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1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2018
After fourteen years of cruising with HAL and being a 4 Star Mariner, I stopped choosing them in 2014 after my sister and I together and separately had several rather disastrous experiences – ratty ships, bad food. This trip renewed ... Read More
After fourteen years of cruising with HAL and being a 4 Star Mariner, I stopped choosing them in 2014 after my sister and I together and separately had several rather disastrous experiences – ratty ships, bad food. This trip renewed my interest in HAL. This ship was in excellent condition. Everything in the public areas and in my cabin had been refurbished, reupholstered, and freshly painted. No dings or dents and everything worked. My cabin was very big; I had three full closets and one half closet, nine large drawers for storage, many wall hooks, a real bathroom cabinet with door. The food in the main dining room was very good. They have simplified the menus. They did an excellent job of properly cooking fish. They separate fixed and at will diners on separate floors so there is calmness and continuity of service. The least appealing menus were on the ‘Gala’ nights. The Pinnacle had very good fish specials each night and the vegetables were great; the beef is not of the quality that it should be (or used to be). The Lido was nicely organized and the food was presented attractively. There were different stations for different kinds of food. The salad bar always had good choices. The sushi was quite good. The ice cream was wicked. For the most part, the shows were very good and they had a lot of variety. The production singers and dancers were excellent. They left a comment card every single night in case we wanted to say what was good or needed improvement or we had employees we wanted to compliment. The service everywhere was excellent. My room stewards were some of the best I have ever had. The two biggest weak points: 1)The transfer and embarkation process in Buenos Aires. It was five hours from the time my plane landed until I was in my cabin. Most of this time was spent waiting on enough passengers at the airport to fill up a big bus; several smaller would have made more sense due to the heavy traffic to the port. And there were two ships in port and we were not kept as separate as we should have been. 2)The lifeboat drill. HAL uses a different system than any other cruise line and it was confusing. The trip: In twenty-two days, we were in ten ports, including the embarkation and debarkation port: Buenos Aires (overnight); Montevido, Uruguay; Puerto Madryn, Argentina; Stanley, Falkland Islands; Ushuaia, Argentina; Punta Arenas, Puerto Chacabuco, Isla Chloe, Puerto Montt, Port San Antonio, Chile. Some were working ports so the logistics were different than if they had been cruise ship ports. There was not much tourist type shopping in the ports. And the areas outside some of the port gates were not always so nice. Complimentary shuttles were available in the working ports. For the most part, the tender docks were right in the towns. This is definitely a trip to do an organized shore excursion every day in order to see the places. The ship’s shore excursions I took were all good and I got to see some interesting things. In each cabin was a Port Guide. It had a map of each place, with things to see in town and out, places to eat and shop, and information about the place. And it was not just about the ‘ship approved’ places. Every cruise on every cruise line should have one of these. Having it at the beginning of the trip made planning easier. We spent four days cruising parts of Antarctica and were very close to shore. There were three destination lecturers onboard who specialized in South America and Antarctica, each with several areas of expertise such as geography, history, plants and animals. They also did narration on the deck during our days there. In addition, we had a group come from one of the U. S. scientific stations to spend the day onboard and talk about what they do and what it is like to live in Antarctica. They included scientists from various disciplines, but also the station manager, the cook, the waste guy, the marine mechanic. The scenery was spectacular – whales, penguins, seals, birds, icebergs, glaciers, craggy mountains covered in snow and ice. We lucked out on weather and seas everywhere we were. HAL has the best itinerary for this trip because of four full days in Antarctica. And because it goes through the Chilean fjords, which definitely rank up there with Norway and Alaska, and to the Falklands. Would I do this cruise again? Absolutely. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
Our cruise to the Amazon River in Brazil was a bucket list priority and our Prisendam itinerary fit the bill perfectly. Our experience on the Prisendam cruise was as expected with great service from all departments. Our cabin stewards ... Read More
Our cruise to the Amazon River in Brazil was a bucket list priority and our Prisendam itinerary fit the bill perfectly. Our experience on the Prisendam cruise was as expected with great service from all departments. Our cabin stewards were excellent as was in room dining services. The food was very good overall, especially the Alaska King crabs night; what a treat. We particularly appreciated the great service we experienced in the Lido deck dining area. Port of call excursions were for the most part good but we found none to be exceptional. Our best excursion was booked thru a 3rd party for our first day in Manaus, Brazil, and it was truly exceptional. Overall I would recommend this cruise and Prisendam as it is one of the few cruises available for the Amazon on a major cruise line and Holland is in our opinion one of the finest in service and value. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
Thirty day cruise to the Amazon River from Port Everglades. Passenger load 716, average age 71, most friendly and helpful crew of any previous cruise. Cozy atmosphere with plenty of public space, quick and easy and to get around the ... Read More
Thirty day cruise to the Amazon River from Port Everglades. Passenger load 716, average age 71, most friendly and helpful crew of any previous cruise. Cozy atmosphere with plenty of public space, quick and easy and to get around the small ship. Not really advertised as a senior cruise, but being 30 days we were all older and there was none of the me-first problems that occur which the younger more aggressive crowd. Entertainment was acceptable but not the quality found on big ships. Also, fewer on-board activities compared to big ships; I enjoyed the Microsoft technology lab; many readers enjoyed the large well stocked library. But just adapt and enjoy the more quiet small ship atmosphere! To me, a welcome shortcoming was no constant loud music around the pools... horray for quiet time! The Crows Nest offers a great view and a place to relax and Enjoy a discounted drink during happy hour. Our first time on Prinsendam and would definitely sail with her again. We learned that many other passengers we repeat Prinsendam guests. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2017
Husband and I rate this trip is one of the best we have ever taken. Mostly because of the service of the Holland America staff was amazing? All staff including our Captain to the carpenters who built last minute dock with a Chief where ... Read More
Husband and I rate this trip is one of the best we have ever taken. Mostly because of the service of the Holland America staff was amazing? All staff including our Captain to the carpenters who built last minute dock with a Chief where there was none on the Amazon River's edge. We met wonderful people we now consider friends. Our cruise had its fair share of mishaps which of only added to the cruise experience. There was propeller concerns in Martinique, extra five hours. We drifted in Alantic ocean for 10 hours, our captain kept us informed at all times what was going on and then bough the entire ship drinks for an hour. The presentations were of professional quality and we learned a lot. I would say this was not recommended for children. On our entire ship there was one child. For those who do not do well with traveling with advanced age people, you might want to consider something else also. I will say it was embarrassing when 80 and 90-year-olds were doing far better than my husband and I who are in our 60s. This was a once-in-a-lifetime trip for us. The Amazon itinerary might not be for everybody, but we sure enjoyed it. We are going to be spending many times and years talking about this journey. I would recommend to do this one at least once. Like I said in the beginning this was the best trip we've ever taken. We would not change a thing. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2017
The ship is showing its age. A total power outage occurred briefly followed by a longer partial power outage.. Never did find out what caused this. Although old the ship is well maintained in the areas we could see. The seas were never ... Read More
The ship is showing its age. A total power outage occurred briefly followed by a longer partial power outage.. Never did find out what caused this. Although old the ship is well maintained in the areas we could see. The seas were never very rough, but the ship really seemed to just glide through the water. We had a Signature Suite and I was impress with the amount of room we had. Service was outstanding though out the ship. I enjoyed most of the food served. Entertainment on the ship is so-so. Some lectures were good (McClelland) others so-so and one Lecturer was terrible (Ming). Some of the lectures (Incas, Myans and Aztecs) had nothing to do with the region we were visiting, which I found to be strange. Best part of the cruise for me was visiting indigenous villages along the Amazon. Glad I went on this cruise because the size of the Amazon is truly impressive, but if you are looking for scenic views, forget it. The land is flat and not picturesque. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2017
The Amazon experience was fantastic. You have to be adventurous to enjoy this cruise and we booked almost all private tours not ship tours to get the most out of it. The ports are quirky and varied - HEY it's the Amazon! If you are ... Read More
The Amazon experience was fantastic. You have to be adventurous to enjoy this cruise and we booked almost all private tours not ship tours to get the most out of it. The ports are quirky and varied - HEY it's the Amazon! If you are looking for pristine, picture perfect ports with everything prettied up, with lots of shopping this is not it. It's for people who want to get out there and do things a bit differently even if sometimes a bit uncomfortable like stumbling through the rainforest. We found it fascinating. The Caribbean ports were good too tho we had several port changes after hurricanes destroyed some destinations. St Thomas was still awful with debris everywhere. Our favorites were St Kitts and Tobago. Beautiful islands. In Manaus we took the Meeting of the Waters tour with Do Brazil Right and it was a excellent tour, a bit of everything. We saw the rain forest, swam with the pink dolphins, fishes, visited an indigenous village, had a good lunch and more. Our guide was very good. Belem is a bit of a pit and our Do Brazil Right guide there was not very good. Santarem requires you to be adventurous, we liked walking around the town and next to the river and had lunch of amazon fish. Boca de Valeria very special and Alter do Chao gorgeous - hire a boatman in both places to take you around. Dining and service were tops on this ship, the best we've had on HAL. Ketut S was our waiter and he was fantastic. The singers and dancers were very good too. The rest if the entertainment varied. The Americas Test Kitchen is a new thing that I hope they keep. The library needs updating but be thankful they have one, I hear HAL is getting rid of the libraires whichis a bad more! There is a special intimate atmosphere on this ship which is very special. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2017
The itinerary was the main attraction for us. Always wanted to see the Amazon. 5 stops along the river. Manaus was the best thanks to a wonderful day on the river observing pink dolphins, visiting an indigenous tribal village, observing ... Read More
The itinerary was the main attraction for us. Always wanted to see the Amazon. 5 stops along the river. Manaus was the best thanks to a wonderful day on the river observing pink dolphins, visiting an indigenous tribal village, observing several species of monkeys, viewing giant lily pads, enjoying a lunch on a floating restaurant, and getting into the meeting of the rivers. The Boi Bumba Festival in Parintins was exciting. Belem was dreadful, be very careful in the market area. A thief tried to mug me but I along with some market vendors subdued him. Leave jewelry on the ship and hold cameras close. 8 stops in the Caribbean along the way, some good---Aruba and St. Lucia, some so-so---Trinidad and Barbados, some bad---Martinique and Tobago. No desire to return as this was a one time event. Sad to see the towns in Brazil to be so neglected and run down, piles of trash, graffiti, infrastructure in disrepair everywhere we went so it was a bit demoralizing. Outstanding food---especially the soups, salads, and fish---, entertainment, and service aboard the ship. The crew was very friendly and responsive to inquiries. Captain Steve MacBeath was superb! Wine packages a bit overpriced but the quality of the available options was good. Showroom at Sea speaker system needs work, sit toward the rear of the venue. Some bench seating in the Showroom at Sea is not comfortable so choose seating carefully. Excellent enrichment lecturers speaking about the history and environment of the region. Outstanding cruise director and future cruise consutant. Best crossing the equator ceremony I've attended since my Navy days! However, I'm told the ceremony will be discontinued. Excellent Filipino and Indonesian crew performances, arrive early to get a decent seat. Tender operations, especially those provided by locals, a bit tenuous. Too many people with mobility challenges tried to make a go of it. Know your physical limitations and don't hazard yourself or other passengers and crew. Saw several falls both boarding and disembarking from tenders. HAL was lucky there were no significant injuries but the potential was there every tender operation. HAL needs to be more proactive prohibiting those with obvious mobility issues from putting thmselves in harms way. It's a tough call to make but it's necessary. Absolutely dreadful internet service onboard, very slow speed even at 4am or 11pm when nobody else was using the internet. 20+ minutes to log on, type a one sentence message and send it to 2 addresses Don't waste money or shipboard credit on the internet service. Nice selection of box games onboard. Microsoft Digital Workshop and America's Test Kitchen venues both excellent, informative, and very helpful adding to overall enjoyment of the cruise. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
No penguins! Unfortunate weather caused some cancellations both Stanley and at least one glacier as well as our Penguin tour. We did get a very good close up view of one glacier. Fog and rain made visibility around the Horn very poor. ... Read More
No penguins! Unfortunate weather caused some cancellations both Stanley and at least one glacier as well as our Penguin tour. We did get a very good close up view of one glacier. Fog and rain made visibility around the Horn very poor. Many ports were very interesting especially the warm weather ones in Uraguay and Argentina since we had lovely weather there. We made the best of it but it was still disappointing. The ship left from San Antonio intead of Valpairoso . Fortunately we stayed in Valpairoso and enjoyed that city for two nights before the cruise. We maily did private tours usually with local guides. We spent two extra days in Buenos Aires as well but the city proved so interesting i wish we were able to stay longer. Another issue for us was the two overnight flights from and to the States- made for a bit of jet lag both ways. Amazingly we managed to use air miles, however. The ship , shows and food were as we expected —fairly average and similar to the several previous cruises on Holland America. Some excellent staff, especially port and scenic cruising commentary. Unfortunately our last cruise was with Oceania and the memory if the food made the food on this cruise seem mediocre by comparison. We knew to expect some bad weather but it left us with some rough seas and and three sea days in a row. With little to do. I read several books on the cruise. The crowd was mainly international but there was a large contingent of non English speakers from Germany and austria well as Romania. Potentally interesting but difficult at mealtimes. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2017
I wanted to go to South America and booked with my cousin who ended up not going as her husband became ill.I had to go on my own.Firstly they need to advise their staff not to make derogatory comments about passengers.I heard something ... Read More
I wanted to go to South America and booked with my cousin who ended up not going as her husband became ill.I had to go on my own.Firstly they need to advise their staff not to make derogatory comments about passengers.I heard something about me and I understood.I did tell her that she needs to be careful of what she says.I also found that it was all about how much money they could get out of us.IE learn how to mix martini cocktails but we would have been charged.Entertainment and activities were a joke .Activities were hardly existent and then they wanted you to pay for most of them..The excursions were not too bad.I had booked a few but one particular one I couldn’t go because the chemo drug I was on was giving me side effects that morning.She had no intention of giving me my money back.I had to go on a different one that afternoon and I had no interest in it at all.We were leaving the next day so I couldn’t go on a different one.She was trying to get me to see the doctor and was really not interested in me saying that I knew it was side effects.The ship was nice though and so were the staff.The ship was clean and the food was excellent.I am not happy about people even on formal nights dressed in shorts.Sorry it shouldn’t be allowed.They can go to the buffet bar if they do not want to dress. I have done many cruises with different lines and would I go on HA again.Definitely not. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary. Ports were fantastic and weather was great. Smooth seas at their best. The ship is a different story. Dining room service was extremely slow. One night we waited over 1 1/2 hours ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary. Ports were fantastic and weather was great. Smooth seas at their best. The ship is a different story. Dining room service was extremely slow. One night we waited over 1 1/2 hours before being served and the excuse was "The kitchen is backed up" Hard to believe at 5:30 PM--open seating. Two meals at the Pinnacle Grill were fantastic. The Cellar Master Package, Double was clearly worth the price. However, there was confusion concerning the number of meals that could have had clearer wording on the vouchers. The company made it right and credited the second meal. Cabin was filthy and the bathroom had mold, a cracked sink and a broken shower head. Cabin steward was personable but not very effective. Guest entertainers were extremely good but the ship's entertainers were terrible. All in all the cruise was worth the expense but the ship needs repair. Read Less
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