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23 Holland America Singles Cruise Reviews

This new ship is gorgeous! The staff is uniformly marvelous. The choices on the Lido were more than adequate. My problem with the ship had to do with my cabin #1006. I decided to save money by getting a "guaranteed" fare for an ... Read More
This new ship is gorgeous! The staff is uniformly marvelous. The choices on the Lido were more than adequate. My problem with the ship had to do with my cabin #1006. I decided to save money by getting a "guaranteed" fare for an inside cabin. Being such a new ship, I erroneously thought that all the cabins would be fine. I was upgraded to an ocean view that had a nice large window. Turns out it is a "single" cabin. Being tiny was not the problem. Being in that location was a HUGE problem. When the stabilizers were on the noise was horrendous. They were on all day every port day that we had to be positioned off shore for the tenders to operate. It was too noisy to read, nap, or even to watch TV. The other problem with this location was the loud and very forceful banging from the waves as we traveled. It would feel like a huge weight was hitting the cabin and especially the bed...all...night...long! I don't feel that the cabin is at all suitable for human habitation. Th music was mostly raucous to my ears. The dueling pianos were absurdly bad. Not at all a matched set of artists. I don't care for outdoor movies, but was very pleased with the variety on the TV in the cabin. The activity I was interested in, the singles get-togethers, was non-existent except for one announcement for trivia. The Lido does not have a menu listing on the TV, or on a wall. Service on the Lido was very nice. my only comment was the people in the kitchen and serving area that yelled at each other. Not lending to a lovely experience. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
This was a repeat of the same cruise my wife took with her sister a year ago. She enjoyed it so much that we went together this year. I don't think you can appreciate HAL unless you've been on other lines. My most recent ... Read More
This was a repeat of the same cruise my wife took with her sister a year ago. She enjoyed it so much that we went together this year. I don't think you can appreciate HAL unless you've been on other lines. My most recent experience was a repositioning cruise last year on RCI. It wasn't bad, but the experience was so uneven in quality it left me unwilling to ever take another RCI cruise! The only poor experience we had was the Dive Inn burger lunch bar. Someone raved about how wonderful it was, so we put up with a 40 minute wait for cold food that was entirely tasteless. Wendy's makes a better burger! I was incredulous that such a screwed-up operation could exist on such a good shop. We also had some of the signature cocktails in the bar that were strange, and just tasted bad, which were graciously withdrawn. Otherwise, it was simply wonderful. I was very happy with the food. The concept of service on their Lido Market deck was very good. Small batch prep on some items and to-order on others was very well executed. We routinely ate breakfast there. Coffee was decent too. In comparison, the brown sludge served on RCI had us routinely paying for good coffee. The whole RCI strategy is to get you somewhere and provide what you really want and expect for additional money at every turn. Not so on HAL. I'm looking forward to another trip on the Eurodam. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
Cruised with HAL before and found them good, same service etc on this cruise. I didn’t book the drinks package and found it was cheaper to pay as you go especially as the cruise had happy hour a few times each day. (Buy one and get ... Read More
Cruised with HAL before and found them good, same service etc on this cruise. I didn’t book the drinks package and found it was cheaper to pay as you go especially as the cruise had happy hour a few times each day. (Buy one and get another for 2$) The entertainment was good from the main dancers and singers but the comedian was awful. The group ‘Five o’clock somewhere’ where good singers but didn’t really like their quirky act. The B.B. kings were great but it was the same show each night I enjoyed the Lincoln centre stage The billboard on board see,ed to be popular but I only went on one occasion The trivia was good fun and good way to meet people The food in the dining room was a little cold on some occasions Overall the food was excellent I didn’t go on any of the HAL excursions Tallin This is an easy city to do on your own - it has a free walking tour from the main tourist office at Niguliste at noon for 2 hours, although the town is pretty compact so you could easily walk about on your own. It is about 5/10 minute walk from terminal The small train that goes around the city does not have commentary St. Petersburg I completed a 2 day tour with SPB who were half the price of HAL with the same itinerary. The hermitage was packed and very uncomfortable to tour. Helsinki This is a large city, you are given a map by the tourist office on arrival, if you ask them to show you were your location and follow the sea this will take you to senate square etc. About another half hour walking will take you to the rock church and sibilieus monument. There is a shuttle bus service for about £10 Euro return. Stockholm I did the hop on hop off bus tour which was good, you could equally do the hop on hop off boat tour which will take you to the same sights or just take the ferry to all the sights which would be slightly cheaper. I went to Glama Stan to see the palace etc. Rostock The ship supplied a shuttle bus to this small town for free, easy to get around to see the huge clock in the main church. Kiel I did a free walking tour from the port at 0930 for 2 hours this was by Maggie and very good, it is also a small town and easy to get around, only about 5 minute walk to centre of town Copenhagen I got air luggage to take my case to the airport £15 Euro and then caught the number 27 bus into the little mermaid then walked into town. There is a bus number 11 takes you around all the sights but this an easy city to manage on foot. Went to Rosenberg castle to see the changing of the guard at 1130 hours I booked a city pass ticket for public transport for 80 DEK which got me the train from central station to the airport as well, you can buy this ticket from outside the terminal but I got it online. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
My partner and myself had wanted to do the North Atlantic to Northern Europe but when this deal came along, we couldn't resist. Unfortunately my partner lost his passport on day of sailing and missed the departure. Big Hint here: ... Read More
My partner and myself had wanted to do the North Atlantic to Northern Europe but when this deal came along, we couldn't resist. Unfortunately my partner lost his passport on day of sailing and missed the departure. Big Hint here: First thing to do is to call Holland America and advise them. They will then try to help you get to next port and will do everything necessary to help you avoid large extra charges. My friend didn't do this and wound up with big expenses that a call to the cruise line would have been the much better way to go. My review is based on my being in a corner Neptune suite with a wrap around balcony and dining almost completely in the Pinnacle Grill. While this suite balcony might be great on a Carribbean cruise, on the Atlantic Ocean, totally unnecessary. Plus the side balcony cuts into the cabin size and isn't as big as mid ship suites. Plus, being in the back, I had less visits to the Neptune Lounge and I missed that very much. Of course I had 2 brilliant room stewards. Raymond and Yoman. I like getting up early and having my room done first. No problem for these guys. Thank you very much guys. Having the Lounge is a huge plus. You get the services of 2 fabulous concierges. Mine were Hazel and Anika. Thank you ladies for your great help with my friends' woes and for all you do for the passengers in the lounge. A wonderful place to rest and meet your fellow cruisers. Get a cappuccino or a bite to eat. Work on their computer and watch some TV. Since I was waiting for my friend to make it back from the Miami Passport agency, I didn't arrive on board until about 345PM. Needless to say he didn't make it back on time. So my embarkation.was veery speedy. My cabin was ready and the amount of closet space was very generous. The bathroom was very big with twin sinks. They now have nightlights but I think they're too bright. I bring my own but impossible to turn theirs off. You don't need to be blinded if you need to use the rest room during the middle of the night. The Oosterdam was just in dry dock and had all of her dry goods replaced. That meant I got to be first to use the new beds and linens. Delicious bed. I really wish they could figure out a way of making the twins feel more like a single bed and not 2 beds slid together. I also like having all the goodies that they bring to your suite. Dining: As I mentioned before, I had almost all of my meals in the Pinnacle Grill. Being in the top suites has one perk that I really love and that's a full breakfast in the "Grill". Thanks to Arlen, Ida, Anna and Lesley and all the others that made my days so enjoyable. Dinners were probably the best in my many times on other ships in their Grill rooms. Bravo. So good, I did lunch there a few times. As I'm a 4 star Mariner, I get 50% discount on all meals in the Pinnacle. That includes the pop up "Rudy's Sal De Mer". BTW, I did hear good remarks from the people that ate in main dining room. The Grill chef made my and from my observations of others, great temperature meats and fish and general great dining. Since I was rather bummed out about my missing friend, I didn't get to see many of the shows but did give the casino some action. I broke even, pretty good actually. I also met on board some previous cruiser friends and joined them quite a bit. They too ate mostly in the Pinnacle and our times were very close, so we joined each other a few times. Thanks to Candice Karin and Randy and Steve. The ports were excellent for this crossing. Funchal was our first port and my friend was supposed to meet us there. Alas, they wouldn't let his flight land due to heavy winds, and we didn't meet up until we got to Lisbon. Yikes! He has a crazier story than I do. The other ports were quite good and Joseph and I did a "Taste of Malaga" tour through the group, "We Love Malaga", with tour group owner, Victor. I totally recommend him to anyone. For the other ports we took in the shuttles and walked around on our own. Service on board the ship was almost perfect. I did have a bit of a problem with trying to set up space for our Mah Jong players and it took too many visits to straighten this out but in the end they did find a compromise for our group. Not that I was too happy about it, but not worth getting too upset. Holland America is one of my favorite cruise lines and this was my 24th crossing altogether, so I have experience and know what to expect. We had a very big storm on our journey but the Oosterdam held up beautifully. I heartily recommend this ship and this line. I love sea days. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
I wanted to try the Koningsdam cruise because I had heard from friends that it was a lovely, new ship. I was worried however about the size of the ship and the prospect of being with over 2.5 thousand as I enjoy smaller size and numbers. ... Read More
I wanted to try the Koningsdam cruise because I had heard from friends that it was a lovely, new ship. I was worried however about the size of the ship and the prospect of being with over 2.5 thousand as I enjoy smaller size and numbers. However, within 2-3 days I felt increasingly comfortable onboard. I never had trouble finding seats for meals and shows. I never really had to wait in line ups both on or off of the ship. I loved the food in the Lido. It was always diverse, appealing and tasty. I only ate in the dining room 3 times. Unfortunately when I went to the dining room for a surf and turf dinner, only the steak was hot and the rest of the food was like warm. Sometimes I encountered lukewarm food in the lido too. Overall though the food tasted great but I do like my food hot. Shows were ok but a few were wonderful. One World performed by the singers and dancers was so good my friends and I watched it twice in a row. Also loved the skinny German juggler and the man who did the Elton John/Billy Joel set. Abbafab was ok but the tempo of the music was way too slow and I felt the show dragged. Customer service was pretty good and the supervisor rocks. Cabin attendants were lovely and I also enjoyed the American Test Kitchen, the Tamarind restaurant and the Planet Earth shows in the Queens lounge. The captain was personable, impressive and Canadian, which is a good thing. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
I love Holland America. I chose the cruise for its itinerary - 21 days in the Caribbean to see as much as I could see. The Islands all kind of blend together but I loved Martinique. But about the ship. New ship with new touches. ... Read More
I love Holland America. I chose the cruise for its itinerary - 21 days in the Caribbean to see as much as I could see. The Islands all kind of blend together but I loved Martinique. But about the ship. New ship with new touches. Loved the movies under the starts with popcorn, pizza and other snacks. Loved all the happy hours and drink specials. Loved BB King Blues club. LOVED the spa. We bought a spa pass and used it every day and it was never too crowded. Some people talked about it being too easy for people who had not paid for the spa to use the free dry sauna and walk into the spa area but I didn't see this happen at all. There was always plenty of room for the people who paid to use it to find a spot to enjoy. The food as always was excellent, from the Dive In to Tamarind. Staff on board was, as always, exceptional. I was disappointed in the shops and the shopping ashore adviser. They really, REALLY push high end jewelry and watches. Not everyone likes or wants such high-end items. I miss the low and middle end stuff. They had one day where they had a sale on things like that at the pool but I swear to God it was like a feeding frenzy. People were lined up the length of the pool to pay for their items. And they were all Holland America items. I remember cruising the Mediterranean when they had sales at the pool that were local items, not just Holland T-shirts. That would have been nice to see here. But really that is my only complaint and I actually did end up purchasing my third Majorca pearl necklace on board. I don't gamble so I can't speak to the casino but I did hear at least 3 people talk about the money they won, so they said :-) Over all I liked the new ship very much. I thought the artwork all around the ship was excellent. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
The cruise was great overall. The weather did not cooperative at times. I had a bad start to the cruise as I lost my wallet. It was however found and returned to me by the front desk. Having a tour guide is a great addition to services ... Read More
The cruise was great overall. The weather did not cooperative at times. I had a bad start to the cruise as I lost my wallet. It was however found and returned to me by the front desk. Having a tour guide is a great addition to services for passengers. I ate mostly at the Lideo buffet as open seating is not to my liking. I can only hope that Holland America adds the cruise back as soon as they can. It is presently not offered for the next two years. I got upgraded to a Veranda Suite that means a cabin with a balcony. Having Happy Hour in the Crowsnest twice a night was great. Keep having Happy Hours!! I was dressed as Santa for five different occasions. One was for the Cruise Critics lunch. Having Cruise Critics is a good way to find out about your fellow passengers. It is also a great way to find out about ports of call and the ship before the cruise. Having meetings on the ship by Cruise Critics is great. Having some one volunteer to set up a spread sheet with information on fellow passengers, private tours that fellow passengers have scheduled including with whom and if additional seats are available for that tour. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
After sailing numerous Holland American ships, I was anxious to experience the new Koningsdam. There are many things I love about this ship and things I miss when compared to their smaller ships. Highlights: The cabin was excellent, ... Read More
After sailing numerous Holland American ships, I was anxious to experience the new Koningsdam. There are many things I love about this ship and things I miss when compared to their smaller ships. Highlights: The cabin was excellent, especially the shower and the larger flat screen TV. (My only complaint here was the air quality and ability to control the temperature adequately. For some reason, the air was extremely HIGH in humidity! Maybe due to this there seemed to be an over abundance of "ship" coughing going on.) The upper sports deck offered an excellent outdoor walking experience each morning while the lower promenade deck was lacking due to the portion that reverted to single file. Entertainment in the main showroom was much improved when compared to HAL smaller ships. Lacking: The quality of food in the main dining room was inconsistent and lacking in variety. The Lido was often over crowded, stuffy and miserable to walk through to reach the outer pool deck. Due to the size of the ship, service was not as spot on when compared to smaller HAL vessels. Would I cruise her again? Yes, for sure! It's all about the itinerary and pricing for me as I have to pay the single supplement. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
This cruise offered me an opportunity to explore some locations that I would not be able to travel to on my own. I hear that this ship is going in to dry dock to have an update. It is a good thing because it coud use a little face ... Read More
This cruise offered me an opportunity to explore some locations that I would not be able to travel to on my own. I hear that this ship is going in to dry dock to have an update. It is a good thing because it coud use a little face lift. My cabin was fine but the heat did not work as well as other boats I have been in, the sink kept dripping but all in all they kept the cabin clean. Dining, well once you get the hang of it it is great. the staff are very accommodating. Just ask and often they will do anything to make it happen. How do they remember names so well? regarding the food - good portion control, very tasty usually. we had breakfast in the didning room. I would HIGHLY reccomment it regarding the service, I am jewsih and I really appreciated HAL had the egg bread adn the wine available. Kudos Entertainment and activities - needs work there were a few brilliant acts Bailamos from Canada, Tutti, wow!the magician, the argentinian singer. were fabulous . Also the band in the ocean bar was good. the crouwd was old that is why there was not htat much going on. the crows nest had some great live entertainers, but it was all one kind of music, not my kind of music. the entertainment just needed a little more and a little more polish. some entertainers were wonderful some were less than okay Everyone loved Richard adn abby. Richard was the martini specialist - even though I am not a drinker it was treat to have that esprit de corps. regarding the ports- It depends on your port experience. I know HAL in hypervigillant about safety but they scared many peope from going in to lima. Lima was a highlight. the HAL tours are too expensive. I took the HAL casa blanca wine tour - that was wonderful.The tourguide was terrific My shore excursions were all great. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
I never sailed the islands of the Pacific, and this was a perfect opportunity to do so. A few days in Sydney prior to sailing allowed two visits to Hunter Valley (two different companies) and a lunch at the top of the Sydney Tower. ... Read More
I never sailed the islands of the Pacific, and this was a perfect opportunity to do so. A few days in Sydney prior to sailing allowed two visits to Hunter Valley (two different companies) and a lunch at the top of the Sydney Tower. Staying at the Sydney Harbor Marriott allowed wheeling your luggage right up to the ship with no problem....very handy! Boarding was quick and easy. Tropical Cyclone Cook interrupted our visit to two ports in New Caledonia, but one stop in Vanauatu was substituted. Days were hot and sunny as we visited Fiji and Samoa - great for those who are wild about beaches, but not much in the way of historic signts. Lots of sea days - some five in a row - gave plenty of time to kick back and read if you weren't attending a cooking demo, lecture, movie or bingo. The daily "Sip & Savor" with two wines ($4 per glass) and a good snack were led by the somalier with explanation of the wines. Something new each day, and always interesting and tasty. The wine package offerered two levels of wines - Navigator and Admiral - a variety of choices in either. I chose the lower priced Navigator and was never disappointed. My major concern was the fact that my 3-star Mariner rate allowed a 25% discount on the wine package (but a 15% service charge was added) - making it 10% lower than the price listed in the brochure. The 3-star rating didn't do a thing toward discount pricing of a glass of wine at any lounge or even the purchase of a full bottle of wine in the dining room. All coffee at the Explorations Cafe was also discounted, but specialty coffee elsewhere was full price. Dinners at LeCirque were enjoyable but not that exceptional considering the charge. At my second one, the Sea Bass offered was replaced with baramundi which is just not the same thing at all. On the other hand, the Cellar Master's Dinner was excellent. Aside from food and wine - my favorite thing on board was the Piano Bar lounge that was packed every night. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
This was my Number 1 bucket list trip. The itinerary was perfect but the ageing ship presented many plumbing issues, some cabins were flooded and a few unlucky passengers had to be moved several times. Bathroom flushing issues were taken ... Read More
This was my Number 1 bucket list trip. The itinerary was perfect but the ageing ship presented many plumbing issues, some cabins were flooded and a few unlucky passengers had to be moved several times. Bathroom flushing issues were taken care of in a timely manner. One deck had problems with no air conditioning. One of the two hot tubs was closed for most of the 33 days ..I mainly ate at the Lido buffet which served a variety of entrees and sides and the food was moist as long as you got there early. Dining room service is always slow. I had a lunch and a dinner in the Pinnacle,and was disappointed with the quality of the food. Fish was dry and the cioppino featured halibut that I couldn't pierce with a fork. Service was excellent. Desserts were always plentiful and the pastries were great. The WWII crowd loved the entertainment which featured a harmonica player, an accordion player, a magician, a comic, a violinist, and a former Olympic gymnast. Different movies were featured daily and could be viewed on the TV the next day. I did enjoy the daily Cooking demonstrations and the presentations on Gauguin. I chose this line for the itinerary but the steep single supplement was tough on my pocket. A majority of the ports were tendered, which presented many issues for the aged crowd. The first two ports were tendering fiascos due to mechanical issues that we were granted a one hour open bar from the captain. I would not sail this ship again, and rumor has it that it has been sold and is getting a total rebuild. This was my third HAL cruise. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
My Volendam experience overall was positive . The Indonesia and Far East discovery cruise was perfect length of time to experience the flavour of SE Asia. As a single traveler I found the itinerary and the price reasonable. This was my ... Read More
My Volendam experience overall was positive . The Indonesia and Far East discovery cruise was perfect length of time to experience the flavour of SE Asia. As a single traveler I found the itinerary and the price reasonable. This was my second HAL experience and it was a great way to embrace cruising in a safe and interesting way. I cannot comment about the ship other than to say it was clean and other than minor floods in the theatre ( no kidding) the crew fixed the problem. One of the things I observed was the Captains commitment to safety of the passengers. I loved having a cabin to myself. The stateroom stewards were great. I had a problem with a noisy fan in the bathroom and it was fixed promptly. I did not go on the cruise for the dinners but I thought the dining room staff were polite and accommodating. Some more helpful than others but all in all great. the food was not rock and roll wonderful but the special dinners were very nice. I had dinner in the cannetello and was underwhelmed - waste of money. maybe I went of a bad night. My favourite entertainment was the Adagio group they were a treasure. I went once or twice to the theatre shows - it was a hit or miss. some people loved the shows I was sorry I missed the mime. I heard he was wonderful. Barry from Boston grew a following in the evenings. he is goofy bold and has a huge repertoire of music he was talented at engaging everyone in sing alongs. He also was kookie in the kiss the fish event. the activities on the boat were fun, lots of people enjoyed then, The singles event coordinator was wonderful she also hosted some cooking shows lots of interesting ideas lots of fun. I liked the lectures in the Indonesian leg of the trip there were not too many ( it would have added a lot to that leg of the trip) the second leg was terrific, we had Tai chi and chi gong classes, history of china, fantastic Phil gave special sessions in the Hudson lounge. We were informed about Buddha, food and cultural characteristics of people. The special martini events were fun too. the gym was clean and the staff in the gym were very helpful. Service was good. the staff at the front desk were great. The Ports - thank goodness for cruise critic . the trips I participated in through cruise critic were wonderful the excursions the I took through HAL were because of the 2 hour drive back and forth from the location to the Ship. Boroduru was wonderful, the HAL bus trip was terrible the use tried to squeeze too many people into too little space . So the stop mid way at the Eva cafe was good the World heritage site was amazing I loved it . the dinner provided was delicious.coming back we stopped at a silver factory it was okay. we had a police escort to get to and from Boroduru. Other people that took private tours got back in time they just took other roads. the trip to AYATHUYA was interesting It was TOO expensive and I would not recommend it. the ship takes two to two and a half hours to get into Bangkok. I was hoping to get some shopping in but the Ayatthuya trip did not allow for that. the elephant ride was okay, I had had enough of Kenny our guide by 2 hours into the trip. waste of money waste of my time. Day two was more interesting the trip on the river, the grand palace was lovely still no time to shop. when you have only a few hours to sleep who need such an expensive hotel? Bottom line just take the shuttle in to Bangkok and do it on your own. Halong Bay was through HAL and I would recommend this trip. lovely and wonderful. Tommy tours in Da Nang is wonderful. I have written a review in trip advisor . loved that day. In Bali we had a driver Mertee from drivers with distinction that showed us around the island. He was fun accommodating and a terrific person to give us an overview of Bali. I would also recommend him. Our private tour in lombock was great. we saw all kinds of temples I joined another cruise critics tour and I cannot find the operators name, but it was very good. Gokomodo tours was good. also arranged trough cruise critic. this was the only place that I made a mistake. there were lots of kids and one darling boy came up begging, he said he had no mother or father I gave him some fruit. right away I had 1 million kids surrounding me. our tour operator said this was a typical strategy kids use. and that he most likely had parents. Viet nam wonderful but crowded. Jakarta dirty and smoggy Singapore - I would go in a heartbeat. that orchid garden in amazing would I go again ? Maybe to revisit some sites and other new ones. I would definitely have more confidence to go on my own. The other travellers you meet are great. all have a variety of background experience. they are also a treasure. all in all those are some of my thoughts on my adventure. all best Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
We chose this cruise as it fitted in with our annual company closedown in January each year, when we must take most of our annual holiday leave. The price was great for this peak holiday time in Australia. Both the embarkation and ... Read More
We chose this cruise as it fitted in with our annual company closedown in January each year, when we must take most of our annual holiday leave. The price was great for this peak holiday time in Australia. Both the embarkation and disembarkation processes ran extremely well, no queues All food was fresh and good quality, with the dining room providing gourmet meals each night. We initially asked for extra vegetables with our meal, thereafter a separate plate of steamed vegetables was automatically provided for our table to share each night. Dining room service was excellent. The free food on the swimming pool deck was welcome, we have cruised with other lines three times & always needed to pay for food outside the dining room & cafeteria. In addition, each day a self-serve Mexican food bar was set up on that deck, enabling us to enjoy tacos & nachos - the pulled beef was yummy! WE dined in the Pinnacle Grill for lunch on two occasions. For an extra US$10 per head for three courses plus tea or expresso coffee, this was most worthwhile. The prawn bruschetta (entree) & seafood in tomato broth (main) were highlights. We were each able to take a 750ml bottle of wine aboard on embarkation, which we could drink in our cabin. To take a bottle to the main dining room incurred a corkage fee of US$18. When we visited a wine region in New Zealand, we were each permitted to take a further bottle aboard for use in the dining room, without incurring the corkage fee. A good move by Holland America. The first sitting for dining was at 5.30pm, which meant we sometimes missed dining there due to still being ashore on port days, or missed viewing the ship's departure from ports as we were in the dining room. In hindsight we would choose the later dining option. Our major gripe was with the cost on internet on board the ship, very expensive. Also quite slow according to those who did use it. Accordingly, we waited for port days to use free wifi at local libraries or cafes. However, in NZ this was not always satisfactory as it appears they are still using 3G, at times we were unable to read incoming emails & text messages, & most times could not send emails, although text messages were fine. The entertainment on board was first class, ranging from an in-house band, in-house singers & dancers, to guest comedians, musicians, & singers. There were a variety of classes especially on sea days, including a unique series of computer classes dealing with all aspects of Windows 10, & also several computer Q & A sessions .Everyone found these classes very helpful. Other activities included cooking demonstration, DIY cocktails, galley tour, fitness classes, health & beauty talks, excursion previews, just to name a few. We didn't take any ship organised excursions, mainly due to cost. As we travelled with another couple, we hired cars at two ports to travel further afield, & noticed other groups especially families, did this as well. One excursion I saw advertised privately online prior to the cruise for NZ$50 (Napier town tour 1 hr), yet the ship charged US$69 for exactly the same tour, with the same company, which was double the price (taking into account the exchange rate). This is something cruise ships need to look at closely, to encourage more use of their own shore excursions. For the cost of our cruise, we would definitely sail with Holland America again! Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
I choose Holland for the second time it was both priced great and for 10 days the price was awesome.i have only cruised on rccl and holland.i like rccl for their ships food and service.what I don't like that as a single I get creamed ... Read More
I choose Holland for the second time it was both priced great and for 10 days the price was awesome.i have only cruised on rccl and holland.i like rccl for their ships food and service.what I don't like that as a single I get creamed on the fare. I get the double occupancy but on this cruise holland was not double but only 50 percent more,as with my only other holland cruise this kind of pricing us single can appreciate. I will hence with always consider Hal in all future cruise considerations The Rotterdam had just come out of a 50+ day Mediterranean cruise and some of us got an email from Hal to arrive at a later time to board.it sounded like there was going to be a CDC test. I had arrived on time and within 15 minutes was walking into my cabin. What a wonderful painless embarkation.i had an outside cabin on deck 3 with a a fully obstructed view, my cabin was more than ample the bath had a tub my first and a nice sized flat screen tv. My steward name Inchon was very friendly made towel animals every night and had ice in my room day and night,though I never asked for ice. Though I have had very good stewards Inchon was a cut above. The mdr was a very nice room and the food Was very good.though it was very tough to get a seat at 6pm it seemed to get swarmed at the opening each night. I read the menu each morning and it seemed to have some odd choices.i like to have 2 appetizers and an entree no desert,and most days couldn't make it work.i had some nice meals at the lido where I had breakfast every day but one. My only complaint there was the scrambled eggs were very hit or miss.but what I did find was the ny deli where they make a variety of Great pizzas I am from Chicago and we know our pizzas! The dough was light tasted and great crunch.done in a very hot oven more Neapolitan than anything else. With a large list of ingredients there are many options.for me it was the great surprise of this cruise. The shows of which I have not been a great fan of were better than I anticipated Frozen was amazing the magician was one of funniest guys I have seen and his last illusion I have yet to get over no spoilers here you must see amazing. And the library was well stocked I read 4 Preston/Child books love those guys Now the part that still has me scratching my head after the first show would let out you would expect the casino and bar,entertainment areas to fill up but that simply never happened the ocean bar was offering a drink at cost second one for 2 bucks from 9 to 10 and was a lonely spot after 9:30. The piano bar had at its best a dozen people at its peak and the piano man was great smart engaging personable guy who was entertaining. The bar next door with a great bartender had no more than eight of us after 9pm the Rotterdam was a very quiet ship after 9 The itinerary was one that started with 2.5 sea days and there were enough daytime activities to keep it interesting.then 5 ports in a row with a sea day before hitting half moon cay. Until I got the cruise log (a nice touch by Hal) I did not realize we had sailed through near gale winds and 2 days of rough seas I thought it was a bit choppy. The Rotterdam handled nicely Overall it was a great cruise for a great price I am looking forward to my next cruise and Hal will always be in the mix Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
Embarkation on MS Eurodam for the 12-night cruise Venice return on August 22 took a bit more than one hour for practically a full ship, which is not the best but not too bad due to complicated embarking procedure (hope HAL learn from NCL), ... Read More
Embarkation on MS Eurodam for the 12-night cruise Venice return on August 22 took a bit more than one hour for practically a full ship, which is not the best but not too bad due to complicated embarking procedure (hope HAL learn from NCL), but luggage already arrived as I entered the cabin. Security drill took long enough for name calling but there is nothing to learn from the exercise. HAL operates in some respect as a 5-star ship (which they are not as fare is not high enough), such as buffet items are served by staff over the counter, but many procedures need to be modernised. The sailing off at 4pm, earlier than schedule, is a bonus for the most spectacular sail-off on the Giudecca Canal. Sea day next day, with a lot of activities and the cooking demos were very good, with recipe sheet distributed. Gala night but dinner menu only ordinary, and people were not dressy. Balcony cabin is comfortable, with good bedding and sheets and a bathtub, but curtain does not really black out. Cabin has much storage space but strangely practically no drawers...HAL is a very different ship from others, and Eurodam, while a new ship, looks classical. Guests include some younger people as well. Ship is full but not crowded and this is a real great advantage. Dining is well arranged, with upper deck of dining room for assigned seating while the lower deck for free seating. Late snack is ample but served between 10:30pm to 11:30, short of the 'midnight norm'. First port of call was Sarande in Albania instead of Istanbul due to the Turkey turmoil. It is good to call on the less visited Albania and the port was interesting enough, but not so the second call on Katakolon, probably the worst of Mediterranean ports that offer nothing to see except good for cruise lines to sell an Olympia excursion, which costs USD149. But once on shore bus tickets to Olympia were sold for 10 Euros return. We also had to anchor while the later arrived Norwegian Jade and Vision of the Seas berthed. The weather was very hot so that I went ashore for a quick walk and returned within an hour (there being nothing to see and seaside coffee shops are none air-conditioned). Tender operation was smooth and fast however. Good that we stayed only the morning. Long days in Athens (8am to 11pm), and also in Mykonos, Rhodes, and Santorini, all arriving 8am and departing 6pm, where I believe many people like myself have made numerous previous visits. So I was taking it easy for all these ports. In Athens a public bus stop near the cruise terminal takes one to Athens Omonia in a matter of 30 minutes and a 24-hr ticket including Athens public transport costs only 4.50 Euro. This is even more convenient than the metro. The ship provides shuttle to a car park site of Mykonos for USD12 return but once on land right there is now the Seabus that delivers passengers to the real central part of Mykonos, for EUR2 one way. The new port is no longer walk-able. Of these ports Santorini is certainly the most spectacular call, but for frequent cruisers like myself Rhodes is a real town and the most convenient for a retured stroll. Heraklion in Crete was a replacement for a Turkish port, and this together with the next port of call Argostoli are first visits to me. Heraklion is a small city with shopping and local commercial activities, the town centre is walk-able from pier, while Argostoli is a resort with a multi-bent coast line catering to lots of tourist activities. After a sea day we berth in Venice for a good half day and an overnight before disembarkation the next morning, bringing a satisfactory cruise to an end. MS Eurodam is a relatively new ship, spacious, with a tonnage that can take in everything essential, yet not too big for discomfort and inconveniences. There were little if any queue lines, and service attitude was exceptional for a non-luxury class ship. There were indeed touches of a 5-star ship (without being a real 5-star and without charging that kind of fare). Hospitality was very good compared with similar ships (such as Princess). Practically all staff greet you in encounters. Dining was adequate for both the Dining Room and the buffet, the latter is called Lido Market, with multiple market stations catering to different kinds of food. Dining room service was excellent almost on par with Crystal and really operated in the 5-star mode though understandably not so in quality of food. Dining room breakfast was particularly good. Plenty of table for two, in this respect far better than Princess. Wine list was not very good and priced higher than say at Cunard. I was not very happy that twice I ordered wines from the list but was served a less satisfactory alternative. Alternative restaurants had good service, but the Asian restaurant Tamarind serves food that is anything but authentic Asian. The production show of 11 were not the biggest but well-choreographed, and there were guest performers of varying standard. Particularly good was that there is a classical piano quintet that plays really well. Given a similar budget, Holland American traded gimmicky installations, massive cheap entertainment, fancy uniforms and other fiascos for an abundance of food, a spacious cabin with a bathroom that has a real bathtub and decent Elemis toiletries, and perhaps most important, more smiling staff that are always able to greet guests in restaurants and corridors. Its 5-star (which it claims to be) aspects include private cabanas by poolside that even Crystal doesn't have. For a reasonable fare I am really happy with the onboard hospitality that are more in line with Crystal, rather than say the same classed Princess (which I now intend to desert as a Platinum member in favour of HAL: this is my first HAL cruise while I cruised some 10 times on Princess). Overall I had a satisfactory cruise that was enough to induce me to pay an onboard deposit to return to HAL. Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
We choose this cruise because of the destination. Island, Iceland, Greenland and Canada. The boat starts to be a little bite old (old fashioned decor) but everything on board is made to make you feel happy and confortable. Really clean, ... Read More
We choose this cruise because of the destination. Island, Iceland, Greenland and Canada. The boat starts to be a little bite old (old fashioned decor) but everything on board is made to make you feel happy and confortable. Really clean, confy, warm and beautiful. Staff is lovely, food and activities are good. (very interesting conferences, shows, teachings....) The ports were nices and beautifuls. Locals make us feel really welcome and often advantages by being a cruise traveller (lower prices...) We were youngers than most of others guests and basically not English-speaking people but we were feeling like home. The only problems we met were mealtimes, too early schedules and finally not enough time of opening and sorry but the coffee was not good. It was my first cruise then i realized that something was missing.....advices not to be to much in pain with seasickness. It was a wonderful voyage. Good times, Good memories and we cant be more satisfied Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
A group of 5 of us flew to Amsterdam in early July for a 2 week cruise through the Norwegian fjords up into the Arctic Circle on the Koningsdam. Generally speaking, this was a pleasant voyage. Flights were on schedule. Transfers from ... Read More
A group of 5 of us flew to Amsterdam in early July for a 2 week cruise through the Norwegian fjords up into the Arctic Circle on the Koningsdam. Generally speaking, this was a pleasant voyage. Flights were on schedule. Transfers from the airport to the pier went smoothly. Representatives were clearly visible. The wait time in the pier was short. Check in was quick. We boarded around noon. We were not allowed to go to our rooms until 1:30ish. I carried my luggage onboard so I could unpack right away. I dropped the luggage off in the room and continued up to the Lido Market for lunch. Available right away in the Lido Market was a dining room specialist with whom we booked specialty dining. We got that taken care of right off the bat. I like to eat in a specialty restaurant on formal nights so that I do not need the ‘appropriate clothing’ for the MDR. The offerings in which we ate were the Culinary Arts Center, the Pinnacle Grill Steak house, the Pan Asian restaurant, Tamarind, and the Italian restaurant, Canaletto. The Culinary Arts Center offers farm to table dishes with herbs grown onboard. The chef is interested in talking to you while dishes are being prepared. This is all visible with dish preparation happening behind glass windows. One is encouraged to ask questions while dinner is being prepared. Nice pitch. However, the ¾ stools with raised tables are not comfortable. This restaurant bundles a welcome cocktail (think rhubarb, strawberry and vodka) and organic wine with the cost of the meal. This was a good meal, but was overpriced and the table height was uncomfortable. The Canaletto, without going into much detail, is just not worth the additional expense. First of all, it is part of the Lido Buffet. Second, the choices were lacking. Third the preparation was not really ‘Italian’. Next, we dined in the Pinnacle Grill. The steaks were significantly better than steaks by the same name (Sirloin Strip) served in the MDR. The Tamarind pan Asian restaurant was a pleasant surprise. We ate there two times. The second time, I had the lobster tail (dusted with ginger). The dessert was a pillbox hat sized fortune cookie sitting in two inches of chocolate ganache. You have to see it to believe it. As for the Lido Market and the Billboard Onboard lounge, the furniture is so heavy, that trying to slide the chair to the table is almost impossible. In the Lido Market, the legs of the chairs are sharp, and I feel certain will quickly shred the carpeting. My room, given a single occupancy cabin – and there are only 12 of them - was not smaller than cabins of double occupancy. These cabins are forward on the main deck (deck 1) and the savings for booking one of these is substantial. Book way early. They are gone almost immediately. My cabin lacked the sofa bed that other rooms had, but that did not mean the room was smaller. I was in cabin 1009. Also, in terms of air conditioning, the unit worked very effectively. If I lowered the temperature, I could hear the unit turn on. If it got too cool and I raised the thermostat, it would turn off immediately. I don’t ever recall having the air conditioning being so responsive. The entertainment was mixed. This ship offers something called ‘Lincoln Stage Center’- these musicians, 2 violinists, a cellist, a violist and a pianist were incredibly in demand. They did a few concerts each day. I would highly recommend. Seats were gone 15 minutes prior to their performance. Other entertainment on the World Stage was meh, lack luster – a Russian singer and a flautist. Not so interesting. With that in mind, the Lincoln Center Stage isn’t big enough. Future versions of this ship need to expand seating capacity for this venue. Also, this room connects directly with Billboard Onboard. So, two different shows can not occur in these two different venues at the same time. Happy hour seemed to be offered each day from 4 to 5 pm in one of the lounges on deck 2. I did have a problem with mold on this sailing. On deck 1 forward, there was a problem with mold as well as on deck 9 near the Lido Market. The smell was awful. On day 2, it was reported. On day 3, paint odors were reported. On day 4, I saw maintenance staff wearing masks as they were replacing filters in the ventilation ducts. Shore excursions booked through Holland America were good but will be addressed later in this review. But let me add that they were a bit high, pricewise. There were about 2700 people on board. The ship actually holds about 3100. So, the ship was not sold out. However, the service seemed spotty in the dining room and the lounges – especially on formal nights. Trying to meet with a future cruise representative was tricky. Their hours of operation were limited. Also, their space is very small. In addition, I had to wait for one passenger to book with two future cruise reps at the same time. Not efficient, not good planning in this department. The main pool space was somewhat limited. The lounge chairs were comfortable and padded. There wasn’t much space to accommodate many people. This was more of a family area that had the sliding glass roof overhead for cooler weather, which is what we had. Also, in this space is where you will find burgers and fries on one level and pizza up one floor. The pizza and the burger areas used an order system where you receive a pager to notify you when the order is ready. And generally, this took about 10 minutes in each venue. Also, near the burger area was a gelato station. Gelato was a pay area and was about $2.00 for 2 scoops. I preferred the secondary pool – aft. This seated more people with an ample sized pool. Children were not readily seen at this pool the day I was able to use it. I used the gym daily. It was nicely laid out and was just off the spa area. It was big enough to handle all guests that I would run into first thing in the morning. As for the promenade deck, although it wraps all the way around, it is very narrow in parts. So, it is not a good deck for getting a brisk walk. Also, this deck was void of the traditional wooden deck chairs, which is what I grew up with. Generally speaking, it was a nice cruise and I would sail on it again, given that this ship has single occupancy rate cabins. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
I’m happy to say, what a difference this was with my first cruise. I really thought if this will be so bad as my first cruise, this will be my last but thankfully everything was super. I'm even now already looking for the next one ... Read More
I’m happy to say, what a difference this was with my first cruise. I really thought if this will be so bad as my first cruise, this will be my last but thankfully everything was super. I'm even now already looking for the next one (only not anymore with Princess cruises). This time travelling with my two teenage daughters and my brother (he in another room) This time on a smaller ship and off course less passengers but I think they have the same class. Yes the Rotterdam is an older ship and I must admit when I saw it the first time outside it looked old. Later on the cruise they painted everything outside and it becomes better. Thankfully insight everything is very clean/nice and in good condition. I love the spots (the café’s, library,shops etc.) it makes it very cosy (you feel at home). I read many times that people say that there are many “older” people on board and yes I admit the average age on the boat is mainly 60+ but directly I must say that neither I as my daughters found this exasperating. The boarding was very smoothly and we even could use our room directly. The only thing what really must be better on this boat is more (or renewed) Sun/swimming place. Now there was nearly place to lay by the Lido pool. Normally you can lay on the sky deck as well but all chairs were old and rusted (and all tied with a rope), therefore there was only place by the Lido pool or the Sea view pool. I don’t know why they renewed the last pool (Sea View) as there isn’t any water in it now but only some strange chairs in what I assume a waterway (not a swimming pool). When it was hot weather you have to cool down in the hot tub (as you can’t go through the Lido restaurant with your swimming clothes to the Lido Pool. Nice is that the roof by the Lido pool can be opened/closed (only sometimes it is too warm in there) The service on board on all levels (from front desk to Security) is excellent. Nothing is too difficult. Where we had on our 1st cruise problems with taking a bottle of wine (from the wine package) from the bar to the dining restaurant (or vice versa), here it was no problem at all. The buffet restaurant was very good (we loved the food places, were they prepare all kinds of Salad, Thais food etc.). We only didn’t use the buffet restaurant for the evening. Dining restaurant was excellent (also in the morning at breakfast). As my children doesn’t like everything and don’t eat pork, I thought this will be a problem, but thanks to our wonderful waiter (and cook) nothing was impossible and my children even keep eating there. Also what we like was the events by the swimming pool (Spanish and Dutch), with games/food and drinks (this gave the cruise extra fun experience). The quality of food by the drive-in at the Terrace is very good as well. Hamburgers and Hotdogs were very nice. To me (and the children) the entertainment was good enough, but this is really personal I think. Only we couldn’t be by all shows as the theatre was full with people. All ports which we visit was very nice and beautiful and easy for transport, so I don't review these. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
I absolutely love the lanai room. But, the Veendam is getting dated and it is a little rough. For example, the tile on the hot tubs is all coming off and many things simply do not appear in in top shape. Overall, I felt the food was good ... Read More
I absolutely love the lanai room. But, the Veendam is getting dated and it is a little rough. For example, the tile on the hot tubs is all coming off and many things simply do not appear in in top shape. Overall, I felt the food was good and the staff very pleasant. This cruise which stops in Honduras and Guatemala is fun mostly for its unique itinerary. There is not much to do at either port but you are seeing places most ships don't go. Costa Maya is a nice beach. I just took the shuttle for three dollars and a three dollar taxi back to the ship. The chairs were free at the beach and the personnel was very pleasant. There again isn't really much to do but it is a nice day in the sun. I found the entertainment to be mixed. I loved Adagio even though it is now only two people. I felt the comedian was simply not funny but the pianist was excellent. Like all ship casinos the odds weren't good but it was always crowded and smokey. I didn't buy anything on board and did no excursions. It was easy on and off. My room was ready when I got there and my steward was great. Almost literally never saw him. I went by myself on this cruise and found it to be a perfect trip to do alone. My lanai neighbors were very friendly and I met three other singles at dinner. I did one day in a port with another single traveler. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
Three friends from childhood who graduated high school together in 1971 decided to take a girlfriend getaway on the beautiful Nieuw Amsterdam. I, a seasoned cruiser of 25--Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Carnival, Princess, Oceania, and ... Read More
Three friends from childhood who graduated high school together in 1971 decided to take a girlfriend getaway on the beautiful Nieuw Amsterdam. I, a seasoned cruiser of 25--Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Carnival, Princess, Oceania, and Cunard--will tell the tale as I have something to compare it with. Stayed at the Comfort Suites near the port and enjoyed the transportation both from the airport and to Port Everglades. We arrived quite early to the port and walked right up to check-in. Of course, it meant sitting in the terminal for a couple of hours, but that was kind of fun as we watched hundreds of passengers standing in the line and getting checked in. Excitement for all! Overall impression of the ship: Just the right size, spotlessly clean, elegant understated décor. We were in a triple occupancy balcony cabin and once we found a spot for all our "stuff" (which was kind of a daunting task), we didn't feel crowded at all. Plenty of drawer space and closets. and don't forget HA provides drawers under the bed, too. Loved the bathroom with a tub, which made showering much more enjoyable than the typical tiny cruise ship showers. We dined most nights in the main dining room, and one night at Canaletto (Italian) and one night at the Pinnacle Grill. Well worth the upcharge! Service was slow in the dining room and perfect at the Pinnacle. Entertainment: up and down. We LOVED the B.B.King All Stars group, but did not care for the piano bar guy or the band in the atrium. We especially loved the "Dancing with the Stars" events. We enjoyed each port and booked some excursion in some. Grand Turk we went to Margaritaville (fun), they have a giant swimming pool, beach, and even a flowrider! Loved the way the beach is right next to the ship...no need to book an excursion at this port. San Juan we did the hike thru the rain forest, and believe me when I say, it was RAINING! Come prepared, or buy an overpriced poncho! Also, it is pretty strenuous climbing and hiking, especially over wet rocks. Still, very interesting. At St. Thomas, we went on the Kon Tiki, which is basically a party boat with rum punch flowing like water, and dancing the limbo. They did take us to a beach for an hour or so. The other two did the horseback riding excursion at Half Moon Cay, and felt it was a money making opportunity for the photographer, with little time actually riding the horses. Overall, I would recommend this ship to anyone who is looking for a relaxing time with some fun thrown in here and there. Not for you, if you want rock climbing walls, water slides, etc and a lot of activities for young kids. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
Headed to the Eastern Caribbean early November. We were late to embark due to flight delays but I think it worked in our favor as there were no lines or wait times to board the ship. We specifically chose HAL as we're a bit ... Read More
Headed to the Eastern Caribbean early November. We were late to embark due to flight delays but I think it worked in our favor as there were no lines or wait times to board the ship. We specifically chose HAL as we're a bit contrarian and do not necessarily cruise to take advantage of all activities, night life and all-you can-eat buffets. Rather, we like to order room service for breakfast, find a comfortable quiet spot to read and relax, enjoy the thermal suite, and look at the stars from our balcony to finish the night. HAL provides all that and more. The Pros: Good restaurants: Canneletto, Pinnacle, and Le Cirque were terrific. After our first meal in the Vista Lounge we opted for Canneletto to be our primary dinner source. We skipped the Lido Buffet and opted for room service for breakfast and sometimes lunch. The burger joint on the Lido deck was delicious. So good I could only allow myself to eat there just once for fear of being addicted. I noticed a lot of people opted out on the 'Diver sauce' which is standard on their burgers. It's kind of a mustard aoli and became obvious it was not for everyone, but I liked it. Our room stewards and ALL the crew for that matter were, hard-working, friendly and always service-with-a-smile. I think that was the most impressive thing I take away from our experience. The Spa has good specials during port days. The Thermal suite is a must-do if you're looking for serious relaxation during your trip. Two separate pools in separate areas of the ship, one designated Adults-only. Ports: Grand Turk: A sleepy island with a small downtown area that is a little depressed. There are a few eateries and several souvenir tents (all selling the same items) as well as a maritime museum, but that's about it. We didn't go to the beach due to the weather being a little rainy and overcast but people who did reported how absolutely beautiful it is. Would recommend an excursion over taking a taxi into town. San Juan, Puerto Rico: Hands down our favorite stop and we didn't need to be back on the ship till 10:30 p.m. Did the excursion which included the Castillo San Felipe Fort and the Bacardi' tour. Our driver, Lisa was very genial and while driving relayed the history and current life in Puerto Rico. It also included a tour of the Bacardi' plant which was fine, but truly enjoyed the drive and the commentary while touring the island. We ended up in Old San Juan and had a wonderful dinner at an Italian restaurant, Al Dente. There were some storms passing through but they ended just in time for us to have a short stroll back to our ship after dinner. St. Thomas: Beautiful Island but the problem was there were 6 other cruise ships in port that day. The downtown area was a crush of humanity. We walked up the hill to explore some neighborhoods but again, unless you like huge crowds and Love to shop, do an excursion that will take you to other parts of the island instead. Half Moon Cay: Truly the poster child for the beauty of the Caribbean. An experience I'll not soon forget. The Island is beautiful and the water sublime.There are free loungers to use, but spend a few extra buck for a ClamShell as the sun is deceptive and subsequently a lot of crispy people at dinner that night. Word for the wise, if you rent a Clam Shell and show up a little later in the day, you're going to have to walk down the beach a little further to find an attendant. But it's really okay because it means you're further down where it's also a little less crowded. The infrastructure on the island is very user friendly and they also do a bbq for lunch. The Cons: The Spa layout is a bit confusing and compared to other ships I have sailed on in the past few years, a little dated. Everyone is trying to sell you something, if not the spa pushing treatments, at the Gym they're trying to enroll you in detox programs or boot camps and if not at the gym, your cocktail waitress is trying to sell you drink packages or enroll you in the Pub Crawl, etc., etc. It's a little annoying and it's hard on everyone because you know those people are ordered to do push these things. Thankfully it all dies down after a few days. The Casino slots are not very friendly so your dollar doesn't go very far. It feels like a bit of a time warp to walk into a place so tainted with both stale and fresh cigarette smoke. Entertainment There's something for everyone. There was the piano bar which was very popular. The Adagio where nightly was a pianist and violinist playing classical music, and the B.B. King all-stars, all terrific. Northern lights which is where the late night partying was happening, and the Crows Nest. Lots to do and see from sun up through late night. The Westerdam is not a mega-ship which was exactly what we were looking for. Definitely an older demographic and not a lot of children on board. A 'judgement free' zone in regards to body types as there were all kinds of shapes and sizes on board which goes a long way when having to put on a bathing suit. We loved how well appointed this ship was with comfortable seating areas all throughout the ship. I've been on a few mega-ships where by the 4th or 5th day I would start to feel a little hemmed in, crowded by too many people, but this has not been my experience on HAL. All the crew were eager to please and always made sure we were satisfied with our service. This is a cruise I'd do again in a heart beat. The major downside was having to the leave the ship early and having made the mistake of having a later flight. The Ft. Lauderdale airport is small, and is not outfitted to handle the thousands of people who descend upon the airport after they disembark. We were not even let through security until an hour and a half before our flight. Once we got through we understood why they made us wait as once we were in the terminal we felt like sardines in a sardine can. If you have a later flight do yourself a favor and do one more excursion for the day and then plan to get to the airport as close to the time your departure allows. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
Good points: -Zaandam much better than the Oosterdam in decor, service and company response to problems. Had a bad leak in my suite ceiling that took days to correct, but received a very generous shipboard credit and a cookbook plus ... Read More
Good points: -Zaandam much better than the Oosterdam in decor, service and company response to problems. Had a bad leak in my suite ceiling that took days to correct, but received a very generous shipboard credit and a cookbook plus apology note as compensation. Compared to the Oosterdam, where I had worse problems with cabin and an injury caused by HAL and I got no compensation or apology. -Shore excursions were excellent -Food was pretty good, Pinnacle Grill filet was outstanding, La Cirque fantastic -Entertainment at times was excellent -Embarkation and disembarkation very smooth -Hotel the night before, booked through my travel agent, Sheraton Marina in San Diego very good (not necessarily affiliated with HAL.) -Although I had a very bad spa experience with a too-young and experienced staff person, the spa manager quickly refunded the hefty sum I had paid in advance. -LOVE the Thermal Suite on HAL, though this one was WAY small. Pool was the size of a hot tub. BUT there was rarely anyone in the room, and what a way to relax! -Explorations Cafe really spacious, comfortable, and service was good there. -HAL continues to have the best guest to tonnage ratio, with lots of space and non-crowded atmosphere. However, at times this could be a negative for a solo traveler! Not so good points: -Service was not up to par for the price and supposed reputation of HAL Dining room staff seemed worn out or overworked, repeated requests needed for simple items like iced tea, etc. Chaotic, unacceptable situation with dining room seating. Some sort of "reservations needed" policy we were never notified about- "on your own" dining turned out to receive annoyance from restaurant manager, no table or a very long wait, and never could figure out what kind of system or lack of they were using. Many people annoyed, very long lines. 75% of the time, service overall could not in any way be described as "luxury," "gracious," or "outstanding." -Even though the restaurant food was good, the room service food was HORRIBLE. Unacceptable, poorly presented, served with resentment, and hardly edible. -Cabin steward(s) just okay. Just doing their job, and since you pay $11.50 per day for tips overall, felt underwhelmed so didn't tip them more. Was slightly put off by Cruise Director's heavy pitch on the last day for tips to the staff, when indeed, no staff member stood out for doing anything other than their job. -Unavoidable but still annoying culture/ language gap makes trying to complain or explain needs met with blank looks, non-responsiveness, or incorrect/ poor resolution, if any. Tendency to insinuate blame on the guest and a constant theme of NOT showing the kind of gracious, over the top service HAL advertises. A big gap here! -Very unclear when formal nights were- advance notice was the typical 2, but turns out there were 3, with hardly any advance and not clear notice. How are you supposed to pack or plan for that? Lack of enforcement of dress code for formal nights. -For the price I paid for my verandah suite, it was a rip-off. Very small, the bathroom was tiny, and the "jetted" tub was a disgrace. Not big enough for an adult, and all the jets didn't work. -The Zaandam is looking a little shabby, and for the price of my cruise, would expect stain-free carpet and not to see taped-together wood in a couple places. -This is the nature of HAL, so is more a mis-match for me as a youthful solo traveler, but a total lack of fun atmosphere. No club to dance, people my age acting much older, grumpy (how can you be unhappy when you get to go on a cruise???) and not everyone was unfriendly, but almost everyone seemed confused why someone would cruise alone. -NO gathering for solo travelers as I had seen on the Oosterdam schedule!! Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
Voyage of the Vikings 2010- 35 Days This was my first cruise over 10 days and didn't really know what to expect. It was perfect! Embarkation was slow,but smooth. Luggage was delivered inside staterooms very quickly. Ship is ... Read More
Voyage of the Vikings 2010- 35 Days This was my first cruise over 10 days and didn't really know what to expect. It was perfect! Embarkation was slow,but smooth. Luggage was delivered inside staterooms very quickly. Ship is older but in ok condition. Staterooms all have a couch as well as beds. Plenty of closet and draw space. TV position isn't the best. If there are huge waves and you have a cabin in the front of the ship you will hear and feel the slap of the wave, as I expect you will on all ships. Appreciated the special grill luncheons out by the pool. Food only got better as the cruise progressed. Excellent food and a variety at every meal--don't miss the waffles for breakfast with fresh berries! I preferred dining in the Lido-you could sample each of the entrees, appetizers, etc., without having a million plates in front of you, as presentation is important with HAL.Also, if another diner at your table ordered an additional entree after completing the first, then the whole table had to wait until that person was finished to get dessert and coffee. (I can't explain why I was in a hurry...) HAL offers soda drink cards for fountain beverages-you save about $1 per soda. The Coffee Bar in the Explorers Lounge also offers coffee cards--these are only a good value when one can use the card for a large daily special (this changed when the staff person changed). Spa is small-offers warm tile loungers, steam bath and hot tub. Last two weeks the the smaller steam bath didn't work everyday. There is a free sauna. I purchased the spa pass and was generally one of two using the facilities at a variety of times during this cruise. There are only 6 tile loungers, so with a younger group of passengers it may get crowded. Others reported enjoying the nightly shows. There was also a different movie offered each day at different times to accommodate passenger schedules. The Captain kept passengers informed daily at minimum and advised when approaching views that passengers would enjoy (sometimes the evening before the actual approach. He also shared information he gathered about other ships in port, etc. This was something I wasn't use to hearing and really appreciated during this cruise. Interesting lectures were provided and then televised. Cooking classes were also offered. Not many "active" planned activities on this cruise. "Golf" was it besides "Trivia" everyday. The Explorer's Lounge has a variety of board games to borrow/use; and offered a sign-up to find fellow players. Going through Prince Christian Sound, a guide provided verbal information for the whole duration! This was one of the highlights of the cruise for me. Staff are friendly and respectful. They work very hard to ensure passengers are comfortable and enjoying themselves. Ports that required tendering were painful. If you weren't on a ship's excursion the wait was very long. The staff that managed the "tickets" weren't forthcoming with the truth. One female staff in particular, was quite condescending when speaking with passengers--We passengers restrained ourselves and didn't dispose of her in the ocean! Recommend that you avoid cruises that require a number of tender ports. The weather was cool and foggy until we reached Copenhagen (at night anyhow) the foghorn was required frequently. It is difficult to describe the cruise-the views were surreal and I felt like I was visiting another planet. Gorgeous, absolutely gorgeous. My favorite ports were the small communities in Newfoundland, Greenland, Iceland and Norway. Everyone should have the opportunity to visit these countries. The larger ports were like visiting any metropolitan area in the summer...crowded and too much to see without the time to take advantage of being in the cities. Passengers were gifted with whale (different types), porpoise, dolphin and sailfish sightings! Glorious days at sea! Smoking is only allowed in staterooms, outside and in the casino. The casino slot machines just ate money--one jackpot in 35 days! If you are a gambler stick to the tables. It is a blatant lie that "the payouts are the same as Las Vegas."..and the casino staff kept repeating it like a mantra. Disembarkation was orderly and smooth without any incidents. It was a great cruise--both the itinerary and the Maasdam met all of my expectations and more!! Read Less
Sail Date July 2010
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