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Sail Date: December 2014
We fear that the days of feeling like Royalty while traveling as a verandah-balcony-class passenger are slipping away. The Cruise Industry may be following in the steps of the Airline industry in their effort to economize. Space is tighter ... Read More
We fear that the days of feeling like Royalty while traveling as a verandah-balcony-class passenger are slipping away. The Cruise Industry may be following in the steps of the Airline industry in their effort to economize. Space is tighter and services and amenities are being "redirected" to maintain profitability. As long-time balcony-cabin cruisers our first shock came when we saw the small 4 ft x 10ft balcony in cabin V5084 with just enough room for two of us and a couple of chairs, an ottoman, and tiny 18 inch high table. Balconies on older ships were significantly more spacious. Our Upper Verandah room was just above lifeboats #8 and #6 on Port side. The balcony was private and well protected from rain by a large overhang above, the only intrusion being maintenance crews greasing the lifeboat hoist mechanisms - which they did while docked on days 2 and 6 of our cruise. The cabin was small but adequate with very comfortable bed, and an additional couch and desk area. Bathroom with shower and small tub were fine (incl shampoo & conditioner & soap dispensers), though we wish there had been a night light; instead we kept the bathroom light on with door closed at night since light switches were hard to find in the dark. 2 cozy robes were provided. Closet space was ok but poorly illuminated. Three life-vests occupied the top shelves of the 3 closets --- these would be better stowed in the difficult to open cabinets above the couch. Volume on the small TV was poor while watching movies, even at max setting. Closed-captioning was definitively a help, but did not always work for some reason. Fortunately channel 44 announcements came through loud and clear. The morning sun was quite obvious since the curtains were not room-darkening enough. We faced away from land at Half Moon Cay and in Key West. The next shocker was the coffee - something that was always a treat on Holland in the past. It was downright mediocre and not becoming of the Dutch tradition of a "lekker kopje koffie" (delicious cup of coffee). The Half and Half was thin and milk-like. No doubt the motivation is to economize with cheaper beans and to drive coffee aficionado's to deck 11 Explorations Cafe, which features a Starbucks type coffee-shop that charges extra! Likewise, internet access is available but slow and expensive ($55 for 100 minutes). We had an excellent signal in our room, but just signing on and getting our backlog of messages consumed several minutes each time. Wi-fi calling was impossible on my t-mobile phone since the connection was too slow. The cabin stewards did their best, were pleasant, and were obviously being pushed to their limits: one afternoon my wife accidentally spilled some crackers in front of the couch, and while the room had been turned out nicely for bedtime, we found crumbs still all over the floor. When we asked about this the next day our cabin steward indicated they only had time to vacuum in the mornings. The ships' staff were excellent as always, and seemed to be even friendlier than we remembered in our past travels ... plenty of "good mornings", "how are you", "have a nice day", etc. The TAMARIND restaurant in particular was a truly exceptional experience! For the $20 extra cost you are treated to an extraordinary oriental meal, and my 1-1/2 inch thick wasabi-encrusted filet mignon put any other meat served in Lido or the Rembrandt restaurant to shame - especially the 3/4 inch drab filet they served on Steak & Lobster formal night (Note: we never ate at the Pinnacle Grill, so can't compare). Food quality and selection in general was very good and we never had stomach issues. We do suggest you plan on eating outside of "normal" hours since rush hour gets really busy. The elevators were TERRIFIC!!! Super fast and efficient with lovely waiting areas that were tastefully designed, and with roomy staircases. We loved the outside elevators with their awesome views. Other areas of the ship, in particular the main Lobby & Atrium on decks 1 & 2, seemed small and narrow, though most of the time they were not crowded. The Casino was ok but the older-type 25 cent slot machines we like to play were on the smoking side, and ventilation was inadequate to prevent drifting smoke from becoming unbearable at times. Neither of us felt compelled to attend evening performances in the Queen's lounge, and we missed the ol' days of magicians, comedians, and hypnotists. The shops are excellent, brightly lit with plenty of selection in a wide variety of prices. There was a sidewalk sale one day on Lido but due to maintenance on the the sliding roof mechanism the trapped heat and humidity from the pool and all the passengers present was stifling as we waited in long lines to pay the cashiers. The SPA was fantastic though expensive (as usual). We consider it a treat and don't mind the surcharge, though we did opt for shore days when rates were discounted. The facilities are lovely, and the very capable massage therapists had wonderful attitudes. The nearby Gym has plenty of room and equipment, with nice sea views. Exercisers have plenty of opportunity to walk on Promenade, the observation decks, and play tennis/soccer/basketball etc. on the very nice net-enclosed Sports deck. The Eurodam is equipped with the latest stabilizing equipment, but I doubt those were needed during our cruise since we had such perfect weather throughout our 7 day trip. Cabin V5084 is located exactly midships and therefore already extremely stable. We hardly felt the waves and it was only the soft vibrations of the engines that reminded us we were on a ship. In fact we didn't even experience the after cruise wave sensations that normally stay with us days after a cruise ends. So, while this new ship is technologically more advanced, for us the bottom line feeling was that of a cheapening of the cruising experience. New cruisers may have a completely different opinion, but we can't help make comparisons to our previous trips. The economic reasons are understandable, but nevertheless we will avoid the Eurodam, and its sister the Nieuwe Amsterdam, in our future travels. We hope that the older ships will maintain their stature and dignity long enough for us to enjoy a few more cruises before those too get redesigned to achieve financial efficiencies.   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2013
I just returned from 7 days aboard the Nieuw Amsterdam. Embarkation from Ft Lauderdale was a breeze. The Holland America crew really know how to keep a line moving. Our 1st port was Grand Turk. Had a pleasurable visit to Jacks Shack on the ... Read More
I just returned from 7 days aboard the Nieuw Amsterdam. Embarkation from Ft Lauderdale was a breeze. The Holland America crew really know how to keep a line moving. Our 1st port was Grand Turk. Had a pleasurable visit to Jacks Shack on the beach and enjoyed the local beer and jerk chicken. Next was San Juan, my fav ! Love that island, so many things to see and do. Visited El Jibarito restaurant for their pasteles (seasonal dish) usually Christmas and Mothers Day, along with their awesome mofongo. In port until 11pm which was very nice. On to St Thomas, we were docked in Crown Bay which is nice. Took the tram to Paradise Point for photos and drinks ! Great place ! The next stop was Half Moon Cay, rented a clamshell for the day and soaked up the warm temperature. Holland America has a magnificent BBQ on the beach and the food and drinks were delicious. I cannot say enough good things about the ship and her crew. They work together like a well oiled machine. We lacked for nothing on our voyage. No hassles, The entertainment was a pleasure, the musicians were easy on the ears and a lot of fun. There are many nooks inside the ship where one can go to enjoy quiet moments, I really enjoyed that. The gym was well equipped to work off all that fabulous food they prepared. It was all very fresh and tasty. I did not have a bad meal. The sushi was superb ! With all that said.....I had a wonderful cruise experience and cannot wait to sail on HAL again !!! I give the Nieuw Amsterdam 5 stars !!! Read Less
Sail Date: December 2013
I recently returned from a 7 night Western Caribbean cruise on the Nieuw Amsterdam. We had cabin 8114 and our friends had wheelchair friendly cabin 8116. It was a wonderful cruise! Everything was topnotch...the food, the service, the ... Read More
I recently returned from a 7 night Western Caribbean cruise on the Nieuw Amsterdam. We had cabin 8114 and our friends had wheelchair friendly cabin 8116. It was a wonderful cruise! Everything was topnotch...the food, the service, the itinerary and the shore excursions. If you are not heavy wine drinkers, they will keep your bottle for you for the next evening AND will transfer it to another restaurant if perhaps you're trying Pinnacle Grill or Tamarind... Holland America staff were waiting for us with cold bottles of water and cold, wet washcloths on the pier near the ship. What a nice touch after a warm day! One thing I did notice that I didn't like was a big vibration at certain points on the ship. It was particularly obvious in the Tamarind restaurant. We switched tables 3 times and couldn't get away from it there. We were traveling in cabins 8114 and 8116, an accessible cabin. 8114 had better close space, a nice baloney, and a bath tub (no jacuzzi). 8116 had less closet space and was geared for somebody in a wheelchair so a lot of your clothes need to hang in the lower half of the closet. The bathroom was very generous and there was a seat and bars in the shower, but no tub. The balcony on 8116 was at an angle facing the front of the ship which was especially nice when sailing. There is a ramp up/down through the balcony door for a wheelchair in 8116. I have been on other caribbean cruises, but the itinerary, ship and excursions on this one were the best yet!   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2013
Having sailed many of the Dam Ships previously, I was looking forward to the newest in the fleet, and she and her crew did not disappoint. I chose the cruise because of the itinerary, I like port intensive trips with ports that need some ... Read More
Having sailed many of the Dam Ships previously, I was looking forward to the newest in the fleet, and she and her crew did not disappoint. I chose the cruise because of the itinerary, I like port intensive trips with ports that need some research. I used HAL's transfers and hotel in Rome, and thank-goodness I did. My luggage didn't make it through my connection from Delta to Alitalia. The HAL hostess who greeted me took me to the Alitalia luggage desk to file a lost luggage report, which took many hand gestures and multiple copies of forms. I would have been lost without her help. My bag was in my room at the Visconti Palace, well located to St. Peter's, by the time I got back from dinner that evening. I am not certain whether Alitalia or HAl took care of that for me. Embarkation in Civitivecchia was a breeze. It was less than 15 minutes from stepping off the bus to stepping onto the ship. The ship had a noro outbreak on the previous sailing, and they were super cleaning the ship (even the walls were bleached), and anyone who arrived earlier than 1:30pm was not allowed to board. Having done the HAL transfers, we arrived at exactly the right time to board. I know it costs a little more to use their transfers, but the benefits far outweighed the costs, in my opinion. As the fare had been reduced over and over for this repositioning sailing around the Iberian peninsula, I was upgraded to a Spa Cabin, which seemed the same as other verandah cabins, I never used the tabletop fountain, and though the Bose iPod dock was great to listen to my own music, the best part was the location. One quick flight down to Lido deck, the spa, pool and buffet restaurant. One quick flight up to the Crow's Nest lounge and Explorations Cafe for internet and library. My cabin stewards, Hairul and ??? were friendly but non-intrusive. I am one who leaves the "service my room" sign out, and it is always ready when returning from a meal or activity. Because of the port intensive itinerary and my full day tours, I ordered room service breakfast each day using the door card at night. Each time I added extras that weren't listed, like a whole banana to take to shore with me, it was on the tray. They were on time each day and a delightful wake-up call, instead of relying on my cell phone alarm, that didn't change time zones automatically. The food in the Rembrandt Dining Room was always tasty and varied. We had open seating dining and at 7:00pm always walked right into a shared table. Each person we had contact with in the MDR was energetic and helpful. We especially loved Made, who added a bright spot to each evening, and remembered us at the dessert bar in the Lido after lunch. HAL is still not the best for desserts, but for me, it's perfect, a scoop of ice cream is all I need after a long meal. We ate one night in the Tamarind Restaurant. Best meal of the week. It is free at lunch and only $15 additional for dinner. The menu is varied and well prepared, and it's a visual masterpiece! We did have to change tables because of vibration near the window, but everything else went very well throughout the evening. The waitresses are wonderfully attentive. I had a brief problem with noise above my stateroom in the wee hours, the Front Desk staff handled it right away, offering to move me, but I was settled in with friends in cabins nearby. They provided ear plugs that worked like a charm, and left a bottle of wine for me in my cabin. They handled the situation professionally and immediately, calling often thereafter to make sure I was OK. The BB King Blues Club was my hangout after dinner for the entire cruise. The Memphis Sound is highlighted by 5 amazing musicians and CeCe (sp?), the singer, who was terrific! Each night was a different theme, from Elvis to Blues Brothers, to Aretha & Diana, to Otis Redding. This is a new concept for HAL, and I truly hope this is the direction they are going with entertainment, something for we younger cruisers (who grew up in the 70s) to enjoy. I'm not one for big show productions or comedians, so this was a special treat aboard the Eurodam. The Queen's Lounge, where it plays was full for the early set every night, and plenty of people danced when the mood hit them.Our ports were unique, not listed on many sites. In Spain: Cartagena, Malaga, Cadiz, & Vigo. Lisbon, Portugal, St. Peter Port, Guernsey and ZeeBrugge, Belgium, ending in Copenhagen. I used SpainDayTours.com for 3 excursions, one HAL trip to Cordoba, which was excellent, and booked a private taxi tour in Guernsey and taxi transfer to Brugges, which is amazing! More on the ports when they are listed by Cruise Critic. There were many, many Australians aboard. They added a liveliness to the atmosphere. Not a lot of children aboard, but a few and they were well behaved. The hot tubs were closed for the first several days due to the virus, as was the thalassotherapy pool and thermal suite. I had signed up for the entire cruise, but lost interest in waiting and the spa promptly refunded my payment after the 3rd day. Seas were heavy most days and nights, especially in the Atlantic. Often, then promenade deck was closed for walkers, which made the treadmills in the gym full most times I visited there. The ship listed and creaked on a couple of nights, and the Captain came on the PA to advise us that the weather forecasters were wrong, winds were higher than expected, but that the ship could handle the winds we encountered. Disembarkation in Copenhagen was a breeze. My bags were already on the transfer bus when I got off the ship, so went directly to the bus. The Palace Hotel in Copenhagen was a PERFECT location, just off the walking street. I give the itinerary very high marks, the ship and it's crew very high as well. I met a lot of wonderful people on this trip, and hope to sail the Eurodam another day. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2013
I try to sail on a HAL ship once every 2 years. I normally go to the Mexican Riviera in the winter to use their excellent thermal suite and work out equipment. I consider it my spa week to relax. This was my first time on the Zaandam. ... Read More
I try to sail on a HAL ship once every 2 years. I normally go to the Mexican Riviera in the winter to use their excellent thermal suite and work out equipment. I consider it my spa week to relax. This was my first time on the Zaandam. I liked the layout of the ship; smaller than most but not crowded even though it was Easter break week. We ( my son and I ) were upgraded to a partial blocked outside cabin, 3383. This was not an upgrade. The cabin was large but from the moment we entered I knew we would have a problem. The diesel fuel smell in the cabin was overwhelming and the A/C was hardly working. We immediately called downstairs; they said the smell would go away when we started sailing and sent someone up to look at the A/C. The repair man came up and said that the cabin was hot and that they would adjust it downstairs. We went off to sign up for the thermal suite package and I did not think about it again. When we came back to the cabin after dinner the smell was still bad and the A/C was still not working well. Our cabin steward apologized and got us a fan. He did what he could but he looked like this was not the first time this cabin had a problem. I tried to sleep with the fan blowing the fumes in my face. At 1 am I gave up; I had a terrible headache from the fumes and felt sick to my stomach. I went to the front office and asked if there was anywhere I could sleep. The lady said ; sorry we are completely booked. She was sorry I was sick from the cabin fumes but there was no room in the inn. I offered to sleep in the infirmary, I just needed some sleep and some clean air. No the infirmary was closed. So I told her I would sleep in the library. I went up and slept on the library couch for 2 hours, woke up without the headache and went back to my smelly cabin. The smell did get better the next day, the A/C never did and after 2 days of asking for help we gave up and kept the fan going. The toilet in the cabin worked most of the time; only had to have it fixed 2x. Avoid this cabin. The rest of the trip was fun. Went on the whale watching trip and saw a couple of whales ( the end of March is really too late in the season). We enjoyed the thermal suite and worked out everyday on the new equipment. We spent some time in the casino , contributing to the casino's retirement fund. The casino manager was great. The comedian , Dan Grueter was wonderful and we were sad that he only did one show. The singers and dancers were good and did their best with the small stage and the simple sets. We enjoyed the cooking demo, the computer classes and the DJ in the Crow's nest. We ate in the lido restaurant for all of our meals. We have done this before on 2 other cruises with HAL and normally we found the food there to be as good as the dining room . But not this time, HAL's food quality is slipping. Overall, we had a nice time. But for me the quality of service was seriously lacking. When you are paying so much for a room on a ship ; you should be able to sleep in your room and not the library couch. I was too tired and had too bad a headache to care. I wish someone on the HAL staff could have cared a little more. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2012
We have enjoyed tours on board Princess line in Mexico and the Caribbean, so we decided to try Holland America for our Alaskan cruise. The Westerdam sailed out of Seattle towards Glacier Bay and back for a 7 day vacation. Though it is a ... Read More
We have enjoyed tours on board Princess line in Mexico and the Caribbean, so we decided to try Holland America for our Alaskan cruise. The Westerdam sailed out of Seattle towards Glacier Bay and back for a 7 day vacation. Though it is a smaller ship by 30% compared to Princess Line, it was just right for us. We didn't have to spend a long time walking from one part of the ship to the other. It actually is the right size for a voyage; you may have more venues on a bigger ship, but really, how many more bars or restaurants or swimming pools did you need? Traditionally, we use on board laundry facilities by paying with coins. But they only offered daily laundry for $49 total. We used it every day to our delight. (I've never had my underwear pressed !) We paid extra to dine in the Pinnacle Grill which offers good food and personal service. The Vista Dining room, either open or fixed dining, offers very good food too, but the service is more hurried and cookie cutter. My bride pondered why we spent extra money on the Pinnacle Grill and the Italian restaurant when the Vista offered equally good food. The difference is a smaller venue and more personal service. They offered some musical shows, funny comedians and a magician in the Vista Lounge. One show that is peculiar to Holland America but we enjoyed is a "crew Show". One week the Philippino crew performs songs and dances and the next week an Indonesian crew offers their version. The crew seemed to genuinely enjoy the opportunity to showcase their culture and their talents. An Alaskan cruise, even in August, found the weather to be overcast and chilly with rain each day. So bring a windbreaker, sweater and hat. Most of the guests were from parts of America in the 90 degrees so they enjoyed the weather. We also discovered that we could have breakfast room service at no added cost. On other vessels they might offer a limited breakfast, but this was most a big menu. All in all, I would take Holland America cruise over Princess any day. On the last afternoon good bye show, it was secreted that only 3 ships on the seas have escaped broad sickness and Westerdam is one. They keep it clean and to notch. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2012
This was the first time we drove instead of flying to a port of embarkation, and want to say it was the easiest way to go. We drove to the Toms River bus terminal Sunday morning and parked our car for $2/day, versus $35 day in NYC. The ... Read More
This was the first time we drove instead of flying to a port of embarkation, and want to say it was the easiest way to go. We drove to the Toms River bus terminal Sunday morning and parked our car for $2/day, versus $35 day in NYC. The senior bus fare to NY Port Authority was only $8 and two hrs later we arrived in the city. Grabbed a cab $10 to take us the short ride to the pier and when we got there, we were greeted immediately and given "S" tags which allowed us immediate entry to our cabins, because of our cabin category. We booked the deluxe verandah suite, and it was so worth every cent. The cabin was spacious, plenty of storage, closets, dressing rm, king sz bed, sitting area, and large verandah with two padded lounges and table with 4 chairs. The dressing rm had a separate sink and vanity with makeup mirror. Complimentary Champagne and fresh fruit bowl on the bar. Two robes with nice slippers were supplied. The rm also had a safe, flat screen tv, vcr, dvd for free movies. Personalized stationary and postcards. Rm was bright, roomy and tastefully decorated. King sz bed had nice white comfortor and many soft pillows. Cozy and comfy. Our two rm stewards were Indonesian. Polite and efficient, but hard to understand at times. Rooms were spotless. This category also had the benefit of a Concierge located a few doors away at The Neptune Lounge, which we frequented for cold and hot drinks, hor d'oeuvres, and meeting other guests. We met the captain and officers there for complimentary cocktails. We signed up for the wk at the spa's thermal suite which had hot tile lounges, a private whirlpool, and 2 steam rooms. I also had a massage and used the gym several times. The food in the dining rm was average. The best meals were the lamb chops and the surf and turf on formal nights. My husband's fish entree contained bones and was returned to the kitchen as it was inedible. Disappointed there was no music to accompany dining on formal nights. The shows were good and we enjoyed the comedian and the musicals. We docked right on Front St. in Hamilton and it was a great convenient location. Since it was a two day Bermudian holiday when we arrived, they closed off the st to traffic for the parade and local vendors put up tables. We took a cab to Horseshoe Bay beach and it was very crowded as 2 other cruise ships were in. Rented 2 beach chairs, $11 each and an umbrella for $11. Everything was cash, so bring money as they also require a deposit. You can buy a cold drink and a snack here, but try to stay away from the bathrooms, they are toxic. One last word of advice. Bring your own Kaopectate. The last day of the cruise my husband went down to sick bay to buy some and he was quarantined and unable to leave the cabin. Fortunately it was the last evening and we were escorted off the ship first thing Sunday morning for fear of contamination. He wasn't really sick, just ate too much fruit, but they were being very careful. Good for Holland America. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2012
Trans-Atlantic cruise on HAL Eurodam, April 14 -- 27, 2012 Ft.Lauderdale, Madeira, Malaga, Alicante to Rome. Our first cruise with Eurodam and Holland American Line has been, in many ways, most pleasant. We love to cruise, and have ... Read More
Trans-Atlantic cruise on HAL Eurodam, April 14 -- 27, 2012 Ft.Lauderdale, Madeira, Malaga, Alicante to Rome. Our first cruise with Eurodam and Holland American Line has been, in many ways, most pleasant. We love to cruise, and have been on more than 60 different cruises, and this has been one of the very best. Holland American Line has got a new friend in us. For all of you who are "money wise" and looking for a good deal - This is it! Absolutely very good value at an affordable price. Compared to other cruiselines, there was champagne, vip treatment, gooseliver and caviar - at the price of hamburgers, spagetti and beer. Real value for money -- can't be better ! Eurodam is a happy ship, the way that the crew and staff are very nice and friendly (mostly Indonesians and Filipinos), well trained and always polite. Often they remember our names, and talk to us as friends. We appreciated the friendly atmosphere; a ship with a nice, smiling and caring crew ! The ship (from 2008) was immaculate; very clean and well maintained. No rustspots, and maintenance was on-going daily. The fresh orchids on all the tables at Lido Buffet, fresh flowers in the dining rooms and real plants everywhere impressed us very much. Internet connection, which is normally very slow and expensive on other cruiselines, has been relatively faster on Eurodam. Actually the most speedy internet of all ships we have sailed on so far. It is also very good that we get a summary of use after each time we log out. The fact that we got wifi in our stateroom was a big plus. Rembrandt Main Dining room - lunch and dinners were always good and elegantly presented. A step ahead as compared to most cruiseships. The select dining system which HAL call "As You Wish - seating plan" was functioned very well, as they had 2 hoststations, and waiters that showed you to your table all the time. We where never in line more than 1 minute. Most of the time, no line at all. Lido Buffet restaurant and the food "activities" by the pool side have been some of the best we have experienced on a cruise ship. There is a great variety and tasteful food, and always nice presentation. They also served freshly squeezed orange juice for breakfast at no extra cost, and had maybe 10 different kind of juices. We always enjoyed breakfast and lunch at the Lido. The sous chef even went out of his way to please his Filipino guests by offering them a special sauce from the Philippines to accompany the roasted baby pork we had for lunch on the last sea day. Tamarind was a positive surprise. Both lunch and dinner were very tasteful, with wonderful dishes. Very friendly and knowledgeable servers, and an elegant Asian-inspired interior/ambience. Dimsum lunch is free of charge, and dinner had a charge of $15, which was well worth the price. Will absolutely recommend to try this modern Asian contemporary cuisine. The best Asian food we have had the pleasure of tasting on a cruiseship. The Pinnacle Grill restaurant feels upscale, with its sophisticated decor and the Bulgari china. To be the signature restaurant on Holland America, the food and service has potential to be even better. The waiter refused to give me a small taste of lobster instead of appetizer, soup and salad. He also saw that the beef was more done than the ordered medium, but did not offer to change it. When we ordered a plate of cheese to share, he asked if we wanted cheese instead og dessert. No - we wanted both, to his surprise. The sweets were delicious all over the ship. The Le Cirque menu at the Pinnacle Grill was better than the regular menu. Good, yes -- but it was missing something to make it fantastic. It would not take that much to heighten the experience. Easy and simple things like maybe a hot towel before the meal. We missed warm rolls/bread and maybe a sorbet before the main course, and a cheese trolley in The Pinnacle Grill. These small things will not cost much in money and effort. The Pinnacle dinner menu had a price of $25, which is a bit less than most specialty signature restaurants on cruiseships. The Le Cirque menu was a once a week event at a price of $39. As Tamarind and Pinnacle are popular, they will be fully booked early, therefore consider booking a night at the specialty restaurants online, before leaving for your cruise. We liked having had the chance to visit the galley twice (one tour and one galley buffet). Every evening we were able to listen and dance to ballroom music at the Ocean bar. Shows and entertainment were good. A lot of activities (they had a lounge devoted to cooking classes and demo) and resource persons were interesting. We joined the dance lessons (although they could have been longer than 30 minutes). Enjoyable crew shows as well. Cabin was nice. We had an outside view on deck 4 (Cabin 4130). We discovered before the cruise that this had catogary "total obstructed view" and we where a bit disappointed until we entered the cabin. We had a view of the lifeboat (as all outside cabin in the middle of the boat, on this deck has.) But it was not at all "totally obstructed," maybe 50% or less. That is what other cruiseline call "partly obstructed view". Our window was not just a port hole but was a whole glass wall. The cabin was roomy, very clean, had a bathtub, new flatscreen TV, high enough bed, so it is easy to put even the largest suitcase under, as stow away. We where offered a balcony cabin, on the sunny south side, at an additional price of $ 1.000. We had a look, but chose to stay in our assigned cabin. Small details like garbage bins in the cabins with possibility for paper recirculation are well thought off. Shampoo, soap and lotion of an exclusive brand. Lights in the large hanging cabinets, and a few drawers, would have been nice, but thats all we missed. We are looking forward to sail with HAL again -- most likely in the next trans-Atlantic or repositioning cruise. We have found another favorite cruiseline in Holland American Line. Thank you for a wonderful cruise, on a ship with a nice, smiling and caring crew ! See you again ! Best regards, Maria and Morten of Norway Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2011
First and foremost I will start off as - no question - I had fun since went with my friends. That was my objective - spend time with close friends, sun, read, and eat lots of good food. I have been on the Mexican Rivera cruise on ... Read More
First and foremost I will start off as - no question - I had fun since went with my friends. That was my objective - spend time with close friends, sun, read, and eat lots of good food. I have been on the Mexican Rivera cruise on Carnival before. Due to hurricane we were diverted to Catalina (Come on! Catalina? Seriously? Who pays for a 7 day cruise to stop in Catalina?!) The weather may not be the cruise line's fault - but for the "Holland America brand" you would think they could have picked something else - like say - stay in Cabo for 2 days? We stopped in La Paz on the other day. La Paz is the cleanest city in Mexico I have ever seen. I will probably go back there for a week on my own someday. Cabo is excellent as always! My biggest complaint about cruising to Cabo - why does it always have to be the shortest port stay??? There were 6 of us all together in our group - all age ranges. I was VERY disapointed in this cruise and Holland America. This brand isn't even remotely luxury as was expected. The food is horrible. I've sailed Carnival 3 times and their food was so much better in selections and options. And I believe people's first complaint about Carnival is the food - so that's how bad it is on this ship. While we had a few bright spots (Maha in dining room was lovely, our room steward was excellent, and another waiter in the bar where we met every night made our nightly before dinner meet for drinks very nice) the rest of the service was lacking. Especially the lido deck. My first thought was no incentive for them to even clear plates and refill drinks. And how do you have a Taco special on the deck but out of tacos? Room service is very prompt and on top of it. But that's all I can say for that - zip selection - and zip taste. My best friend (her first cruise) and I splurged and got a balcony on the Rotterdam deck. While the balcony was beautiful - you cannot help leaving with that bad taste in your mouth of such good money wasted for nothing. We could have just flown to Cabo for the week much cheaper and guaranteed good food. On our way off we talked to two guys on our floor who we never met before who were complaining about what a waste of money this cruise is, now that makes us 6 plus two more. How many more? Oh and most of all - the shower is mostly warm, lukewarm and lots of intermitant cold water in between. Had to keep turning the shower off and let it run through the bath - I did not pay for 7 days of cold/lukewarm showers. Obviously the hot water doesn't reach that high up - or it's seriously out with everyone else showering for dinner. This ship looks and acts old. It seems like a cookie cutter ship. Nothing special about it. Important for non-smokers - not a lot of spots for smokers to go - and I certainly didn't appreciate having to have that smoke in my face all day long at the adult pool. No ventilation in the casino. You can't get away from it. On your balcony or on the deck. Sorry smokers - but all cruise ships need to adopt a smoke free environment. Clean air is first and foremost when sailing in the open waters! Read Less
Sail Date: October 2011
Cruise: Holland America Eurodam Oct 22nd - Oct 29th Stops: Grand Turk, San Juan, St. Thomas and the Private Island in the Bahamas. Background: My wife and I are Dinks (double income, no kids) we live in South Florida around an ... Read More
Cruise: Holland America Eurodam Oct 22nd - Oct 29th Stops: Grand Turk, San Juan, St. Thomas and the Private Island in the Bahamas. Background: My wife and I are Dinks (double income, no kids) we live in South Florida around an hour at the most to Port Everglade. We are in our early 30's and live a busy lifestyle and we wanted to try something different, the options were a 10 day on Princess which we couldn't the time away to do that cruise, Carnival (not really interested in going back on a Carnival cruise) the Huge Royal ship that right now is overpriced and seems way too big for our taste and Holland America. We picked Holland because we heard it was on par with Celebrity, which we love. We were apprehensive about was the smoking policy, honestly we hate cigarette smoke and I hate what it has done to certain family members but this isn't the place for that discussion. We both had heard it was the cruise line for old folks and there wasn't much to do. Honestly, we live such a busy life style that we don't go on vacation to party and drink and be drunk the entire cruise, it's about recharging our batteries until the next vacation and spending quality time with one another. So, older folks didn't bother us at all. EMBARKATION: This maybe the worst part of the cruise and honestly it wasn't that bad. So we get to the port and it was nuts, we later found out the ship was two hours coming into port and people were still coming off the ship. We left our house at 9:38am and got to the port at 10:31 am and we weren't in any kind of rush. I dropped my wife off with the bags after some confusion by everyone where to go and where not to go. I parked across the street (I believe it was Pier 26) it's in the back of the port and we got in line. We were one of the first 50 to 100 people in line, and there was some confusion at first as to where to go etc, but then you could tell the Holland people took control, moving us from one room to the next and things starting calming down. It did take us a while to get on the ship but everyone was so friendly (the theme of the cruise) that the hour and a half wait and moving from one room to another was not a big deal at all. I was impressed by the way Holland handled the entire situation. FOOD: I think food is extremely subjective, but here it goes, the buffet is the best buffet we have had on a cruise. Food was hot, and everything was almost prepared to order. I hated not being able to serve myself especially at all in the first 48 hours but I appreciate HAL looking out for us and trying to stop the spread of nor virus. We ate three nights in the dining room, two nights on our wonderful balcony, and one night in Tamarind and one night at the Pinnacle grill. We did the anytime dining and we have been spoiled our last two cruises on Celebrity because we had an Aqua Spa cabin and ate in the Blu Dining room every breakfast and Dinner. So it was really hard to compare. The dining room felt rushed at times and the food was just ok. Overall I would rate the dining room experience as a B, I feel Princess does a much better job with their anytime dining experience. I will say this it wasn't anything that would stop me from coming back to HAL. We later found out they were switching over to a new menu because they were in the Caribbean for the first time in months and you could tell the first night in the dining room the overall experience was rough. We still can't get anyone to explain why they put BBQ sauce on prime rib, that was something that I can honestly say we have never had before and hope to never have again. If you are going the dining room the first night and want the Prime Rib, be careful. I do think the dining room experience will get better as they get use to being in the Caribbean and use to different menus. We brought zero formal clothes, so we ordered food on our balcony those nights and it was awesome. We were in the back of the ship and to be able to hear the roar of the wake as we were eating Steak and Lobster was very cool to me. Surprisingly the food was delivered within 30minutes and it was hot and tasted excellent. I gave the young man that delivered our food the first time a $5 tip and it was funny after that they were at our cabin in no time when we would call for room service. Pinnacle Grill: Overall excellent. My Filet was cooked to perfection, and so was my wife's. The Waiter made us laugh, he told us it was nice to see a young couple on the ship, he was friendly but not familiar, which is what I prefer, the setting is very elegant and the overall experience I would rate it as an A. Tamarind: Overall excellent. The service was top notch, sushi was fresh, the green tea was amazing, and the beef dish was cooked once again to perfection. We have some very good thai/sushi places in south Florida, so while it was very good I just wasn't blown away by it to the point where some people want to eat there every night. It's a nice treat once a cruise. I would 100% go back on our next cruise and I would rate the overall experience as an A. Couple of more things, if you like lamb, you will love this cruise, a lot of lamb on the cruise and each time it was excellent, but there wasn't nearly enough fish options for me on the ship, the buffet each of the first three days has a lightly battered fish and each time they were different but excellent, then after that no more fish? You are in the Caribbean so I would expect a lot more seafood. ENTERTAINMENT: The entertainment was good. We ended up at the Crows Nest each night after dinner, I have to say in our cruises I have never seen such an interesting area, it was like a huge living room. People playing cards, talking, on the computer, a bar, a coffee bar etc. The highlight of our cruise from an entertainment side was listening to Michael Liebler play the guitar. The young man is very talented and I wouldn't be shocked to one day hear him playing on the radio someday. If you are going on the Eurodam through December 3rd, do yourself a favor and listen to him play. After the Eurodam he is back on HAL in January, I believe on the Hawaii cruises. I can't say enough good things about the kid, not only is he very good he seems to be a great person. Service: Our cabin steward was very good, when we asked for a few things he said no problem with a smile on his face. We loved his towel animals and our cabin was clean and taken care of. I say this every cruise and I will say it again. Everywhere we went we made sure to say thank you and please, and after a while I think the crew members start to remember who you are, because they were very nice to us and went out of their way to help us with anything we needed. The service overall was amazing. Cabin: We received a nice upgrade to 8177. I was extremely worried about the chair noise, and while I doubt I would ever book a cabin on the 8th floor on the back of the ship again because it was a little noisy it wasn't as bad as we thought it was going to be. From what we can tell and were told they no longer fix the chairs at 5am, they do it at night around 6:30 pm, so we aren't hearing all that noise while you are sleeping. We did bring a sound machine and it drowned out a lot of noise. The balcony was nice and spacious, don't laugh but I actually had enough room out there to do my P90X. Since there was no pull up bar in the gym I used the ship's beam for my bands and worked out that way. Nothing like seeing the world go by as you are working out. SPA: This was maybe the most disappointing part from a service and overall. First of all the Thermal Suite is $249 for 7 days for a couple, after doing some research on here that seemed a little high but we were on an R and R cruise so I thought oh well. I was the first one to sign up for it. The first day you basically can't use it, maybe after 7 pm you can, but they have it open for the public to see it. So we get our explorer the next day and its $199 for a couple. We brought it to their attention and the spa manager and she said there was nothing they could do about it but the Explorer was printed wrong. Well, that was not what you wanted to hear especially when you heard two people say that they honored the new price. This also happened with our couples massage, we booked online and received the price of $269, but then we received a filer that said $239 at anytime during the cruise the second day of the cruise. We didn't let it bother us but I can tell you one thing, next time we will wait things out and see what pricing discounts they have in the Explorer. My wife did go down to the pursers desk and they were of little help, I honestly think cruise lines put people at the pursers desk that are challenged with the English language so you are just frustrated that you want to give up. When my wife tried to explain the situation to the young man at the pursers desk he basically couldn't understand what she was saying and he got frustrated and said to her I am not stupid, and then got nasty with her, which my wife is very caring and understanding and NEVER called him stupid or made him feel that way. She asked for his supervisor who came out and she made the young man apologize to my wife and she apologized and she let us know that the spa manager had to make that decision and that they couldn't really do anything for us. Finally after three days of going back and forth (and we didn't make it a big deal like some would have, it was one of those things we had 10 minutes here or there and we would call and push the subject) the spa manager calls us back and offers her apology which she really should have done to begin with and a free pedicure for both of us, my wife said thank you and we never took her up on her offer because 1) we honestly just wanted an apology for their mistake and 2) IMO I felt they just wanted to get us back in the spa in order to try to sell us something or make more money off of us and at that point we were done with our experience in the Spa. I will say this, it is the nicest Thermal suite we have been to on any ship, the hot tub is amazing. Cooking Class: When we boarded I ran downstairs to the purser's desk to book the cooking class. They had two, Caribbean food, at 1pm the day we are at San Juan and Italian at 1pm at the last sea day, which I picked the Italian one. We had Chef Adam, he taught us how to make pasta, dessert, and an eggplant dish from scratch. It was an awesome time that lasted almost two hours. Cost was $29.50 pp. We had about 10 people in the group. They gave us four bottles of wine and only 7 people had drinks. They gave us an apron that Chef signed. Overall awesome experience, we really enjoyed it. Ports: Grand Turk Honestly we overslept, which was no big deal we had been there three times, it's a nice beach port, if there isn't another ship in port sitting by the pool is a fun way to go. No DJ this time because of the HAL crowd. Very chilled crowd. The pool was nice and refreshing. We were going to rent a car but it was already 10 am and they wanted around $100 with taxes etc in order to rent a car and honestly it wasn't worth it. The tours of the island were $35 pp which is such a rip off, there really isn't anything to see, and it's a small island. IMO either walk or rent a golf cart if you are going to spend that kind of money. So we bought a couple of things and then got back on the ship. San Juan: We got off the ship and a tour is $10 pp. We helped the guy recruit some people and we got to see old san jaun, he told us stories that I am sure 50% truth and 50% legend but it was well worth the $20 bucks for two hours. We got off the tour and ran into a couple that were up at the crows nest with us the night before (hello Bob and Cindy), and we thought safety in numbers and we didn't have any plans so we walked around old san juan, stopped by Barrachina and got a Pina Coloda (birthplace of the Pina Coloda) sat in the courtyard and enjoyed our drinks. They had a good mojito also. Of course the ladies had to go shopping and went to all the purse stores and that is always interesting. We saw Oliver North there which was strange just to run into him, also some Italian model was posing for pictures on one of the picturesque streets with cobble stone and old Spanish buildings in the back ground. Tons of culture in old San Juan and I would go back anytime. St Thomas: We got off grabbed another tour bus and did a tour. We love the island, we saw Mountain Top, I heard it had burned to the ground and the new Mountain Top was nicer. Same good banana daiquiri. After the tour we did some shopping and then back to the ship for a well needed nap. Half Moon Cay: Loved it there, it is one of the nicer private islands. We enjoyed the island the water and the pirate ship, I am sure there was a lot more to do there but we were all about the R and R. Overall: It was an excellent cruise. We meet some of the nicest people on this cruise, the service and the overall experience of the cruise made us feel like we would 100% go back to Holland America. While I don't love their smoking policy it is what it is. I think Holland offers a great value for the money and we would consider them our #2 line we would cruise on and the only reason it's not #1 is because of the smoking policy. I believe Holland and Celebrity are both a notch above Princess for anyone that wants me to compare. Feel free to ask me any questions as I have all of my Explorers for the week. I will not throw them away for a couple more days in case anyone has a question. Read Less
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