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6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
I choose this cruise because I have always wanted to get to French Polynesia. It was a long way to get there, but with the faboulus speakers and cultural ambassadors onbord there was not a dull moment. Beeing on a 5 week cruise meant ... Read More
I choose this cruise because I have always wanted to get to French Polynesia. It was a long way to get there, but with the faboulus speakers and cultural ambassadors onbord there was not a dull moment. Beeing on a 5 week cruise meant that we got to know the passengers and crew member quite well. So many really nice people! Yes, the ship is old, and the toilettes and the aircondition are not in the best shape, but the crew sure was working hard to fiks everything for everybody. I was quite happy with my cabin. I thought I would miss having balcony, but actually I didn't miss it at all. I liked the ports, though most of HAL's excursions were very expensive. Going from Fort Lauderdale to Tahiti gave us a lot of very different cultures and sceneries. The food was quite ok, always a lot to choose from both in Lida and Rotterdam. This was my first cruise with HAL, and I am eager to go again. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary, but even though they showed being at Pitcairn Island all day, they claimed it was never meant to be a destination, only a sail by for 9 hours. It took only a short while to sail around it as ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary, but even though they showed being at Pitcairn Island all day, they claimed it was never meant to be a destination, only a sail by for 9 hours. It took only a short while to sail around it as it is a very small island. The real problem with the cruise was the disrepair of the ship. It had just left dry dock, but many of the repairs were being carried out for almost the first month of the cruise. They had an additional 200+ maintenance crew on the ship, as per the permanent crew. The problems were many. We had to evacuate the cabin numerous times with severe headaches because of paint and solvent fumes being draw into the ventilation intakes for the ship. Also we had to have maintenance completely change the lock after they tried to just spray it with lubricant after it continually would not let you easily evacuate the cabin if the bolt lock was fastened. The toilet had to undergo major work when it would not flush properly, the shower leaked and then continued to drip even tough they had signs around to please limit water consumption. They finally repaired it. The first 24 hours abroad our cabin and many surrounding cabins did not have hot water. The smell of raw sewage was very strong on deck 6 on the walking deck from mid ship to the bow on the starboard side for the first few weeks of the cruise, and it permeated inside to the atrium and some cabins. We saw what appeared to be raw sewage on the deck in that area and also on deck 12. Food service, cabin stewards were overall good to superior, but they almost always are with any cruise line. Prices for Holland America shore excursions were very inflated, more than normal and 3 to 5 times more expensive than ones you could obtain on shore. With all of the problems of not even being able to use the cabin at times, Holland America corporate refused to work with us for fair compensation even though some of the crew voiced disagreement with their decision. When we had a problem with a toilet on a Royal Caribbean ship for a few days on a 15 day cruise, they immediately offered 50% refund of fare which was more than fair. Thus we have cruised on Royal Caribbean since the incident. After Holland decided not to treat us fairly, our first cruise with them will most likely be our last. We heard from quite a few 4 and 5 star mariners with Holland America that they were cutting back on benefits, that the quality was going down from what they previously experienced, and that the line was no longer meeting their expectations as it previously had done. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
Room: Neptune Suite 011, Jan 18-Feb 25, 2018 Australia-NZ-trans pacific from a 5 star Mariner. We took a shorter version of this cruise in 2017 on the Noordam and were pleased. This year we decided, after viewing the beautiful brochures ... Read More
Room: Neptune Suite 011, Jan 18-Feb 25, 2018 Australia-NZ-trans pacific from a 5 star Mariner. We took a shorter version of this cruise in 2017 on the Noordam and were pleased. This year we decided, after viewing the beautiful brochures of upgraded, modern suites, to do a once-in-a-lifetime second mortgage splurge and do the 36 day version. As usual, the staff and crew of the Maasdam were incredible, friendly, accommodating and helpful. In fact, they are the prime reason we love Holland-the crew. However, the ship is a different story. We first sailed on the Maasdam in 1998, and were a bit concerned about its age, but the cruise brochures and Holland website showed these modern, beautiful suites with wall mounted TV's, desks and 21st century furnishings. Here is the unvarnished reality: The suites have not been updated and are old and tired with no wall mounted TV as shown, but rather an ancient counter top TV, accompanied by old decor, furniture, cabinets and layout. When we entered the room for the 1st time we were greatly disappointed and immediately felt mislead, but we were willing to overlook this for the sake of the cruise. Read On Our first night, we found that the closet doors were broken and rolled back and forth all night keeping us awake. We had them "fixed" twice during the cruise, but the runners and doors are so old they are not fixable. We could live with this, too. The noise however did not bother us because we were awakened every single morning for every single day of the cruise between 5:45 and 6:00 am to the sound of a freight train-which was a cart in the Lido deck just above us apparently being rolled into position for the day. The air conditioning in the cabin was unable to keep the room under 78 degrees for 3 weeks. Water pipe leaks in the hall occurred not one, not two, not three, not four, but 5 times during our cruise, and one night a main line burst flooding many cabins, requiring carpet replacement and displaced guests. During the cruise we had not one, but two breakdowns in the tender boat recovery system requiring delays. Our summary of the ship-we left feeling totally mislead by Holland America corporate offices and concerned for our safety on a cruise ship with this many visible signs of decay. There are no circumstances that would cause us to board this ship again-we fear for our safety. Again, this is no reflection on the fantastic staff who continue to make Holland such a pleasant experience, we even had tears in the eyes of two wonderful employees our last night on the ship. The ports were excellent, the tours were for the most part very good, and the on-board experiences and entertainment were more than acceptable. This is not all wine and roses, again. We noticed early on that the food quality from 207 had declined enough that it was noticeably bad. We are NOT gourmet foodies, so it is rare for us to even notice, but within a week we decided that another night of anything with sauce on it was unacceptable. Throughout the cruise nearly every entree had some flavor-covering sauce and the meals just were not what we had become accustomed to over the years. Frankly, we had decided before all of the maintenance issues that the food had declined so measurably that we were going to look into another line-this from a 5-star Mariner. We did eat in the Pinnacle Grill on 3 occasions, and every time that was a wonderful experience with excellent food. Our cruise was concluded, for the 2nd straight year with a disembarkation that was a disorganized mess. Last year we were put on the wrong airport tour, this year we ended up paying for an airport cab because the prepaid ship to airport transportation was not provided, at least in any clear manner and we are intelligent, alert, clear-minded experienced and still working travelers (I fly for a living!) To summarize our experience, after over 500 cruise nights with Holland we have decided not to cruise with them again. The people are wonderful, but Corporate decisions have made this ship just another Carnival journey instead of a Holland America experience. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
Zuiderdam I sailed from Bergen to NYC.Sailing through Hermine the captain made the correct call missing Nova Scotia and head for NYC. I enjoyed the city for a full day.Hop on hop off for$64.00 with ferry. It appeared as though they are ... Read More
Zuiderdam I sailed from Bergen to NYC.Sailing through Hermine the captain made the correct call missing Nova Scotia and head for NYC. I enjoyed the city for a full day.Hop on hop off for$64.00 with ferry. It appeared as though they are short staffed rarely extra staff was called in when it got super busy.I was disappointed in finding out the ship had no self serve laundry.$30.00 abag or $110.00 unlimited.Very hard working staff and friendly. I was surprised to hear the ship ran out of 4 or 5 different beers.The onboard entertainment could be better and a longer show to boot.The milk cartons were the worse you had to punch a straw through the top, good luck trying to open it to pour.I suggested to the cruise line to offer extended days in certain ports.1 day in Reykavik was not enough I hate to rush to see as much as I can.They decided to fix some area on the lido area interrupting seating.I feel the whole needs reconfigurating.not enough seating at prime time.The casual smart dining menu is similar a lot if the times.So if you want to sit for an hour and a half or two it,s up to you.I also don't know why they only offer happy hour in just 2 locals.I heard they are going to dry dock the ship in the near future. Read Less
28 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
We chose this cruise for a different experience. Much of Alaska is "untamed" so much there is much natural beauty.. Our cruise actually started in Sydney. We sailed around New Zealand and up to Vancouver where our cruise ... Read More
We chose this cruise for a different experience. Much of Alaska is "untamed" so much there is much natural beauty.. Our cruise actually started in Sydney. We sailed around New Zealand and up to Vancouver where our cruise continued to Alaska. We have sailed on the Noordam before, two years ago. Compared to that trip, the ship has deteriorated. There was a mechanical problem when we reached the port of Napier. We spent an extra day there for repairs so we missed the ports of Aukland and Bay of Islands. Crossing the ocean, the ship leaked in many areas during a rain. There were soggy floors. They laid out towels (crow's nest and deck 6 hall) to sop some of it up. Our cabin was dry but we spoke with people that had towels on their cabin floor because of the leaks. Service in the dining room was incredibly slow. The entertainment has been scaled back and wasn't as good Overall the ship decor is tired and I would not recommend this ship until it has had a referbishing. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2016
We booked this cruise not long after we came home from a Volendam cruise in Asia and were very happy to do so. We like Holland America Line as they attract an older group of passengers and generally very few children. The Rotterdam cruise ... Read More
We booked this cruise not long after we came home from a Volendam cruise in Asia and were very happy to do so. We like Holland America Line as they attract an older group of passengers and generally very few children. The Rotterdam cruise would get us (hopefully) to 4 stars (yeah, free laundry!) and we were looking forward to it. We booked with HAL direct (in Australia) and asked for a D category cabin and gave them some cabin numbers that we had picked from the deck plan, and they were quite quick in allocating us cabin 1851 on Dolphin Deck. We were very happy with that allocation. We liked the ports that we were going to see and we had quite a few tours arranged before we left Australia. We always check the Roll Calls on Cruise Critic and we had been in contact with quite a few other passengers who were going to be on our cruise. We arranged some tours ourselves and got other CCers to join us. This was no problem. Once posted, most tours were filled within days (sometimes within hours even). We also joined some of the other passengers tours. All tours turned out to be great. The only HAL tour we booked was a kayaking tour for my husband. He enjoyed it tremendously, but normally only joins CC tours due to price and also group size. Our largest private tour had 17 people in 1 group. What was also great, was that when we actually met the people we had been in contact with face to face, we found that we got on very very well. We went on many tours together and had many lunches together on sea days. Our group of about 15 people were in daily contact and it was absolutely lovely. We have not had this before on our other HAL cruises. Embarkation in Southampton was very slow due to not enough processing staff. But we took it in our stride. Disembarkation though was fine and well organised. We had anytime dining and we almost always were seated at a round table for 6 or 8. We met some wonderful people during these dining times. The food was quite good. I read somewhere that someone complained about calfs liver not being nice. Well that was my absolute favourite and brought back great memories of my youth. I would like to see more VEGETABLES on the plates, there is very little evidence of vegetables during dining times. I know you can ask for steamed vegies, but generally we forget to ask for them. The waiters were friendly and courteaous, but they always seemed in a rush. Has HAL minimised their wait staff? The Lido was excellent for breakfast and lunches, no complaints at all. The Lido staff was great, full of smiles and happy greetings. Drinks were happily brought to the tables, this was a nice change from previous cruises. Entertainment: Well what do I say. The ship's dancers were great, absolutely great. The singers were okay. BB King just marvellous. But the showroom entertainers that were flown in were certainly not first rate. The Dutch Opera family was way beyond its use by date except for the daughter. There were a few half decent comedians, but generally in 8 weeks the only thing I can really rave about was on one of the gala nights when BB King played in the showroom and lots of people danced. That was terrific and should be done more often. It was lovely to see all the men in tuxes and ladies in finery on the dance floor. The temperatures on the ship varied enormously. You could be in the library and be hot and at the other side of the ship (the Explorers Lounge) it would be freezing. The Crow's Nest was always cold. After a few weeks a horrible smell started to appear on deck 1 from cabin 1909 to the aft cabins. This was very noticeable at the aft elevators. It lasted for weeks and when we disembarked it was still not gone. Also the entrance to the Lido (mid ships) was often smelly. The Cruise Director Michael Langley was great. We played trivia with him and it was always a good laugh. He does need to get more up to date when in ports and tenders are being used. A few times he announced that the ship had been cleared and people could now get off the ship, when if fact most people had already left the ship and were on tours. We did not do shore excursion with HAL, we used Cruise Critic for that and organised our own private tours. Read Less
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