1. Home
  2. Cruise Lines
  3. Holland America Line
  4. Holland America Line Cruise Reviews

70 Holland America Singles Cruise Reviews

This was my third cruise with the Holland America line and my first on the newest ship the Eurodam. As with my other cruises, I was not disappointed. I flew down to Ft. Lauderdale the day prior to sailing, staying at the Plantation ... Read More
This was my third cruise with the Holland America line and my first on the newest ship the Eurodam. As with my other cruises, I was not disappointed. I flew down to Ft. Lauderdale the day prior to sailing, staying at the Plantation Renaissance, accommodations arranged by HAL. An excellent hotel, it is located in a rather heavy traffic area and walking around is a little dodgy. Transfer to Port Everglades the following day went smoothly and the embarkation process was the quickest I've experienced. Bear in mind that the Lido restaurant is quite crowded on embarkation days and I had some difficulty in locating a table. I dropped off my carry-on back, grabbed some food and returned to find an elderly couple moving my bag to swipe my table! As a retired high school teacher, I used my polite but firm teacher voice to inform them that the table was taken!The cabins were ready by 1:30 and I was very pleased with my "fully obstructed view" stateroom. Even though there was a lifeboat hanging outside the window, it was no big problem. The cabins are spacious with plenty of storage space both in the closets and two large drawers under the bed. My cabin stewards were excellent, friendly and did their work when I was out of the cabin.The ship itself is well-laid out and easy to find one's way around. I used the provided map for the first hour and then forgot about it. Signs are clearly posted on each floor near the elevators as to facilities on that particular floor. Shipboard announcements are kept to the minimum and the drinks staff provide unobtrusive service. As to the food service, it was top notch! I enjoyed a room service breakfast served each morning by a smiling waiter. The Tamarind Restaurant deserves very special praise. The servers are beautiful, attentive and friendly. The food is NOT what one would find at a  home-town Chinese take-out. The evening meal costs $15 and lunch is complimentaryI enjoyed both.  The Lido provides a very wide variety of food, well-prepared and presented. I am a solo traveler and found that if you tip your chair at an angle, resting the back against the table, it not only will reserve your table but serves to signal the wait staff that the table is still occupied. I generally had no problem finding a table close enough to the food areas to minimize walking to the beverage or dessert stations. I used the Rembrandt Dining Room on the two formal nights and enjoyed dinner with a different group of people both times. The food here is presented well and served at the appropriate temperature. Ports of call: Grand Turks has a very nice cruise center in the port. There are shops, fountains, places to sit and a beach. The town center is accessible by vehicle or very athletic walkers. San Juan is a very interesting place with plenty to see by walking. It would be a good idea to pick up a map, however,  to better plan your excursions. It should be noted that I didn't purchase any shore excursions on this cruise, preferring to leave the ship when I liked. St. Thomas is an area at which I wasn't impressed. The Eurodam docked about a mile or so from Charlotte Amalie and with the tropical sun beating down, I didn't feel like I wanted to make the uphill walk. There are, of course, cabs and tour buses at the pier if one wishes to make use of them. Half Moon Cay was a high point for me as it was so relaxing, clean and beautiful turquoise water. The shows presented in the theatre by the resident dance/singing group were well done and very professional from a technical standpoint. There was also a comic juggler who did an excellent job and Illia and Valerie, former performers with Cirque de Soleil who received a standing ovation. There was also the Indonesian crew show which appears to be the same on most HAL ships. The only real glitch was disembarkation-it took me a few minutes to locate my bageven though I was directed to the "2nd row," I had no idea where this row was but by looking at the colored tags on other luggage and quickly found my color and group number. The only constructive criticism I might offer at this point is that HAL could arrange the outgoing transportation/flights a bit better. I was taken to the airport, arriving at 9:30 a.m. and my flight was scheduled to leave at 2:55 p.m. even though there was an earlier flight to the same destination at 1:05. While this isn't a major problem, there's only so much Sudoku that a solo traveler can stand in five hours time! I enjoyed the cruise vacation very much and HAL does a very good job to ensure the enjoyment and comfort of all the passengers in accommodations, food service and entertainment. The on-board staff is friendly, always smiling and works very hard to ensure a pleasant time for all. Read Less
Sail Date April 2009
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
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
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
When I booked my cruise, there were several things that drew me to HAL - the luxury the line's name invoked, the amount of time spent in port vs at sea, and the shipboard culinary arts program sponsored by Food & Wine. I have ... Read More
When I booked my cruise, there were several things that drew me to HAL - the luxury the line's name invoked, the amount of time spent in port vs at sea, and the shipboard culinary arts program sponsored by Food & Wine. I have cruised on two other lines (RC in '09 and Carnival many yrs ago) in the past, so I have something to compare HAL to. HAL Veendam fell short on luxury, but otherwise provided a pleasant cruising experience. Luxury is in the details, and things like a mildew stained bathtub mat, salt and pepper paper packets in the Lido restaurant instead of actual shakers (for the first two days), broken and missing tiles in the Retreat area, a pathetically small pool that was overrun by children, ship crew painting and varnishing main areas during the daytime, while at sea, just make for lasting impressions - unfortunately negative ones. My room, while a little cramped, was clean and comfortable (minus the tub mat). Unfortunately, the doors to the Lower Promenade deck, which is where my cabin was located and right next to, slammed very hard while cruising, making for a constant banging whenever in use. There are signs posting caution on the doors, but in the "right" conditions, it took the strength of 1-2 adults to open the doors to the deck and depending on whether or not you were going in or out, determined whether you might have lost your fingers or toes, or gotten thrown into the interior doors because the force of the wind was so hard. I didn't like the food for the most part. I thought RC's was much better. It was bland for the most part and forgettable. Room service was hit or miss - my breakfasts (I ordered 2 days) were decent, just detail how you want your food on the order form, but my lunch of a simple cheeseburger was cold, dry, hard and tasteless, while the cheese and fruit platter was a joke. I ate in the Rotterdam dinning room twice, not impressed either time, Lido everyday (hit or miss based on selections), Canelleti's twice - hit and miss. Nothing was outstanding that I had to have seconds, which was very, very disappointing. But other people raved about the food, so this is all very subjective. Even though there was a kids area, they took over the only pool, many of the hot tubs and the Retreat area, which was only a foot deep. Since I just wanted some peace and quiet, I left after the shrieking began. There were quite a bit of quiet places to be found on-board, for which I am thankful, but my top two were my cabin and the relaxation lounge in the spa (a little hidden tip for you). The movies in the theater were enjoyable, however in the Retreat area the audio was barely audible over the cruising sounds. Sometimes the movie ran on the in-room tv afterwards, but i couldn't figure out when, and didn't care enough to call the front desk to inquire by the time i figured out that the in-room tv had minimal options - 2 sports, cnn, cartoon network, TMC/AMC,(i dont remember which), TNT (thank God for the TNT), one channel which never worked, 2 for music, a tv guide channel which never worked and approximately 6 channels devoted to HAL! REALLY? While you may not be on a cruise to watch tv, when you are in your room and you want to watch tv, you'll understand how important it is when you can't. But thanks to HAL for having a decent dvd library, which I utilized often. Culinary arts program - there was only one cooking class (despite the 800-rep's claim that there was more). It served a class of 12 people max. We were grouped based on our desire to complete a particular portion of the meal. No one got to complete their own meal, which makes sense from a time standpoint, but I felt shortchanged. I wanted to work on the dessert, but with 4 of us making one dessert, no one got to make the whole thing from start to finish. It was a strange way to hold a class, and I've taken other cooking classes before. The demonstrations were satisfactory and varied enough throughout the sailing. The staff were friendly, as to be expected. The entertainment was fair. HAL serves a much older crowd (think retirees), with some families sprinkled in. The shipboard activities weren't geared towards those that want to rip and run. I would scan the daily schedule and circle my choices of interest and did what I wanted when I wanted. I travelled alone and am in my late 30's, and wanted to relax from my very stressful life - which is why I picked HAL over RC or NCL. Even with this in mind, I often found myself wishing that I picked a my livelier ship. I did spend several days (and hundreds of dollars) in the spa. Again, as an avid spa-goer, I have much to compare it to. I was less than impressed. It was fair, but far more overpriced than necessary. Thank God for the daily discounts, because without them, I wouldn't have utilized the spa nearly as much. My technicians (I had 2) were competent and pretty good, but things like dim/mood lighting during the facial analysis (I'm used to the blinding bright light), a body scrub that left me dry as if I had no treatment at all (I'm used to scrubs with an oil base that leave some residue after the fact for that plump, moist, dewy feel), quick application and removal of a seaweed wrap and the body scrub (where's the luxurious/pampered feeling in feeling rushed?). And a shower that had left-behind algae mud in it from either me (I was the last client in that room the evening before) or from the person before me that evening. Either way ---- EEEEEEEWWWWWWWWWWW! Bottom line, HAL to me was no better in luxury, elegance, excellence, service, food or value than RC. Read Less
Sail Date July 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
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
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
This is the first disappointing cruise experience I have had with Holland America Line. I used to be a loyal HAL cruiser. I am now three star mariner. This may have been my last cruise with HAL unless it was on their newer ships, ... Read More
This is the first disappointing cruise experience I have had with Holland America Line. I used to be a loyal HAL cruiser. I am now three star mariner. This may have been my last cruise with HAL unless it was on their newer ships, Eurodam or Niew Amsterdam. The Zuiderdam is in horrible condition. It has not been well maintained. Everywhere you looked, something needed fixed. There were tears in the carpet, tears in the cushions on the deck chars, tears in the upolstry on lounge chairs in the Crow's Nest. There was painting that needed to be done. The brass was scraped in the elevators. Certain things were broken or damaged to the point of being unusable. There was supposed to be a chair at the makup table in my room. It was not there and never provided. I believe that HAL is simply not spending the necessary funds to properly maintain their fleet, as I heard other guests comment that Ryndam is falling apart as well. This ship is now 10 years old, and it looks like it is about 30 years old. It needs to go to dry dock. The ship's condition gave this cruise a black eye for me. HAL claims a 5 star cruise experience. Zuiderdam is in about 2 star condition. On to other aspects of the cruise: The itinerary was fabulous. It was very exotic and included Costa Rica, Curacao, Bonaire and Aruba. People couldn't wait to get off this ship and onto shore. I had a nice time while in port. I wish I could have stayed on one the islands/countries we visited rather than return to this dump of a cruise ship. The food was very good. I would say the dining deserves a 4 star rating. We dined in Pinnacle grill. It was the same food, with a little better presentation, served in the main dining room. Don't waste the extra money. The night we booked in Pinnacle, they had lobster tail in the main dining room and, of course, you could order multiple entress (tails). You would have to pay double in Pinnacle for that. Stay in the main dining room. Hopefully, you won't be booked on Zuiderdam, but if you go on one of their newer ships this should be a standard comment and would apply as well. The crew was up to HAL standards. My cabin steward and my waiter were excellent. So were the bartenders. I felt bad for them as they constantly had to make excuses for Zuiderdam's condition for the company. One crew member told me that rain water drops were coming in the Northern Lights one night. They told the passengers " do not worry if the rain comes down from up above, you must worry if it comes up from below, that means that the ship is sinking." The entertainment stunk. There was not enough variety. Usually you have a rock band and some other musical genre to choose from. Many lounges were deserted with no entertainment. This might have to do with HALs older crowd. The casino is terrible. People were losing lots of money, which is normal in a casino, but not one light went off on any of the slots the entire cruise while I was in there. You could drop 5000 in seconds and not even $500. I guess thet have to be greedy and make as much money as possible because they know you won't be returning. Fortunately, I met another single on this cruise and we spent time sitting on by balcony talking and pounding beers and looking at the beautiful sea. That made the cruise and helped us to pass time. Had we not met, I would have hated this cruise. Fortunately, for HAL, a fellow passenger helped my perspective. Disembarkation was a disaster. We stood in line for hours. HAL broke my mother's handle on her luggage. Please don't choose Zuiderdam if you must sail with HAL. Go on Eurodam. Zuiderdam is barely servicable in her current condition. My next cruise I will be returning to Celebrity. That is truly 5 star. In fact, I have had better cruises with Carnival, and Carnival cruise ships are in much better condition than this one. I am really down on HAL after this. Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
I almost don't know where to start. I set up the cruise thru them directly and told them I would need a room for 4 adults over 65. we were assured the cabin would fit our needs. It did not! One of the beds pulls out of the ceiling ... Read More
I almost don't know where to start. I set up the cruise thru them directly and told them I would need a room for 4 adults over 65. we were assured the cabin would fit our needs. It did not! One of the beds pulls out of the ceiling over the head of the bed. None of us could manage that crawl in to the shelf. When I brought this to the attention of the front desk ( they have very narrow hours) I was told they were in a meeting and would get back to me. S 2 days into the trip they offered me sleeping accomadations in an unused cabin on the lowest deck for only $900.00 more. We waited 4 hours from our flight into Seattle until we boarded the ship. Most of that standing inline. When we got onboard at last , they closed the buffet and we had not eaten it was 2:30 and they didn't care. time for a lifeboat drill standing on deck in the sun huddled together. then it got worse. From a staff that was hard to find and slow to help, to a 30 minute wait to get a hotdog. The buffet line was not held at proper temp and if it was on land they would be closed down as unsafe. Soups barely warm and they delivered all baked potatoes so cold they would not melt butter. It was a complaint shared by many. This was my Seventh cruise and the first and last with Holland. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
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
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
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
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
Already Booked?

Get to know who you’ll be sailing with

Find a Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click