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Sail Date: August 2015
Our twelth cruise, our second with Holland America on the Ryndam. We sailed on Ryndam in 2014 and loved it so much we booked again for 2015, almost identical itinerary (only one port difference). Would certianly recommend Ryndam (such ... Read More
Our twelth cruise, our second with Holland America on the Ryndam. We sailed on Ryndam in 2014 and loved it so much we booked again for 2015, almost identical itinerary (only one port difference). Would certianly recommend Ryndam (such a shame it's being sold in October to P&O Australia) and would recommend Holland America. We travelled as a family of 6 occupying 2 cabins. 3 adults and 3 children. We travelled from North East of England to Harwich (6 hour drive) Embarkation and disembarkation were fast and smooth. We were on board the ship by 12.15, just in time for lunch ! Disembarkation was smooth and you could stay in your cabin until it was your time slot. My favourite public room was the library - so spacious. Lots of comfortable seats, fanastic views from the full length windows. Entertainment was okay. Shore excursions were a rip-off. It didn't detract from the cruise though as I'd researched all the ports prior to sailing and we did our own thing in every port. On all previous cruises we have dined on first sitting (5.45 pm on Ryndam). For the first time we chose open seating. We loved it. Loved the flexibility. We generally ate around 7.15 pm and there was never a queue for the restaurant. Will be choosing open seating on all future cruises. Shame Holland America is not sailing from UK in the near future. Flights x 6 people + 1 cruise or sail from UK and have 2 cruises. I always choose the latter. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2015
Just back from 14 nights cruise to Lerwick, Faroes Islands (best part) all the way round Iceland then to 3 ports in Norway (why always Bergen?). Rough seas for the better part of the cruise and this is the height of summer. The heavy ... Read More
Just back from 14 nights cruise to Lerwick, Faroes Islands (best part) all the way round Iceland then to 3 ports in Norway (why always Bergen?). Rough seas for the better part of the cruise and this is the height of summer. The heavy sky and bad weather was very dramatic in the Faroes. But the rest of the cruise very same. how many times can you see Bergen in a life time? Being a wheelchair user 24/7 I can not recommend HAL ... there wheelchair cabins ..we had 390 on deck 6 is a joke. no gap between end of bed and fixtures, so if you want to use the toilet you have no hope. OK after 6 days Hal changed the bed around but only after writing to the hotel director and having a meeting with him. boy talk about slow. Wheelchair user? forget it, how about disembarkation in a port for Deck 5? boy that is some ramp and steep. Normally Deck 3 is bad enough. Poor planning by HAL. Tolets backed up over and over. Norovirus was on the ship again. It arrived in Harwich for passengers getting on to be given a letter telling them that had just disembarked cases.. now I read that a few weeks back on a cruise review. HAL does not have a handle on it. Wash your hands over and over, But the crew just walk on and off the ship with no hand wash.. I complained, but it carried on. This ship has problems health wise. It is off to P & O soon so it will be there problem then. Good parts? yes the food was very good. the cakes to die for. crew helpful on the whole. But few waiters on the pool area on Ledo deck.. 2 waiters behind bar, but only one coming out to the public... perhaps he does not want to catch anything? The cafe (expensive coffee had the machine down for two days).. but the internet has to be the worse.. worse than Costa or Celebrity.. even had credit when we docked as unable to get connections. Poor tendering in Heimaney in Western Islands, Iceland still issuing tickets at 1.30 in the afternoon for people to get off from arrival at 8 a.m. and everyone back on board by 3.30? some joke. only a limited number of tenders working. Perhaps they do not need that many boats in an evacuation? but at Harwich lifeboat drill you get your cabin number called.. ticked off as present.. but the best bit this is just before sailing and coaches are still rolling up dock side full.. perhaps that is were cabin 666 was? still on the coach. not well organised and did not give me a safe feeling. They will say they were checking those late arrivals off..yep OK if that is what they say. Avoid deck 6 Port side.. noise from rolling trollies in kitchen about all day and up to about midnight... of chipping tiles off the floor on deck 7 for 6 hours solid while in Port. painting everything.. good.. but wondered where the hand rails went when taken off at start of cruise never to come back. lots of rope to stop you looking over the Starboard side. Did I mention the food? yes I did, well worth saying again it was good. expensive drinks on this ship. if you can get one... even in the Rotterdam dining room only one wine waiter? never saw him for the start of the food service, arrived about pudding time. Nice mix of passengers, some from Australia, Israel, Far east and of course the USA and the UK... even heard some South Africans. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2015
Our ninth cruise on HAL, our first on Ryndam, we were a couple from Holland, both in our early fifties. Although she will leave the fleet later this year, she is still being taken care of, with a great and enthusiastic crew. Earlier ... Read More
Our ninth cruise on HAL, our first on Ryndam, we were a couple from Holland, both in our early fifties. Although she will leave the fleet later this year, she is still being taken care of, with a great and enthusiastic crew. Earlier reports mentioned the missing tender, this is still the same, I think it is not because of the tender, but due to a defective launching equipment (do not know the proper English term). Since there are plenty of lifeboats, not an issue, although a bit of a nuisance during tendering, which was slightly longer than normal in some cases, but handled very wel, circumstances considering (relocation of anchoring position due to changing winds in Heamaey). Travelled to Harwich by ferry, arriving just before Ryndam did, a small hop-over. Noro precautions were vigorous, also during the embarkation process, but this did not delay to process in a way it was inconvenient. Excellent entertainment, especially by the talented singers and dancers of the Ryndam. The service was friendly and good, no complaints there. During the first 2 days we had some plumbing issues, but they were dealt with efficiently and accompanied by apologies for the inconvenience. We were upgraded from our partial ocean view, to an unobstructed view, slightly before embarkation, a nice cabin on deck 5, no complaints there. Dining, staff and food in the MDR (early, fixed seating) was excellent, wide varied choice. Excellent line up of beautiful ports, where we did a mix of HAL and private excursions. Lerwick, a tender port, was a bit of grey and rainy, but in all a nice little town. Torshavn, here we did a nice HAL excursion to the Vestmanna Seacliffs, weather was reasonable friendly, beautiful surroundings and lots of birds. Eskifjordur was a bit of a rainy port unfortunately, but still managed to have a reasonable excursion to see the history of WWII in Iceland. Heimaey island gave us beautiful weather on a very nice island. Here we did a great tour to the Westmann islands, home to large colonies of Puffins, which we spotted a couple of. Reykjavik, Isafjordur and Akureyri we did private tours, to the highlighted waterfalls, geysirs and nature baths, travelling through beautiful rough volcanic scenery that Iceland is famous for. A great country, with proud and well informed guides throughout. After Iceland, we made our way to Norway, where Alesund, Bergen and Eidfjord were our last ports. Some mixed weather, Bergen is not for a reason one of the wettest places there is, but our final port was a sunny and warm Eidfjord. In all a great cruise, fantastic crew and sorry to see the Ryndam go to P&O Australia, they will get a beautiful ship.! Read Less
Sail Date: July 2015
After reading some previous reviews and Ryndam's recent problem with the Noro-virus we were a little worried about what would greet us when we boarded the ship, before boarding we were given a warning notice that there had been again a ... Read More
After reading some previous reviews and Ryndam's recent problem with the Noro-virus we were a little worried about what would greet us when we boarded the ship, before boarding we were given a warning notice that there had been again a small outbreak of the Noro-virus again and to make sure we washed our hands whenever possible and use the hand sanitisers whenever we were going to eat. We boarded the Ryndam with a little trepadation but from the moment we stepped on board everything turned out to be lovely, we had an outside stateroom which had an enormous bathroom and plenty of wardrobe space, we took advantage of the drinks package as I and my wife like a tipple before and after lunch and dinner so the value made sense to us. All the public rooms and bar areas are kept spotless, all the staff were friendly and always had a smile on their faces, nothing was too much trouble for them. All the places we visited were interesting, Oslo was beautiful,we were lucky to be in Krristiansand when the tall ships were in, Stavanger was another clean and picturesque Norwegian city but the highlight of the trip was the sail up to Ulvik, simply breathtaking, we have only cruised before with Celebrity and as people have said to us before the difference between the different companies is very small, all we can say is HAL didn't let us down. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2015
Arrived at embarkation to be given a letter regarding Noro Virus-on "previous" cruise. Reading other reviews an understatement. The embarkation was a shambles-queue to move to another queue and so on. Once on the ship the lido ... Read More
Arrived at embarkation to be given a letter regarding Noro Virus-on "previous" cruise. Reading other reviews an understatement. The embarkation was a shambles-queue to move to another queue and so on. Once on the ship the lido was packed-everything but everything was being "served" at a speed where yet another queue was inevitable. The first night one show for a second rate act. Next day at breakfast it was impossible to have a hot food and a hot drink to go with it. Evening meal had better food but "service" didn't exist. Cabin door kept swinging open all night-4 visits to front desk 2 staff including one officer to see the problem-but no one turned up till the morning to repair it. Things did improve in the second half of the cruise but not to any great extent. To many complaints to list but the main ones-food quality and choice in the lido poor Entertainment 3 out out of 7 reasonable acts-not a great score Limited daytime activities. Despite being happy on past trips with HA . This cruise will the very last on Holland America Read Less
Sail Date: July 2015
It is sad to read the negative reviews the Ryndam has been getting and all I can say is they do not reflect my experience. Having sailed on this ship 3 times we have always had excellent service and yes, the ship is old, but she has ... Read More
It is sad to read the negative reviews the Ryndam has been getting and all I can say is they do not reflect my experience. Having sailed on this ship 3 times we have always had excellent service and yes, the ship is old, but she has retained the class and charm of old. Our cabin was excellent. A great position reflecting the fact that if you plan where you want to be on any ship you will be satisfied. My husband and I both slept perfectly, no noise disturbance like some complain about and the ship was clean. Yes there were a few cases of norovirus but this is not rare on any cruise and if you follow the hygiene instructions you will be fine. The food was excellent in the main dining room and unlike an earlier review we were asked every night how our meal was so I am surprised by what the previous reviewer experienced because I saw how attentive staff were. We enjoyed a wonderful evening in le cirque and it was a treat we wouldn't have missed, in fact the birthday cake given to my husband was excellent and as requested delivered to our room as we were so full after our wonderful meal. Our only complaint was the entertainment was a repeat of the previous year so for us it wasn't new but it was still of a good standard. HAL have remained faithful to traditional cruising so if you want the overly modern, overly large experience they are probably not for you and I say that having travelled with a number of cruise lines including Cunard at the top end, Royal Caribbean and Cruise and Maritime for value. We will miss the old girl when she transfers to Australasia but we have always had a great time, wonderful food and excellent service whenever we have been on HAL so I hope people don't just look at the negatives people have spoken of. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2015
Ryndam Review Norwegian Fjords 18/07/15 to 25/07/15 We've cruised numerous lines including Cunard, Princess, NCL, P&O and Celebrity so I thought I would share our thoughts on our first ever HAL experience. Embarkation We ... Read More
Ryndam Review Norwegian Fjords 18/07/15 to 25/07/15 We've cruised numerous lines including Cunard, Princess, NCL, P&O and Celebrity so I thought I would share our thoughts on our first ever HAL experience. Embarkation We picked this cruise for one crucial reason only! Ryndam was departing from Harwich, UK which is an approx. 10 minute drive from home. Now we've only ever left from Southampton so this was a massive bonus. Left home at 1120hrs and was checked in and on board by 1215hrs. Amazing start to our cruise. Everything went very smoothly at the terminal and no traffic unlike our usual drive into Southampton. Seems a real shame that the 2016 cruise season from Harwich as been very much cut back with no HAL, Celebrity or Royal Caribbean. Somebody please come back soon. Ryndam Now whilst we have not cruised with HAL before we did have the opportunity of a ship visit to Ryndam last year in Dover and knew exactly what we would be getting. I would best describe her as a well preserved charming old lady. Ryndam is now 20 years old and is being passed onto P&O Australia in October 2015. Significant parts of the ship have been upgraded but in other areas such as the lifts and hallways she is showing her age. Despite that she is generally very well preserved and other than some soft furnishings in Explorers which have seen better days the crew were continually carrying out maintenance. This is not a ship that has a particular 'wow' factor. No massive atrium, no waverider and no dodgems but what she has is plenty of small ship charm. Nothing is to far from any where else. A trip back to the cabin is not a two day hike and she is very easy to navigate. At 55,000 tonnes she is the smallest ship we have cruised on but certainly there is something to be said for the smaller ship experience and one that I would not hesitate to use again. If given the choice I would likely choose a Celebrity 'Solstice' class ship but for a 7 day trip to the fjords Ryndam was a perfect size and we were able to access places that i not previously visited such as Eidfjord. Cabin We picked up an outside GTY for the price of an inside and only discovered our exact cabin about 3 days before the cruise. An email pinged up and I discovered we had been allocated 569 on deck 5. Good location mid ships and not to far from the forward lift. This would be considered an upgrade on our GTY ‘H’ grade. Extremely impressed with the cabin which felt huge compared to similar cabins on other lines. Mini tub and powerful shower was to be found in the generous bathroom. It was lovely to have a decent size sofa and with the large picture window we enjoyed several cabin breakfasts which we would not normally do. Other than a ‘Aqua Class’ that we experienced on Eclipse this was probably the most spacious and stylish cabin we have experienced. She may be long in the tooth but Ryndam definitely scores on the cabin front. Our Steward was fantastic and the cabin was refreshed and made up with minimal disruption. Food As part of our booking deal we received a meal in Cannaletto which is the Italian speciality onboard restaurant and another meal in the Pinnacle Grill. These were to be allocated upon boarding. I also treated us to a meal in Le Cirque mid cruise which was my birthday. This was paid for prior to boarding at $49 dollars each. The rest of the time we were to use the MDR. We always avoid the buffet simply because I dislike the scrum and it helps avoid ant dreaded bugs. Our first meal on board was a burger at ‘Dine In’ the burger bar situated on the Lido deck. All food taken to order and you are paged when it is ready. Simply the best burger I have ever experienced on board a cruise ship! Chips were equally delicious and you are also able to enjoy hotdogs and the adjacent taco bar. Fantastic. The first night we enjoyed our free Canaletto meal which is created from the buffet area. Lovely meal for what would be normally $10 dollar cover charge. Probably our least enjoyable meal onboard but only because the menu was not totally to my taste but everything was beautifully cooked and presented. Other than breakfast in Cabin, we always use MDR for breakfast and the omelette did not disappoint. I just much prefer to be served and we chatted with several fellow quests when sharing a table. MDR was used for 4 evening meals and I was extremely impressed with the food quality. The bakery department did a superb job with the rolls and all our food was very tasty and hot. We had anytime dining and varied eating times from 1900hrs to as late as 2100hrs. Waiters all very polite and nothing was to much trouble. I can happily say this was some of the best MDR dining food I have ever experienced on this out 9th cruise. I had read some poor Ryndam food reviews but have nothing but praise for all the food we sampled onboard. Simply delicious. Le Cirque was an amazing experience where I sampled a Caesar Salad Cirque style and Chateaubriand steak cooked to perfection. Best kept secret onboard is a Pinnacle Grill lunch at only $10 dollars. The crab cakes with Orange rice were amazing! My favourite meal was probably our evening in the Pinnacle Grill where we both enjoyed the Lamb Chops. I starved myself all day as was feeling rather full and so was really ready to enjoy dinner when it came. I especially enjoyed the soup and Fries with garlic mayo. Desert was rather fabulous as well. I really can’t praise the food high enough. I had a sneaky hope that it would be rather fabulous and if anything was to draw me back to HAL again it would be the food. This is really the most important part of the cruise experience for me and it was amazing. All on board bar service was very good and the only real complaint I have about anything food or beverage related was the quality of coffee in Explores which is the onboard speciality coffee venue. Disgusting is one way to describe it. Expresso from an automatic machine and served in paper cup. Had better from a Motorway Service Station! No waiter service. I tried several times to get to the bottom of the coffee nightmare but other than other staff agreeing it was not good including fellow passengers we gave up. MDR coffee seemed to be fresh brewed and just about saved the day. Les and I are really non drinkers and always enjoy the onboard Speciality Coffee. Les was left very disappointed . Thankfully the superb quality of food just about made up for the coffee. I just don’t understand how a line as polished as HAL could get this so wrong. I have covered this on the customer survey and also emailed. Hopefully some answers may be forthcoming? Spa We loved the little spa and brought a week long pass for the Thermal Spa as well as enjoying several treatments. I was smothered in seaweed, dunked in a vat of hot water and massaged within an inch of my life. Felt very relaxed after. Many hours was spent relaxing on the ceramic hot chairs and the mineral bath. Our pass meant we could come and go as we pleased and at $149 per couple I felt was good value for money. Pools Two pools can be found onboard. The Lido pool is for families and can be covered. The adult only is rather lovely and can be found at the stern on deck ten. With were heated and I enjoyed both. Lido could become rather noisy so my fav was adult pool on stern. Entertainment The main showroom lacks some of the high tech facilities of a more modern ship but I was left feeling extremely impressed with the quality of the singers and dancers. This was their last cruise onboard and the 3 full production shows featured some of the best singing and dancing I have had the pleasure to enjoy on any cruise ship. A small group of very talented individuals. Elsewhere the ship was covered with various other musical performers who were all of a very high quality. David in Mix was brilliant along with the guitar chap. Sydney and the Halcats were great and we also had two chaps onboard called the ‘Piano Brothers’ All performed to the highest standards. The last evening featured Dancing with the Stars which was really good fun. I did not watch any onboard films in the cinema or really use the culinary centre other than one very quick demo. I felt this was a little underused and more could be done with the space. I know the Culinary Art Centre is a real HAL show case but it felt a bit flat! The Cruise Director was great and plenty of other activities took place throughout the day. Again the small ship spirit shone through. All entertainment staff and crew were so approachable that it felt like one big family onboard. Norway As ever Norway is a stunning place to visit and so easy to reach and enjoy via a 7 day cruise from UK. We went to Bergen, Gerainger, Alesund and Eidfjord. The cruise also had two sea days. We booked no excursions via HAL as very expensive as are all other cruise line excursions. The scenery is really what its all about and you are able to enjoy this so easily from the ship that there is no real need to spend most of a port day on a coach. It was raining in Bergen so we stayed onboard as we had visited before. Elsewhere we popped ashore for a decent coffee. Norway is incredibly expensive so be warned. Eat on board! We took one local trip in Eidfjord to a huge waterfall which meant we were only away from Ryndam for 2 hours. I really adore Norway and what it has to offer the cruise passenger. Stunning views, fresh air and scenery. This was my second Norway cruise and I would go again in a heartbeat. Only downside was the weather was so/so. Disembarkation We filled a form in mid week and were given Yellow 1 which was due to get off at 0830hrs. Luggage collected night before and everything went very smoothly with a last MDR breakfast at 0700hrs. We were home by 0915hrs. Cruising from Harwich is great!! Conclusion We had a wonderful week with an extremely spacious cabin and some of the best food we have experienced onboard a cruise ship. Coffee was terrible but this did not spoil the week. I loved the small ship experience and would certainly try a small ship again. Its sad that HAL are parting company with Ryndam although she is now at the point of needing a great deal of money spent if she is to keep up with the rest of the fleet. Anyone travelling on her prior to her departure in October is in for a treat. I was so impressed. Yes she does not have that big ship ‘wow’ factor but she provided the ideal home for a short Norway cruise. Lets hope HAL don’t abandon the small ship vibe! We had a full complement of passengers which included 200 kids. She never felt crowded and everything worked smoothly. The dreaded bug had been onboard prior to our sailing but other than constant reminders about hygiene we saw no real signs that anything was amiss. The Captain did mention small outbreak but we were not effected. Its a real shame no HAL ship will be based in UK during 2016. They have built a good following in recent years but we are left with no choice but to fly next year which I don’t like to do. Come back to the UK or risk losing fans! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2015
I have a number of issues I want to share with everyone, I have left it late as I complained directly to Holland America as soon as I got back, to this date no one has answered me regarding my concerns. The service actually got worse as ... Read More
I have a number of issues I want to share with everyone, I have left it late as I complained directly to Holland America as soon as I got back, to this date no one has answered me regarding my concerns. The service actually got worse as the week went on, but started off ok. I shall start with the food. I found the food to be poor at best in the main dining room. One evening we had the choice of the Roast beef. Out of 8, 6 had the beef, 6 left the beef. Not once did anyone ask us what was wrong & why we did not eat the food. Who ever choose what went with the beef I question, why would you supply a grilled tomato with roast beef & gravy? If you don't like the food in the main restaurant, forget trying to get anything from the self service, that closes early & you have to wait 10.30pm before it reopens & offers poor pizza, and other rather tasteless items. The entertainment, well it was shocking at best! The main band could not play basic tunes that most wedding bands (yes I play in one) perform week after week. The singer could not sing in tune, the band were playing the wrong chords! They were probably the worst ships band I have ever seen. I even took recordings to play to real professional musicians, they found it highly amusing that these were no better than a UK pub band. In fact, I have seen & heard better. The main shows in the theatre were drab, although we had an excellent magician one night. The ships cast again struggled to sing the correct chords to the song, not good when the backing track, yes backing track, played the correct chords. Now my hearing at 46 is not how it used to be, but far better than theirs clearly. Don't expect any entertainment to be put on if you are not able to get ashore, they provided none when we had a howler of a day with the weather, but they will try to keep selling you things instead. We had an outbreak of novo virus on board, my wife is an insulin dependant diabetic, we had heard rumours that there was an outbreak, but it was finally announced 24hrs later. That didn't stop guests who had it still going out on deck. The staff did not stop them! Back to my wife.....the virus can affect her sugar levels, which is dangerous to her, so she went and asked at reception about the virus. She wanted to know if the outbreak gets worse, could she be informed, if nothing else than for us to stay in our cabin so she would not catch it. They advised her that she would be told along with everyone else, which she responded that could be too late. The following day we had over 24hrs sail back home, so to get ill in the middle of the North Sea is not ideal. The final insult was from a member of staff who mentioned on many occasions that she wished she were somewhere else as Norway is cold. Well sorry, I didn't go for the weather, I went for the spectacular scenery. If I heard her say 'if you seen one Fjord, you seen them all' again, I would go nuts. Sorry if you have to work where I want to go & see, sorry if they don't have the beaches of the Caribbean.....I don't care, I don't like wasting my life sitting on a beach. Im paying to come here, you are being paid, tough! One last thing, never book excursions onboard, they are a rip off....as I felt was being on that ship! Holland America, you should hold your head in shame, just because you have sold this ship, does not mean that I do not deserve the holiday I am paying you for. I feel cheated & know after sailing with other cruise's, that they don't offer value for money. I will not pay to sail with these ever again, especially as they couldn't even be bothered to respond to me....SHOCKING! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2015
We are seasoned cruisers and, although Holland America is not our favorite cruise line, we like the smaller size of their ships and often take their cruises. Having traveled from Heathrow to Harwich in a hired car (247 Airport Transfer) ... Read More
We are seasoned cruisers and, although Holland America is not our favorite cruise line, we like the smaller size of their ships and often take their cruises. Having traveled from Heathrow to Harwich in a hired car (247 Airport Transfer) with some wonderful new Cruise Critic friends, our stay at the immaculate Premier Inn the night before the cruise was pleasant. Although there is not much to the town, the restaurant at the hotel had a friendly atmosphere. Several of the us Cruise Critic people staying at the Inn tried to meet in the lobby of the Inn but there wasn't much of a lobby and we were so tired from traveling, we decided to meet again at the Meet and Greet on the ship. This being our 24th cruise, we were worried about the noro virus we heard was rampant on the Ryndam. HA even brought the previous cruise back a day early to sanitize the ship and our cruise left later than usual. Holland America compensated us $50/passenger for the delay which I thought was very nice. Embarkation was a very slow process. We followed HA's request and arrived later so they could finish sanitizing the ship. The crew worked very hard finishing the cleaning. Hence, they were not available for the embarkation so it took a long time to get on the ship. As far as we knew, no one got the noro virus although for the first 3 days of the cruise, many precautions were taken. For example, there was no salt or pepper on the tables, you were served in the buffet, you could not get your own drinks at the service bars in the buffet, and we couldn't even exchange papers during the Trivia games. Yes, it was inconvenient but getting the virus would have been more inconvenient. My husband and I are grateful to HA for their efforts. After 3 days everything returned to the usual. Our Meet and Greet was the next day which was a sea day. I was surprised that no one from HA attended but, then again, the precautions against the noro virus kept many doing duties they were normally not responsible for. Our ocean view cabin was well located on the Main deck and always immaculate except for the dirty outside window. There was plenty of storage, the bed was quite comfortable, and our cabin stewards were so willing to please. The food in the main dining room was a bit of a disappointment for the few 2 days as my husband and I found the beef was stringy and a little tough but after ordering other entrees, I found that food excellent. Our waiter, Toto seemed to prefer always serving his other tables first rather than ours. We started off with 3 people at our scenic window table then grew to 5 people but none of us were 5 stars. Could that be why? The food in the Lido (buffet) was always varied and delicious. We celebrated our 45th wedding anniversary in the Pinnacle and our steaks were cooked to perfection. A group of us decided to eat in the Canaletto specialty restaurant one night and all 11 of us were disappointed in the quality and choices. My husband and I have eaten in the Canaletto on other HA ships and enjoyed it. The entertainment was fabulous, in my opinion. My favorite is always the singers and dancers and they were the best we have seen in our 24 cruises. The other entertainment was varied and well chosen. The cruise director did a fabulous job. My husband and I did take several computer classes offered on sea days. Mike, the computer tech had such patience with me for which I am grateful, not being computer savvy with Windows 8.1. As for the ports, almost all of our excursions were private through cruisingexcursions.com. We have used them before and find their excursions to be cheaper, smaller groups, and cover most of the sights in a port. Our first port was Alesund, Norway. We had been to Alesund last year on a cruise, so this was a repeat for us. I wish we had last year's weather though. This time it was rainy and very foggy. We did the same excursion as last year (Introduction to Alesund Highlights) although this year we couldn't quite see Alesund from the viewpoint because of the fog and the rain. Be sure to look for the decorative drain covers in the street as you walk along the narrow streets of this turret and spired medieval town. Next was Trondheim. We didn't plan any excursions here and decided to walk around town on our own. We walked to the Gothic-style Nidaros Cathedral which is the largest church in Northern Europe and to the Old Town Bridge. We had a pleasant walk through the shops and outdoor markets. When we arrived in Tromso, our next port, my husband and I raced to take bus #26 to the cable car to avoid the long lines. We were grateful for the free shuttle into town. Yes, we arrived at the Fjellhelsens around 8:45 just to learn they did not open until 10 A.M! So we waited. It was definitely worth it. The view was spectacular. Tromso is the largest city north of the Arctic Circle. After the cable car ride down, we walked to the Arctic Cathedral which has the largest stained-glass window in Europe. Unfortunately, by the time we got there, they were closed for a funeral so we couldn't go inside. In my research for this cruise, someone suggested taking the Arctic train. Don't bother it was a disappointment. It's a little sight-seeing train that takes you around town. Because we were only in Tromso until 3 P.M., we missed going to Polaria, the Polar Museum and the Arctic-Alpine Garden. Next time........ Honningsvag is a tiny town but everyone goes there to go to North Cape which is the northernmost point in Europe. So that is what we did. Cruisingexcursions.com cancelled our excursion a month before the cruise because they couldn't get enough people. Thanks to a recommendation by another CC person, we booked with bookfinnmark.com for the same exact excursion and it was cheaper! Unfortunately, they couldn't control the fog. The bus ride took about an hour just to see nothing but fog. Luckily the Visitors' Center is quite well done with a large cinema with an audio-visual show, a church, an art gallery, and a Thai temple along with a coffee shop, bar, and a gift shop. After our return to town, we went to a primitive Ice Bar which I highly recommend. After you put on these insulated ponchos, you enter a room to experience what it would be like in the winter time there. Your admission (about $18) includes 2 non-alcoholic drinks from shot glasses made of ice. There are ice tables, walls, benches, and an igloo filled with reindeer skins. It was awesome. When the ship left port that night, it circled around to North Cape which, by that time, was as clear as could be. From the deck of our ship, we could see the tourists up around the huge globe and outside the Visitor Center. Oh, boy! Were they lucky there was no fog for them! After another sea day we arrived in Molde. Our excursion, "Sightseeing and Scenic Drive to Atlantic Road" did not start off well. The bus driver couldn't be found. So we were given an impromptu walking tour while we waited for another driver. Molde was having Europe's biggest jazz festival so there were tents and stalls and people all over and a very festive atmosphere. Finally the bus arrived and we were off to the Atlantic Road which was a bit of a disappointment until I watched a video about the road after we returned from the cruise. We only traveled part of the road from island to island. We didn't ride to where the mainland ends and the ocean begins. In the video the ocean was washing up onto the road and over the cars. The ocean was calm when we were there so our excursion did not turn into a thrill ride. Afterward, we walked around Molde. We looked forward to arriving in Geiranger again although last summer we got to use the sea wall but this time, we were tendered. We repeated the "Eagle Road, Flydalsjuvet Viewpoint and Mount Dalsnibba" excursion but the fog stopped us again from looking down from the viewpoint atop Mt. Dalsnibba. The other viewpoints were under he fog so they were much better. We were surprised at how much snow still remained. Last year we have pictures of a beautiful blue/green lake as we climbed the mountain. This time it was all snow. After the excursion we did make another stop at the chocolate shop (Geiranger Sjokolade) and then walked around town choosing not to climb to Geiranger's 1842 octagonal wooden church. The highlight of Geiranger is the sail in and out of the fjord. Absolutely gorgeous and so picturesque. Our next to last port was Flam. I had organized a ride on the Flamsbana train (visitflam.com) for 22 CC people. We booked and paid in advance and had our seats saved (Cruise Critic signs were in the windows). The train takes you roundtrip from Flam to Myrdal and back to Flam, up the valley with incredible scenery and a stop at a fantastic waterfall for photographs. We waited for the music and watched the fairies dressed in red dance around for a few minutes. After the train ride we walked around town and took the little tourist train into the tiny town of Flam. Our final port was Bergen, Norway's largest port and our final excursion was "Bergen Panoramic Tour." It was informative. After that we were determined to ride the funicular. Not discouraged by the long line, it only took us about 45 minutes from the time we got on the line until we entered the funicular for our ride to the top of Mt. Floein. The view was breathtaking. Besides the view there is shopping and a restaurant. After the ride down, we walked through Old Bergen and Bergen's fish market. With 5 ships in port that day, Bergen was very crowded so we headed back to our ship. Our arrival back to Harwich and the end of our cruise would have been sad but we were being picked up by our good British friends whom we met on a cruise several years ago and spending the day with them. Disembarkation was right on schedule. We requested to be off the ship between 8:15 and 8:45. We were off by 8:25. Thank you HA for a great cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2015
Cruise on MS Ryndam Voyage of the Midnight Sun - July 4th We feel that Holland & America is responsible for this poor cruise.....not the ship. Holland & America were not forthcoming with the truth of how the results of a 'sick ... Read More
Cruise on MS Ryndam Voyage of the Midnight Sun - July 4th We feel that Holland & America is responsible for this poor cruise.....not the ship. Holland & America were not forthcoming with the truth of how the results of a 'sick ship', was going to affect the next cruise...ours !! We feel that we paid a full price for half a cruise. Arrived at Harwich after a four hours drive. At the Terminal, we were greeted with a letter informing us of the fact that the MS Ryndam had suffered a 'higher than usual' run of the Norovirus on its last cruise and that the ship was being put through a ‘deep cleanse’. We had received an email a couple of days earlier informing us of the delayed departure of our cruise. Holland and America did not inform us of how the 'deep cleanse' was going to affect the cruise...........the first few days were terrible. Various services were not available, ie.: the library, the video rental, the games….many other services. Conversing with one of your guests, who works in the shipping industry; apparently the MS Ryndam should not have sailed at all, on reasons of health and safety regulations. The Lido restaurant was restricted very heavily. We could not get our own tea, coffee, etc, and were not allowed help ourselves to anything. Long queues for everything. The activities also seemed restricted and there was no activities of any interest on offer. On a general overview of the cruise……not very good at all. We were informed by various people that Holland and America was 'special' and of 5 star excellence...it is not! We were also informed that there would be would be 'life enhancing activities'.....they were not! The activities were not very interesting. There were a few good shows, a couple of good talks and the rest was selling to the passengers most of the time and encouraging us to play in the Casino. Very little to stimulate the brain and entertain. The Lido freedom dining Buffet was not that good. Strange hours and very limited choice of food....not much variety, repeated meals. The roasts were always good. The food in the Rotterdam was excellent....but then again strange hours. There were certain times of the day when one could not get anything to eat or drink at all. (not even tea, coffee, etc). The cinema room was a poor choice for viewing a film. The screen was too low and people's heads got in the way. The television in the staterooms were old, poor picture, poor sound and too small and difficult to find out what was showing. Intermittent satellite coverage. Even when in Harwich the ‘satellite’ was not working for the BBC World News !! The tours were ridiculously expensive and can be arranged locally for nearly half price. The tenders/lifeboats were very tatty looking, disorganised inside and did not give a very good impression of health and safety. We resented the practice of the Spa staff informing us that a “15% gratuity has been added to our invoice for your convenience” !! We should have been asked, not told. We were also informed that to change the percentage of gratuity was very complicated and would take a long time! We not encouraged to pursue a refund. We had to speak to Housekeeping several times ref: shower head kept swivelling. Toilet flush button very hard to push. Neither of these faults were rectified. The TV stopped working, the toilet did not have enough water in it….these two faults were fixed. We also complained about the loud thumping noise above our heads….this did not diminish. We had a couple of power cuts and we had to change rooms on our last night as the air conditioning failed in our Stateroom. The Stateroom was very comfortable and clean; though showing its age…drawers were difficult to open. No fridge and no kettle!! We are used to having a fridge and kettle. The crew and staff have obviously been efficiently trained and knew their jobs well. They all worked very hard and were courteous all the time. We paid the full price for an incomplete cruise. Many of the other guests also thought that the standards of this cruise line have dropped. We will not consider going on another cruise with Holland and America. 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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