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14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
We like to go as a family on a cruise during this week because it is our Spring Break back home and all of us are off work and school for the week. This was our 7th cruise on Holland America and our 30th overall. We have also sailed on ... Read More
We like to go as a family on a cruise during this week because it is our Spring Break back home and all of us are off work and school for the week. This was our 7th cruise on Holland America and our 30th overall. We have also sailed on (Carnival, Princess, RCI, MSC and Costa.) This cruise sailed to Grand Turk, San Juan, St. Maarten and Half Moon Cay. This cruise had a mixture of passengers of all ages. This probably had something do to with the fact that Canada and some states in the US have spring break during the dates we sailed. Embarkation – Quick and easy. We were onboard by 12:00 and our room was ready shortly after. Ship – The ship is pretty and classy. The ship was clean and well-maintained for its age. Cabin – We were in an obstructed view cabin. The lifeboat did not block the whole window, so we could still see the ocean and get some light. We had a shower/bath tub which is nice compared to the small stand-up shower other cruise lines have. I liked the TV mounted to the wall with a selection of newer movies and tv-shows. The pull -out couch was surprisingly comfortable. Our room stewards, Rudy and Bong, were very attentive and were always able to meet our needs. Entertainment – I absolutely loved the BB Kings Club and I really enjoyed listening to the music. One of our travel companions never missed a show. We listened to Adagio one night waiting for dinner, it was also good. The singer at the Piano Bar was good too. Dining Room – Overall, the food in the Manhattan Dining Room was nicely done. We did not eat at the specialty dining restaurants. We had Anytime Dining. Service was slow the first night but got better on the second night. I enjoyed everything that I ordered and I thought the desserts were all good. I would like to mention Winda who worked at the front of the dining room each night. I think she was an Assistant Matrie‘d. She arranged for our family to sit together with the time that we wanted every night. She always greeted us with a smile and made sure we were taken care of. The waiters were pleasant and were willing to accommodate any requests we had. We also went to the Mariner Lunch on the first day and enjoyed it. I would recommend the peanut butter pie for dessert, it was to die for. Lido – The Lido Buffet had a great breakfast selection. Eggs benedict, omelets, bacon and sticky buns was my breakfast of champions. LOL. Coffee was alright. I enjoyed the “Make your own” Pasta at lunch time. The hamburgers and cheese fries at the Dive-In were awesome and well-worth the wait. I personally prefer being served instead of touching the tongs and serving myself. I think Holland is the only line that does this still. Some people don’t wash their hands and then touch the tongs or avoid using the tongs at all and pick out cookies with their hands. If I need to wait a few extra minutes in line to stay healthy, I am ok with that. Fitness Centre – I used the gym frequently throughout the cruise. It was not busy so I didn’t need to wait to use any of the equipment. The built-in TV’s were a cool feature. Ports – We have been to all 4 ports before. Grand Turk was beautiful as always. We relaxed by the Margaritaville pool and went snorkeling in the ocean. In San Juan, we went to the Big Fort and toured around the city. In St. Maarten, we went to the beach close to where the water taxi docks, which is always a good beach spot. In Half Moon Cay, we sat at the beach and just relaxed. We had beautiful sunny days for all our port stops and we all came back with nice tans. Bad NO DECK PARTY! I was bummed there was no deck party. That is one of my favorite parts on every cruise. On the 5th day of the cruise, the toilet in our room would not flush. We called to ask for an attendant to come look at it and he told us the whole floor was having toilet problems and it will hopefully be fixed soon. The problem was fixed by the time we got back from port, however, parts of the hallway smelled like a sewer for the remainder of the week. Activities during the day were non-existent on this ship. Lots of name that tune, bingo and trivia during the sea days but not much by the pool. They seemed to have lots of activities for kids during the day from what I heard though. I personally was not that impressed with the entertainment in the Showroom at Sea. I have seen some phenomenal shows on past cruises (Princess, Royal Caribbean, Carnival etc.) but the production shows on this ship were just ok. The days in ports were not long enough. We are used to 8 AM – 5 PM port days so we ended up getting close to being “pier runners” on more than one occasion. Most of the lunch stations at the buffet were closed by 2:30 PM which was a bit inconvenient, unless you want to shorten your day to make the buffet before it closes. The only stations open were pasta, desserts, pizza and Dive In. Staff cut-backs in the public areas was noticeable especially in the Lido. Ugly This by far was the “ugly” part of my cruise experience. After our day in Grand Turk, we went to the Tea in the Ocean Bar. We had our travel companions with us. The tea used to be in the dining room but now it is in a bar, meaning limited seating. An older lady and her husband were sitting at the back of the bar. I am not sure when they arrived. The tea started at 3:00 so most of the food was picked over by the time they got there I am assuming. A server walked up to them and offered her what was left on the tray which made her stand up and start yelling at the poor server. She started yelling louder and louder and got in the server’s personal space. Everyone was turned around looking at her. She was swearing at the server and told him she was disgusted "they missed her table." What disgusted me the most was this other lady who thought this outburst was acceptable, made a nasty comment out loud about the service/staff and then applauded her behavior by clapping. The supervisor apologized and came back a few minutes later with a brand-new tray of cupcakes and I think that might have diffused the situation. I applaud the supervisor for trying to satisfy the passenger even though desserts identical to the ones served at the tea were just an elevator ride away to deck 9. Overall, We enjoyed our cruise but felt that Holland has cut-back since our last voyage with them. My favorite parts of the cruise were the BB Kings Club, the food and the ports of call. :) Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
We have taken a Holland America cruise in the past, in January 2016 on Nieuw Amsterdam to be specific, for the 'Dancing with the Stars' theme cruise early that month. We were impressed by the quality of the line back then and knew we had ... Read More
We have taken a Holland America cruise in the past, in January 2016 on Nieuw Amsterdam to be specific, for the 'Dancing with the Stars' theme cruise early that month. We were impressed by the quality of the line back then and knew we had to take another cruise with them in the future. Mom and I chose this cruise as it aligned with Syracuse University's spring break dates for March 2017. The Oosterdam was a ship in super condition since the refurbishment done in Spring 2016. Oosterdam's Crows' nest, Queen's lounge, MDR, pool areas (main and sea view), Casino and Billboard Onboard, Lincoln Center Stage, and MainStage were all kept in beautiful condition throughout the voyage. After a enjoying a relaxing day either in port or at sea, we would settle into our nightly routine. This routine included pre-dinner drinks at the Crows' nest, followed by dinner which was always good and served our needs, then head to either B.B Kings' Blues Club or Billboard Onboard for entertainment, and then hit up the casino to try our luck. One night we did try the Pinnacle Grill and must say it was spectacular. The steak offerings and the baked Alaska desert alone are worth the cover charge for the specialty restaurant. Entertainment options at night got an upgrade since we first went on Holland. Billboard Onboard was always full of life and energy at night, and the two pianist/singers there kept the crowd's attention and got some to sing along! B.B King's was amazing as always and is a staple for many at night, got the crowd going, got floor dancing to start, along with audience participation. Our issues with the casino were that it has horrible odds of winning and that there are far too many cruisers for machines in this sector of Oosterdam. The itinerary for our 7-day leg of the 21-day voyage included stops at: Cozumel, Mexico; Roatan Isle of Honduras, Santo Tomas de Castilla in Guatemala, and Costa Maya, Mexico. Our favorite stop was easily Mahogany Bay, Roatan Isle. Beautiful beach, great ocean- very calm and inviting for a swim, and nice little restaurant off the beach area where we grabbed Jerk Chickens and local Honduran beer to enjoy for lunch. Helpful hint: absolutely do a tour in Santo Tomas, you will not regret it. Guatemala is a developing country that will hopefully one day have much to offer tourists in the way of things to see. We booked a shorex through the shipboard offerings called "A Tale of Two Towns", where you got to see Puerto Barrios, Santo Tomas, and Amantique Bay Resort. I definitely recommend getting off the ship this day to both experience this location in Central America, and educate yourself on a new port stop. Overall, Holland America delivered another excellent cruise and we have found our "regular" line to take, so to say. Holland America Line has a classy and memorable atmosphere, with activities going on throughout the day, good food and drinks, crew who may remember you from the past, and fun port stops. The Oosterdam is a lovely ship with a nice crowd of people from all over the United States and Europe looking for a quick or lengthy getaway, depending if you took the 7 or 21-day voyage. The week we took this voyage, the Northeastern United States got hit with a Nor'Easter delivering 20 or more inches of snow in certain regions- no better time to be in the Caribbean! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
Holland America's Rotterdam is an older ship and beautifully decorated. It is one of the smaller ships in their line. I chose this cruise based on itinerary and price. I am a solo cruiser so price is always a big factor, The 25 days in ... Read More
Holland America's Rotterdam is an older ship and beautifully decorated. It is one of the smaller ships in their line. I chose this cruise based on itinerary and price. I am a solo cruiser so price is always a big factor, The 25 days in the Caribbean allowed me to escape the winter cold. The southern islands are my favorite. The cruise was separated into two legs, an 11 day and a 14 day. During the cruise we had two different captains and two different cruise directors. There was a definite difference in the two. The cruise directors set a different tone. Each had good qualities, they were just different. The same was true for the different captains. Food and entertainment were both good by HAL standards. There is a live show band as well as a duet that plays classical music. I enjoy live music so this is a plus for me. Most venues were closed by 11:00 PM. I took four shore excursions in Barbados, Nevis, Guadalupe and St. Martin. All four were very good. They were well managed and exactly as described. If you are looking for a relaxing vacation a cruise like this is for you. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
My daughter, surprisingly chose to do her senior spring break trip with me - her mom. She said she wanted to go where she hasn't been before. I proposed 4 different cruises and she chose the Oosterdam. We had a lovely itinerary to ... Read More
My daughter, surprisingly chose to do her senior spring break trip with me - her mom. She said she wanted to go where she hasn't been before. I proposed 4 different cruises and she chose the Oosterdam. We had a lovely itinerary to Cozumel, Honduras, Guatemala, & Costa Maya. I had booked an inside room, but my husband upgraded us to a balcony and then we rented a cabana on the top deck, which was overkill. I would take the Cabana anytime. They spoil you rotten! We also booked the spa pass for the week, so we were very pampered. And I purchased the drink package which really made everything wonderful for me. The boarding in Tampa was a breeze and so was disembarkation. The food was excellent and plentiful. I really enjoyed reading my news sheet in the mornings while breakfast was being set up on the Lido. Apparently, another 20 or so early risers like myself did too! We loved Guatemala. Holland America did a great job. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2017
I chose this cruise as a present for my husband, he really wanted to visit Key West. The first week was ok. not quite what we expected with regard to entertainment. The second week was a disaster a large group of 100.000 people boarded ... Read More
I chose this cruise as a present for my husband, he really wanted to visit Key West. The first week was ok. not quite what we expected with regard to entertainment. The second week was a disaster a large group of 100.000 people boarded in Ft Lauderdale and completely took over the ship in more ways than one. We lost our freedom dining option that we had booked last August with no warning. We arrived at the dining room on the Sunday evening at our usual time of 6.45 to be told that we could not eat and to go to the Buffet, and that for the rest of the week we would be able to eat at 5pm. in the Manhatten. We went directly to the reception to complain but were fobbed off by the staff who seemed to have no idea of what was going on, a request to speak to an officer was not successful we were told that they were all busy. After several days of complaining we were eventually allocated a table in the Manhatten Resturant at 8pm not particularly what we wanted , but the real problem for us was that we really look forward to joining other guests around the table in the evening who usually come from all around the world, having a great conversation and enjoy having waiter service with a well presented meal, which definitely does not happen in the buffet. Added to the eating problem, the shows in the theatre were all starting later, and the whole ambience of the ship was spoilt. We really think that a) we should have been informed by HAL and given the opportunity to change our booking and b) If a group of this size requests a booking they should have to charter the whole ship. We were not offered an apology of any description for the complete ruining of our holiday, being told that this group had paid a premium to be on board by an officer did not go down well, as it made us feel like second class citizens, Needless to say we will never travel with HAL again and never recommend them to our friends. PS We are seasoned cruisers. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2016
I chose this cruise due to pricing, but after getting the feeling of being nickel and dimed at every turn, is it all worth it. The potable water was so distasteful from the tap you had to buy water. At 4.25 US a bottle -you have to be ... Read More
I chose this cruise due to pricing, but after getting the feeling of being nickel and dimed at every turn, is it all worth it. The potable water was so distasteful from the tap you had to buy water. At 4.25 US a bottle -you have to be kidding. These small things that in the big picture would be of minimal cost would make all the difference Even soft drinks were charged for. Coffee was stewed no matter what time you went for a meal, Main dining room was nice, but the buffet became boring after a few days Staff levels are low and the buffet is really SELF SERVICE all you would need was the passengers to take the plate to the waiter station and HAL could reduce staffing levels more. Entertainment: what happened to a production show, all we had was solo comedians and a singer or two. Wonderful to see Patrick McMahon from Western Australian get a gig. BUT no production numbers or show. Where is the Razzmatazz ?? Happy Hour: 4pm you have to be joking Alcohol pricing: DONT buy online it was cheaper on board and when purchasing a wine package check the bottle price against the package price. Buying a three package was more expensive than individually. WHY ??? Gym and Spa: As a health professional, I had to walk out of a lecture due to a lack of evidence based practice that was being offered in the talk. What was being said was scientifically non factual and the personal opinion of the facility. BEWARE Finally I made a letter of complaint to management BUT they failed to respond before my disembarkation, I suppose that is "you're gone here comes another mug ", but this mug is like a dog with a bone. Holland America I am not going away.! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2016
Prices, food, nice rooms, sightseeing, awesome staff. We saw everything from our verandah whales and dolphins. Room service was awesome and always arrived promptly. Dining was great with very attentive staff. Entertainment eas ok have had ... Read More
Prices, food, nice rooms, sightseeing, awesome staff. We saw everything from our verandah whales and dolphins. Room service was awesome and always arrived promptly. Dining was great with very attentive staff. Entertainment eas ok have had better. Laundry service was great I had to see the ships physician and his treatment and diagnosis were correct. Getting on and off the ship was great we moved swiftly compared to other cruises I have taken. Also we had excellent fast fire drills unlike any I had ever experienced on prior cruises. We met nice people who were very friendly, and informative about Alaska. When we arrived in Vancouver for a onenight stay our accommodation s made by the cruise line was excellent . I would definitely recommend this ship and cruise line to anyone if it is entertainment you are after choose another line. I look forward one day to booking again with Holland America Read Less
41 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
This was our first cruise and it exceeded our expectations. The cruise departed from our own city, for a good price so we booked it a month prior to the sailing. Our stateroom 5127 had a verandah and we would recommend booking one. We ... Read More
This was our first cruise and it exceeded our expectations. The cruise departed from our own city, for a good price so we booked it a month prior to the sailing. Our stateroom 5127 had a verandah and we would recommend booking one. We really enjoyed a glass of wine when the weather permitted watching the incredible scenery go by. The room was quiet and central, docking twice while we were still in bed and had not realized we were in port until we opened the curtains. Cleaned twice a day by the hard working crew. The water pressure in the shower was great with hot water immediately. Elemis products were of good quality, beds and pillows comfortable. Plenty of hangers in the closet. We had two meals in Tamarind, excellent, all but the desserts that we didn't finish. The cocktails in the Silk Lounge are interesting and very good with the bonus of a lovely view and quiet escape before dining in Tamarind. Pinnacle dining room for lunch at $10 a good value, try the Crab Cakes and the Sable Fish sandwich. Pinnacle for dinner is good but we think Tamarind a more interesting menu for the price if you are just choosing one. Canaletto was good too, however, the atmosphere isn't the same as the other two specialty restaurants but at only an additional $10 well worth it. We were quite surprised that none of the specialty restaurants were near to capacity on the four occasions we dined in them. Did happy hour from 4-5 in the Crow's nest a couple of days and the best time to have a drink as only $1 more for a second cocktail or beverage. Enjoyed the coffee bar in the Explorers lounge too as hubby a bit of a coffee snob. We carried on 6 bottles of wine. Two corkage free as they were consumed in our stateroom. The other 4 bottles incurred a corkage fee of $18 each. We saw this as an opportunity to enjoy quality wine we had been cellaring for many years with a chef prepared meal. It was easily done as the four bottles were stickered and corkage charged to our room as we embarked in Vancouver. We had a cloth wine bag that we transported the wine in to and from restaurants. We had open dining in the MDR. We made reservations usually the day before for 8:00. We never waited for more than 5-10 minutes before getting a table. Service and food there was good too. The ship is tasteful with plenty of art to discover. The ship was sold out but the only time it felt crowded was in the Lido, the rest of the time it was hard to believe it was at full capacity. If you are sailing out of Vancouver on the Nieuw Amsterdam and are interested in bringing on some of your own wine there is a BC Government Liquor store within four blocks of the ship. One of us shopped as the other sat with the luggage at the Pan Pacific Hotel. We arrived at 12:30 to embark in Vancouver and were aboard by 1:30. We understand that this was not everyone's experience so we would suggest allowing yourself ample time. Disembarkation for us was 15 minutes, long lines but it went smoothly for us. We had 3.5 days of rain and 3.5 of better and some excellent weather. The scenery on sunny days blew us away, spectacular. Absolutely recommend. Read Less
17 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
Having never before tried Holland America, but, knowing they were rated 5*, we took advantage of the spring break, hoping for lovely time, good food and good weather. Sadly, these expectations were not met (apart from the weather). ... Read More
Having never before tried Holland America, but, knowing they were rated 5*, we took advantage of the spring break, hoping for lovely time, good food and good weather. Sadly, these expectations were not met (apart from the weather). Safety drill: The drill was chaotic, assembling on the promenade deck, bunched up under the lifeboat you were assigned to and then given a roll call and very brief safety instructions. The deck is really not that wide. Pools: The main pool (located midships) with a retractable roof - popular, but there not enough sunbeds in the area. The roof was often only slightly open, making any form of sunbathing extremely difficult (sun would only hit a couple of sunbeds). One side of the pool area was taken up by several cabana type private areas (totally in the shade, under the deck above) Seaview pool is described as adult only, but was also the only place where you could sunbathe, but it could be extremely windy. Food: Lido Deck restaurant: The self service restaurant on the Lido deck was chaotic, the food choices were poor and rather limited.... You could not actually serve yourself (barring pastries etc) - even salad had to be asked for one ingredient at a time. By day, it seemed to be... hot meat dishes, fried meat/fish dishes, chinese, indian, mexican or salad. Personally I would have liked the occasional burger, fries or pasta... so I ended up eating salad every lunch as nothing else appealed. Breakfast was a bit hit and miss, the omelette was made to order, though the mix of eggs and egg whites was from containers created earlier - not an eggshell in sight. The crepes were not crepes..... they were soggy American pancakes but done with a thinner batter, totally the wrong taste and texture. Likewise, the Waffles were soggy as could be. Dive In (Main Pool): There was a burger/hotdog order point (until 6pm) beside the main pool, as you can imagine this caused a queue to people around the pool waiting to place their orders... the queue seemed to go on forever (we gave that a miss). New York Pizza (Seaview Pool) There was a fabulous New York Pizza at the Seaview pool.... that one was used often at lunch, as you could place an order and go sit down til your buzzer called you for the food... it served until 11.30pm so you often saw passengers disappearing to their cabins with carry out pizzas. Main Dining Room: The main dining room was disorganized with mix ups in the drinks/coffee orders, people being charged for the wrong drinks, etc..... Food orders were also wrong at times, the food choices were not particularly good either - we gave it a miss one night as there was nothing worth ordering. Sail Aways - chaos and queues with food/drinks and NO MUSIC - Gelato sail away in the Seaview Pool area had queues across the deck Mediterranean BBQ at main pool - where all the sunbeds were removed in the morning, putting it out of use all day (with no explanation to passengers), to allow the setup of numerous points for the food. The BBQ itself was awful, too many food stations, poor lighting (you could not see the food at all), BBQ smoke filling the area (roof was fully open), queues everywhere, passengers constantly banging into others/food stands. Hot plates for cold desserts. Nowhere to sit, and, to top it all off, the main Lido self service restaurant was closed due to the BBQ, so if you sat in there, nobody offered drinks etc. We did not try any "pay for restaurants", I could have been tempted by the Italian, but, it was located in a corner of the open self service area, so held no appeal whatsoever, as you would b in the heart of the noise and disruption - I would have preferred to see that locate in an area of it's own. Entertainment, Information, etc: Everything onboard seemed to be based on encouraging the purchase of wine and drinks packages, there was little to to entertainment wise in general, but, especially on port days, where everything seemed to close down until sail away (apart from eateries and bars). Tour info etc was only available at certain times of the day, when the staff member responsible for it was present - again not very passenger friendly.... local maps of rome, train timetables etc would have been better. The daily activity programme was vague and did not even give enough info about shows, activities, etc - a title does not say it all, and "Recital" does not really tell anyone anything. There seemed to be daily activities for single/solo travellers and LGBT, but not a lot for anyone else. Shows: We went to a few shows, they were not good, the only one worth seeing was the pianist. Due to tiredness took over after a long day in Rome, we missed the Indonesian crew's show. Going Ashore.... Unless going on an organised excursion, passengers had to be bused to the end of the Port area/walk on shorter length ports. Civitavecchia was not well organised. all aboard was 8.30 pm. sailing at 9pm. Apparently they had not anticipated a larger number of passengers leaving the ship (other than on the HAL paid excursions), and had only organised the coach to the end of the port for the regular number of people leaving the ship.... this resulted in long queues on the dockside to get transported th 3km into Civitavecchia. On arriving in the town, we found a local bus taking you to the train station, at a cost or 2 Euros each way (wish they sold return tickets). We then travelled by train into Rome for roughly 17 Euros each for the return journey, this allowed travel on local bus and the metro in Rome. On returning to Civitavecchia and the local bus, I found I could not buy tickets aboard and had to rush back to the station to get them. We were just on time to board the bus, but other elderly passengers were left within the station buying tickets to get to the port. At the port, we discovered we were only just in time for the final bus shuttle to the ship, yup at only 7pm (90 minute pre the all aboard time) ....... at no time had HAL informed passengers of the time of this final bus, meaning anyone else would have to walk/taxi to the ship. At Livorno you have to pay 5 euros for the return journey to get from the ship to the port terminal, no option. Appearance: The decor on the ship is brown and very drab. They have even taken to securing the cushions to the chairs in the bars, to prevent passengers moving them. Likewise the cabin was lacking appeal, with it's decor, faux leather backed couch (which had a strong smell of plastic). You also could not access your account on the TV screen in the room, you needed a smart phone/device/laptop or, to get a print out at guest services. Having cruised with several other other cruise lines, HAL fell far blow my expectations, and, it's safe to say I shall not be sailing with them again. Ports: Barcelona day at sea Cagliari Palermo Civitavecchia Livorno Monte Carlo Barcelona Read Less
18 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
We chose this cruise because it had 2 stos we had not been to before. We always cruise with HAL because we have earned the perks of 4 star status. We always have excellent service. We have good food too. The ship has changed the lido ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it had 2 stos we had not been to before. We always cruise with HAL because we have earned the perks of 4 star status. We always have excellent service. We have good food too. The ship has changed the lido cafeteria a little so improvements from old. We were allowed to embark immediately and disembark when wanted to. A good perk. we have been on 13 HAL trips with different ships. Always love to cruise. Overall we love HAL. Excursions are getting more expensive so love the Tram tours to get an overview of Islands. There were many children aboard(350 I think they said) we saw VERY few. Kudos to HAL. We love being able to get a table for two! Enjoy the excellent dining room service and waiters are very helpful with suggesting a choice. It is so nice to see some familiar faces with the crew after a lot of sailings. Read Less
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