first time in my 4 cruises to date and was a little concerned I would feel cramped. In fact quite the opposite, as a single traveler a queen size bed with bathroom and shower is more than adequate and on Holland America, quite comfortable. The beds are excellent and storage space more than sufficient. I have taken to using their laundry option where they will do a bag of washing for 20USD a time or 49USD for the week. Given the 24 hour service where everything comes back clean and folded to me this is a no brainer. It also means I dont need to take a large suitcase full of clothes. During the 7 days I ate twice, the 2 formal nights in the Pinnacle Grill, run by my favorite Maitre D on the seas - Sam. This is a truly professional operation with superb meat and I have a personal favorite of the bone in rib eye steak. One evening meal in the Tamarind Grill which sits on the 11th floor mid ships with big window views out to sea. Again culinary perfection and staffed by an outstanding team. Both these restaurants have a supplement of 25 and 15 dollars respectively and are worth every penny in my book. Food and service in the main dining room throughout was of a very high quality, where I had breakfast and lunch on most days. I know Holland America have had a reputation of catering to an older group of passengers. I found a great cross section of folks on this cruise and families with well behaved children and while a mainly US/Canadian based passenger make up, also quite a few Europeans, including myself from the UK. To me that slightly older group equates to a more civilized environment. I am 49 and cruise to relax and get away from a hectic business life. HAL fits that need just about perfectly in my case. Our stops were Grand Turk which I love, parked alongside the Costa Atlantica I knew which ship I wanted to be on of the 2. A great beach and I didnt leave the cruise port terminal, but shopped and sat listening to music and reading a good book. On the apporach to San Juan, the Nieuw Amsterdam crew open access to the bow of the ship on deck 5 which is a first for me I which I truly enjoyed as we sailed into the port and docked. From San Juan onwards to St Maarten where we are parked next to the Allure of the Seas and the Norwegian Dawn, as you can tell I love seeing ships. I took the two flags tour of the island where they take you across to Marigot on the French side of the island. Our last stop was at Half Moon Cay in the Bahamas which I have been to three previous times but where we were unable to tender because of the height of the swells. This time we were lucky and the island is a great place to stop, with a great beach and views back to our own ship and the Maasdam. I saw three of the shows, the comedian who I enjoyed very much, a group of 4 guys who sing and the New York show, which was one of the best productions I have yet seen at sea. All good entertainment. I enjoyed coffees in the Crows Nest each morning and has been mentioned before, the Filipino bar staff run an excellent operation throughout the ship, special kudos to Agustin in the Ocean Bar who was good company. I dont buy art on cruise ships or have a particular interest in the cruise lines photography department, being an avid photographer myself I like to take my own pictures but always found the staff to be friendly and not pushy. I think special mention of the cabin attendants is always appropriate, what these guys do twice a day is something of a miracle in my book. They know what time you get up, go out, come back and juggle a large number of rooms and leave you a towel animal on the bed every evening which made me smile each time. The same can be said of many of the departments that you never meet, including the laundry folks. I found the cruise director JC to be amuzing and entertaining and the ships officers always friendly and willing to talk. Its fair to say that this whole crew onboard the Nieuw Amsterdam seem to work well together and are happy. That reflects well on how they treat us, the paying passenger. It is always good to see many members of the crew take a bow at the end of this presentation the day before debarkation. As was explained in the debarkation talk, HAL have removed the 10 as a mark for each of the elements on the passneger survey, on the grounds that everything can be improved. The maximum mark is a 9. When I look back at this particular trip and wonder what they could have done better, the answer that I find is just about nothing. Getting off the ship was a breeze and they give you a time and stick to it. When they call your number I was off the ship within 5 minutes and directed to where my bag was. Using the ships arranged transport back to Miami airport also simplifies the transport options. Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
I booked this 10 day cruise with the intention of having a relaxing time and some rejuvination. It fulfilled those plans in every way. Let me start by saying there seem to be a fair number of people with unreasonable expectations as to ... Read More
I booked this 10 day cruise with the intention of having a relaxing time and some rejuvination. It fulfilled those plans in every way. Let me start by saying there seem to be a fair number of people with unreasonable expectations as to what a cruise line is able to provide. I think that if you look for something to criticize you will find it anywhere. I believe the Noordam crew, from top to bottom are outstanding and the same can be said of this magnificent classy ship. The check in was over in 30 minutes from the kerb, despite what appeared as long lines outside the terminal, a great welcome by the check in staff and the bag was at my cabin before I was. My balcony cabin was comfortable, elegant and with plenty of useful storage space. The beds on HAL are the best in the business and the pillows are good too. A good lunch in the Lido with plenty of seating space and some time exploring the ship prior to the efficiently handled safety briefing. I chose the open seating dining and was flexible with whatever size table was available. During the 10 night cruise I never waited more than a couple of minutes for a table, either at lunch or dinnertime and was given a warm welcome each time. The food was of good quality, the right temperature and delivered by a professional wait staff. I know folks were complaining about the time it took to deliver the food on occasion but I take the view that I didnt have anywhere else to be with any urgency which gives you a much more relaxing meal. We stopped at Half Moon Cay in front of the Nieuw Amsterdam but were unable to tender due choppy seas. My 2nd time unlucky at this port so I will have to go back. So a day at sea with an earlier than planned arrival in Grand Turk which I consider a great cruiseline stop with a good beach, plenty of loungers right in front of the pier and a great view of the ship. I wish the locals tried a bit harder to be friendly though, I get the feeling some of them take this great influx of business from ships as an inconvenience, and this in the cruise terminal. Dinner at the Pinnacle Grill was superb and the Noordam has one of the best Maitre d,e and premium restaurant staff I have ever experienced, on or off the sea. I ended up going back 3 times during the cruise, its worth every penny of the 25$ supplement. Canaletto is an Italian restaurant that is free and requires reservations but the same can be said there. The following morning arrical in Samana, Dominican Republic where the ship anchors in a spectacular inlet and then uses tenders for a relatively long journey to the docking point. Mixed reviews about this port of call with the locals pushing very hard to make money from ship passengers but it is a very beautiful place thats well worth the visit. Another sea day of relaxation plus the free computer/camera/video talks onboard which I enjoyed, time on the top deck enjoying the sun and a good book and more great food. Some of the evening shows were to my taste while others were not but all were well presented. An hours entertainement every evening is another activity to keep you busy. Bonaire has a small shopping district within 5 minutes walk from the pier and I spent time in a seafront bar with some friends from the ship and we then did the 50 or so miles to Curacao overnight, arriving early morning. Curacao is beautiful and the ship stays in port until 11pm so you can enjoy it at night. I took an island tour and back to the ship at 10pm for the overnight to Aruba. Enjoyed Aruba too and its great to see other ships, we parked in front of Cunards Queen Victoria and a Princess ship. Another island tour on what is much friendlier island and then the 3 night cruise back to Fort Lauderdale with 2 full days at sea. Others have spoken about the captains decision to turn the ship around and investigate a couple of Cuban fishing skits that had become separated from their mother ship in the dark. It fair to say that decision possibly saved 4 lives and it concluded a thoroughly positive experience on my part with Holland America. Disembarkation was smooth and quick and I had arranged transportation back to MIA aiport with the cruiseline. I cannot fault HAL and shall be back. Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
A few friends and I sailed at the end of June into July on the Eurodam to the Northern Baltics. What a fantastic cruise. Not only was the ship beautiful, but the customer service was beyond what I had experienced on any other cruise. ... Read More
A few friends and I sailed at the end of June into July on the Eurodam to the Northern Baltics. What a fantastic cruise. Not only was the ship beautiful, but the customer service was beyond what I had experienced on any other cruise. We flew into Heathrow on an overnight flight. The only glitch in the whole cruise was the staff meeting us at the airport to bus us to Dover. We had to wait about 45 minutes before we left for the ship. After travelling all night, it was difficult. Embarkation, however, was a breeze. We walked in, stood in line maybe 5 minutes and then headed in. The line was a little large getting through the metal detectors, etc., but shortly we were on the ship and able to go directly to our cabins. Thank goodness for the first day being at sea. We were exhausted from the time change, etc., so the day at sea was one to recover. Right off the bat, however, we found that all over the ship, the staff would ask our names...AND...remember them. Each time we saw a staff member we had met before, they would call us by name. It was wonderful. All the ports we went to were great. I will only go into detail on two of them. We stopped in Germany. Here we took a tour booked through the ship. I did not realize until the tour that we were actually in east Germany. Our tour guide was extremely informative and was able to describe to us the before and after the Soviet Union reign. It was very educational. Our best port was St. Petersburg. By far one that everyone should visit. What a beautiful city in its' own way. We booked a tour with TJ Travel...which is a must for anyone going there. They were wonderful. The two days, however, were grueling. Because there was so much to see, we did a lot of walking. We never, however, rushed. From the canals (which are amazing...to Catherine's Palace...to the Summer Palace or the Church of the Spilled Blood (amongst many other places) TJ Travel gave us plenty of time to see everything. If anyone goes there...please look into TJ Travel. It was only $255 for a two day tour, which also included lunch each day in small Russian restaurants...which was a treat in itself. The last two days on the cruise were sea days, which were good as we were allowed to recover from this very port intensive trip. Disembarkation was quite easy. There were numerous busses...very well organized...waiting to take us back to the airport. All in all...this was the best cruise I have ever been on and I have travelled on many other cruise lines. Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
As I came home from a stressful day of work, I entered into my home to find my bed not made up. No chocolates, and no cheerful towel animal. I dragged myself to the kitchen table to partake of a meal that consisted of Church's chicken ... Read More
As I came home from a stressful day of work, I entered into my home to find my bed not made up. No chocolates, and no cheerful towel animal. I dragged myself to the kitchen table to partake of a meal that consisted of Church's chicken and a cup of water. That's right, vacation is over. I'm no longer on the wonderful Eurodam. I sailed on that lovely dam ship 12/11/2010-12/18/2010. Demographically, I'm probably in the bottom percentile of Holland travelers. 27 years old, male, solo. Despite what many people think, I found people of all ages on the Eurodam. I fortunately didn't encounter any rudeness. Everyone was either nice or nothing. Many people (staff and other passengers) would call me by name as I wondered around the ship. I think the size of the Eurodam suits me perfectly. Not too small that it feels cramped (I dislike crowds), but not so large that the personal touch is lost. The ship herself is beautiful. I think it was very tastefully decorated. The Christmas decorations were just icing on the cake. The only thing I didn't like was the big pink nipple/jellyfish/chandelier eyesore hanging in the atrium. It was just weird and ugly. But the rest of the ship was elegant and comfortable. It was also very clean. The staff did a great job of keeping things tidy and ship-shape (pun intended). That can't be an easy thing to do with so many people to clean up after. Stateroom - I had an ocean view stateroom. Nice large window, very comfortable bed. My room stewards were very nice. (warning to ladies or very private people - please use the secondary lock on the door. Otherwise, a service person will knock and come right in. I'm a fully clothed kind of dude so this didn't really bother me much) I would choose this room again. I travel alone so the space seemed perfect for me. I wouldn't like this room as much if I had to share it though. I'm a Texan so plenty of space is important to me. I had room 1010 on the main deck. Very close to the MainStage but I never had a problem with noise. The bathroom only had a shower - no tub. A/C worked as it should. Food - In the MDR the food was delicious and service great. Tamarind - food and service was excellent! I only went to the Lido one day for lunch. I don't like buffets or crowds and it seemed to be highly populated all the time. But, the lunch was good. I had two fajitas. Very fresh and tender meat. However, the fruit punch was like syrup. Better than tasteless though, you can always add water. I did not go to the Pinnacle grill, or any of the Lido pool venues. In room dining was my favorite for dinner. I love to eat dinner and watch a movie. The burgers on the room service menu was not to my liking. However, ordering room service from the MDR menu is wonderful! In room breakfast was good. Entertainment & Activities- The comedian was funny. The magician was entertaining. I wish there was more of him. I felt like his act was just a tease. They should give him more nights and more time. The singing and dancing in the mainstage was ok.(especially if you have a few drinks ) I think Piano Man Michael should take the stage a couple of nights. He'll have you rocking and jamming all night! The casino looked fun but I didn't play. I will next time. Art auction was interesting. I went to one Kitchen demonstration (crab cakes) but it felt rushed and not very interesting. The cook couldn't get the stove to turn on so we had to clap (or in my case roll eyes) to a demonstration of raw crab cakes. I was expecting a more Food Network experience. The singing competition in the Queens lounge was fun and sometimes painful to listen to, but over-all entertaining. I think the queen's lounge could use more space. All the bars had good service. My favorite bar was the Explorer's bar. Valentino was very courteous and made me feel most welcome. It also didn't hurt to have the Adagio string quartet playing in the same area. Very nice. Explorations cafe had a decent selection of books, chess, nice sitting/sea viewing area, and treats that smelled very good. Embarkation/Debarkation: Very organized and painless. People I remember - Valentino/Explorer's Lounge - Great! Jason/Cruise Director - Funny! Jill/Party Planner - Great! Danielle/Port Expert - Great and Funny Bobby/Room Steward - Great! I'm terrible with names, but all of the room stewards, waiters, maitre d, etc. were cheerful, courteous, and went out of their way to ensure I had a pleasant experience. Half Moon Cay was beautiful and a wonderful way to end this cruise. Over-all: I didn't mean to write this much, but the thoughts came flowing. I very much enjoyed the Eurodam and will definitely cruise Holland America again very soon. This was my first cruise and I was not disappointed. See you again soon Eurodam! Read Less
Sail Date December 2010
DINING:The food was absolutely amazing. Due to the itinerary of this trip, I could not eat some meals in the dining room as I had early sitting. We had a table of 8 fixed early and our table companions were fabulous. We got along great. ... Read More
DINING:The food was absolutely amazing. Due to the itinerary of this trip, I could not eat some meals in the dining room as I had early sitting. We had a table of 8 fixed early and our table companions were fabulous. We got along great. All different ages and from Canada, East Coast US, West Coast US and the Southern US. We would be still sitting there when they were getting ready for the next sitting.Now the food - the menu was quite extensive with something different every night of the 14 day cruise. They also had some items the same for those that were not as daring to try different types of food. The cold soups were the best I have ever tasted anywhere. Due to the itinerary, we only ate breakfast in the dining room twice and the lido a couple of times. Most times we ordered room service for breakfast so we could be getting ready. The room service came on-time every day except one and the food was great.I did not try the Pinnacle Grill as the other food choices were substantial. The chocolate chip cookies are to die for!!!!!CABINS:Our cabin was an SS cabin and was an upgrade. It was fabulous. We had a two section bathroom (toilet and sink in one section & bathtub and sink in the other section). This was great. We had a nice walk-in closet. Beds were very comfortable. Fresh fruit delivered daily (per our request at no ENTERTAINMENT:The shows were typical Vegas type shows but were well done. The crew show was well worth watching. Some very talented people here. The cruise director and DJ worked at keeping everyone involved. SPA & FITNESS:I did not use the pool or gym as I found there was little time. I did have a massage on my last of 4 back to back long shore days and it was great."Elegant Explorer" Prinsendam was great. The size off the ship meant you met many people and it was great. As I am in my early 40's, I did find that most of the people on the ship were older but I still had a great time and would travel on the Prinsendam again. Read Less
Sail Date September 2010
Holland America has extended their cruising itineraries to include the island of Bermuda aboard the ms. Veendam. I was excited about taking this cruise and had planned for it for several months--reading, researching and looking at many ... Read More
Holland America has extended their cruising itineraries to include the island of Bermuda aboard the ms. Veendam. I was excited about taking this cruise and had planned for it for several months--reading, researching and looking at many videos and photographs. I also read several Member's Reviews about this ship, the food, accomodations and staffing. My trip began from Cleveland, Ohio to LaGuardia on the day of embarkation. A minor glitch was at the airport where the ground crew "forgot" to unload the luggage. Thanks to Maria, the Holland America airport representative and the staff member from the Lost Luggage Dept., the luggage finally appeared 90 minutes later. The Veendam embarks on Sundays for the Bermuda trip and the bus ride to the ship's terminal took us through Manhattan on a very hot afternoon. All of us on the bus cheered up as we spotted the Veendam in the distance. Our checked luggage was immediately off-loaded and the check-in procedure was very quick--there weren't too many people left in the terminal and the ship's photographers were packing up their equipent. I booked a Lanai Stateroom and it was nicely furnished and ready for my arrival. I noticed it was very warm in the room as I entered and one of my cabin stewards, Teguh assured me that once we were underway, the temperature would be fine. He was absolutely correct. The air-conditioning worked very well for the full duration of the cruise. Besides the under-bed storage, there was ample closet space. Elemis products were available in the bathroom. Because of my late arrival time, the Lido buffet was closing but I was able to enjoy some pizza and iced tea at the Retreat. The ship departed on time and passengers enjoyed the New York skyline as we moved out of the harbor. FOOD-- I enjoyed breakfast each morning in my stateroom. While the list of available breakfast items is somewhat limited, there is enough to start the day. One morning my breakfast hadn't arrived at the correct time and I got a phone call from Room Service, advising me that my tray should arrive within 20 minutes which it did. The Lido serves pretty much the same food as the main Dining Room however there is a certain lack of imagination on the fresh vegetable selections. Carrots, celery and cabbage, stir-fried, seems prominent. Lido meals are served by a cheerful staff and sometimes the wait staff is there to assist in carrying plates to a table. However, I still miss the trays that Holland America made available to passengers a few years ago and have since discontinued. It made carrying multiple plates a lot easier! I took two evening meals in the Canaletto area of the Lido and found it to be excellent. Chicken and veal dishes are well-prepared and the tomato sauce tasted freshly-made. A very nice selection of breads are offered as well as olive oil for dipping. On a side note--all breads are prepared and baked on the ship. A pool-side barbeque was offered the first evening which featured chicken, ribs and steaks along with baked potatoes and other accompaniment. The Dessert Extravaganza is a traditional treat with Holland America and was well-attended. SHOWS-- I'm not a big fan of "Game Shows" and endured the first night's production of: Stack That Tray, Make That Bed and Hit That Golf Ball. Perhaps the BEST show of the cruise was "Encore" which featured two of the singers, the stage band and the Adagio Strings. It was a well-constructed performance and the show received an immediate standing ovation from the audience. The remainder of the shows were quite good with the exception of a male cast member who, when he appeared onstage, immediately dropped the upbeat tempo of the show with dialogue or banter with the audience. THE SHIP-- The Veendam was launched in 1996. It has been unfairly stated in some reviews that there was "rust" in some places and "looked tired." This ship sails in sea water 365 days of the year. The crew does a lot of work on the ship while in port: painting, window cleaning and general polishing. I found the Veendam to be very well-maintained. Cleaning went on continually. One night I discovered the cabin staff washing down the walls, rails, house phones and anything else that could be washed! There is a very concerted effort to keep down any illnesses--good job, crew!!! BERMUDA-- The island is beautiful and the weather was pleasant. The ship was unable to anchor off St. George because of windy conditions and so we docked in Hamilton instead. This was fine with me as Hamilton is centrally located on the island. A one-day travel voucher was offered free to all passengers so we could use the transportation system to visit other parts of the island. Harbor Night was held on Wednesday from 7-10 p.m. with music performances, Gombey dancing and street vendors. The residents are very friendly and willing to stop and chat. Bermuda might be an expensive place to visit using local hotels and restaurants but having the ship right on Front Street was a perfect way to visit. I did a lot of walking to visit many of the places I'd planned to see. Bear in mind that some places involved going uphill which can be tiring for older travelers or those who use mobility aids. As far as shopping goes, there are the usual jewelry places but there are bargains available if you research beforehand and some places like the National Gallery are free to view. I didn't do many of the scheduled activities as I'm not a casino or bingo fan but the Microsoft Workshop was very good and I gained quite a lot of information about organizing digital photos. Cooking demonstrations were offered and I attended two of these plus a kitchen tour which I found interesting. There was a variety of passenger demographics--many were senior citizens but there was a mix of young and middle-aged cruisers as well. Disembarkation was quick and I was dropped off at the airport with plenty of time to spare before my return flight. Great cruise and thanks HAL! Read Less
Sail Date May 2010
Our cruise on the Eurodam was great. It provided us with relaxation we needed, the warmth of the January air not available at home, and delicious food and service. Everything aboard ship was top-notch. Sightseeing tours in Grand Turk and ... Read More
Our cruise on the Eurodam was great. It provided us with relaxation we needed, the warmth of the January air not available at home, and delicious food and service. Everything aboard ship was top-notch. Sightseeing tours in Grand Turk and San Juan were no more than average. In fact, the city tour in San Juan reminded me of a Seinfeld episode in which Kramer gave a bus tour of NYC. Our guide pointed out the local Walgreens and Chili's Restaurant, but nothing about sites like old San Juan (where we had a quick stop) or why there was a statue of Christopher Columbus located there. The Grand Turk tour was poorly done. There were more tourists than they could handle on their buses so we were jammed into an old VW (?) van (back seat) and could not hear a word the driver said. Other tourists would try and relay what the driver was saying to those of us in the back portion of the van. Also, had to enter and exit via the back hatch of the van. Ended up with a large greasy spot on the back of my shirt from grease on hatch frame. Stopped at a beach for less than one minute and 10 minutes at the lighthouse (no info offered on lighthouse). Tour in St. Thomas was great... be sure to go to the Greathouse. Time on Half Moon Cay was outstanding, especially the glass bottom boat excursion, bar-b-que, and beach... great tour guide on glass bottom boat tour (Aretha was her name). During the first night on ship, there were banging noises in the ceiling of our cabin and one of the lights kept flicking off and on. As soon as we reported the problems the next morning, the problems were fixed and we were given a bottle of wine because of lost sleep. Read Less
Sail Date January 2010
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