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Sail Date: July 2017
My sister and I had sailed two years ago at Christmas on the Rotterdam and it was such a good experience, we decided on Holland America for our Greece, Italy trip and we were not disappointed. The cabin service was superb, the reception ... Read More
My sister and I had sailed two years ago at Christmas on the Rotterdam and it was such a good experience, we decided on Holland America for our Greece, Italy trip and we were not disappointed. The cabin service was superb, the reception desk exceptionally helpful, the excursions outstanding and the bar service just plain terrific. The talent on board, especially the two piano players were amazing. We had open seating and shared every night and met some amazing people. There were a lot of Aussies and Kiwis on board and they sure know how to travel and have fun. When we were in Mykonos we tendered ashore for an excursion and in the afternoon the wind came up and made for very rocky seas. The captain immediately hired bigger tenders on shore to haul people back and stopped anyone else going ashore,. I felt totally safe with how everything was handled. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
We chose this ship because of the itinerary: 24 days of Mediterranean allowed us to see all there is to see in that part of the world. Port host Tom from Seattle did an outstanding job of highlighting the upcoming ports and had one of the ... Read More
We chose this ship because of the itinerary: 24 days of Mediterranean allowed us to see all there is to see in that part of the world. Port host Tom from Seattle did an outstanding job of highlighting the upcoming ports and had one of the better attended daly activities in the vessel. Embarkation and disembarkation are perfected down to the science and you can wait in your room till your scheduled time. Freshly prepared high quality food is offered in formal dining rooms and buffet offers the same thing in a dried out version. The big stage entertainment is a disaster, in the 24 days we literally had only one high quality show in Athens, Greece where the local bouzouki band "4 Georges" and their dancers came onboard to perform. So no, I'll not return for the entertainment. Service was outstanding on all levels. Shore excursions were hit and miss, especially in Greece. One runs out of things to do on the islands so they are working hard on reinventing the same old excursions at $100 per person. Waste of money! In larger cities such as Marseille and Barcelona the best bang for your buck is get on Hop-on-hop-off bus for around $30 and see it all on your own terms. Where to go and what to do is explained nicely the night before by the port expert Tom. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
We were on a 12 day Greek Island cruise that started in Venice and finished in Rome. We chose the Westerdam because of its ports and day trips. The ports were everything we hoped for. Athens, Mykonos, Santorini, Olympia, Delos, Naples were ... Read More
We were on a 12 day Greek Island cruise that started in Venice and finished in Rome. We chose the Westerdam because of its ports and day trips. The ports were everything we hoped for. Athens, Mykonos, Santorini, Olympia, Delos, Naples were all wonderful. We had a Neptune Suite in cabin # 7151. The ship had been recently refreshed and as a result the cabin was quite nice. Spacious, clean and lots of closets. This is a corner cabin at the aft of the ship with an amazing wrap around balcony. Our cabin steward was very friendly and attentive. We enjoyed breakfast on our balcony every morning. The food was always delivered on time and was clearly the best meal of the day. Dinners in the main dining room were very poor. The waiters were pleasant but they did not make up for the flavourless, over cooked food. Salads were frequently delivered with brown lettuce. We ate 5 nights in one of the two specialty restaurants. The food was better in the specialty restaurants but it was still over cooked and tasteless. As hard as it is to believe the buffet was probably the best choice for the freshest, best tasting food. The BB King bar had a very good band that played on 7 or 8 nights. It was well attended and full every night. The piano bar was quiet and boring. There was very good chamber music playing most evenings and it was very well attended. The main theatre entertainment was horrible. If you are expecting the large stage shows most other cruise ships have you will be very disappointed. I spoke with several fellow passengers who said they had never spent so many nights in their cabin watching movies on any other cruise. The ship uses its own life boats as tenders when in port. This is not a problem until there is wind and rough water. The life boats bounce around like bobbers in waves. While tendering passengers to the ship from Mykonos two life boats bounced around for an hour trying to get passengers back on the ship. After an hour of trying the life boats with their passengers were returned to Mykonos. The passengers were terrified!! Kids were screaming and crying!!! Most passengers were wearing their life jackets. I saw all this myself and know it to be true. This is a very unsafe practice and more than anything else will prevent me from using Holland America again. On the 10th day of our cruise the captain announced on the speaker system that Norovirus was present on board and many people were seriously ill. This was our 6th cruise. We have cruised with 4 different cruise lines. This was the worst cruise we have been on and we will never cruise with Holland America again!!!! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
Loved this cruise and Holland did not disappoint, except for Tom and his assistant who were no help at all in questions and clarifications concerning an area( in how to get there ) in Naples which HE recommended in his talk. We met so ... Read More
Loved this cruise and Holland did not disappoint, except for Tom and his assistant who were no help at all in questions and clarifications concerning an area( in how to get there ) in Naples which HE recommended in his talk. We met so many fun, nice, interesting people on the ship which I hope we will be able to sail with again, especially the Aussies!!!! We loved the ports of call, each different and interesting in their own way. Especially Mykonos, Greece. We wanted to go to a beach on the other side of the island but due to shortage of taxi drivers, rented an ATV instead which was much more fun! Went to Psarou Beach, laid on beautiful lounges under umbrellas, served wonderful food from the restaurant, beach beautiful, especially looking at the large yachts which had anchored in the bay. There are no words to describe Venice, Athens, or Rome. I had only seen pictures of them before, but could not believe all of the sites I saw. Only wish we had more days to spend in each city. Really want to go back! A highlight of the trip was using JG Athens Tours for a 6 hour private taxi tour of the city. Especially Jack, our driver, who was professional but personable , very knowledgeable concerning history, flexible in our time in what we wanted to see and not and the restaurant he recommended after we told him what we would like (local not touristy) was beyond wonderful. The manager kept bringing out dish after dish for us to try of local favorites and our bill was only $22 each! The Holland staff was great, especially Nom, our room steward, who always kept everything so nice, clean, and supplied. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
We wanted a long holiday in Europe and the idea of only unpacking once is such a bonus as you get older, we are in our 60's. We stayed in Venice for 2 nights before departure and 2 nights in Barcelona at the end of the cruise, everything ... Read More
We wanted a long holiday in Europe and the idea of only unpacking once is such a bonus as you get older, we are in our 60's. We stayed in Venice for 2 nights before departure and 2 nights in Barcelona at the end of the cruise, everything went smoothly. We were offered an upgrade to a suite from a balcony cabin a couple of weeks before sailing at 50% discount which we took as it was so much more roomier and with a double shower and sinks, very nice indeed and worth paying the extra $1500 for especially as the cruise was such a long one. Also the cabin was midship and we did not know when the ship was docked or when it was moving.....no motion at all! The food on board was lovely, as was the service. We didn't see any shows but loved the B.B. Kings Blues Bar. Most of the ports were beautiful, a couple not so good, we preferred the small towns to the big cities and picked our excursions carefully so that we got to see places we haven't been to before. Would definitely cruise for that length of time again, our only advice would be to pick the cruise which has the ports you want to visit because that's what it's all about. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
The Itinerary was just what we wanted. Holland America does a good job of highlighting the ports and their history and culture. The ship had just been renovated and I did love the new 'Music Walk' which was one deck with a duel piano ... Read More
The Itinerary was just what we wanted. Holland America does a good job of highlighting the ports and their history and culture. The ship had just been renovated and I did love the new 'Music Walk' which was one deck with a duel piano bar (Billboard Onboard), a BB King Blues Club venue and a Lincoln Center Stage venue. All of the performers were very talented and we enjoyed all of the venues as well as the shows in the main showroom. The Lido Marketplace (buffet) area had a great Salad Bar station where they would make a to order salad with very fresh produce and it was served in a nice size bowl which allowed for easy mixing of ingredients. I appreciated Holland America's new smoking policy which only allows smoking on one side of the back deck. Much better than allowing people to smoke on the promenade deck where others are trying to walk or relax, or on their verandahs, which can drift to other cabins. This itinerary included an overnight in Athens which was great for seeing quite a lot of this great city. The captain also extended our stay in Mykonos by one hour so that we were not rushed, which I appreciated. We also did a slow cruise at night around the Stromboli Volcano, which was erupting, and that was beautiful. I did miss the great library that was present on the other two Holland America cruises we have been on. They had books on the Observation Deck, but they had signs that they could not leave the room. How are you supposed to read a novel when it can't leave the room? (Although there were very few novels to choose from. Most of the books were of the coffee table type). I appreciate that Holland America still serves traditional afternoon tea and that they have a port expert on board (not just a port excursion staff), to give us information about our destinations. I enjoyed the meals in the dining room and the service there was excellent. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
I chose this cruise because of the itinerary and the quality of the food/service on Holland America. The itinerary was wonderful! We did not choose to do any of the ship excursions, but we did a lot of excursions with fellow travelers. ... Read More
I chose this cruise because of the itinerary and the quality of the food/service on Holland America. The itinerary was wonderful! We did not choose to do any of the ship excursions, but we did a lot of excursions with fellow travelers. The ship was nice and fresh from drydock. I do think that some of the new decor is a bit modern for the style of the ship, but that could just be me. I found the food in the Lido lacking. The quality wasn't very good and the service was poor. The main dining room was very good for the most part, but service could be slow. Some of the food was uninspired, which I found surprising. The personnel on board were very friendly and polite. It did seem that the ship was short staffed. Embarkation was horrible! It took forever to get on the ship and then forever for our luggage to arrive in our room. Disembarkation was very easy and only took a matter of minutes, although the ship personnel said it would take 45 minutes. We did self disembarkation. The entertainment was so so. What they did have was top notch; it was just a bit low key for my tastes. We did enjoy the in room movies and most nights watched a movie so we could get to bed early for our excursions. Read Less
25 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
We were informed this voyage was the 2nd voyage for the ship since coming out of dry dock for restoration and refresh. While the company certainly did a brilliant job with the refit of the ship, they appear to have fallen far short of ... Read More
We were informed this voyage was the 2nd voyage for the ship since coming out of dry dock for restoration and refresh. While the company certainly did a brilliant job with the refit of the ship, they appear to have fallen far short of expectations in terms of customer service and dining. We had a truly awful experience on our cruise from Venice in early May, and based on this experience would not choose Holland America again. Embarkation was quite easy in Venice. However, I should point out that we had a baby with us, and we were therefore expedited through and placed within boarding group 1, so we boarded rather quickly and without issue. From what we heard from other fellow passengers, our experience was not the "norm" for that day, as many folks stated their experience in the groups behind us was truly disorganized, slow, and painful. It should be noted that it was unclear as to whether Holland America or the local authorities were responsible for that pain, but what is clear is that Holland America clearly wasn't front and center to assist. The fun began the instant we walked onto the ship. With our stateroom keys in-hand, we went straight to our cabin so that we could drop our carry-on bags and start to get settled. Unfortunately, we discovered our stateroom keys were not functional, and when we went to the Customer Services desk, we asked if they could re-issue our keys since they weren't working. To my amazement, the person at the desk rudely snapped back and stated: "well, I don't know what is wrong with your keys. They should be working. Please go back and try again." Astonished at this response, I stayed put and reminded her that we had just been "trying again" at the door for over 10 minutes, and they needed to fix the situation. FYI, this theme of Customer Service not taking responsibility will be consistent throughout this review. The woman then decided to take my keys and attempt to reprint them, only to find that her machine at the desk was not working and could not print new keys. She then told me to sit in the lounge area while she tried to fix the situation. Over the course of 30 minutes, several other cruisers came to the desk with the same situation, and once the desk realized this was a systematic issue, they clearly started a triage type arrangement to deal with it. Unfortunately this meant that all of us had to hang around the lounge for over an hour until Customer Service realized they could start letting people into their rooms via the master key cards the Stewards have, at least allowing one-time access to the rooms for everyone. It ended up that 75% of the people on that cruise suffered from the systematic problem with the keys, and it took over 5 hours for it to be completely resolved, with people being forced to hang around the lounge area to receive keys in lieu of enjoying the amenities of the ship. Not once did we get an apology for the situation, only stressed out Customer Service agents literally tossing the keys to us when they were ready. Then there was the baggage situation. Most cruisers know to expect it will likely be a couple of hours before bags start to arrive at staterooms. However, at the 5 hour mark, we started to question what was going on, especially considering the keys fiasco. Once the Customer Service desk had thinned out from the key situation, I walked over and simply asked if they knew the status of the baggage and when they expected the delivery of all bags to complete. The reply from the person at the desk, yet again rude, was: "how should I know?!?!". The Manager standing behind her must have seen my facial expression, as he quickly jumped to push her aside and calmly state that they expected all bags to be delivered within the next 2 hours. That's how it should have been handled to begin with, and I certainly did not appreciate the tone of that Manager's staff through the first 5 hours of the cruise. All of the other cruisers I spoke with during that period, and throughout the entire cruise as it turns out, had the same feedback about that desk. On to the dining experience. I've had airline economy class food and service that blew these guys out of the water. Our first experience was with in-room dining. Our infant daughter had fallen asleep, and my wife was looking for a solution to grab some dinner without waking her. My wife decided to walk to the Customer Service desk down the hall (already on edge from our previous CS Desk experiences), and ask them if they could help her order "in room" dining, but have the food delivered to the lounge area instead of the cabin so as to not wake the baby. Happily, they actually jumped in and helped her, assuring her that the order was placed and specific instructions had been provided to the dining service to deliver to the lounge and not to the room. 1.5 hours later, the food had not yet arrived, so my wife went back to the desk to ask about status and to confirm again that the food would not be delivered to the room. They assured her it was coming soon, and it definitely would not be delivered to the room. 20 minutes later, I received a giant series of thumps on the cabin door, followed by "in-room dining!". Our daughter was instantly awakened and scared, so she of course began to scream out. I couldn't believe it, so I picked up my daughter and opened the door to find the dining guy standing there with a tray of food. I demanded to know why he was here and not at the lounge down the hall with my wife, and he just shrugged and left the food on the floor. No apology of any kind. I ran down the hall with my screaming baby, collected my wife from the lounge and we all headed back to the room to calm the baby and allow my wife to eat after nearly 2 hours. As it turned out, the order was incorrect and wife received nothing that she had ordered, and the ticket on the tray clearly indicated "DELIVER TO CS LOUNGE. BABY SLEEPING. DO NOT DELIVER TO CABIN". Once the baby was down, I went straight to the CS desk to inform them of the situation and demanded to speak to the Dining Manager. The desk agents just stood there and looked at me stunned as if they had no idea of how to handle the situation. One went and got the CS Desk Manager, so I got to re-explain the situation again, and again ask to speak to the Dining Manager. The response I got was: "the dining manager is very busy and not available. I will send him a message regarding the error. Have a nice night". No apology, no resolution. Simply amazing. The next night, we decided to try a different approach. During our appointed dining room seating, we all went up to the dining room. The baby was fussy, so my wife decided she would order, and then ask the dining room to send the food straight down to our cabin, prior to our baby going to sleep. The waiter happily stated they could enable that, took her order, and came back to the table stating that they had placed the order with in-room dining manager, and they were in the process of preparing the delivery. Content with that, my wife headed straight down to the cabin. Two hours later, I returned to the cabin, only to find a sleeping baby and my wife sitting there reading with no food remnants in site. The food had never arrived, and she was starving and unable to leave or make calls to inquire without waking the baby. Stunned again, I went back up to the dining room to inform our waiter that my wife's food had never arrived, to which his initial response was: "Are you sure?!". Of course I was sure!! He scrambled back to the kitchen, and emerged with the Dining Manager. At long last, I was able to see this mystery man face-to-face! The manager's initial statement to me was: "Sir, our records indicate your wife's food was delivered. I don't know what to tell you." I replied by asking if he would like to accompany me back to our stateroom so that he could physically see that my starving wife indeed has no food. Realizing the stupidity of his comments, he scampered back to the kitchen, and re-emerged with two things: (1) the food which I could hand carry back to my wife, and (2) a confirmation that they had mixed up the cabin, and the food was delivered to the wrong place. I took the opportunity to inform him of how poorly his team had performed the previous night, and that this performance on the present night was equally unacceptable. Finally, someone on the boat took responsibility, and he personally apologized and stated that he was taking my feedback seriously, but it was after we had personally been challenged as to the validity of our claims. Now to the food quality itself...dog food is the best way to describe it. On the first night, our group got up from the dining room table and left mid-meal due to how awful the food quality was. It was cold, disheveled, some plates were missing entire ingredients, and there was no flavor. We all went to the buffet market upstairs, which comparatively had superior options. The second night (the night of the botched dining room delivery), was equally bad. After that, the group decided never to return to the dining room due to the atrocious quality. On day 5 of the cruise, some fellow cruisers had indicated that they had just come from the dining room and they felt the quality standards had come up since day one, albeit only marginally, so we decided to return to give them one last chance. We agreed that the quality had come up since days 1 and 2, however, our opinion was that it was now only on par with the buffet upstairs, and far short of what we had come to expect from previous Holland America quality. Overall, the customer and dining services came across as though the teams were total rookies and were not yet fully trained to handle a ship full of customers. 100% of our interactions with both teams yielded some kind of error or poor performance (messages not delivered, rude personnel, missed kitchen quality, incorrect orders, excruciatingly slow wait staff, watered down drinks, etc, etc), mostly coming from a lack of listening to the customer, and execution. Our fellow cruisers shared the same feedback. There were a few bright spots to the cruise: (1) The room Stewards were fantastic. Very friendly, attentive, engaging with our baby, and the rooms were always in perfect form. They checked in with us often, but not too often, and were a pleasure to work with. Kuddos to that team! (2) The ladies in the group reported that the Spa was an excellent experience. Great masseuses and high quality massages. Nice relaxation pool and changing rooms. (3) Ports arrivals/departures were well handled. We docked in 3 of 4 destinations, and were on tenders in Santorini (standard). Dubrovnik was a stunning place, safe, and plenty to see (recommend the wall walk and exploring the side alleys for food and shops). Kotor (Montenegro) featured a stunning fjord approach and departure, and the small ancient town was fun to walk through, including the hike up to the old fortress (1500 steps each way). Ravenna (Italy) was a pleasant surprise, as it was a quaint, relaxed town with ample historical sights and an overall non-touristy feel. Tenders to/from the ship in Santorini were frequent and efficient. This was the one day we chose to sign up for a shore excursion, as we wanted to get to the far town of Oia straight away. We paid $50/adult for the bus ride and tour guide to Oia, had 2 hours of open exploring time, and then rode the bus back to Thira where the excursion ended. The value in that excursion was entirely in the time saved by having a dedicated bus instead of tendering to shore and finding a cab. At the end of the day many folks complained of only having 2 options for getting back down to the tenders from town, but anyone who researched or read the Holland America notice about Santorini knew this would be the situation, and it has nothing to do with Holland America. Either a 2-hour wait for the cable car, or 400 paved steps (with donkey droppings) down the cliff. We chose the latter, and it was just fine provided you are in decent enough physical shape to descend the steps. It took us about 35 minutes to walk all the way down. Note of caution though: we did come across an out-of-shape gentleman who was rushing his way down and ended up slipping and breaking his ankle. Care should be taken all the way down, with deliberate steps, especially towards the bottom when you are more fatigued. Also, a note about Santorini overall: Based my experience from a previous dedicated trip to the island, 9am-5pm is not nearly enough time to get the full/true experience of the island, and you'll only get the "cruise ship" experience of having only enough time to explore the two main walkways with shops and restaurants in Thira and Oia. That has everyone in port that day (at times as many as 5 cruise ships at a time!) crammed into two small areas, so it's overly crowded, and not really enjoyable. Try to find a cruise that gives you the time to explore away from the main streets (ex: the beaches, the ancient ruins, the wineries, etc), or perhaps just choose to make a dedicated trip to Santorini...it's worth it. Overall - very disappointed in Holland America on this cruise, and we have no plans to return to them soon. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2016
I was so excited to take my friend with me to see Greece, especially the islands. I am 72 and my friend is 70 and has claustrophobia so we decided to spend some extra money and get a Neptune Suite. We were so excited until we arrived at ... Read More
I was so excited to take my friend with me to see Greece, especially the islands. I am 72 and my friend is 70 and has claustrophobia so we decided to spend some extra money and get a Neptune Suite. We were so excited until we arrived at our room. I couldn't believe it was a Neptune Suite it was so much smaller because about a fourth of the room was taken up with a handicapped bathroom. It had a shower you for wheelchair person to sit and be hosed down, and lets the water get on the floor-slippery, dangerous to us. The bathtub was so deep we had to hang onto the handicapped rails to actually climb into it. We both almost fell a few times, made this a problem for us as well. The curtains were on electric button so you had to keep them either closed all the way or open all the way. With the sun beating down it made the room too hot when open during the day, and the view was basically tunnel vision so you could watch the water move from the engine. The cruise itself was good but the room was a nightmare for us. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2016
I chose this cruise for my group of 10 (mostly family) due to the itinerary. Our ages range from 25 to 63. We found the 12 day Romance Cruise to be very exciting. It stopped at 10 ports in 12 days and visited 7 countries. We spent an extra ... Read More
I chose this cruise for my group of 10 (mostly family) due to the itinerary. Our ages range from 25 to 63. We found the 12 day Romance Cruise to be very exciting. It stopped at 10 ports in 12 days and visited 7 countries. We spent an extra day in Venice before the cruise and also in Barcelona at the end of the cruise prior to flying home extending our vacation to 14 days. We also spent 2 days in Rome skipping Naples since we really wanted to spend more time in Rome and really wanted to see St, Peter's Basilica (which we would not see on Sunday as that was the day we were in port for Rome). We found embarkation and disembarkation to be a breeze. Our veranda cabins had everything we needed. They were tight but the space is very well used. The service aboard the ship was excellent. Our cabin steward "Will" was excellent! He anticipated our every need. The food was also excellent in the Main dining room and the Lido. The room service was on time but the quality of the food was not as good as other venues. The ship was clean and well appointed. I never felt cramped in the shared spaces. Overall I would give this cruise a 4.5 out of 5. These are the areas that could be improved. 1. On board entertainment-some of it was awful. I was often bored after dinner.The BB King band was good. 2. All Hot tubs except the one in the Spa were far too cool. We asked if heat could be turned up and we were told "No". 3. The tours offered by Holland America seemed way too expensive and did not cover nearly as many activities as does Viator, etc. Read Less
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