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1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2015
Having always previously enjoyed cruising but earlier this year been on a Royal Caribbean Cruise earlier this year which we found most underwhelming at times, we approached this cruise with a little trepidation having never sailed Holland ... Read More
Having always previously enjoyed cruising but earlier this year been on a Royal Caribbean Cruise earlier this year which we found most underwhelming at times, we approached this cruise with a little trepidation having never sailed Holland America before and also finding out that the ship was moving on to pastures new. However we found this cruise a thoroughly enjoying experience from beginning to end. Embarkation at Harwich was quick and easy, once aboard the cabins were already ready and we didn't have to wait long for our luggage to arrive. We found the food in both the Main Dining Room and the Lido restaurant very good. Excellent entertainment, we especially enjoyed The Neptunes. It was a pleasure following our last cruise to find lounges and bars where you could always get a seat and excellent service in all the bars, with drinks reasonably priced. Ports of call all enjoyable, we did our own thing rather than excursions, which was no problem in these ports. Disembarkation went very smoothly. I would definitely cruise with Holland America again and its a shame the Ryndam is moving on. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2015
We`d not been with Holland America before and hearing that they had already sold the Ryndam to P&O Australia with this being it`s (and Holland America`s) last cruise out of Harwich we wondered if we`d done the right thing in booking. ... Read More
We`d not been with Holland America before and hearing that they had already sold the Ryndam to P&O Australia with this being it`s (and Holland America`s) last cruise out of Harwich we wondered if we`d done the right thing in booking. Add to that the questionnable weather in the fjords in September and....We need not have worried. The ship and weather was amazing. Staff could not do enough for you with lots of little extra touches. The food in all sections was fabulous. I ask you - 6 types of Eggs Benedict in the Lido buffet breakfast bar! Every port was a joy to behold and the onboard entertainment was way better than I expected. Roomy cabin with great servicing, lovely small ship layout and so much more attractive than the huge blocks of flats they are putting out to see now. Wonderful experience - thank you Holland and America. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2015
We have cruised many times before and are also used to the North Sea because we live close by. As we left Harwich the Captain advised that the crossing to Norway was going to be rough - it turned out to be one of the worst journeys we ... Read More
We have cruised many times before and are also used to the North Sea because we live close by. As we left Harwich the Captain advised that the crossing to Norway was going to be rough - it turned out to be one of the worst journeys we have had although we have travelled in much bigger seas. We understand this was exacerbated by the lack of stabilisers on this older ship. The ship is old and in need of attention. The toilets in the Lido are ( for example) in very poor condition. Our balcony cabin on deck 10 was spacious and appeared clean. The bathroom includes a bath. We returned to the cabin one day to find the bath contained a few inches of dirty water containing lots of gunge due to the drains backing up. Eventually plumbers sorted this but we had to ask for the bath to be cleaned. Later that evening water flushing the toilet and coming from tap was discoloured. Food was mediocre although waiting staff were very good. Entertainment was ok but on sea days we didn't think there was enough to do. The shops own singers and dancers were very good but guest entertainers were dire. Ports were excellent although HAL does not provide any port information for guests. Usually when we have travelled on American ships in Europe it is possible for parents to give permission for under 21's to drink alcohol. This was apparently not available for my son who is 2 months away from his 21st birthday and lives independently. Crazy! Read Less
Sail Date: August 2015
Although this is my first review on Cruise Critic, we have cruised with other lines in the past and made use of the site in order to assist us in our planning. On this occasion, I have decided to try and leave information for other ... Read More
Although this is my first review on Cruise Critic, we have cruised with other lines in the past and made use of the site in order to assist us in our planning. On this occasion, I have decided to try and leave information for other travellers and would add it is our first cruise with Holland America Line. It is a great pity that the Ryndam is being transferred to the P&O Southern Fleet very soon now and is likely to be renamed. All the above being said, I will now commence my review. We live within one hour's travel of the port of Liverpool and had hoped to book a cruise from this location. However, an excellent deal became available to cruise on the Ryndam from Harwich to the Norwegian Fjords and we could not say no to it. We arranged car parking with the port over the telephone and they were very helpful. After a 7 hour drive, we arrived at the port on the day of our departure and I must say that I was very impressed by the smooth operation of bag drop, parking and bus transfer to check-in- compliments to Harwich International Port. Hal check-in proved to be just as good and, in our experience, is the best we have had, being very smooth and well organised. We were soon able to drop the small amount of hand luggage in our cabin and make our way to the Lido for some lunch. On our return from lunch, our main cases had been placed in our cabin, so we spent some time unpacking before we attended the welcome meeting. The Cruise Director gave an outline of the activities, meetings and events that would be on offer during the week and drew our attention to the information sheets that would be left in the cabin on a daily bases, plus the other material available also in the cabin. All this information was supplemented by a daily update by both the Captain and the Cruise Director over the ship's PA system. I think at this point rather than sound too pompous, plus go on too much ,I will sum up with some final points and, if anyone would like further information, please contact me and I will try to help. The ship is in excellent condition for its age and is well maintained, all the crew appeared to take pride in their work and the condition of the ship. After the disappointing first night on open dinning (due to waiting for staff to show you to your table), we changed to a fixed time and experienced no problems for the rest of the cruise. Our table was for just the two of us and we did not experience the slow service described by others in the same position. Note that Hal provide a free cabin service-- we did not use this, but noted that a number of fellow cruisers did. We decided to use the main dining room for all our dinners- however, please note that the food on offer in the more relaxed area of the ship is just the same and, whilst I note some people seem disappointed with the menu, we found the standard, type, variation and service all to be excellent. I also note that some people had problems with Wine Waiter service and Dinner service and, again, all I can add is that we did not encounter any of these problems. As a final note, I need to add that we did not experience any "norovirus" problems- however, a fellow cruiser's comment "I do not need to use the gel as I washed my hands before I left my cabin" I think they may have forgotten about the door handle, lift button or stair rail/banister they may have used on the way to the restaurant! We found wine charged by the glass to be reasonable and had already purchased a 'Soda Card' prior to boarding, which proved to be great value. In addition, the Sip and Savour events held throughout the cruise were very informative and reasonably priced. There was no forced spending in any areas and I again wonder if we were on the same cruise as some others, but activities were available if you wanted to use them, including a Captain's talk about the ship, explaining that he had used the "Stabilisers" when he know we were going into a slight swell. Entertainment-wise, we felt that this was of a high standard and varied throughout the week. We were particularly impressed by the musicians located in the various bars throughout the ship. Our only criticism on this topic would be that the Showroom-at-Sea is not big enough to take all guests from both dinner settings, which happens twice during the week on board. Therefore, guests on the later sitting are at a disadvantage when it comes to finding an empty seat in there! As far as the scenery is concerned, it is simply breathtaking and not to be missed. All ports of call are well worth a visit and the Norwegian people that we encountered were warm and friendly. They are very proud of their country and rightly so! However, we found the prices for shore excursions organised by HAL to be grossly inflated and would strongly recommend investigating alternative tour providers, as we did. My penultimate point- the ship's Photographers were excellent. I take a poor picture and even managed to mess up some of our wedding photographs, but they managed to position us in such a way that we now have some very nice photographs (not sure his camera is still ok,though!) Final point- I hope that HAL will sail again form a UK port in the future and, even if they do not, I hope that we are able to sail with them again soon. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2015
We read so many bad reviews we were not quite sure what we were getting into. However, we all had a great week cruising to Norway and would not have missed it for anything. This was our 2nd cruise with HAL and was much better than the ... Read More
We read so many bad reviews we were not quite sure what we were getting into. However, we all had a great week cruising to Norway and would not have missed it for anything. This was our 2nd cruise with HAL and was much better than the first one. I was traveling with my husband and my brother and we were all very pleased with it. We picked up the HAL bus at Heathrow and arrived at the ship about noon. Embarkation was smooth and we were on the ship in time for lunch. About a week before the cruise we were offered an upgrade to the Navigation suites for a very low price and it was well worth it. The cabin was beautiful, very spacious, especially for 3 people, and we all loved it. We also had a huge verandah which was nice, but it was a little chilly to sit out. We also had access to the Neptune Lounge and we used that a lot. It's a nice room with Wi-Fi and snacks and newspapers and we had some fun coffee breaks with other passengers there. The two ladies who were concierges in there were very friendly and could not do enough to help us with anything. We found the staff, mostly Indonesians, were very friendly and genuinely interested in helping us with anything. Truthfully, I could not say enough about the staff, they were wonderful. The food was delicious, especially their bread and baked goods. We had breakfast in The Pinnacle a few times which was very nice. Never had a bad meal. We went to 3 shows which were OK, entertaining anyway. We saw no signs of the norovirus and were very particular about using the sanitizers which were everywhere. In Bergen and Alesund we did the hop-off-on bus and enjoyed it very much. Geiranger was just beautiful on a clear sunny day and we took a local tour bus to the top of the mountains, something not to be missed. I really can't find very much to complain about this cruise. The only things I can think of are the bathtub, which is very high and would be hard for seniors to get in and out of. Also, the Wi-Fi was expensive and very spotty at times, but I realize that was out of their control and was because of the mountains all around. All in all, a good cruise and we would have no hesitation in using HAL again. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2015
Our 7 night cruise to the Fjords was blessed with superb weather, not a single drop of rain for a good cruise. It was a shame that the Lido deck became essentially a no-go zone due to unruly children with little or no control by HAL and ... Read More
Our 7 night cruise to the Fjords was blessed with superb weather, not a single drop of rain for a good cruise. It was a shame that the Lido deck became essentially a no-go zone due to unruly children with little or no control by HAL and the smoker's at the aft area. We were glad of the lower promenade deck for some peace, quiet and clear air - thankfully only 2 seadays. The maintenance staff have done a remakeable job in keeping the ship in such good shape, definitely doesn't look 21 years old, although they can be over zealous with their toxic paint fumes. Our cabin was excellent and kept in good order by our cabin stewards. Although some cruises were plagued with GI sickness ours was trouble free, some people were coughing and spluttering, fortunately we avoided any sickness. We avoid food in the Lido, too many hands and enjoyed breakfast in the MDR every morning. Evening meals were predominately taken in the Pinnacle Grill which really has suffered from HAL's cost cutting, menus very limited with haphazard service - can't really recommend and definitely not worthy of their $29/pp charge. We enjoyed the cruise but will not be repeating our HAL experience any time in the near future but will return to enjoy the slicker more professional Celebrity experience. The Solistice class ships do rule the waves, HAL need to look over their shoulders for some guidance, they were a great cruiseline, not anymore. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2015
This was our first cruise, so we had nothing to compare it to. It was a slick operation from start to finish, well organised, pleasant & efficient staff. The ship was well presented, clean & a very nice place to spend a week. We ... Read More
This was our first cruise, so we had nothing to compare it to. It was a slick operation from start to finish, well organised, pleasant & efficient staff. The ship was well presented, clean & a very nice place to spend a week. We were reluctant to cruise as we're not keen on the glitzy dinners, casino, art auctions etc. however, there is no pressure to take part n any of that if you don't want to. The casual dining room was fine & the menu seemed the same, it was just self service. We didn't spend any time by the Lido pool as this seemed to cater for families. They had music playing most of the time & the children seemed to be having a great time, but not for us, thanks. Our cabin on deck 5, was bigger than expected & a real treat to have a bath, albeit a small one. We paid extra for the spa, which we loved & was worth the extra cost of $149. It was a great way to relax after a day's walking & exploring. Geirangerfjord is beautiful & this is the only trip we did. We took the coach to the top of Dalsnibba mountain for a truly spectacular view. The weather was kind to us & we enjoyed a week with sun & light cloud. We used the hop on hop off buses in Bergen & Alesund. They both worked well & made it easy to explore on our own. The staff worked their socks off throughout the trip & it was sad to see so many Brits at the reception desk reducing their gratuities to £0. Really? Would like to know on what grounds people thought the staff deserved nothing. Hey, each to their own. We loved the trip & would book again, but sad to see this small ship leaving the fleet. We aren't so keen on the floating blocks of flats. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2015
This is an old ship and looks it. There is a desperate need for repairs, paint, new carpeting, new furniture and various other fittings. The ship was commissioned in 1994. I found out that Ryndam will be transferred to P&O Cruises ... Read More
This is an old ship and looks it. There is a desperate need for repairs, paint, new carpeting, new furniture and various other fittings. The ship was commissioned in 1994. I found out that Ryndam will be transferred to P&O Cruises Australia in 2015 and renamed 'Pacific Aria'. Having said that, the crew is really terrific and does its best to clean and make the ship as attractive as possible. Everyone on the staff is friendly and helpful, which is unusual in an age of curt, surly service personnel (as I experienced on another cruise line). Among those that should be mentioned for particularly positive service efforts are Warman & Muh the cabin steward (cabin 801, A deck); and Sabina, the excursion lecturer. The food is of uneven quality. Some selections were mediocre (or worse): overcooked, dry tuna; tasteless and barely edible bratwurst; foie gras that had been ruined by baking; saltines to accompany a dessert cheese plate (!); average (but no better than average) lunches; the supposedly upscale Canaletto Italian restaurant; etc. A few dishes were excellent: crusted veal (on gala night); minute steaks that were tasty (the only really good lunch); yogurt parfaits with granola; salmon; a few others. I usually fixed a salad for lunch after early disappointments. Do not travel on Ryndam for gourmet food: you will be disappointed. Incidentally, do not eat on the Lido deck starboard side unless you enjoy hearing basketballs bouncing on your head. The excursions were well designed and delivered. I’ve been on other cruises where the excursions were certainly not worth the cost; on Ryndam, they provide value for the money both for the sights and the convenience. Unfortunately, some were cancelled due to a lack of participation by guests. All of the local guides were good, although our guide in Bergen was flustered by the long wait for the funicular. The fjords and towns we visited were amazing and well worth the trip. The internet connections were slow and expensive. There should be some intellectual content, such as lectures on current events, history or science. Overall, I’d give the ship 3 (of 5) stars, mostly for the efforts of the crew in attempting to overcome the ship’s own deficiencies. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2015
Very recently returned from a 7 day cruise on the Ryndam to the Norwegian Fjords (29 Aug to 5th Sept) Both my partner and I are seasoned cruisers previously with Thomsons, Royal Carribean, and P&O Embarkation at Harwich was ... Read More
Very recently returned from a 7 day cruise on the Ryndam to the Norwegian Fjords (29 Aug to 5th Sept) Both my partner and I are seasoned cruisers previously with Thomsons, Royal Carribean, and P&O Embarkation at Harwich was excellent, luggage was dealt with easily, very little queuing, everyone friendly and helpful, security very efficient without being intrusive, and we boarded the ship within half an hour of pulling into the cruise port. The ship is 21 years old, and in places, looks it. But, everywhere was clean and the crew responsible for this should be commended. Our Cabin, on deck six, was probably the most comfortable we have stayed in and as is the usual custom, the cabin staff were a joy to be around and taking care of our needs with smiling efficiency. Bad points though were, no tea making facilities and no fridge. This meant a treck to the Lido deck every morning (where inevitably there was a queue) and then back to our cabin to enjoy our first cuppa of the day. The entertainment was varied and not all to my taste, but many guests enjoyed the performances that I didn't, so the old adage of "you can't please all the people, all the time" certainly rings true. Personally, special mention should go to the pianist and the solo guitarist in the "mix" bar who, after the first evening, had built up a strong core following. The ships entertainers in the "show lounge" were of a very high standard with singing and dancing to a degree that would not be out of place in the West End. The ports of call (Bergen, Geiranger, Alesund, Eid fjord) were all excellent and we were blessed with really good weather. I will remember sailing through the Fjords to Geiranger for the rest of my life. In trying to write a balanced review unfortunately all the good points have now been covered. We dined in the Rotterdam dining room every evening with two other couples, (both of which, were terrific company, and both couples sampled the fare in the other two restaurants available, and both couples agreed with every other guest I engaged conversation with, that the food and service was grossly over priced and definitely did not offer value for money) and the first two evenings the service was slow and laboured. In fact the second evening we didn't receive our main course until over half an hour after the starter had been cleared, many people dining around us were tucking into their desert before our mains arrived. When at last they were served mine was barely at room temperature (it had obviously been sitting around somewhere for 30 minutes before being delivered to its lucky recipient). We, as a table unanimously complained and the head of the restaurant fully agreed that the service was not up to scratch and we were brought a complimentary bottle of champagne which none of us drank, it was very cheap plonk. It was not among the three bottles of champagne that were advertised on the wine list at over $100 dollars a bottle, but tasted like something bought at Poundland dished out to placate anyone who dared to complain. When the head waiter saw that the 'champagne' was not going to cut it, we were then given complimentary liqueurs with our coffee, neither of which was very nice. I then had a long discussion with the water in which I conveyed to him that complimentary drinks were not what we wanted, all we desired was that for the rest of the cruise we received the same kind of service that was bestowed on our fellow diners. After this unfortunate incident I am happy to say that the service for us and everyone else in the dining room was greatly improved. I wish I could say the same about the food. The first formal night offered the same menu that was available in the Lido, although it was heralded as a Gala dining experience, and the menu for the rest of the week (save for the second formal gala evening, when we dined on brie in filo pastry and lobster tail, excellent.) didn't fare any better. I should point out that none of this was in no way the fault of the waiting staff, who really did do their very best with the tools that were at their disposal. No, the fault lies with Holland America who's penny pinching did not allow there to be enough staff, either in the kitchens or in the dining room or quality ingredients with which to make the food for a dining experience I had expected. We breakfasted once in the dining room, a mistake we didn't repeat, and, judging by the few passengers we saw in there at 9:30am, neither did many others. Activities during the daytime and early evening (save for the quizzes run in the "Crows nest" and "Mix" bars) were geared around "how much can we fleece the guests today" with all sorts of demonstrations involving beers and spirits, wines, jewellery, clothes "Art" (none of which I would give house room) and special offers in the "on board shopping experience", and don't get me started on the never ending stream of over priced spa treatments you could enjoy if you wanted your final on board spending bill to be about double what you paid for the cruise initially. The daylight robbery of the passengers continued with the shoe excursions, around 75% of them being cancelled due to lack of numbers. Wake up Holland America, its not rocket science to see that any passenger with the nasm of a mouse could organize exactly the same trip for a quarter of the price. Example. Kayaking in Eid Fjord to be done in couples $94 per person by Holland America. Walk off ship to tourist information office, hire two person Kayak for one hour, 200 krone, about £16-00. One final thing, I read in another review that the reviewer was upset by the amount of brits refusing to pay the $11-50 per person per day gratuities. If all two thousand passengers were to pay this, Holland America would not have to dip into their gold lined pockets for three quarters of the staff wages bill. As it is, the 15% service charge on all drinks virtually pays the wages of the bar room staff. Please, please Holland America, send a trusted employee on a P & O budget cruise and see how it should be done. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2015
As Ryndam is going out of service, I will confine my comments to generalisations which could apply across the line. Boarding and reception at Harwich excellent: pity they will not be using the port any more. Parking easy, and luggage ... Read More
As Ryndam is going out of service, I will confine my comments to generalisations which could apply across the line. Boarding and reception at Harwich excellent: pity they will not be using the port any more. Parking easy, and luggage (lots of it) taken out of our hands. Facilities in the Harwich Cruise port fairly basic, but you could get a coffee and a snack, but as you will get fed almost immediately after boarding, does not matter. Boarding very efficient, and was on board 90 minutes ahead of schedule. For an old ship that had been sold on, the ship was in very good condition and could not fault the state of repair. Staff extremely helpful. We had a cabin on the lower promenade deck where the walking circuit is. Thus you need to be aware that people will be walking in circuits past your window from very early in the morning. I can only assume that there are people who are very early risers, and even at 0600, the circuit is live. Cabins very good size with sitting area and enough room to hang clothes and draw space. No problem for a two week jaunt. Nothing much provided in bathroom except wall mounted shower gel, conditioner and shampoo, but Elemis brand. This is quite typical of the low to mid range boats and I always bring my own stuff now. Cabins cleaned and tidied to an excellent standard, and cabin steward excellent. Cabin mostly made up by the time we had returned from breakfast (they clock who is moving around on any deck). Compares favourably with other cruise liners, and we had bought the cheapest cabin available. Passengers mixed, but mostly over 50. Some young couples and family groups. Avoid school holidays if you do not want to travel with other peoples' children, as the ships in the line are geared up to younger passengers. Obviously Americans are dominant which is good news and bad news. Higher general standards, but some of them are reluctant to embrace anything that smacks of foreign-ness. Some peculiar clothes - in fact the ship seemed to have given up on dress code but they did exclude someone who turned up to the main evening restaurant in shorts. Food is excellent, but the open seating dining needs careful thought. Despite what HAL might say, the restaurant will try to shoehorn you in to their convenience. So if you want to dine as a pair, or not to their notional sittings you have to work hard at it. It was achieved after written representation indicating that sitting with diners not of our choice was distressing to us, as was having to wait an unreasonably long length of time. This works, and I would commend others to ensure they get what they want. A moaning minnie at the table is not what you want. Restaurant staff were very friendly and helpful and it is true that you can have pretty much what you want off the menu, so if you want 5 or 6 courses, that is no problem. Like with so many things in life, if you make yourself clear in a pleasant manner, it ensure you get what you want (within reason). Buffet restaurants like a miniature version of what happens on Royal Caribbean. Huge choice at lunch. Seating can be a problem, and food temperature from any buffet is never going to be good. The crew of the ship kept a very low profile, and the captain was only wheeled out for big occasions. No handshaking for fear of contamination. No captains party/reception. In fact the presentation by the captain told me a lot about the business model: everything that happens on the ships is done to show a return on investment. Entertainments very much geared for an American audience, and shows of Las Vegas style, which pleased many. Could not fault the effort put into the entertainment at nights, but not to everyones taste. Beware of Park West Galleries art auctions. I cannot believe that anyone buys their merchandise after reading the terms and conditions and hearing what they say, but what do I know? Excursions were very expensive, so we mostly made our own way, knowing some of the places. Everything is pretty expensive including the restaurant wines, drinks packages, wifi, telephone connections and merchandise. As with many cruise lines, there are special merchandising offers said to be tax and duty free. Caveat Emptor. All in all, it was a good cruise at a fair price, very good hospitality, and I would travel with the line again, but do certain things e.g. dining differently. Read Less
Ryndam Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.0 4.3
Dining 4.0 4.1
Entertainment 4.0 3.7
Public Rooms 4.0 4.4
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.9
Family 4.0 3.9
Shore Excursion 3.0 3.7
Enrichment 4.0 3.8
Service 4.0 4.4
Value For Money 4.0 4.1
Rates 4.0 4.1

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