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411 Holland America Transatlantic Cruise Reviews

Disappointing 13 day cruise. Pro: clean ship, accommodating staff, friendly interesting captain. Con: Very few activities. Sea days were particularly boring. Lack lustre cruise director. Food and entertainment were not at all up ... Read More
Disappointing 13 day cruise. Pro: clean ship, accommodating staff, friendly interesting captain. Con: Very few activities. Sea days were particularly boring. Lack lustre cruise director. Food and entertainment were not at all up to par. Limited options and repeated offerings in dining room and Lido buffet. Little fresh fruit and berries. Got worse as days went by. None left half way into cruise. Lido food temperatures poor - cold food was warm and hot food was cold. Most of the food was bland. Fish overcooked. Meat tough. Entertainers were fair to mediocre. Lectures boring. Smoke from casino and rear lido deck wafted through the areas nearby. Lounge chairs around pool were always “reserved”. No library onboard! Extremely loud music from Rock n Roll lounge overpowered the music walk. Internet extremely slow and often not working. Movie selection in cabin very poor. As you might expect, we will not sail on this ship again. Read Less
Sail Date October 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
I chose this cruise because of its destination without really checking the specific shop. This was our 5th HAL cruise and was the most disappointing. The food quality on the Lido deck wasn't up to the usual HAL Standards. It seemed ... Read More
I chose this cruise because of its destination without really checking the specific shop. This was our 5th HAL cruise and was the most disappointing. The food quality on the Lido deck wasn't up to the usual HAL Standards. It seemed that by the time we got back to our seats, most of the hot food wasn't. We ate a lot of lukewarm to cold meals on Lido. The communication for excursion departure needs some improvement. On one of the first excursions, the announcement called for Group A. No one had ever mentioned a Group A so we incorrectly saw a large A on our ticket and thought it was us only to find out later that that A meant adult. We missed getting our excursion Dot and ended up boarding the wrong bus. My biggest complaint about excursions is the HAL staff did not prevent those with physical impairments from joining events that had been categorized as difficult from joining the group. The result is that we all slowed down and it took longer to complete. We skipped some planned stops to make up time. Extraordinarily unfair to the majority of the group. On balance with the complaints is the extraordinarily friendliness of the entire staff...officers, wait staff, cabin severs, and even workers passing in the hallways. The ship was spotless by the way. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We chose this cruise because we wanted to visit the Holy Lands and then we decided to add on the TA just this past October. First the good: —excellent crew from the Captain on down to our Cabin stewards. Everyone is friendly and ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we wanted to visit the Holy Lands and then we decided to add on the TA just this past October. First the good: —excellent crew from the Captain on down to our Cabin stewards. Everyone is friendly and helpful and see, to take great pride in their work. The captain did not hide up above but rather could be seen walking around the ship daily. —pretty good excursions —food in the main dining room was very good and glad to seem more different type of selections available —good amount of different activities and things to do —some good movies offered —our statement was nice. Really liked how we had 2 curtains so someone could sleep while someone could pull the curtain and read without disturbing the sleeper (we had a vista suite) — nice itinerary Con —cannot believe there is only 1 electrical plug in our stateroom, we had a Vista suite —entertainment was ok but I miss the dancers and singers groups. I don’t care for the Magicians and could quite frankly do without them —TVs definitely need updating, I have to say our computer monitor is bigger than our TV was —food up in the Lido, while a good variety most of the time the side dishes were lukewarm —air and heating through the main areas of the ship are in need of correcting. You were either freezing or getting way to much heat around the ship —wine selection, cannot believe they ran out of some of the more popular and better wines and to top it off, their new shipment never arrived. Just cannot believe HAL couldn’t get this kind of delivery to happen — on our sea days across the Atlantic, while the speaker information was very interesting his presentation wasn’t that well —cannot believe they are going to do away with America’s Test kitchen —find room for a BB King lounge — I agree with another reviewer there were some tours that people should of really read the details as they were extremely difficult for them to walk and participate I understand the Rotterdam is going in for some work after the 2020 season, sure hope they fix and do some serious updating. 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
I have cruised on Holland America more than any other cruise line, but I think that is going to change. There are some things that Holland America does very well. The cabins are comfortable, the room stewards are exceptional, and the ... Read More
I have cruised on Holland America more than any other cruise line, but I think that is going to change. There are some things that Holland America does very well. The cabins are comfortable, the room stewards are exceptional, and the food is quite good. Of course, there should be more to a cruise than staying in your cabin and eating, at least for most of us. The entertainment on-board keeps getting worse, which I would have though impossible. I have spoken with Guest Services at Holland America's home office, and have been told how much people seem to love all the recent changes. When I've spoken with passengers, and asked what they thought about the changes, I was more often than not told something like, "Well, this is probably our last cruise with Holland America." To be blunt, life on-board the Koningsdam was really pretty boring. On-board activities are minimal, and those that are offered are nothing special. One of the lecturers was fine, but the other one insisted on showing us photos of his family! I had seen him on a previous cruise, years ago, and wonder why he's still employed by Holland America. To summarize, the Holland America of today is not the Holland America many of us were used to and enjoyed. If you want an exciting cruise, this is not your cruise-line. If you want outstanding lecturers, this is not your cruise-line. If you want to drink and you enjoy really, really bad music, then Holland America probably is your cruise-line! Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We were interested in the Adriatic ports in the 13 day Mediterranean version of this cruise, and have had excellent experience with Holland America in prior cruises. This one was no exception. The Vista Suite cabin was nicely designed, ... Read More
We were interested in the Adriatic ports in the 13 day Mediterranean version of this cruise, and have had excellent experience with Holland America in prior cruises. This one was no exception. The Vista Suite cabin was nicely designed, with the sitting area near the entry door, and the beds closer to the window, making for a "roomier" feel than the typical walk-into the bed, and then around it to the sitting area. The furnishings are quite fresh, and we appreciated the large flat screen TV with free premium movies, generous sized mini-fridge, and ample, locking security safe. The verandah is decent sized, and I don't know if the seas were especially calm, but the sailing was the smoothest we've ever experienced, no matter where on the ship we were located. Main dining room service was "spotty" at breakfast, but outstanding at our assigned table for dinners. The Lido Market staff were also very helpful, and generous in getting us lemonade, coffee, teas, juices, water, and refills. The food was very good to excellent, depending on your taste, and had great variety in all venues. Entertainment in the main stage was not up to previously high standards, but the smaller venues were enjoyable, and Lincoln Center's string quintet performances were varied from Bach to Jacque Brel, to Broadway, and outstanding. The promenade decks are significantly narrower than on Holland America's other classes of ships, resulting in a rather cramped walking environment, and no deck chairs or lounges -- which we missed. Some travelers will be happy with the double-deck pool lounges, which is not a trade-off we like, but others may. Embarkation and disembarkation were extremely efficiently handled, as were port visits, including those requiring tenders. All in all, a very nice ship and very nice cruise. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We always choose the itinerary and HAL ships often deliver. We boarded in Civitavecchia, went to the Adriatic Sea, Sicily, Malta, Naples. We stayed on for the transatlantic back to Fort Lauderdale. We loved all ports with Kotor, Malta and ... Read More
We always choose the itinerary and HAL ships often deliver. We boarded in Civitavecchia, went to the Adriatic Sea, Sicily, Malta, Naples. We stayed on for the transatlantic back to Fort Lauderdale. We loved all ports with Kotor, Malta and Madeira being favorites. The Koningsdam is fairly new with pleasant décor. It is also one of the largest ships we cruise on. Smaller is better in our opinion because of the port selection, but the Koningsdam made it to the small Adriatic ports that we really enjoyed. We booked several shore excursions and found them to be well organized with good to excellent guides. We were lucky that our Neptune suite came with breakfast and dinner in the Club Orange where service was excellent and the space was quiet. The few times we had lunch in the main dining room, we were unhappy with the slow service and the general noise level. The Lido had a wide selection of food but it was crowded. Overall, the food was good with some excellent selections prepared for Club Orange guests. The Tamarind restaurant was excellent. The enrichment speakers were very good. I enjoyed the captain's talk (dry humor) and the interviews with staff and entertainers. We don't go on ships for the entertainment, but if you love music, many different styles were offered. Unfortunately, bridge play was completely disorganized because the ship had nothing prepared. The bridge director was a volunteer who had to deal with missing cards and boards. Transatlantic cruise with their many sea days should always hire a bridge director. This was a low point. The high point on all HAL ships is the Indonesian and Philippino hotel and guest services staff. They are wonderful! I would book the Koningsdam again but only in a mid ship Neptune suite. Our next HAL cruise is on the Rotterdam ending in another transatlantic. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We actually were booked on our favourite and most travelled line, Princess, on their brand new Sky Princess but when we saw the Koningsdam's itinerary we switched. We just did the 13 night itinerary in and out of Civitavecchia. The ... Read More
We actually were booked on our favourite and most travelled line, Princess, on their brand new Sky Princess but when we saw the Koningsdam's itinerary we switched. We just did the 13 night itinerary in and out of Civitavecchia. The itinerary was the main draw and we had read some pretty disparaging reviews on Cruise critic after booking, but we decided to stick with it. I am not sure why people gave such poor reviews, we loved it. Embarkation and disembarkation was a breeze, no queuing at all. There were some very minor irritations and we agree that the service in the Main dining room needs some tweaking, but most everything else was great. The staff were all very friendly but I think it's just a matter of more training or more staff. The food in the two specialty restaurants we tried was spectacular. Tamarind and Sel de mer both served up some of the best food we have had on any cruise ship, ever! The staff in these venues were incredible, so well trained and engaged. We enjoyed the entertainment venues including all of the music areas. BB Kings (blues), Lincoln Centre (classical), Rock n roll club and Billboard (2 pianos with 2 very personable and enjoyable artists). We made the rounds to these areas and really enjoyed it all. We heard some people complaining about loud music in some of the venues and in the main theatre but we didn't find it so, and we aren't that young either. Most people we sat around seemed to enjoy it all. In the theatre lineup the ship brought in a wonderful local music group when we were in Dubrovnik, which was a highlight of the cruise. The Music of the Knights trio were great as was the comedian and the other musical entertainment. The pool areas were wonderful with different types of seating including great lounger beds, comfy cushioned lounger, typical pool lounges, tables and chairs etc. either in a covered area or in the sun. The main pool area has a retractable roof for cool or rainy days which we loved. Perhaps there were some things that could be improved but overall we loved it. The Captain showed his care for his passengers at all times, kept us well informed of events and took the time to sail around the Island of Stromboli a couple of times to give everyonec the chance to see the volcanic eruption that occurs often on the island. The Cruise Director and his staff were involved, friendly and approachable. Trivia games were plentiful and well attended and fun! If I had to find specific things which could be improved I would say the wine list in the MDR which leans too much towards wines from the U.S. I prefer wines from elsewhere, but that's just my preference. The choices of wine at the specialty restaurants was different than the MDR and much better. As well, I am a tea granny and I found the quality of the tea poor and the lack of teapots at Afternoon tea mystifying. We also would have loved some more Enrichment talks, but because we were in port almost everyday it's understandable why this wasn't so. Pretty petty stuff right and certainly not worth fretting about. Our cabin (6047 Mozart deck)) was in good order and spotless, and we were looked after very well by our cabin steward and his assistant. They are two hardworking young men. All in all we couldn't have asked for a better time. The ports were spectacular and we came away happy and refreshed with lots of wonderful memories to carry us through til our next cruise. 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
I travelled solo and had air arranged through Flight Ease. I was booked on a direct flight from ATL to FCO. It was a long flight and upon arrival at FCO, found my luggage and headed to find the HAL rep for transfer to the ship. Now, ... Read More
I travelled solo and had air arranged through Flight Ease. I was booked on a direct flight from ATL to FCO. It was a long flight and upon arrival at FCO, found my luggage and headed to find the HAL rep for transfer to the ship. Now, coming off a nine hour flight, with little sleep, and feeling stiff from not being in the most comfortable position for the flight, I was a little cranky and a lot clumsy. As soon as I found the FCO rep, I was told to go with the driver and the other passengers that were waiting. The driver proceeded to take off at a brisk pace. I went after the group and my luggage fell over. By the time I got it all under control, the group had gotten out of my sight and I could not find where they had gone. I had even hollered for them to hold up. Several people in the group looked back but continued on after the driver. Luckily I was able to find a transfer taxi and got a ticket for just a little more than what I paid for the HAL transfer. I had a wonderful driver that helped me with the luggage and took me to the port. Embarkation was a breeze. Because of the delay at the airport I arrived at the port around 2:30. There was no line to check in and I was on the ship in no time at all. I went directly to my balcony stateroom dropped off my hand carry items, washed up and went to explore. To try to combat jet lag, I was determined to stay up until night time in order to sleep through the night. The stateroom was a standard balcony with bed and night stands, mini sofa with small square table, desk with chair, corner cupboard with added glasses and ice bucket, a two door closet and 3 drawers. The storage space was good for me for 24 days, but I think it would have been tight with another person. Only one of the closets is full length, while the second one is half size (good for hanging blouses) with shelves underneath. The bathroom is wonderful with the tub sized shower with glass door, single sink with good side storage and the toilet. There were no problems with the air conditioning or anything mechanical in the room, and I had not experienced any excessive noise. The food was excellent. There was always something different in the MDR although a few of the meals were duplicated. A few times I ordered room service from the MDR menu (always on the tv) and the food arrived hot and within a short time. I did not go to any of the specialty restaurants on board the ship. I stuck to the MDR, Lido Market, Dive In, New York Deli and in room dining. The New York Deli also serves breakfast and you can get a bagel without the crowd of the Lido Market. the Lido Market tended to be the same each day. The main meal times were busy and it was hard to find a seat. The staff in the Lido did their best to keep drinks refilled, but at times lacked attention to the floor. The entertainment on board was so-so. The comedians were not that funny. The dance group was good as was the female opera group. The day time lectures by Captain Anderson were the best. A very knowledgeable, interesting man who really knows the maritime industry. Service was good (except for the lido) in most areas of the ship. My room stewards were great and I was thankful for the laundry staff for what they do. It was so nice to send in a bag of dirty laundry and have it come back clean and folded wrapped in paper. Such a nice touch. The ports were all new to me and I had booked a shore excursion in each port with HAL except for Rome where I had booked an independent excursion. I would definitely take this ship again. Overall I had a great time, met some very nice people, and visited ports that I wouldn't have visited otherwise. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
Pelican 17 We love Holland America! We love to cruise on the smaller ships. We are 3 star members. We regularly recommend Holland America to friends. We booked this cruise for the ports. Unfortunately we had a horrible cabin ... Read More
Pelican 17 We love Holland America! We love to cruise on the smaller ships. We are 3 star members. We regularly recommend Holland America to friends. We booked this cruise for the ports. Unfortunately we had a horrible cabin (739) for 5 days/nights out of our 12 night transatlantic cruise. It was dirty, had torn furniture, extreme noise all day and night, and only lukewarm water in the sink and shower. After my husband complained for 5 days, guest services offered us stateroom 782 which was 99% better. The new cabin was very quiet, clean, and had plenty of hot water for the remainder of our cruise. The only complaint with this cabin is that we were woken up each morning by the pilot. The entrance door creaked open, then closed in the early morning, which was right below our cabin. I will take that noise anytime over what we experienced in cabin 739. The food was served lukewarm not hot in the main dinning room which we tried 3 times for dinner. The food in the lido was excellent! Entertainment was average. The presentations by the chef on sea days was excellent! Movies were lacking. You need to replace the stateroom televisions! 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
Choose this cruise for its itinerary. Ireland / Iceland / Greenland, wow. All cruises have their plus and minuses. Major plus was the limited passengers (under 1700), and the route. Minuses was the disappointment in the food. ... Read More
Choose this cruise for its itinerary. Ireland / Iceland / Greenland, wow. All cruises have their plus and minuses. Major plus was the limited passengers (under 1700), and the route. Minuses was the disappointment in the food. Signature suite 6055 was nice and roomy. Entertainment good, services great (go find David in the Oceans Bar for the 4-5pm happy hour, he has great personality). Cabin stewards & Dining stewards were all great. Ports - 3 ports in Ireland all great, 2 ports in Iceland (somewhat disappointed), 2 ports Greenland - Prince Christian Sund is amazing. 2 Ports in Newfoundland, and 1 port in Nova Scotia. Embarkation in Rotterdam was the easiest I have ever had, Disembarkation in Boston was somewhat confusing ((no clue where/who to ask about wheelchair assist, managed to get off on our own. Then had the bus driver who could not help with luggage & did NOT know route to airport? Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We recently completed a 17 day cruise across the North Atlantic aboard the Zuiderdam, billed as “Voyage of the Vikings” from Boston to Rotterdam. This is actually first part of a longer 35 day cruise that returns to Boston, visiting ... Read More
We recently completed a 17 day cruise across the North Atlantic aboard the Zuiderdam, billed as “Voyage of the Vikings” from Boston to Rotterdam. This is actually first part of a longer 35 day cruise that returns to Boston, visiting different ports coming and going. We were among the minority of guests who departed halfway through. Many guests don’t enjoying flying and dealing with jet lag and a voyage that begins and ends in the US is attractive to them. This cruise is only done once a year, and many people have apparently done it multiple times and sign up for it months in advance. Despite that the ship was not full. You want to learn about Vikings? If so, this is the cruise for you and there are quite a number of talks and presentations about the Vikings as explorers, plunderers, and traders, along with history of the various countries visited. This was reinforced by shore excursions. Cruisers should note that it's a rather expensive voyage, and that is also true of the shore excursions. At the last minute we were pleasantly surprised by an upgrade from the signature class cabin we had booked to a Neptune suite, a much larger cabin (#7073) with various extras, including a dedicated lounge. So that got the voyage off to a rousing start. Service met the usual high HAL standard whether we are talking about cabin stewards, dining room staff or concierges for the lounge. The concierges were quick to handle any minor issues we encountered, and were proactive in trying to be of help. I remember one rather rough night where they called and wanted to make sure we were not sea sick. On this voyage, we noticed the continuation of a trend we’ve perceived on HAL which is to make their voyages more “authentic”, which means substituting more “live” music for the traditional cruise song and dance shows, presentations by experts, and shore excursions that are more about exploring local cultures. HAL continues to go down this road by announcing they are bringing in more artistic dancers and local chefs. This is clearly how HAL seeks to differentiate itself from other cruise lines, including others in the Carnival Group. Given the age and economic status and propensity to travel of the average HAL guest, I can’t fault them for the strategy (and I very much appreciate the strategy myself, for this is my vision of what a cruise should be) but this is not a cruise for people who want an experience with games and pool parties and sports and late night entertainment on board, particularly if you have children. We ate in the dining room most nights, but also in the Pinnacle grill twice and once at Sel de Mer, which exists as a “pop up” restaurant only opening one or twice during the voyage. All the food was very good, though there seemed a little less variety than previous voyages. Though we frequented many of the music venues and enjoyed them very much, the other entertainment on board left a great deal to be desired and we hardly went to any of the shows. Entertainment is the weakest aspect of the HAL experience, but it is also the aspect of cruising I care about least. We took part in six excursions coordinated by HAL. There was the usual level of good organization, though as noted they were rather expensive. Weather was not particularly cooperative but that is not HAL's fault. This is something like our 11th cruise with HAL. We think of ourselves as quite experienced cruisers, but many of the travellers on this trip have hundreds and hundreds of cruise days to their credit, and travel to all corners of the world on multi month voyages. It’s a completely different kind of passenger than you find in the Caribbean or Alaska and you can learn a lot from them. I cannot say enough about the professionalism, positive attitude and courtesy of HAL personnel but in truth this is nothing new, for this has always been our experience with HAL and why we continue to use them exclusively for ocean cruising. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
We booked this cruise as we always wanted to visit Iceland, Greenland and Ireland. We didn't have the greatest weather...however as my husband always reminds me...you pay your money and take your chances! The scenery and people ... Read More
We booked this cruise as we always wanted to visit Iceland, Greenland and Ireland. We didn't have the greatest weather...however as my husband always reminds me...you pay your money and take your chances! The scenery and people are so wonderful. We heard so many great reviews from friends that had taken this voyage. Our cabin on the Zuiderdam was a balcony #8121. This is located Aft - Starboard side - below the smoking section on Deck 9. So each morning and evening (5am & 11pm) we would hear the dragging of the chairs/tables above us. Our toilet was intermittant on flushing. Balcony was disgustingly dirty! The crew on all HAL ships are truly amazing...this makes for a great cruise. Pinnacle grill service was the worst we have ever experienced. Entertainment was terrible...the ONLY great show was "Step One" This particular cruise is expensive...I feel that the longer voyages 30+ days should have something unique ... a special captains party or something for the guests sailing the full cruise. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
As always, this review will try to focus on the little things that might be missed, along with the details that may be overlooked in a broader review. This is especially true for the independent travelers who may wander off and do things ... Read More
As always, this review will try to focus on the little things that might be missed, along with the details that may be overlooked in a broader review. This is especially true for the independent travelers who may wander off and do things on their own in each location. Rotterdam Pre -cruise/ Embarkation: We flew into Amsterdam and took the train to Rotterdam. Sine there were four of us, I took advantage of the group discount tickets available online at the Dutch Railways website. This came out to 8 Euros per person instead of 13 euros per person if booked separately. The train station is inside the Amsterdam Airport and very easy to find. We stayed at the Hilton Rotterdam which is only a few blocks from the main Train station and centrally located for walking around Rotterdam. Rotterdam has a Saturday farmers market near the Markthal that if you are there on that day, is a worthwhile shopping event. The central shopping district and pedestrian streets were all close by. The RET Stadhuis metro station was right outside the back door of the Hilton. Only 4 euros one-way. There were escalators at both Stadhuis station and Wilhelminaplein station and the luggage was easy to roll-on roll-off the cars. It was three stops to Wilhelminaplein from Stadhuis and about 800 feet from the metro station to the Cruise Terminal. After dropping our bags, we went through security. I had a wine bottle in my bag for consumption in the room, and security never even checked it. My wife had a bottle of wine and a six pack of soda and security looked in her bag to ensure she didn't exceed the alcohol allowance. Note: In Reykjavik, my wife asked if she could take on a beer, and they said yes, as long as it was not more than six bottles. At other ports, I brought on beer and others were bringing on cans of soda with no problem. We arrived just after 1pm and received boarding group 9. Luckily Boarding group 8 was just finishing up so we were checked in within 5 minutes and walked aboard. Ship- overall very good- there were some spots in need of touch up/repair such as a broken bed lamp, a balconies badly in need of paint, and far too many cracked windows, but public areas were in good shape. I assume they are foregoing cosmetic maintenance items until dry dock. Even though we had some choppy seas for the first ten days the ship was very stable. Service was one of the best we have had on recent cruises. The HAL Navigator App (free WiFi on board for the App and HAL websites) had the daily menus in each dining area, including the Lido, posted. Also each day, an interactive activities list was available which duplicated the daily program so you could review and save your favorites. You can also book shore excursions on the App. No morning show. Never saw the Cruise Director until day 8. Jessica, our travel host was the face of HAL entertainment for the majority of the cruise. Most EXC lectures were scripted and did not provide a lot more detail than could be found online. Most of the port talks filled up the Main Stage at least 10 minutes prior with standing room only after that. Port Lectures lacked details regarding where we would be docked until the lecture was almost over so it was hard to reference the locations discussed during the lecture against the port area where you would be disembarked. The Orange party was at 10:30pm in BB King’s the day after the second gala night. Of course I fell asleep and missed it so can’t provide details. The Movie theater had comfortable lounge chairs but only played the same movies that were also on the In-room TV, so never saw the need to attend. The Gym was smaller than similar sized ships on other lines. There were plenty of treadmills, elliptical machines, and Dumbbells, but very little in the way of weight lifting equipment. One thing I really appreciated was Captain Bart Vaartjes announcing when Whales or Dolphins were spotted from the bridge. He also had a great sense of humor. About four hours out of Islafjordur on our way to Greenland I noticed in the room that it was suddenly very quiet. No engine noise and no air conditioner. Dead silent in fact.....30 seconds later the lights went out so we were now also in total darkness. The Capt. came on the speaker and said an engine had shut down and engineers were working on restoring power. After a few minutes power came back. For about 20 minutes we were drifting, but eventually the engine and air came back. We did not take a delay arriving in Greenland due to the outage. There was no real danger but it give us a little excitement as we drifted “powerless” for a short time. Upon leaving St. Pierre, the Captain announced that due to a Canadian law regarding the speed of ships in Canadian waters to protect the Right Whales that had changed June 24th (a month earlier) we would be arriving into Halifax two hours late. We were scheduled from 8am- 11pm so it did not infringe much on the time available in port, and we were not impacted since we didn’t have a shore excursion, but it was annoying that HAL didn’t mention this or adjust the itinerary when they knew about this over 30 days earlier. Food- Much better than my last HAL cruise. Lido Market (Cafeteria). The many individual food stations kept lines down. The only station that consistently had a line was the made-to-order pasta bar. Otherwise I never saw more then four people waiting in line at any food station. Most of the food items available each night in the MDR ( including Gala night) was also available in the Lido. There was hand dipped ice cream during lunch and dinner time. Typically there were three flavors available. Also soft serve was available on random days. Breakfast stations: The Bistro had made to order eggs, meat, and potatoes; Two Omelet stations, one with waffles and crepes, the other with a vegetarian and non-vegetarian Frittata each morning; Pastries; an Express Breakfast that was the same as the bistro but with no made-to-order eggs other than poached eggs and eggs Benedict, but also Fried Rice and occasionally Beans, Fried Bread and Tomatoes. Tip- any item can be put back on the griddle in the Bistro if you want it a little more done. This was especially popular in the morning for those that preferred crispy bacon. The Central Market in the morning had a selection of fruit, smoked salmon and cereals and Hors D'ouvres for lunch and dinner. Complimentary Drinks were ice tea, lemonade, coffee, hot tea, and water. The ice tea and lemonade were the typical flavored concentrates. However I thought the coffee was above average. Most days breakfast hours were 0700-1030 Lunch stations: Made to order pasta; The Bistro (one on each side) where you find the main courses, pre-made sandwiches plus a specialty sandwich each day, and two soups; Made to order Salads; Breads, Cheese, and the “Central Market” opposite the drink stations with small plates and hors d'ouvres. The Pasta and Salad stations stayed open until 5, although the Lido was only open for lunch from 11:30-2. MDR- Those with anytime dining were seated on deck 2. We never waited for more than a few minutes before being seated. I noticed that the 7:45 seating on deck 3 was consistently sparse with lots of open tables and many empty seats at tables with diners. Each meal was three courses. I am posting sample menus for MDR and Lido. In room dining was available from 1100-2300 with a selection of sandwiches, salads, soups, sides and desserts. There was also a limited selection after hours. Breakfast room service was a choice of omelets, scrambled eggs and meat/bread, pastries or cereals, with salmon Benedict or steak and eggs at additional cost unless in a Suite. Burger Bar items were also available for a $4.95 delivery charge. We had breakfast one morning and it showed up exactly on time, although lukewarm, which honestly can be expected for a delivery up to deck 7.. Typical mix of liquor and wine on board. Beer on tap was Heineken and Tiger. Bottles were the standard Bud, Heineken, Corona, Miller, plus Sam Adams and Lagunitas. We never ate at Canneleto or Pinnacle grill. There were two specialty nights towards the end of the cruise: Surf and Turf on the last Gala night, with Lobster available in both MDR and Lido, and New England night in the Lido when we were in Halifax with Salmon cakes, Lobster Mac and Cheese, Lobster rolls, and Pork pies. Finally, there was a late night spread from 10:30-11:30 with pub-type food such as pot stickers, chicken wings, egg rolls, nachos, potato chips, desserts, and the remaining Hors D'oeuvres. 'Dive In” Burger Bar- Made to order burgers and hot dogs. Place your order at the window and receive a pager for when your order is complete. Both the Burgers and coated fries were hot, fresh, and very tasty. Next to it is a Taco Bar, with beef or chicken and all the fixin’s and occasionally including fresh made guacamole. The only downside was the limited opening hours for both: 11:30am-5pm. This meant neither was open after returning from most ports. Summary: In the past, I have chosen HAL due to the itinerary, since they tend to stop at ports not visited by other cruise lines, and I just assumed the food and service may not be as good, but just considered this a fair trade-off. However, this cruise was head and shoulders above my last two HAL cruises. Until now, I couldn't understand based on previous cruises how Holland America was ranked as high as it was in some polls. Perhaps it is the inconsistency in service mentioned in some other threads, or perhaps it is just the Vista class ships have higher service standards. Ports: Lerwick- Tender port. We had to show our passports to Scottish Customs as we disembarked. Tender arrived at Victoria pier which is downtown across from the Anderson Wool store and Captain Flints Pub. We were scheduled to be there from 8-4, but the last tender back to ship was at 3. However, six hours was enough time to explore the town independently.  Most of the shops in town are close to the tender port, and easily walk-able from Victoria Pier. There is a Tesco Supermarket a mile and a half away along the water side trail where you can stock up on snacks. The Broch of Clickimin is close to the Tesco. This same waterside trail in the opposite direction also runs out to “The Knab” which is a nice walk with some great views. Reykjavik- Docked at Skarfabakki port about 2.5 miles out of town. There is a oceanfront walk from the port to town. Both Enterprise and EuropCar are within walking distance of the dock. If you overnight and have a rental car, there is ample free parking in the dock area. There is a large Icewear souvenir store at the port with prices similar to what you will find in town. We checked prices here first before going downtown, then did some last minute purchases here before leaving port. We never needed Kroner. Credit cards were accepted everywhere, and there was no problem accepting most US credit cards. There was a Port-provided shuttle to/from town for $20 round trip. We opted to rent a car and drove the Golden Circle, plus we also did the town Vik and the black sand beaches there and also made it to the Bridge America-Europe on day one. On day two we drove into downtown Reykjavik for some shopping. There was no problem finding parking downtown. Parking meters took credit cards and were in English, as was the self serve gas stations. The cost of the car, fuel, added insurance (which seems to be a “thing” in Iceland), was about the same as the cost of a private tour plus the town shuttle. The difference was flexibility and the options for additional stops. Driving in Iceland was easy for those who normally drive on the right side of the road. Lots of traffic circles/ roundabouts for those who struggle with such things. Akeyuri- docked downtown about a five minute walk from the Visitors Center. Just like in Reykjavik, there was another Icewear gift shop at the dock. If not doing a tour, most tourist shops are close by and it took us about 3 hours to browse most of the stores. We opted not to do the tours here as we had done the Golden Circle and Vik two days prior. (and have been to Yellowstone and Rotorua so this wasn’t our first volcanic area ). We found lots of spare time after doing the main shopping street so just wandered around the rest of the city until time to return. It was rainy, windy, and cold until about 2pm, then cleared up and became sunny. Islafjordur- Tender port, Very small town with some shops in the downtown. Tendered in at Njardarsund st., which is one block from the local microbrewery, Dokkan Brugghus. Like Akeruyi, it was cold and windy in the morning then was sunny in the afternoon. The shops were small and only one of these had “Islafjordur”-branded items. The whale bone Arch on the hill above town made for a nice picture and also provided an opportunity for a photo of Islafjordur with the ship and mountains in the background. Nanatolik- Tender port. We were dropped off across the bay from the visitors center, at the Havnevej industrial port, not the cruise dock next to the visitors center, so there was a bit of a walk for those with limited mobility. Most of the souvenirs in town were at the same visitors center so the small room filled up almost immediately and stayed that way all day with lines forming outside. The visitors center also sold tickets for several presentations by local entertainers. The Brugseni supermarket across the street also had some limited souvenirs. The Ravnefjeldet mountain directly behind town can be hiked up to different levels depending on ability. To get to it, follow the Tunuliaritseq road which turns into Islafjordurip road past the picturesque cemetery. The road ends at the trail. Reserve about an hour for going up and back to get some good panoramic pictures. On the sailaway, several Humpback Whales were feeding just outside the port. St Johns- Docked at Pier 10. Most shops and pubs are within the first three blocks away from the ship. We walked to the Quidi Vidi Brewery. It was a long 45 minutes walk through the suburbs. Nice to have a beer made with water from an iceberg, but not sure it was worth the time to get there. Signal Hill was encased in low clouds all day so there was no point in climbing up for a view. One odd thing was pushing our clocks back 30 minutes to match the local time zone, instead of the usual hour. St Pierre- Tender port. Dropped off at Quay Eric Taberly. Nice visitors center tent upon arrival with a band, free WiFi, coffee, OJ, danishes, and croissants. Most small shops were within three blocks of where we arrived. Point aux cannons lighthouse, The Battery, and Place Du General De Gaulle are all within a few minutes walk. Note that many stores close between 12 and 2. Sydney- Docked at Cruise Pavilion which had souvenir shops and a craft market. Nice waterside walkway that starts from dock with some shops and food trucks. There are several blocks of early 19th century houses across the street from the Cruise Pavilion. There are some small museums in several of these houses for only a few dollars admission. On Saturday there is the Cape Breton farmers market/ craft fair at the intersection of Esplanade and Falmouth streets. Halifax- Docked at Pier 20. Lots of shops inside the Cruise Terminal, plus a Farmers Market at the end of the Terminal building. There is a booth inside the Cruise Terminal as you walk in that sells HoHo bus tickets and various tours. There is also a visitors center booth as you walk in that can provide maps and suggestions for the day. They provided a walking tour map that we used to go though the high points of areas close by such as the Citadel, Maritime Museum, landmarks, and shopping areas. The boardwalk along the water was lined with shops, bars, food trucks and restaurants. We were here until 11pm, so there was ample opportunity to check out the local nightlife, but the Captain announced all passengers were onboard early, so we departed early as well. Boston- Disembarkation Customs was set up onboard the ship on deck 3 so there no need to clear Customs after disembarking from the ship. Consequently, we stayed in our room until just after our 9am group color was called and we went down to deck 3, showed the Customs official our passports, had our room key punched by HAL, and walked off the boat. It was a total of five minutes from leaving our room to arriving in baggage claim. Once in the cruise terminal, we located our bags that had been grouped by tag color, picked them up, and exited the Terminal. For those without a post-cruise Hotel, there were bus stops on the other side of the BCD building, or at the end of the Cruise terminal. The taxi line was directly ahead as we exited the Cruise Terminal. The taxi line was very long so we used a ride share which arrived within a minute. Nine minutes later we were at the Boston Airport. This was one of the fastest, most painless, disembarkation's ever. We left our room at 9:05, and were checked in and through security at Boston Airport by 9:55. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
Ten years ago, 2009, my very first longer cruise was the HAL Voyage of the Vikings. It was 35 days RT from Boston on the Maasdam. It was exciting, and being from Florida, a real delight to escape the heat and see the North Atlantic. So ... Read More
Ten years ago, 2009, my very first longer cruise was the HAL Voyage of the Vikings. It was 35 days RT from Boston on the Maasdam. It was exciting, and being from Florida, a real delight to escape the heat and see the North Atlantic. So when I wanted to go back and do it again, I found that this cruise had become one of HAL's favorite and pricest itineraries, too rich for my travel budget. However, the Zuiderdam's 17 cruise from Rotterdam to Boston, which in fact was 1/2 half of the V of the V cruise, was a good deal. I booked an inside room, as most outside and better were sold out, and it got us there, thank you. With almost midnight sun part of the trip, the dark inside room wasn't so bad, but "it ain't no verandah" either. This review will be brief; This cruise was a dream. The Zuiderdam, at the ripe old age of 17, one year older than the Maasdam was at the time 10 years ago, is showing her age in places like the vista windows on the mid ship elevators, but was still very satisfying. Our room was fine. The MDR, we had assigned dining at 7:45 with a window side table, was excellent. Our waiter explained the offerings every night and his assistant remembered our preferences. Holland America has improved the food over the years and our seafood and beef selections were 5 stars. One complaint: the flowers have disappeared from the tables both in the MDR and the Lido. The enrichment lectures were excellent on the first half, not so good on the second. The officers greeted us at the gangway Portside on returning to the ship, unusual on a 1900 guest sized ship. They also were at every Gala night MDR entrance. We made every port this cruise and Captain Bart and Hotel Director Darren were visible and helpful as were many of the officers. We met a lot of wonderful people on this cruise, most of whom were well traveled and educated adventurers, some young, many older, from all over the world. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
We choose this cruise because it was a transatlantic combined with the Baltic ports, which we wanted to see, besides we were twice before in the Zuiderdam and had a fantastic time with great music and entertainment. This time in 26 ... Read More
We choose this cruise because it was a transatlantic combined with the Baltic ports, which we wanted to see, besides we were twice before in the Zuiderdam and had a fantastic time with great music and entertainment. This time in 26 days we had music at the Ocean Bar twice, one great show with Ikos Lakis and his Saxsophon which was as always magnificent. The rest of the shows were comedians than couldn't make anyone laugh, a piano player which was just o.k.. The Pinnacle Grill was the best food in the ship, as always. Excellent food and service. The dinning room food was o.k. twice I had to send my salmon back be cause was not even half cook. The best part of the dinning room were the servers, as always excellent service. My husband went a few times to the Lectures which he enjoyed. I went to American Test Kitchen which was very good. The ports. Bermuda was o.k. Pria de Vitoria was empty, not much to do. The Baltic stops were fantastic Amsterdam, Sudden, Belgium, Cherbourg France, Tallin, Berlin, Kiel, and the best by far 2 days in St. Petersburg, all amazing ports. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
I wanted to express that this was a relaxing cruise, the activity was limited , but the food was excellent, excursions were good, entertainment was okay, the room was spacious, loved being on the top floor, the wait staff ... Read More
I wanted to express that this was a relaxing cruise, the activity was limited , but the food was excellent, excursions were good, entertainment was okay, the room was spacious, loved being on the top floor, the wait staff "Herman" any time dining located on floor 2, Herman was a wonderful server with a big smile, very helpful and tentative to me, the bartenders were wonderful. The candy man who was the greeter he always had a smile. The pasties were delicious and nicely displayed; Oliver in the bar was excellent he knew what I wanted to drink before sitting down. Oliver works in the Crows Nest. The towel staff and the pool area was supreme. The piano bar and BB King great music and dancing all night long. I learned a lot during the cooking demonstration well presented and demonstrated. The crew members who help you on and off the ship are great. The photographer Andrew was wonderful and Wayne in the Jewelry shop was full of hugs and smiles. Sung who worked in the perfume store beautiful girl. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
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