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460 Holland America Repositioning Cruise Reviews

I will start with the title of this review. Embark, disembark all OK - most lines have this in the bag. We chose this cruise on Noordam, because we love Vancouver, we wanted to go to Sydney and we love sea days. This cruise bore not ... Read More
I will start with the title of this review. Embark, disembark all OK - most lines have this in the bag. We chose this cruise on Noordam, because we love Vancouver, we wanted to go to Sydney and we love sea days. This cruise bore not the remotest resemblance to our 2 x cruises on Volendam Dec.16 and April 18. Where has the elegance gone? The fresh flowers everywhere? The sophistication? Dancing? Cocktail bars? It's just not possible to be entertained for 26 days, of which 16 were "at sea", with Billboard, BB Kings and Lincoln Centre. The bars are all empty by 2000 hrs, and they do not refill after dinner and shows - there is just nothing to do. There is a limit to how many times you may be introduced to the BB King Band in just one night let alone 26. They perform in 3 x segments every night, and this intro stuff happens in every segment, every night for 26 nights! Well, we lasted 2 x nights and just didn't go back there. The 2 x pianists in Billboard seemed more bored than we were. The performances in the Lincoln Centre are in a closed off room - very serious, stuffy, a room full of people, seated, facing the stage, concentrating on classical music. We love classical music, but you are allowed to talk and laugh aren't you? Not in the Lincoln Centre, I wore a bracelet that jingled and got some serious looks! Paleese, it's a cruise! There is a bar on Deck 1 - next to Guest Relations - how peculiar! Only utilisation over 26 days was cocktail tasting at 1700 - no atmosphere, on a good evening you may hear someone balling out the staff, they are so close. There is a place called Nightlights or some such, between Casino and Theatre side entrance - what happens there? Never saw a soul in there. It's all black! There is a Grand Piano in Ocean Bar, on a dais! Never played - but no worries, the dance floor has been carpeted over. There is a "library" of 30 cruises, most >15 days and we love sea days so it answered those calls but was still boring. There were 2 x lecturers in the fields of Pacific peoples and The Stars - we went to a few, but again after 26 days the variety just was not there. Enough, something positive. Most of the crew are polite, caring and competent. We had several very sick pax taken to non scheduled or scheduled ports for medical evac. This was handled very well. We enjoy any time dining, but on this ship it was assigned to deck 1 and the engine noise and vibration was horrendous. Not to mention the dim lighting - most had to remove the tea lights from the table lamp to read the menu. We transferred to Deck 2 and the same 2 x person table every night, a first for us. The best outcome for this switch was our dinner crew - have rarely laughed so much, nor experienced the expertise of Maitre'D Johannes, wine expert Eric,and the lovely Sumatomo and Ambrullah, attentive food waiters. The food was mostly good - when it was good it was superlative, with stunning flavour and brilliant cooking skills. When it was not good, it was mostly inedible. The former was more prevalent than the latter, but it did puzzle us a little. We missed the contact with different dinner companions and conversation. We dined at the buffet a few times, and found it very good, easy to find a table, We did enjoy a couple of shows - the dance troupe were absolutely fabulous, very very talented, and the comedian was a clever chap with a very complex and funny routine involving (very willing) audience participation. The Filipino and Indonesian Crew shows were fabulous - nothing amateur about these performances, so much effort from everyone, even after all their hard work round the ship. I cannot comment on Excursions, Trivia, the Spa, the Pool Deck as we did not engage. Last but not least, the cost of liquor on board is daylight robbery. We loved old HAL, but not anymore. There were many very disappointed HAL devotees on board. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
While one expects to have an older cruise passengers on a Holland America ship. With this said that with the money I spent I would expect like hot water and clean rooms. The first night the room had a musty moldy smell like maybe ... Read More
While one expects to have an older cruise passengers on a Holland America ship. With this said that with the money I spent I would expect like hot water and clean rooms. The first night the room had a musty moldy smell like maybe it had a leak at sometime and hadn’t been cleaned properly. My friend had gone through some lung issues just before the cruise so the second day he was sick it. So they moved us to new cabin. So now the new cabin had no hot water for four days Then the fifth day no cold water just scalding hot both sides. So after talking among passengers and crew that this was problems throughout much of the ship . Then the ship was just of dry dock and were also experiencing HVAC problems. We talked with several people among the staff and after several meetings with staff was offered compensation but was kept silent to the passengers and the ones I talked to were offered much less to nothing basically saying that if said nothing then that’s wat you or you if didn’t stay on their ads you got a much smaller competition. Not on a different topic entrainment what they had was ok but you could tell they didn’t budget much for entertainment. There was never a band of any kind poolside or around during the day. But I guess that didn’t make too much a splash poolside as we only had about half or time with the pool in service. On the positive side the food was spectacular and the wait staff was equally as good Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
Our third HA cruise, and probably the last. Entertainment during the day was non existant. Main Stage acts were poor apart from female impressionist. The smell of smoking in the Casino and deck 9 was overpowering. This is now a deal ... Read More
Our third HA cruise, and probably the last. Entertainment during the day was non existant. Main Stage acts were poor apart from female impressionist. The smell of smoking in the Casino and deck 9 was overpowering. This is now a deal breaker for us. Lido buffet food was cold and laid out all over the place. The meat on offer was very poor quality. Dining room was an unmitigated disaster, the menus were not to North American tastes and the service was a joke. Mediocre pizza place and Dive in kept us alive for most of the trip. Layout of the ship was terrible. It took 20 mins to get to deck 12 crows nest from our cabin for 4.30 trivia. A few days in we just gave up. The plus points: great gym , great free sauna with sea view, very comfortable beds with great TV with some nice movies ( in the absence of any real entertainment). Lincoln Stage musicians were wonderful if rather high brow all the time, they needed to mix things up a bit. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We flew into Rome from Miami, arriving October 31, and were efficiently whisked to the cruise port at Civitavecchia where the Koningsdam awaited. The 45 minute bus ride was uneventful and I tried to stay awake to enjoy the passing ... Read More
We flew into Rome from Miami, arriving October 31, and were efficiently whisked to the cruise port at Civitavecchia where the Koningsdam awaited. The 45 minute bus ride was uneventful and I tried to stay awake to enjoy the passing scenery. Our boarding was fast and we found the HA personnel - here and at the airport - kind and helpful. My husband and I were traveling with another couple and we had adjoining veranda cabins on Deck 8. This being our first HA cruise we were excited to get to know the ship and tried not to compare with other cruise lines. No sooner had we gotten to our cabin, when the inevitable lifeboat drill began, and it was easy and quick. We had scheduled the early dinner. Just time to eat, put away our belongings, and the time change set in to our brains so we hardly knew the ship had departed. Our cabin was comfy and the veranda was very nice, slightly larger then most because of the way our cabin was situated. The bed was very comfy and I was happy to see HA uses sheets, not the European duvets. The bathroom was a bit on the small side but the shower, with glass door, was huge and the water hot. There was more than enough closet and shelf space for our clothes and incidentals. Although we were underneath the Lido, there was no noise except for rolling of carts once in a while which was not in the least disturbing. I cannot begin to say enough about the friendliness and efficiency of the staff, both room stewards and dining room staff. It is a pleasure for us Americans (who like to get to know who is serving us) to have friendly chats with our stewards and wait people. The stewards were accommodating to our different schedules and the wait staff was wonderful. Our waiter went above and beyond when he discovered that one of our party like cold fruit soup which was not on the menu. He had a bowl of the fruit soup he made himself, for each of us, every day thereafter. The food in the dining room tended to be exotic to our more mundane tastes but there was plenty of choices and everything was tasty - except for a problem with NY strip steaks, which seemed to be overcooked - in the event, the waiter happily and quickly replaced the offending meat. The wine steward was cheerful and always came to say hello even though we were not drinkers. The Lido was not laid out in the most efficient manner, being two long lines instead of grouped in the center. This entailed a long walk to peruse the various offerings, which was difficult for one of our party who had trouble walking. The food on the Lido was generally good but please someone tell the New York Deli how to make Reubens! The entertainment we saw - a comedian, a harpist, a do-wop singling group and a singing impersonator left a bit to be desired. We have seen more talented acts on Carnival! But the singer and the harpist were enjoyable for all that. There was beautiful music played in the Lincoln Center but it took me a few days to realize this was on ship, not in New York City! I always like to look through the ship's stores. In this case, they were mostly expensive and lacking some of the everyday items one might need aboard ship. However, since the Koningsdam was repositioning, all the Mediterranean items were 75% off and boy do I love a bargain! Since this was a trans-Atlantic crossing (our second) we spent a lot of time chilling on our veranda and watching the ever-changing drama of clouds and sea. We had three ports of call, Cartagena and Malaga in Spain, and the island of Madeira. All ports were wonderful and getting on and off the ship easy. Disembarkation in Fort Lauderdale was the easiest of any cruise we have been on, since we were allowed to remain in our cabins until our numbers were called. Our Captain, Captain Timmers, was one of the most personable captains of any ship on which we have sailed. He was on the intercom every day with updates of our progress, and was delightful with his rather droll sense of humor. On the next to the last day, there was an alarm in the evening, and Captain Timmer came right on to inform us of what was happening and that all was well. My only real gripe was lack of a library. I would think that a ship the size of the Koningsdam could find a little niche somewhere for us who prefer the printed page to e-readers. Being forewarned, I had lugged two books along with me. I didn't attend any enrichment programs although they were offered daily and looked to be interesting. All in all, I would not hesitate to sail on HA again and again, even if I have to lug my own reading material! It was a wonderful ship and a great crossing. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We chose this cruise as a ticket home, in a more interesting way than a plane ride, after sailing around the Mediterranean on a Norwegian ship (Spirit). The NS is ostensibly a beautiful ship with a musical theme. I had a budget room on a ... Read More
We chose this cruise as a ticket home, in a more interesting way than a plane ride, after sailing around the Mediterranean on a Norwegian ship (Spirit). The NS is ostensibly a beautiful ship with a musical theme. I had a budget room on a repo cruise and did not expect the world. The cruise was ultimately very average and frankly mostly boring. We couldn't attend too many bars or areas due to the prevalence of PEANUTS in every bar, in every night time chocolate and due to the potential for cross contamination - frankly everywhere. I offered to leave the ship and fly home and was offered ZERO compensation to do so. Management told me they had a nut policy which I should have known about. I re-read the agreement after the trip and didn't find it. Due to the severity of the allergy (duly appreciated by many restaurants, schools and airlines now) we couldn't really relax. The cabin size - inside cabin - was pathetically small. The shower was pretty but slightly cramped - better than some boats however. Repo cross Atlantics are not the most exciting itineraries to begin with but the entertainment on this cruise - except the BB King Blues Bar which was great - was not like that from the better days of cruising with production shows and orchestras. The Buffet was a cluster of needy "my needs first' people moving in chaotic fashion to reach FAR TOO HEAVY CHAIRS" on carpet that further restricted their movement. The Buffet was a terrible area and I didn't find the kind of Mexican and Italian food I am used to eating, very often, or in great abundance. I didn't like dining on the NS. Others with more sophisticated palates may have relished the provisions. Too many well healed snoots lacking in happy demeanor and social graces was my call on many of the passengers - although there are always excellent people to speak with on cruises. I was left bored and underwhelmed by this cruise and Holland America has dropped in my rankings for future cruise choices. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We chose this cruise based on timing. We’d been in Italy for 7 weeks and thought it would be a nice way home. It had been a while since cruising and I can compare to Disney, Celebrity, MSC and Carnival. Food, service and ship: ... Read More
We chose this cruise based on timing. We’d been in Italy for 7 weeks and thought it would be a nice way home. It had been a while since cruising and I can compare to Disney, Celebrity, MSC and Carnival. Food, service and ship: Celebrity1, Disney 2, HOLLAND 3, Carnival 4, MSC 5 Shows: Disney1, Celebrity2, Carnival3, MSc4, HOLLAND 5 In general, the room was nice, we had a stern cabin. Our room stewards were awesome, but seemed overwhelmed, as attention to detail was at a 6. Unlimited laundry package-AWESOME. Dining room food, boring and prepared so far in advance that there wasn’t any level of correct temperature or freshness to it. Incomplete room service menu and morning coffee and croissants, disappointing. Spa facials with Chauntel excellent. Gym, my husband was hurt, due to an improperly tied TRX line and they couldn’t have cared less. Bar hop and Notes scotch bar fun and rock band good. Dueling pianos redundant and Lincoln players gaining play experience at the expense of the listeners. Although a TA was a relaxing way to get home and we did meet some nice people, I would say we’ll never sail HOLLAND AMERICA again or any large cruise vessel. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
This was our 5th Transatlantic cruise and by fare the worst as far as entertainment. We booked this cruise for the musical venues. Lincoln Center on other ships was usually great. However, on this ship the selection of music wasn’t ... Read More
This was our 5th Transatlantic cruise and by fare the worst as far as entertainment. We booked this cruise for the musical venues. Lincoln Center on other ships was usually great. However, on this ship the selection of music wasn’t to our liking and they repeated them over and over during the 14 day cruise. We have no complaints about how they played though. BB King was quite good albeit a bit too loud. Rolling Stone was so loud that conversing even briefly in the rear of the room was impossible. We had anytime dining and they were very good about seating us within 5 to 10 minutes of arrival. The food was good, but the room is so large that the noise level is awful. For whatever reason, the Cruise Director would schedule many activities at 1:00 pm, such as trivia, and Lincoln Center, and the cooking demonstration. We like to eat at the Pinnacle Grill for lunch. This was not possible unless you gave up trivia or something else you might want to do. I pointed this out at Guest Services but nothing changed. I also suggested that they add a morning trivia, but that suggestion was ignored also. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
Chose this because of itinerary which included Israel and transatlantic back to the States. Also it was originally going to be on the lovable Prisendam. Excursions - I am one to seek out alternate excursions to what the ship offers ... Read More
Chose this because of itinerary which included Israel and transatlantic back to the States. Also it was originally going to be on the lovable Prisendam. Excursions - I am one to seek out alternate excursions to what the ship offers but those on this ship seemed reasonably priced and did not disappoint. We did an overnight in Jerusalem and enjoyed every aspect of this two day excursion. Olympus, Rhodes, and Santa Cruz were also especially good. Entertainment - We were so lucky to have Hyperion Knight join the ship for the crossing. His talent and style as a classical pianist is incredible. He was scheduled for one show but actually did four others on stage and in a lounge. He is also one fine trivia player. Otherwise, I enjoyed the Canadian and the British comics, however I heard over and over again that passengers really missed the singers and dancers who apparently have been eliminated from Holland America. The two singing groups of young men were top notch. Main Restaurant - our main waiter and his assistant were the best we have ever had. Harley made sure everything went well at each meal, there really is no reason to complain about an item on Holland America, one just needs to voice a concern (too cold, not cooked to order, etc) and it will be made right. Room Stewards - I marvel at just how good these people are at their jobs. Cruise Director/Assistant - did his job but duties seem to have been reduced. The lady that was coming on for the Panama Canal cruises seemed to be more genuine and down to earth. Minor complaints - there was no grape juice, Happy hour used to be buy one get one free, now it is buy one get a second for $2. This does not seem bad but as a non drinker, I used to take advantage of the happy hours to purchase a soft drink and get one free, $2.25 for two cans is not that bad but paying $2 for a second can, definitely not a deal. I just bring a few bottles of Coke Zero on the ship each cruise. If the daily movie was only offered at 7:30, it was not possible for 8:00 diners to see it. Other cruises showed the movie at 7:30 and 9:30. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We chose this cruise for the itinerary. It took us to places that we hadn't yet visited. There were many ports of call in a row, making it very busy. We treasured the rare sea day. The Atlantic crossing went smoothly, but we found ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the itinerary. It took us to places that we hadn't yet visited. There were many ports of call in a row, making it very busy. We treasured the rare sea day. The Atlantic crossing went smoothly, but we found it too long. We enjoyed the high level of service. From the shore excursions desk, to guest services, to our cabin stewards, and the people working in various capacities on the ship. the service was fabulous. We didn't purchase an internet package and had heard it was very slow on the ship. We were flying home the day of embarkation and wanted to at least check in for our flights home. The woman at the guest services counter was helpful and she want the extra mile. It was beyond our expectations. The entertainment was not what you'd find on a larger vessel. We've heard that this is the model Holland America will have from now on, even on larger ships. On our 32 day cruise, we enjoyed one comedian and a dance performance. Unfortunately the dancers couldn't return due to a technical difficulty to do with the ship and port of call that day. The food in the dining room was very good, and so was the service. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We chose this cruise to finish our two month itinerary of 4 cruise ships, on 4 different cruise lines, from NYC to England, Europe, and the Mediterranean. We did not want jet lag so the final cruise was a crossing after a few stops in ... Read More
We chose this cruise to finish our two month itinerary of 4 cruise ships, on 4 different cruise lines, from NYC to England, Europe, and the Mediterranean. We did not want jet lag so the final cruise was a crossing after a few stops in Spain and the Azores. The ship is new and beautiful. The crew and staff were efficient, friendly and wonderful. The captain did a great job dodging bad weather and keeping us informed. The Neptune Suite was fabulous. It was large, great extended balcony around the back of the ship. The stewards were wonderful. They did a great job. The Neptune Lounge was great and the concierge did a great job. The Club Orange dining room with it’s own chef was a highlight. We had five star dining every night. The servers in there were excellent along with the wine steward. We had the premium beverage package which was expensive but necessary since almost every drink was an extra, latte, bottled water, etc. here’s the downside for us personally. It’s just too many people. Sooooo many scooters and walkers. The pools were crowded with rude, demanding guests who pushed and shoved their way through this ship for 14 days. The ship constantly charged for everything, gelato, pizza, etc. there was very little to do if you don’t gamble in the casino, buy overpriced jewelry, or drink continually. The music walk area was really good. We loved the Lincoln Center Stage area. The performers were wonderful. The BB King, Rolling Stone, dueling pianos were all good. The large theater was a disappointment. No big shows just small groups, pianist who was great, ladies group, ok, the rest comedians, so so, and magician, ok. The six sea days were so boring. There were two lectures that were good and a cooking lesson most days. Maybe crossings are supposed to be boring and it was. We enjoyed our balcony, read, and slept for the most part. We used room service occasionally that was good and the Neptune Lounge to avoid the obnoxious herds in the pools and lido deck. The elevators were sooo overcrowded. The bar service was terrible. Bad drinks, bad service. Getting on the ship was a breeze in Civitavecchia but getting off in Ft. Lauderdale was awful. We have Global Entry but it still took almost 2 hours to get through immigration. It must have taken the regular lines hours to disembark. People were passing out in line. Not sure that was the fault of the cruise line due to immigration people were just slow and few lines. So, no more ft. Lauderdale in and out for us. We talked to several couples who feel the same way we do. It’s too bad Holland America is being turned into a dressed up Carnival situation. For 14k for two weeks we can do better on Viking, crystal and other smaller ships. It was apparent they slashed their fare at some point and got a low end demographic passenger on this cruise. That sounds rude but when we spend that type of money we don’t expect this type of experience. Too bad because it’s a great ship with great staff. Goodbye Holland America! Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
Why? The Itenary A not so common one, long and much to see. Done out of Europe, by a German travel office: Berge und Meer Yes we know it's an old ship wich had the atmosphere of faded grandeur But the compagny ... Read More
Why? The Itenary A not so common one, long and much to see. Done out of Europe, by a German travel office: Berge und Meer Yes we know it's an old ship wich had the atmosphere of faded grandeur But the compagny plays it all very poche, a bit pathetic... This was our 23rd cruise, and the first with HAL. There was a cabin on the promenade deck confirmed by the HAL 5 months in advance. However, 5 days before this was moved to a so-called upgrade, I was not happy with that. after complaining seems nobody could change it any more. cabin 6100 was a terrible loft, I could not get up straight from bed, the desk was unusable and the layout unlogical, curtains had to be closed with Velcro tape. In the afternoon was no sleep possible, 2x 1.5 hours were practiced with the music, so noise, in the evening, 2x1.5 hours the performance, again noise till 22.00 hour and sometimes from 00.00 hour to 2.00 hour practice with the staff presentation for a few hours. After difficult reaching the hotel director, (permanently protected by guest service employees), I got the cabin that was originally promised after a week by grace. Incidentally, with that rediculous small bathtub it is difficult to shower, you cannot take a shower over you, but shower against you. Later I got out of the bath and fell because I had the handle in my hand, it was not stuck in the wall, the next day it was screwed in another place in the wall. Evening meals were good, but monotonous, and not always in accordance with what was on the menu (but that happens with more ships; drinks were extremele expensive. Breakfast and lunch in Lido and restaurants were exellent. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
It is our first Holland America cruise. We knew it is more for mature passengers but we didn't care as we just wanted to try the Mexico Riviera cruise and the timing was right. We embarked from Vancouver and our check-in was a ... Read More
It is our first Holland America cruise. We knew it is more for mature passengers but we didn't care as we just wanted to try the Mexico Riviera cruise and the timing was right. We embarked from Vancouver and our check-in was a breeze. Our oceanview stateroom with a large square window was very spacious but it was on deck one where most of their oceanview staterooms are located. The location of our stateroom was problematic as it was below Billboard Onboard. We could hear music until midnight or 1:00 am and noise from moving chairs as the place has hardwood floors. Thanks to Guest Services, they were quick to help and had us relocated to another stateroom. Main Dining Room: There were pros and cons to open seating, we liked the flexibility of no fixed dining time but the wait for a table was around 15 minutes. The main dining room service was great but slow. Food was good generally but they were exceptional on Gala nights. Lido Market: food options at this buffet restaurant were not bad but waitstaff's service was average. Trying to find a table was always a challenge, perhaps it's the set up of the restaurant. Their dinner closing hours of the restaurant was too early as many guests were still coming in for dinner passed 8:30 p.m. not realizing the restaurant was already closed. The strangest thing was that they reopen at 10:30 p.m. for an hour for late night snacks. So between 9:00 p.m. (main dining room closes) and 10:30 p.m. guests can only get room service at that point. Specialty Dining: Pinnacle Grill (Steakhouse), Tamarind (Asia) and Canaletto (Italian). They were nice but it would have been better if there were more choices, perhaps French or Spanish. Ports: Cabo San Lucas was most fun as we took the boat trip around the Arch and spent some time on Medano Beach. We did the hop-on hop-off in Mazatlan and we were able to cover a lot of grounds in a short time but it is probably cheaper to hire a car to take you around as well. Puerto Vallerta would be great for scuba diving but we didn't go this time. Activities: I enjoyed America's Test Kitchen where I got to see demonstrations of tried and true tested recipes by amazing chefs. I was lucky to see Andy Matsuda demoing his masterful skills of sushi making. Other workshops such as Microsoft and photography were pretty good too. There were some other for-fee activities such as wine tasting and martini sampling but we didn't participate. HAL ships fell short on its entertainment options and its operating hours were limited. Billboard Onboard's music was mediocre; Lincoln Center Stage performance was good but it seemed out of place; BB King's Blues Club is probably the only one that is noteworthy with good performance. Their main stage shows were disappointing and lackluster. Navigator App: convenient for checking the daily schedule, account balance, chat with fellow passengers. I suggest that more details be provided for each event that's happening onboard instead of just the title. HAL really needs to plan more activities during at-sea days or theme events on the Lido Deck: improve their entertainment options and have a look at the gaps in their dining hours. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
Our itinerary: 26-day Vancouver to Sydney, Oct. 13 to Nov. 9, 2019 We visited three ports in Hawaii, one in American Samoa, three in Fiji and three in New Caledonia. We explored Van Dusen Botanic Garden in Vancouver before the ... Read More
Our itinerary: 26-day Vancouver to Sydney, Oct. 13 to Nov. 9, 2019 We visited three ports in Hawaii, one in American Samoa, three in Fiji and three in New Caledonia. We explored Van Dusen Botanic Garden in Vancouver before the cruise. The gardens were gorgeous in mid-October and their were few people, giving us quiet time in many areas. There were still lots of flowers blooming with the added beauty of leaves changing color. Highly recommended. Being 4-star, we breezed right through embarkation. We chose the last group for disembarkation, got off the ship about 9:45 a.m. and waited in a very long taxi line to get a ride to our motel. I recommend you plan on 45 minutes to get a taxi if your ship disembarks at White Bay Cruise Terminal. The taxi's were there, they kept coming, but there was a long line of cruisers needing rides. We spent 4 days in Sydney before flying back to the US. The Noordam had just come out of a two-week dry dock. She had new carpet in the common areas, new flat screen TVs in the staterooms and seemed fresh and clean. I heard that the higher-class staterooms and suites had more updates, but our cabin, 4072, a partially-obstructed on Deck 4, didn't have any other updates except the TV. A slight problem was that the thermostat was a little off. On the same setting of the control, sometimes it was too hot, sometimes too cold. If we moved the dial slightly, the temperature adjusted to normal, so it was no big deal. Sometimes a worker would be outside the window working on the equipment out there; just beware if you have the curtain open. New friends had a room down the hall, 4092, and outside their window were the tenders used in getting to shore. They said that when the ship anchored at tender ports, it was noisy early in the mornings as the lifeboats were lowered to the sea. Speaking of the TV, there were numerous movies available on demand with enough variety to please anyone's taste. There were so many movies that you could probably spend all your time in the stateroom watching movies and not see them all, even on a 26-day cruise. In a change from all of our other cruises, we ate most of our dinners in the Lido instead of the dining room. It was nice to get in and get out in about 30 minutes in the Lido instead of the two-hour meal in the dining room. I missed the variety of the dining room after a while, though, and so went back ocassionally. Both had good food. Advantages of eating in the Lido for dinner: we didn't gain as much weight and our ankles didn't swell up like they have on most cruises. I read the food is more salted in the main dining room which may be the reason for swollen ankles. We ate breakfast in the Lido always. There was plenty of variety and it was all good. Lunches were either in the Lido, Taco Bar or Dive In, all were good. There were some good entertainers and some great entertainers on the Main Stage, from comedians to singers to mind reading/mystic stuff, something for everyone. There were two interesting lecture series, one speaker talked about astronomy, one about history of the South Pacific area. On the trip over from Vancouver to Honolulu, passengers could learn the hula and those that did put on a show in the Main Stage before we docked in Hawaii. America's Test Kitchen did regular demos, a duo of pianists entertained at Billboard Online (fun!), BB King's was rocking most nights and there were regular performances of classical music at Lincoln Center Stage. I don't think the Northern Lights was used much. I only saw people there once, when we participated in a ship's Bar Crawl one night. All the HAL ships have a crew of singers and dancers. I typically skip those shows on the Main Stage. Not this trip! After their first show, when everyone said how much they enjoyed the show, I gave it a try. They really are the best singers and dancers I've seen of all troupes in the HAL fleet. Same with the crew shows, the Indonesian and the Filipino Crew shows were outstanding! Don't miss them. There were bingo games. I played once. We played trivia twice a day on sea days and once on port days. Pins to the winning teams had either South Pacific or Australia/New Zealand themes. Our team won some of each, enough that my DH and I had extras to give away to our friends at the Crow's Nest Happy Hour. Our only complaint on the whole cruise was that Trivia at Billboard Onboard and Happy Hour in the Crow's Nest were at the same time. We had to sacrifice and only have a half-hour happy hour after rushing to the Crow's Nest after Trivia. (Life is so hard!) Service was great everywhere. Our room attendants couldn't have done a better job and we found some favorite bartenders and Lido servers. Captain John Scott had the passenger's best interest in mind and showed it when we had to make two detours to get ill passengers to medical care on shore. I had some favorite ports, and enjoyed all the ports we stopped at. We had never been to the South Pacific and liked it immensely. Shore Excursion choices from HAL were plentiful, and if those didn't please you, there were plenty of options on shore on your own. The 14-hour flight home from Sydney to Colorado was a bear. For that reason, I'm not certain I would do it again. Definitly enjoyed the cruise though! Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
Because we did not WANT it to be true, we ignored reviews like this prior to our October/November 2019 Cruise on HAL Neiuw Statendam. There are many very good things about this ship and this cruise line, but this description is ONLY to ... Read More
Because we did not WANT it to be true, we ignored reviews like this prior to our October/November 2019 Cruise on HAL Neiuw Statendam. There are many very good things about this ship and this cruise line, but this description is ONLY to give a detailed assessment about dance opportunities and conditions on board. We took a cruise on this ship six months ago and ended up a bit dissatisfied with the opportunities to dance. Nonetheless we were persuaded by the overall high standard of service, very good dining experiences, well designed staterooms, highly desirable itinerary, AND by representations from corporate management that they hoped to do better, to give Neiuw Statendam another go. This was, from a dancing perspective, a mistake; things had not improved and practices had become so ingrained that in some respects they were worse. Staff on board were unresponsive at best and dismissive on occasion. I will elaborate with specifics below, but the message for the casual reader is that if dancing on board is at all important to you, this is probably not the ship for you. Just as important, contrary to what you may recall about HAL in the past, regrettably, it gives me no pleasure to report, this is likely no longer the cruise line for you. The old Northern Lights disco is no more on the pinnacle-class ships, and we have heard it will be disappearing in upcoming refits elsewhere in the fleet. This did not seem to us a serious loss. It was dated and poorly attended. The space is probably put to better use. A far more serious loss is that the dancing that used to be available in Ocean Lounge is no longer an option. The dance floor on Neiuw Statendam, is a mere 3 meter circle—(no kidding!!!)--that could accommodate just two couples at most, and was idle for all 34 days of our most recent cruise. The piano on the dais, we were told, had not been played since the ship commenced operation in December 2018. A waiter even joked when we asked about the venue, "It is just a prop." Don't expect the HALkats either; they are history. Don't expect any performances by the showband in this venue or anyplace other than World Stage. Don't expect a small combo; corporate management says they are too costly and too uneven in quality to be used any more. There is what looks like a grand piano, but it could have been cardboard for all we know. You simply will no longer find opportunities for anything approaching latin, swing, or ballroom dancing before dinner or at any other time here in Ocean Lounge. So, when and where COULD you dance and what sorts of dancing is it going to be? The core of the entertainment concept is now "Music Walk," a frankly over hyped apologia for the corporate partnerships, commercially branded, dueling piano bar; new rock music stage; and old blues club in a very elegant and functional reincarnation of the former Queen's Lounge. There is not much new here, however, except the glitz, though the musicianship is admittedly strong and the HARD, HARD (did I mention, HARD?) rock music is now LIVE; but it is so ear shattering that they had to erect glass doors to reduce bleed-over down the hall into other venues and that most patrons forget to close when passing through. Result: music salad. There is another tiny dance floor in the Billboard on Board dueling piano bar. For most performances chairs are set up on this floor, though it can be used for dancing when the rock band is playing across the wide open hallway. Dancing to dual pianos can be challenging as there is no percussion and generally no base line to give a beat, though some songs can the followed nonetheless. Some of the performers in the piano bar are genuine rising stars, and here you will find the greatest variety of popular dance music. But it is difficult, and dancing here is high profile. You will get the feeling that you should not be dancing on the dance floor. But nobody will say anything. Dancing in the Rolling Stone Rock Room is possible on the comfortably large oval floor, which is about 8 meters at its widest and 4 or so at its narrowest. The genres of music are severely limited to HARD rock swing (east and west coast) with the occasional Cha Cha, or possibly adapted "high speed" rumba or perhaps a rare nightclub two step. The driving beat is monotonous, and the repertoire is exhausted after two or three nights. The volume, however, can be downright painful. Many guests complained. The crowd, most of whom seem not to be regular patrons of live music, are nonetheless enthusiastic and appreciate the hard rock favorites of their youth and may find the volume a compensation as well as an accelerant for hearing loss. Dancers range from 1960s freestylers, young weight shifters (mainly women in spike heels), a few genuine swing dancers, couples in warm embrace, and loners made embarrassingly bold by alcohol. The greatest opportunity for dancing to live music is in the BB King Blues Club with its very fine but over scrubbed 8x8 meter and padded hardwood floor. This floor is a gem and arguably one of the best at sea. The music here is a little more varied than the Rock Room. There is lots of blues and jazz improv of course, suitable especially for West coast swing, but also some East coast, with occasional cha cha, rumba, or nightclub two step. A night with one or two fox trots over the course of three sets is possible, but rare, and the dance floor, crowded with fired up free stylers in the early sets--most with little situational awareness and little inhibition--and is more likely to frustrate than please more serious dancers. Still everyone has a right to the dance floor, and not just dancers who know steps. Patrons who are tipsy and with sloshing wine glasses or beer bottles in hand are, sadly, a common sight. A grand old line like HAL might just remind you here of their parent company during some sets, though unaccompanied children are less common, but equally dangerous, as on Carnival. The less serious dancers tend to thin out in later sets. The singers are trained performers who frequently interrupt the music with rightside/leftside, complete-this-lyric, or stop-the-music-because-of-weak-response antics. It is a good show to be sure, but not so great for dancing. And, like all blues clubs, each performance will include at least one long piece of solo ad libs for each musician in the band, which is generally as undanceable as it is ubiquitous and too lengthy. This venue affords the most numerous and varied opportunities for dancers, but it couldn't lay claim—and HAL wants to do, to being a dance club. As the name implies it is a Blues Club, though ‘blues purists’ will have their own reservations. With the obvious exception of the cha cha, Latin music, regrettably, is for the most part absent in all these venues. Salsa, mambo, samba, meringue, and bolaro rather rare. Tango (and waltzes for that matter, and of both varieties) are on the endangered species list on this ship. Argentine tango, oddly given the line's promotion of South American cruises, is apparently extinct here. But, good news, the cruise director offered a morning lesson on the electric slide, and we did observe it performed twice and led by the members of the band on the dance floor to encourage participation. That, friends, was the sole dance lesson offered in over four weeks. This on the line that just three years ago sponsored ‘Dancing with the Stars’ on every cruise. Oh, how the mighty have fallen! There is a new CEO with a different demographic in mind, and you are not it. If you enjoy dancing, know a few steps, and especially if you recollect the very good dancing that used to be associated with this line, you will find these opportunities just tantalizing enough to disappoint. But all this is not at the core of our frustration; this has to be reserved for the dismissive attitude and trifling pretense to address our concerns from the line's Seattle management right down to on-board staff. This could be summed up as: "But we have music walk, what else could you want?" It is fine to make a conscious business decision to market to a different demographic, but suggesting otherwise and telling customers that certain pallatives are being implemented (even saying "fleetwide") and then failing to do so, is not. Here are some insights about the recorded dance music in dance venues when not in use. Music was played in the BB King area between sets, but it was almost nearly all of the very same genre that was performed there, though at a lower decibel level. And band members will often loudly rehearse over it rendering useless for dance purposes. "Ballroom" dance was scheduled a few times. Two afternoons on the first (10 day)cruise, none on the second, and once on the third. These opportunities were always at "back on board" time, right as guests are returning from excursions. These 45-minute sessions were however frequently interrupted by lengthy and repeated public announcements seeking missing passengers, the captain's daily report detailing exactly how he planned to maneuver away from the dock, through the channel, past the breakwater, past the lighthouse, through the waves, and out to sea with nonetheless appreciated weather information. This was typically turned over to the cruise director for the inevitable and the re-re-reiteration of when towel folding seminars, acupuncture clinics, jewelry sales, and game show events would be offered. Once an interruption occurred, the music totally stopped and the song and its genre (perhaps the only one of its type) were gone and the next melody was already in progress when it started up. Ballroom dancers could reasonably expect half a dozen songs. On one occasion the session listed in the on-line program did not happen as the space had been double booked for bingo. No rescheduling, no apology, just too bad. "But hey, we have bingo and Music Walk." Finally, there is the hopeful and welcome nightly opportunity called "Dancing to the Hits" with the DJ. You will have to stay up fairly late for this most nights, which may not be suitable if you have an early shore excursion or are over 50. The exact time varies, but 11:30 or 11:45 is typical. Requests are NOT accepted; in fact, the DJ told patrons that the playlist was set by the corporate office! There is a danceable mix of golden oldies from the 1960s, 70s, and 80s, lots of Motown, and a few standards from the “great American songbook.” A waltz or foxtrot may even slip in! On two occasions, when the band had the night off, "Dancing to the Hits" was scheduled for a welcome, convenient, and popular 10pm. Unfortunately, on BOTH occasions, after half a dozen songs, the ship's official paid "pub crawl" arrived at this final of its more than twenty stops. You can imagine the state of the participants by then. They were served their final tumblers of drinks and physically literally took over the dance floor for a guys vs girls dance contest. We tried to wait this out, but the literal writhing on the floor of this irresponsible bacchanal was too disturbing to endure. So it is recommended that if you attempt to dance when it happens at 10pm, that you be there at the start because it is not going to last very long and will soon degenerate into something like a college fraternity party. Holland American is a great traditional cruise line with many wonderful features. The staff is well-trained, eager to please, and always attentive. The dining, even in the complimentary venues, is first rate. The ship is new, well designed, and genuinely gorgeous. The itineraries are appealing and the excursions well planned and efficient. But this grand old line with a rich history of fine opportunities for dancers no longer affords them or seems to care about patrons who see them as part of the traditional cruise experience. So, if dance is important to you, think carefully about selecting this line. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We just completed a 43 day (34 day on board) 20 Mediterranean Port , Trans-Atlantic Cruise On board the Nieuw Statendam IMO: 9767106, MMSI : 244140508, Call Sign: PBCO, Flag : (NL) Neatherlands ... Read More
We just completed a 43 day (34 day on board) 20 Mediterranean Port , Trans-Atlantic Cruise On board the Nieuw Statendam IMO: 9767106, MMSI : 244140508, Call Sign: PBCO, Flag : (NL) Neatherlands First The Complaints (1)Every one is fully aware that medical, trip cancellation (ETC) can be very expensive. When you have thousands of dollars invested in your trip, this may be a wise investment. (2)IF YOU HAVE A COLD OR YOU HAVE TO SNEEZE, PLEASE COVER YOUR MOUTH (3)If you are sick before your cruise. consider staying home. The ship can become a gigantic petri dish. (4)Men, You are on vacation, (maybe in a foreign country) mowing your lawn attire is fine at home, but not on a cruise ship. (5)Not all stores, hotels, bars , restaurants except credit cards, foreign paper money ie (American/Canadian Dollars) Besides, the best rate will be at home, before you go. (6)The staff on board are not your personal servants, they work very hard, they do a wonderful job, and will fall over backwards to make sure you are happy (7) They charge for a lot of stuff on board, so PLEASE ask if there is a charge and how much....Note... every night before going to sleep we would look our account on room tv. (8)Drink packages are fine, but sometimes the electronic information does not follow you from dining room to dining room. (9) On board excursions can be very expensive,,, how ever if you are late getting back the ship will wait, NOT SO for an excursion booked on shore. Now For The Good Stuff We had a truly wonderful 43 day (34 days on board) 20 Mediterranean Ports, Trans-Atlantic Cruise Vacation. We hit a home run with the weather, it was wonderful except for a few windy spots. Our inside stateroom 8182 was just off the center line at the stern. The room was Very Clean, and Very Comfortable, lots of storage space for two people, hangers, bathrobes. shampoos, soaps etc. Lots of lights, wall safe. Our room stewards HERI and KETUT were wonderful, very easy to talk to. The pools and the hot tubes were always clean and filled with the usual assortment of walruses and seals that claim their territory long before the crack of dawn. Their is enough food to feed an army, you can always find something. Just understand that they make the food so 2-3-4-5 thousand can eat it. The specialty restaurants , and main dining room can cater to the individual palette. We enjoyed all the shows and presentations while on board, the comedians were very funny. Please do not expect a Vegas or Broadway show . We could always find a quiet place to read, play a game or just relax even with 4000 thousands roaming around. EMBARKATION in Civitaveechia (Rome) was a breeze. DISEMBARKATION in Fort Lauderdale was delayed mostly due to people who needed assistance, A VERY SPECIAL THANK YOU to the CREW and STAFF of The NIEW STATENDAM for such a wonderful trip. Thank you to Heri and Ketut our room stewards and to Ane and to Brilliant on the LIDO deck Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
The price was right and we were traveling with friends who had never been through the Panama Canal. We usually always travel with Holland America and always pleased with travel Volendam was small and getting from bow to stern difficult ... Read More
The price was right and we were traveling with friends who had never been through the Panama Canal. We usually always travel with Holland America and always pleased with travel Volendam was small and getting from bow to stern difficult since galley is inconveniently located thus creating a safety hazard. The entertainment was mediocre except for the ventriloquist. A comedian was so crude and awful that several people walked out, including us. I did enjoy America’s Test Kitchen. We missed the crew show which is always a popular inclusion in entertainment. The Allegro Strings was a poor replacement for Lincoln Center on other ships. The lifeboat safety drill was disastrous. The announcement was unintelligible in cabins to announce the drill and once on deck, deck crew microphones were out of batteries or dysfunctional. The initial drill is important since it is supposed to indicate the competency of the crew. We didn’t even have to put on life preservers. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We wanted to embark at the Port of Vancouver, Canada as it is a short flight from our home. The repositioning cruise offered a fantastic fare and gave us a chance to visit Japan. We planned to join a land tour once we disembarked in ... Read More
We wanted to embark at the Port of Vancouver, Canada as it is a short flight from our home. The repositioning cruise offered a fantastic fare and gave us a chance to visit Japan. We planned to join a land tour once we disembarked in Yokohama. This was our first ocean crossing and it was surprisingly uneventful (weather-wise). Except Typhoon Hagibis was scheduled to arrive in Tokyo the same day we were scheduled to disembark at the Port of Yokohama. The crossing itself was blissful for us. We napped, we walked, we used the spa, we enjoyed the cultural talks, and the variety of entertainment on board. To outsmart the typhoon, the Captain did have to cancel one port stop in order to re-route the ship out of the path of the storm. This meant an additional day of sailing, a transit through the Kanmon Straits, and leisurely sailing to allow enough time for the storm to blow itself out of our way and arriving safely one day later than scheduled to our port for disembarkation. Holland America provided free internet time as well as free ship to shore telephone privileges for passengers who needed to re-book flights or other travel arrangements because of the delay. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
This was our fourth HAL cruise in the Asia-Pacific region and we enjoyed it. Westerdam has been refitted in recent years and the ship was in very good shape. Carpets and furniture were clean and well maintained. Public spaces were very ... Read More
This was our fourth HAL cruise in the Asia-Pacific region and we enjoyed it. Westerdam has been refitted in recent years and the ship was in very good shape. Carpets and furniture were clean and well maintained. Public spaces were very pleasant. We had a verandah cabin which was nicely maintained with a modern flat screen TV on the wall across from the bed, and a good bathroom with tub/shower combination. This repositioning cruise spent 7 days on the North Pacific between Vancouver and Japan, and the crossing had both choppy and calm seas. An unexpected re-routing around Japan was necessary to avoid Super Typhoon Hagibis but the captain and crew did a great job of keeping us informed and safe. After two missed port calls and one-day delay in reaching Yokohama due to the storm, the subsequent 2 week itinerary stopping in Japan, South Korea and China was excellent. HAL is known for its older crowd, and this was certainly the case on this cruise. If you don't like spending a lot of time with mostly seniors this isn't the cruise line for you, but what the passengers lack in youth they make up for in travel experience. Most have been all over the world and make for great conversation any time you are wanting to chat. Food aboard was great. We mostly eat in the dining room and find the menus to be varied and quality of the food excellent. We generally eat late (8pm or later) and tables for 2 were always available at that time, which made it very relaxing. The Lido Market cafeteria usually had seating available and the range of food for breakfast and lunch was good, but we found the offerings at dinner were not spectacular. HAL seems to have improved its entertainment and we enjoyed the shows on the Main Stage. The variety was good, from full dance and music shows to comedians, and individual musicians. America's Test Kitchen daily presentations were great. Some of the cultural lectures were better than others (a function of who was doing the presentations) but overall set the stage for our ports of call. And port information sessions provided in advance of each port were excellent, not just designed to sell the cruise line's tours. The best thing about HAL's ships is the mainly Indonesian and Filipino crew. They are very friendly and helpful. We are always greeted with a smile. Cabin staff were excellent. Food servers and wine stewards were cheerful and efficient. It's always amazing how the servers and other staff remember your name and your preferences. HAL shore excursions are, as usual, high priced and sometimes lack quality, but it's possible to organize a mix of cruise line tours and private tours. We used a lot of HAL tours for the China portion and most were very good to excellent. Overall a very good Asia-Pacific cruise this time around on Westerdam. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Traversing the Panama Canal had always been a "bucket list" for my husband and me ages 67 and 72, respectively); being veteran HAL cruisers, we chose the NIEUW AMSTERDAM 21-day Panama Canal Cruise, 28 September to 19 October ... Read More
Traversing the Panama Canal had always been a "bucket list" for my husband and me ages 67 and 72, respectively); being veteran HAL cruisers, we chose the NIEUW AMSTERDAM 21-day Panama Canal Cruise, 28 September to 19 October 2019, from Vancouver BC to Ft Lauderdale FL. We enjoyed a few days visiting Vancouver, BC before boarding the ship. Embarkation/disembarkation was fast and smooth. If there were children aboard, we never saw them (ok by us!)...what we DID see was more folks using power chairs and walkers than on any previous cruise! OVERALL RATING: 3.5 stars. As always, the HAL cusine and service staff were WONDERFUL, abosolutey 5 stars. What made this overall experience score a mere 3.5 for us? I've detailed a number of "hits" and "misses" below. ACTIVITES: Woefully inadequate, e.g., TOO FEW trivia offerings (and those offered frequently conflicted with mealtimes). Also, holding the trivia games in the Billboard Lounge--immediately across from the Casino--is HORRIBLE! Noise conflict/intrusion=totally unacceptable. All the fun we used to have singing karaoke and playing trivia in the Crow's Nest aboard other HAL ships: gone. And for goodness' sake, STOP the money-grubbing, pushy Spa/Shops "activities," e.g., the "Foot Analysis" (do you really think cruisers are too dumb to recognize that these offerings are merely poorly-disguised sales pitches?). Why charge $15 for riding a bicycle in the workout room? Please! Suggestions: offer stretching/yoga/etc., at later times in the morning (for those who don't rise at the crack of dawn every day). ADD more fun + games, especially in the morning...DON'T schedule pickleball during the hottest hours of the day...add INSTRUCTORS for bridge, mah jong, shuffleball, other games. And make sure everyone who wants to play card games are accommodated: every time we went, foursomes were already set, denying us a chance to play. ENTERTAINMENT: Comedian Jim Short was super, as always, but we didn't care for the younger comedian (the one whose first joke involved a fart. The dance act was OK. Lincoln Center players, as always, were absolutely FABULOUS...most of their classical music offerings were standing-room-only. B. B. King band was very good. We missed having the small jazz trio for listening/dancing we'd enjoyed on previous cruises. SUGGESTION: why not have one of the pianists lead a passenger "Glee Club"? Not everyone enjoys singing, but for those of us who do, it surely would be WONDERFUL to have had the opportunity (as we did aboard another cruise)...plus, it's a super, fun, healthful activity in which older, less physically active passengers can participate. AMERICA'S TEST KITCEN: Unlike the previous cruise when we enjoyed the same ATK instructor, this time, she always looked at the camera, vs. the audience members. As she was less engaged with the audience, it made the experience less fun. Also, there used to be an opportunity to TASTE the dish that had been prepared, which was fun: we missed being able to do that. LECTURER: merely OK. He needs to listen to a recording of himself talking...he has an irritating/distracting vocal tic (a tongue-smack, like a tsk-tsk sound). COMPUTER: The Microsoft Studio person was of great help: solved a Windows 10 issue we'd been having. EXCURSIONS: The Puerto Vallarta all-inclusive beach resort opportunity was lovely, but too short. We got there too late for breakfast, and left too soon for lunch. Having all-you-can-drink between 9 and 11 a.m. is great if you're an alcoholic. The best part of this excursion was the water aerobics in the pool with one of the hotel's staff (a very cute & vivacious senorita). Nobody cared that she didn't speak English!--the acitivity was fabulous, and made us wonder why a water aerobics workout isn't offered on the ship! The Aruba Public Beach Bus excursion was SORELY lacking. The beach was great, but HOW COME NOBODY TOLD US in advance that we would need TEN DOLLARS to rent a lawn chair? We ABSULOUTELY should have been told in advance, or better, include the lawn chair rental in the cost of the excursion (which, all tolled, was basically just the bus ride). Also, to use a bathroom/cold shower involved walking 100 yards and cost another dollar...give me a break! SHOPPING: why so little reasonably-priced/cute women's clothing? Why no sparkly "bling" lanyards this cruise? The orange cloth lanyards were totally blah...I definitely would have bought an orange BLING version! Forget the high-end jewelry boutique (never saw a soul in there). PHOTOGRAPHERS were more pushy/annoying on than on our previous HAL cruises. Plus, if their photos were more affordable (e.g., $5 instead of $50 each), they would sell a lot more, plus avoid being stuck with thousands of prints that end up as trash. PANAMA CANAL: Experiencing the Panama Canal--the whole reason we went on this cruise--was a real treat, although less joyful that I'd hoped. Because I use a walker and fellow passengers were insensitive, I could never get close enough to the ship's edge to see from that vantage point (husband shot the photos with this review). Also, in plain view of the passengers, the cruise director and other staff enjoyed the view from the deck immediately below us: very frustrating, since passengers were not allowed access to that deck. I finally gave up and watched most of the crossing on the TV in our stateroom (very fuzzy camera reception). Later, I realized: AH HA!--it's another chance for the photographers to make money! Their marvelously clear video souvenier was exhorbitantly-priced. DINING: As ever, HAL dining was overall marvelous. Lido is consistently GREAT. Noticing the lovely fresh flowers on our Pinnacle Grill table reminded us of when you used to have fresh flower vases on every table in the LIDO! Pinnacle Grill dining was lovely, but we weren't convinced it was worth the extra money, especially for the Rudy's Sel de Mer nights. New York pizzas could've been better: most were underdone. Burgers were great. BEVERAGES: The biggest hit: at-sea days Mixology classes--FABULOUS fun!! Bartenders Jonathan (Ocean Bar) and Michael (Pinnacle Bar) are amazing! Not so great: the Dale deGroff cocktail selections...many were very weird, and tooooo sweet (Mixology classmates /daily Happy Hour friends agreed): bring back the standard cocktail menu!! SERVERS/STAFF SUPERSTARS: Besides Bartenders Michael and Jonathan, waitress Catherine; Sommolier Alex; and our excellent cabin stewards, Bayu and Andreas. Cruise Director (forgot her name) was pleasant, but nowhere near as engaged and fun a Cruise Director as we've experienced on previous HAL cruises. Would we go again? Maybe for the cruise itinerary, but NOT aboard Nieuw Amsterdam. That's all! Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Our voyage on the MS Volendam was short, but sweet! This ship is still in very good shape. It is scheduled for another retrofit next month. We flew to Vancouver to join the ship on it's transition from Alaska to the Caribbean. ... Read More
Our voyage on the MS Volendam was short, but sweet! This ship is still in very good shape. It is scheduled for another retrofit next month. We flew to Vancouver to join the ship on it's transition from Alaska to the Caribbean. Many people on this voyage were settling in for the extended Panama Canal cruise. We had limited time as we had another trip planed, so we decided to take the 6 night cruise from Vancouver to San Diego. We stayed at the Best Western Plus Uptown Hotel in Vancouver. It's only 4 miles (12 minutes to the cruise terminal) and is about half the price of the downtown properties. We found it clean, friendly and in a very nice neighborhood filled with restaurants. Embarkation was very fast and our rooms were ready when we boarded around 11:00 a.m. Our cabin was a Guaranteed Ocean view Cabin. We were very satisfied with our location on Dolphin deck near the Aft part of the ship. The cabins are a bit dated, especially the TVs and the safe; other than that, a great clean cabin with plenty of storage space. We enjoyed the limited entertainment onboard, especially the comedian and the magician. Both were excellent. The BB King All Star band was also great. We have heard many of these bands play on other HAL ships and HAL does a great job recruiting these bands. We also enjoyed early evening entertainment in the Ocean Bar. The food onboard was fine. We enjoyed all of the food and service in the Main Dining Room. Our servers, Rudy and Eko, were outstanding. The Lido Buffet is fine for what it is, along with the Dive In area. We did not partake of the Pinnacle Grill or Canaletto this voyage as we are going on another HAL ship in thirty days and will book then. Victoria is always a great walking port. We did not get off the ship in Astoria, Oregon. San Francisco is always a wonderful city to visit and we were fortunate to spend from 7 am until 11 pm in the city. Debarkation in San Diego was effortless and we were at the airport in minutes. As always, the crew on HAL REALLY make the difference. These people bust their buns each and every day to make sure all guests are having the best experience while onboard. A shout out to Henry and Jerry in the Ocean Bar, as well as Sol and Teddy, our cabin stewards. We look forward to our upcoming trip on MS Koningsdam. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Balcony cabin very nice great cabin service and friendly personnel all over the ship. Food taste and choice excellent in main dining room and Lido for breakfast and lunch and dinner and snacks. BB king Ok and 2 pianos and Lincoln center ... Read More
Balcony cabin very nice great cabin service and friendly personnel all over the ship. Food taste and choice excellent in main dining room and Lido for breakfast and lunch and dinner and snacks. BB king Ok and 2 pianos and Lincoln center music nice. But level of sound in rock and roll show way too loud . Too loud in main show room also. Entertainment varied and good quality. Only con no nice dance music before dinner, Not enough free exercise programs like zumba dancing class..Exercise room very nice with lots of equipment. Good charity walk scheduled. One tour to Mijas in Malaga was excellent. Good shuttle service to city center from ship in Madeira very easy. Great port cities on transatlantic cruise Cartagena, Malaga and Madeira. Very easy embarkation and getting off but expect long wait in US immigration in Fort Lauderdale. Great cooking shows with excellent woman presenting the information with demonstration and videos. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
This was a 12-day Transatlantic Cruise from Lisbon to Boston. I was a little ambivalent about going on this smaller and older ship. I knew it had recently been in dry dock for some sprucing up, so I was curious what we would find. Well, it ... Read More
This was a 12-day Transatlantic Cruise from Lisbon to Boston. I was a little ambivalent about going on this smaller and older ship. I knew it had recently been in dry dock for some sprucing up, so I was curious what we would find. Well, it was wonderful. It looked as though all the carpet and furniture in all the public areas had been replaced. The furniture was comfortable and inviting. And, like all Holland America ships, they absorb people well - I never felt like I was in the middle of a huge crowd. It's a relaxing and very pleasant environment. The food, as with our every other HAL cruise, was really excellent. We had two occasions that were a disappointment, though. One evening in the Main Dining Room, I ordered lamb kabobs. They were terrible - cold, hard, dry. I immediately told our server that I wasn't happy with the dish and he very rapidly brought me something else I chose. So, it really was no problem at all. The replacement was paella, which I thoroughly enjoyed. The other less-than-lovely experience was in the Pinnacle Grill, which is HAL's premium added-cost dining venue. We usually go twice during a cruise because we really enjoy it. This time, however, we cancelled our second reservation. We waited 20 minutes for our appetizer, and about two-thirds of the way through my appetizer I found a 10" hair. The manager was mortified. Then we waited over and hour for our main dish. I was ready to walk out, but it was too late to go to the Main Dining Room. The manager was extremely apologetic, and confessed that they had been having difficulties in the kitchen. Needless to say, despite the excellent food, it was an unpleasant experience. The manager called our room a couple days later to apologize again and to say that he hoped we would come back so he could show us a better time. We didn't return. None of this should be taken as a review of all the Pinnacle Grills fleet-wide. Each restaurant is it's own, sort of like a franchise. Every other experience we've had in the Pinnacle Grill on other ships was top-notch. The embarkation in Lisbon wasn't what we expected. We stay in a Neptune Suite, and on every other cruise, as soon as we check in we're told "feel free to board any time". This didn't happen this time. It was a decent length wait. I don't mean this as a complaint, but as an observation that if they say priority boarding is one of the benefits of having a suite, then they should make sure that happens. One notable enrichment activity: on the sea days, they have America's Test Kitchen, which is a cooking instruction - just like there might be on t.v. Each of them were excellent. As a side note: we are a same-sex couple. We have never had one second of a negative encounter/service because of it. (In fact, for the cruise we took for our 25th anniversary, they decorated our door with balloons and streamer and a huge sign. They also brought a decorated cake to our table.) Our 12 days on Veendam were simply great. I would readily choose this ship to sail on again. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
This was one of few cruises out of San Francisco with a tour of Alaska and onward to Japan (21 days) with a circle Northern Japan for an additional 14 days. Itinerary: This ship visited several ports not normally on the Alaska cruise ... Read More
This was one of few cruises out of San Francisco with a tour of Alaska and onward to Japan (21 days) with a circle Northern Japan for an additional 14 days. Itinerary: This ship visited several ports not normally on the Alaska cruise circuit including Unalaska (Dutch Harbor) and Nome (tendering was canceled due to weather), three ports in Russia, and a couple in north Japan before stopping in Yokohama, then circle Northern Japan. It was refreshing visiting new ports in Alaska which provided a quiet non-touristy environment with free shuttles to town. The usual Ketchikan and Victoria were the normal hustle and bustle. Wanted to get a "There's no place like Nome" shirt, but due to weather, we could not get off the ship, which continued on its journey towards Russia. Russia required visas and we were not allowed to get off the ship unless we had a visa (difficult to get in the U.S.) or booked an excursion (which provided a group permit to get off the ship in lieu of a visa). Based on reviews of the ports, we opted to stay on board. Japan was very welcoming at each city with taiko, dancers, signing, and other entertainment at most ports (viewable from deck), and free transportation to the city center when needed. Yokohama was the large port with Chinatown and business areas within walking distance. The ship visited several Japanese cities with a similar experience before going to Vladivostok where we did take an excursion. In Vladivostok, the excursion was high priced and not worth the cost. We visited a Russian church, a hill where we could view the city waterfront, a natural history museum, a WWII submarine partially restored and the town square, all of which would have been walking distance if we were allowed to walk around unescorted. We were brought to a single tourist shop, but shopping, at least for cruise passengers, is unmature. On board, we had exchanged some money for souvenirs and ended up exchanging it all back once on board. At least we are now able to say we visited Russia, but we would not visit again unless it is on an independent overland tour or maybe river cruise. Traveling to Russia and Japan and between them required passport inspection which was very tedious with lines across the ship, but at least inspection was on board and it is not the cruiseline's fault its passengers have to endure this. However, a relative traveling with us, a resident of Japan, was apparently directed the wrong way by ship personnel and missed initial Japanese inspection. He was detained, and ship personnel accompanied him on shore to Japanese immigration where they sorted things out (I think they stamped him out so that he could come back in). This detained the ship a while before it was able to depart from the port. Dining was pretty good, but we missed the souffles and other fancy foods we remember from old cruises, and after several weeks, the same basic food kind of got tedious. It was nice to have a choice of soft serve or real ice cream at the buffet (served in waffle or regular cones or bowls) though the selection of flavors was minimal (They should get more flavors and rotate them). As with other cruises, food is prepared by European style chefs who know nothing about ethnic nor even regional foods. Though sushi was regular at the buffet, we, along with lots of crew, ended up going to sushi restaurants in Japan. Western food was okay, but suffered from a lack of variety. Then again, it was nice not worrying about gaining weight on a cruise. Hours were a little off our schedule, so it was pretty often when we were hungry, there was nothing to eat. At the buffet, changeover between meals (like between breakfast and lunch) had distinct and lengthy closures when nothing was available. Same with water and coffee machines which rotated and shut down often, commonly with no cups available either. Enrichment lectures were a joke. The cook/chef failed to follow her own instructions, and though she was supposed to be demonstrating Asian food, it was obvious that she had little experience in cooking, and confused Japanese and Chinese cooking. The Doctor who provided Japanese cultural lectures had no knowledge of Japan - we got more information from the newspaper circulated daily onboard. He was apparently a retired dentist (hence "Doctor") who blamed everything in Japan on millennials, with the explantion, "well, you know millennials". The natural history lecturer out of a Southern California community college, was dry (boring!) and was apparently lecturing to an introductory geology class. The biology lecturer surprisingly was very dynamic and entertaining, and imparted more knowledge about geology than the geologist. Entertainment was particularly disappointing with a few bright stars. There was no dancing or Vegas show type entertainment, with generally a few one person acts singing or playing musical instruments, and a mentalist. One group was vastly inexperienced, scheduled to give two shows, but they only had one show they could do. Singers were generally poor and the lack of talent would not have been acceptable for a small community theater. The lounge groups (performing in the bars and atrium) were generally very good and vastly better than most of the star performers. The Maasdam is ready for retirement (and we were even told it was on sale and would be leaving the Holland fleet). Things are worn out everywhere. Our room had a CRT analog TV, the shower head was broken, plugs were loose, and things wearing out. We felt our room did not heat enough and we heard many others complain of even colder rooms (this was in Alaska) and once we got to summery Japan, our cabin was still cold, but became bearable. Others became very hot, and the elevators to the buffet and the buffet became excruciatingly hot. Our cabin , E390, was an accessible cabin, so we had a wide door and a little more room than others, with very convenient access to the deck. Our rooms were guarantee rooms and that is what we got. We noticed that there were other passengers who could have used accessible cabins, but apparently they ended up in regular cabins. The problem with our cabin was that from the sofa, you can't see the TV, and we had to be careful not to flood the washroom since the floor including shower was flat, and the shower curtain had to be positioned just right. We had concerns about this deck with the promenade right outside the window, but the heavy tinting provided reasonable privacy, and we did not notice any extraneous noise other than muffled talking (the lengthy cruise meant older passengers - it might be different with more kids around). There was an outside bench close to our window. We thought about moving it a foot or two down, but it was bolted down. Crew was very attentive. We commented about the hardness of our bed and the steward provided a foam cushion which helped things immensely. In general, all crew was very helpful and attentive, showing a positive attitude, contentiously helping the passengers. We even tipped the wine steward, though we never ordered any wine). However, at Yokohama, there was apparently a substantial crew change with new crewmembers being less attentive and helpful. At the buffet, suddenly, tables were not cleaned, water/coffee service disappeared, and everything in general became unkempt. At the evening snack, we recall watching a young Filipina, acting in charge, busy flirting with the bus personnel. She did not bother to do any work at all and even got irritated when someone asked for some cups for water. In summary, we would not go on the Maasdam again unless it was renovated. We'll still consider Holland (This was our second cruise with them) and generally prefer another cruiseline though it will take an additional 90 days to reach Elite which appears to provide real affinity benefit. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
My wife chose this cruise because of the itinerary. Nineteen ports in 25 days was the determining factor. The interior of the ship is a different design than most ships we have cruised. The music theme throughout puts a music alley on ... Read More
My wife chose this cruise because of the itinerary. Nineteen ports in 25 days was the determining factor. The interior of the ship is a different design than most ships we have cruised. The music theme throughout puts a music alley on the second level. Four entertainment rooms each with a different musical genre encompass this level. Then main stage too is different. It is theater in the round with screens as a backdrop which could digitally do anything. Here is the failure of this entire concept. One night only there was a performance called Humanity that utilized the technology of this stage. This show was five star. Most of the other nights a solo artists performed such as a flautist or singer. Even worse was the nights Folkloric shows were staged. Mediocre at best was the theme of the main stage. Activities included bingo, twice during the 25 days Majority Rules was played. Otherwise there was a list eg. ping players meet, bridge players meet, etc. the bottom line is this was a a really substandard performance by whomever was in charge. The service staff was outstanding. The ship was super clean. Dining room staff was great. The buffet servers, waiters etc were five star. Food, yes there was variety and it was well prepared. We only took one shore excursion with Holland. I book most tours before I leave home because Holland America tours are pricey and the groups are large. Rijeka, Croatia was a poor choice for a port. Originally the port was to be Ravenna, Italy but got changed to Rijeka. Google Rijeka.....nothing to see or do there. All of the other ports were quite good. I was unsure of going with Holland America because if it’s reputation of serving the 80+ cruiser. Thus cruise had every age group represented. Summertime is family vacation time. We would have given the rating of a ten if the entertainment was up to par with other cruise lines. Instead we gave it an eight. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
We had experienced a partial panama canal transit and decided we had to do a full transit. The workings of the locks is just fascinating if you've never been through it. It was just a relaxing day watching our ship travel through the ... Read More
We had experienced a partial panama canal transit and decided we had to do a full transit. The workings of the locks is just fascinating if you've never been through it. It was just a relaxing day watching our ship travel through the locks and the gentleman who escorted us on the trip with his facts regarding the canal was very interesting. It's hard to believe in this day and time when something starts deteriorating it is torn down and built anew and these locks are over 100 years old and are still operating in their original fashion with the same wooden gates! Staff on board was very courteous and our room steward, Nyoman and Muss were fantastic. They usually had our room cleaned by the time we returned from breakfast in the morning and were always smiling and making sure that everything was satisfactory. Dining room staff was a little slow the first week, however, they soon learned our beverage of choice and had it waiting for us when we sat down. Menu choices were varied and could have had a little more regular items to choose from, but for the most part, the food was tasty and temperature appropriate. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
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