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2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
The best part of this cruise is the 6 sea days, however we had 7 days as we did not tender at Half Moon cay due to rough seas. The ports of call were Rome Italy, Malaga and Cadiz in Spain Lisbon Portugal and Funchal in Madeira. The ... Read More
The best part of this cruise is the 6 sea days, however we had 7 days as we did not tender at Half Moon cay due to rough seas. The ports of call were Rome Italy, Malaga and Cadiz in Spain Lisbon Portugal and Funchal in Madeira. The best on was cadiz in spain. The architecture of the buildings was fabulous with similar scenery to Havana Cuba. We did not have a librarian, no dance lessons, craft lessons non existence, very limited activities and anything else was chargeable. HAL need to take care of their clientele as there is a lot of competition out there. Having a priest on board is one of the main reasons we travel HAL Piano Man was good but needed improvement in singing. The dining room was a great experience and as usual the staff were excellent. The Prinsendam is due for a major upgrade in December 2018 Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
We chose this cruise since we enjoy transatlantic cruising. We wanted to experience Holland America and it was a good value. The embarkation was the quickest we had ever experienced. The staff was friendly and appeared happy. Food ... Read More
We chose this cruise since we enjoy transatlantic cruising. We wanted to experience Holland America and it was a good value. The embarkation was the quickest we had ever experienced. The staff was friendly and appeared happy. Food selections were varied. We did not choose to go to the add on restaurants. My spouse attended the America Test Kitchen classes. It was great to have a Catholic priest on board for Mass. The Spanish ports were enjoyable. We liked our port side veranda. The public spaces were never crowded. We have taken five transatlantic cruises on different lines. Holland ranks right up at the top. Our only complaint was the disembarkation process which was an issue with customs in Ft. Lauderdale. There were six lines for foreign passengers and two for American citizens. The process took over one hour and not the best ending to our cruise experience. Other than this, it was a perfect cruise offering an additional seven hours of sleep! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2017
We booked this cruise just 2 weeks prior to sailing because the price was great. We enjoyed the ports, but had been to all of them multiple times. • Ship information o The ship was is in great shape, everything worked and all ... Read More
We booked this cruise just 2 weeks prior to sailing because the price was great. We enjoyed the ports, but had been to all of them multiple times. • Ship information o The ship was is in great shape, everything worked and all public areas were kept very clean. There are plenty of places for quiet alone time and small group board games. • Activities o I loved the Americas Test Kitchen as a man who, at 55 is just learning to cook. The demonstrations by professional chefs are fantastic. The Trivia sessions are good, as expected, some folk take it way too seriously. But the cruise director kept a tight rein on it. • Service o Everyone is very helpful and friendly. • Travel to embarkation port o Unless you are the person who needs to be 1st on the ship, wait an hour until after embarkation begins, the wait is so much shorter and the buffet is still open. Unless you have a suite, those folk go straight to the front of the line. • Dining o We had 8 pm dining at a large table every cruise. Every time we have enjoyed our tablemates as they turn into good friends. The main dining room is spacious and well tended. The staff was very receptive to our needs and wants. The food is good to great. The selection is adequate. • Entertainment o The BB King band was excellent. Great energy and great variety of classic R&B. The shows were good with one exception and I feel the need to point this out. A comedian who was marginal at best ended his show with a classic Simon and Garfunkel song that had no business in his show. I can only guess that he loved the sound of his 2 star voice. There were plenty of books available. • Disembarkation o As this was the 1st half a back2back, we just went into Fort Lauderdale to visit relatives. I wish there had some kind of meeting of back to back passengers. They could have given us In Transit information, answered the questions many of us had and we could have visited with folks who were going to spend a month with. Also, other lines will extend a courtesy laundry for ongoing passengers. • Summary o In hind sight, I would do this cruise the same way again. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
We had travelled on MS Koningsdam a year ago and loved our trip. We booked her again as we really liked our first voyage. We were not all that interested in the itinerary as we were in the ship. Due to Hurricane Irma, the itinerary was ... Read More
We had travelled on MS Koningsdam a year ago and loved our trip. We booked her again as we really liked our first voyage. We were not all that interested in the itinerary as we were in the ship. Due to Hurricane Irma, the itinerary was changed, but did not affect our cruise whatsoever. First voyage we booked a suite, which was great. This time we booked an Ocean view and loved it just as much. Our stewards, Tomo and Wandi, did an outstanding job each day. We are foodies, so we really like the extra fee outlets more than the MDR. Our first dinner was in the Culinary Arts Center ( which we had done last year ). Again, a fantastic experience that needs to be enjoyed by anyone who loves food and beverage. The new addition this year was that we dined on a formal evening, so they included king crab legs on the menu ( the second formal night they include lobster). Dinner in Tamarind is always special and spot on each time. This Pan Asian experience is one of our favorites on the few HAL ships that have it. For Pinnacle Grill, we attended the De Librije dinner. This is a one night only specialty experience ( used to be the Le Cirque dinner ).This meal was one of the finest meals we have ever had on any ship in the 55 cruises we have been on. It's not for everyone as the portions are quite small and intricate, but the visuals as well as flavor profiles were stunning. Kudos to the chef as well as Martin, ( the maître d ) and his entire staff. Canaletto is a gift to diners aboard the HAL ships. The meal you receive for $15 per person is fantastic. The portions are huge and the tastes are all great. Don't miss this as you will have a great time and wonderful food and service! MDR food and service can vary, especially when you dine anytime. Resys are not necessary and it was always easy to be seated. Still some of the best food in MDR out there. The buffet is what it is. MY only suggestion is that on the last formal night if you are looking for that Lobster experience, go to the buffet instead of the MDR. You can get as many tails from the buffet as you can eat. Yes, you can do that in the MDR too, but more fun and less hassle in the buffet. We also attended the BLEND session on board. This is a wine blending exercise created by HAL and Chateau Ste. Michelle. For a couple, it cost $99.00 and was well worth it. Eileen, the Asst. Cellar Master on board, teaches this class. You taste a lot of fun wine, as well as blending together several varietals of wine to produce your own bottle to take with you. Again, not for everyone, but if you like wine, you will LOVE this class! Entertainment is always very good. The Main shows are excellent ( although we have seen them before ) as well as the featured entertainers. We enjoy Lincoln Center Stage, but the venue is really poorly designed. Too much noise in a busy passageway to make this a really nice experience. BB Kings Blues Club is also really good. These entertainers really bring the sprit of Memphis to the ship Kudos to the Captain, Darren, who did a great job on explanations of each port and dodging a tropical storm on our last day. Looking forward to the launch of the Nieux Statendam, which is the next ship of this class for HAL. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2017
Europe is always a winner. I love the excitement of crossing the Atlantic and visiting foreign ports, meeting people and learning about their culture. The Veendam is an old ship but is well maintained. The crew was wonderful. The ... Read More
Europe is always a winner. I love the excitement of crossing the Atlantic and visiting foreign ports, meeting people and learning about their culture. The Veendam is an old ship but is well maintained. The crew was wonderful. The entertainment sucked which seems to be the norm on HAL lately. Their new Explorations program is super, this was the best entertainment on the ship from my perspective. My biggest disappointment was the presence of Norovirus. It was quite widespread, as well as a very serious sore throat/cough thing. I put this down to the Hotel Manager not paying attention and doing his job. I did this cruise in 2015 and to the best of my knowledge we had no serious virus issues. The ship was the Maasdam and for the first few days of the cruise we were not allowed to handle food and the crew were present at all entries to the food area insisting we cleanse our hands.This was not the case on this trip and was enforced only after the virus was widespread. I often saw guests taking bread and fruit with their hands. I also noticed the dishes in the Lido were not always clean and guests were refilling their used cups from the coffee machine. Another issue was the shuttle fees which were very pricey. In one case we were charged $8 each way and very little option to pay it as it was too far to walk. Despite these criticisms, if they offer this trip again I would take it. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
This was our eighth cruise with Holland America and our second on a Vista Class ship. By far, the Westerdam is at the top of our list and we would sail on this ship again. The ship recently came out of dry dock and all the common areas ... Read More
This was our eighth cruise with Holland America and our second on a Vista Class ship. By far, the Westerdam is at the top of our list and we would sail on this ship again. The ship recently came out of dry dock and all the common areas have been nicely refurbished. We do, however, miss the library and hope that Holland will find a way to incorporate that feature in the future. Our shipboard experience was very good. We had a wonderful captain, Mark Rowden, who consistently kept us updated and informed. He would also break in with announcements at various times to let us know if there were particular things that might be of interest, such as a wonderful sunset off the port side or the time we would be cruising the Gibraltar straights. The cruise director, Nathan Hinojosa, was one of the best we have ever sailed with. He took it to heart that it was his job to ensure that everyone was having a good cruise. The food generally on the ship was very good. Our waiter and wine stewards in the main dining room did an excellent job for us. The buffet at breakfast and the few times ate dinner there was very good, though lunch options were merely okay. We varied the routine by eating at the burger bar by the pool several times and occasionally in the main dining room. Dinner twice at the Pinnacle Grill was worth the upcharge. The first portion of the cruise – Venice to Cadiz – was very port intensive (thirteen ports in seventeen days). And while the second part of the cruise – eight days at sea – might seem excessive, we were in need of rest and found ourselves packing up for Fort Lauderdale before we knew it. We were blessed with wonderful weather. While we sailed from Venice in a dense fog, we had sunshine and blue skies in every port. Temperatures ranged from the low 60s to mid-80s, so never too hot or too cold. There was one very rough day at sea between Santorini and Naples; the captain gave plenty of warning so we could prepare. There was also one day of rain on the Atlantic crossing, but that was it. We had never cruised the Mediterranean before, so all the ports were new to us. In general, we enjoyed the ports in Spain (Cartagena, Malaga, and Cadiz) a bit better than the ports in Italy (Rome, Naples) and in Italy a bit better than the ports in Greece. That said, we did wonderful activities through the EXC shore excursions in all ports. We did only some of the activities on the ship. We enjoyed "Sip and Savor" with Alvin, one of the most personable cellar masters we have ever sailed with, as well as several of the wine events, such as "Wines of the World." We liked the general trivia games (though found the BBC Earth trivia boring in the extreme). Several guest lecturers were worthwhile, and the highlight of the trip was hearing Captain Albert speak about the history of Holland America. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2017
My wife and I have wanted to do a cruise for sometime. The ports of call were mostly what we wanted to do so picked this cruise. Liked most of the shore tours but would do less full day tours and spend more around the towns visited. ... Read More
My wife and I have wanted to do a cruise for sometime. The ports of call were mostly what we wanted to do so picked this cruise. Liked most of the shore tours but would do less full day tours and spend more around the towns visited. Overall really enjoyed the experience. As we wanted to have a fine dining experience went to Pinnacle and Pop up 3 star dining, food was great. However, was disappointed when we were one of the very few who seemed to make an effort by dressing up. If you have a dress code enforce it or let people know it's causal so they don't overpack. Carted a suitcase of non neccessary clothes through Italy after the cruise. Also, did not like the upsell with the fitness centre and spa services, which were way overpriced in the first place. In addition, when a shop has two items on a pedestal and one price tag I would assume that is the price for both items, NOT SO! Felt as though we were being gouged. Fairlly small whinge as overall we had a great time. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2017
The ports were of interest, lots of historical interest. 10 out of the 12 days were port days, I could have stood another day or two at sea as we were very busy. We loved the Lincoln Center and BB Kings, the main stage shows were OK ... Read More
The ports were of interest, lots of historical interest. 10 out of the 12 days were port days, I could have stood another day or two at sea as we were very busy. We loved the Lincoln Center and BB Kings, the main stage shows were OK but really not our thing. We ate every night in the dining room and they allowed me to order my meal the night before as I am celiac which was a huge bonus. They had great gluten free bread every night which was a nice touch. The staff were fantastic and very attentive. We loved the salad bar and the omlete bar and there is even a gluten free station with gluten free pasta and at breakfast they can make GF waffles etc! They even can make GF pizza. All I would say is that they don't advertise it enough as we didn't know about it until half way through the cruise. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
Wanted to try the new Holland America ship. While it IS a bit different that other Holland ships, overall it was still a great Holland cruise. The new ship has a modern decor, ok but we prefer the more classic decor, but that's just ... Read More
Wanted to try the new Holland America ship. While it IS a bit different that other Holland ships, overall it was still a great Holland cruise. The new ship has a modern decor, ok but we prefer the more classic decor, but that's just a matter of taste. The stateroom was slightly smaller, but after a few days it didn't seem much different. On the plus side, the bathroom was a big improvement. Very bright, well lit, and with a large shower with great hand spray. Like it over the old bathtub/shower. Entertainment was better than previous Hollland ships. The new stage has great lighting and special effects and the ships band and singer/dancer group was excellent. Addition of a Deck 10 Pizza/Deli place was great. Hand made Pizza's much better than before. New enlarged BB King lounge has great accoustics and better viewing options. Seemed to be more under cover outdoor eating/seating options. Staff seemed to be more than adequate, for the most part. Only disappointment was breakfast on the Lido, we fould it hard to find HOT food, mostly pre-prepared and luke warm at best. Read Less
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