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350 Ryndam (Retired) Cruise Reviews

Embarkation: We arrived at the port at 1:00 pm, and were on the ship by 1:15. We were able to go to our suite immediately to drop off our carry on and then on to Lido for lunch. Luggage arrived by the time we were done with lunch. We ... Read More
Embarkation: We arrived at the port at 1:00 pm, and were on the ship by 1:15. We were able to go to our suite immediately to drop off our carry on and then on to Lido for lunch. Luggage arrived by the time we were done with lunch. We found the public areas nicely decorated and liked the size of the ship. Decided we prefer a smaller ship to the mega ships. Staff was fabulous, always treated us well, and often spoken to by name. Quite impressed. This was a very scenic cruise, had dinner one night on our balcony. Not the best meal. But, the scenery made up for it. We went to three shows, and they were entertaining. Ate at the Pinnacle once and Canaletto twice. These were probably our best meals. Although, one night they had roast beef in the main dining room, and it was delicious. We ordered breakfast in our cabin most mornings, and the veggie cheese omelette was wonderful. Food always came hot. Played in the casino a bit. It's very small. Didn't payout hardly at all. Ports were enjoyable. Mostly scenery, we took several hikes and took lots of pictures. We didn't take any of the HAL excursions, as they were overpriced. There was a visitor information booth in each port, with tour options listed. We booked here. Prior to sailing we were concerned about the fact the Ryndam was being sold to P & O. Thought that it may be in poor condition, and possibly the service not up to HAL standards. That was NOT the case. The ship was in good condition, the public areas nicely decorated. I would sail on the Ryndam again, without hesitation. Sorry to see it leaving the fleet. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
The hardworking Philippine and Indonesian staff were outstanding, they could not do enough for you and always had a smile. They were the saving grace of this cruise. We are experienced cruisers who have done several cruises with ... Read More
The hardworking Philippine and Indonesian staff were outstanding, they could not do enough for you and always had a smile. They were the saving grace of this cruise. We are experienced cruisers who have done several cruises with Holland America and have held them in high esteem. But this cruise was a let down. Work was being done on the ship the whole voyage, and two of the forward elevators were out of service. Every port had the gangway or tender in the forward position which meant that the two elevators struggled to cope. The passengers in general were elderly and did not or could not use the stairs. The noise levels day and night from workmen, and welding machines was unacceptable. Service in the main dining room was very slow, one and a half hours for breakfast! and the food often came to the table on cold plates. The food in an evening too was sometimes barely warm. The menu! some of the items needed a translation note alongside... and the meat was generally of a poor standard. One evening the waiter said "don't order the beef" enough said! The Lido bistro, was a bit of a bunfight to get served and you needed to keep a sense of humour! The passengers of British heritage know how to queue, but for the rest! On the whole the passengers were a friendly bunch and the atmosphere on the ship was good. The food selection at lunch was disappointing too. The weather was cold, and a couple of hearty soups and some crusty bread would have gone down well, but there was only one soup on offer and it was often a watery consommé. The standards have dropped, even plummeted! noticeably fewer staff, except for the Casino where they stood around gazing at the empty tables and machines. The Library was good with some comfortable chairs and good books. The excursions were very expensive so we made our own arrangements onshore and we found the tourist staff very helpful in each port. Finally, the Internet! if you don't desperately need to contact anyone, don't use it. Onboard it is expensive, and slow. Every port there was wi fi and in most ports the local library had very fast wi fi which was secure,free, and warm . Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
We had to move cabins after being woken several times during the night by crew working, the second cabin was also noisy day and night but not as bad. Heard many people complaining about noise overnight. Three cabins near ours were flooded ... Read More
We had to move cabins after being woken several times during the night by crew working, the second cabin was also noisy day and night but not as bad. Heard many people complaining about noise overnight. Three cabins near ours were flooded from kitchens above on different nights during the voyage. Most food in the non waiter service restaurant (The Lido) is served by staff and this must help with hygiene and cross contamination. However there is no queuing system it’s whoever shouts loudest gets served, there are barriers to define sections but for example at breakfast if you want toast, poached eggs and bacon you would have to queue at three different places. The four times we saw roast leg of pork on the menu in the Lido it was very rare with blood flowing out of it when carved. The Rotterdam restaurant was superb, we were however on a table for eight people one night and it took nearly three hours before all the food had been served. It seemed the more people at the table the longer the service took. After that we asked for a table for two or if this was not available a table for four and service was very slick. Food overall was superb. Staff in general were wonderful (we found that reception staff seemed to be there to apologize for things but never did anything about them). Entertainment was going on somewhere most days on the ship, the shows were good and several entertainers came on to do their one man/woman shows as well as the ships theatre company. We have found that excursions on cruise ships are very expensive, this was no different. At most ports there were hop on hop off busses, local busses that went to sights (information is available from tourist information offices that are usually on the dockside or nearby), taxis etc that were much cheaper. The ship rarely felt overcrowded although it was almost full, there was nearly always somewhere to sit whichever part of the ship you were in. This cruise to Norway was cold on deck so very few if any people sat outside most days, that made it more surprising that the ship felt uncrowded. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
Overall a good cruise with good ports. Room service excellent, food OK for cruise ship. Pinnacle specialty restaurant very good but Le Cirque upgrade menu no better than normal menu but $20 pp more. Problem of noisy room was fixed by the ... Read More
Overall a good cruise with good ports. Room service excellent, food OK for cruise ship. Pinnacle specialty restaurant very good but Le Cirque upgrade menu no better than normal menu but $20 pp more. Problem of noisy room was fixed by the front desk and Mary Anne did everything possible to help. Happy Hour a great idea. One problem is that unlike other cruise lines it is not clear when you have finished your package and you go automatically onto the more expensive per minute rate. A pity this nice smaller ship is going to P&O. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
In spite of being fans of Holland America in the past, the Ryndam was below expectations. The food in the main dining room was often lukewarm, and the description of items on the menu was misleading. Service in the Lido was disorganised ... Read More
In spite of being fans of Holland America in the past, the Ryndam was below expectations. The food in the main dining room was often lukewarm, and the description of items on the menu was misleading. Service in the Lido was disorganised and sometimes only one side of the food servery was open, which caused overcrowding. Maintenance was being performed on two of the forward elevators which was the cause of delays when leaving and boarding the ship when in port, as the gangway and tender point was forward of the ship. There was a lot of noise from welding machinery too. The cabin was comfortable, but we did have a couple of power failures which were fixed quite promptly. The cabin staff were excellent. There have been cutbacks on staffing levels, entertainment, and food standards. The entertainment was OK, a very good juggler, and a saxophonist. The HAL Cats were so so, a lot of arms and legs waving to music! Very Loud! I enjoyed the Microsoft Computer lessons, and the library was very good with comfortable chairs And a good selection of books. We did one shore excursion on the Great Atlantic Road, which was very interesting but very overpriced. We did our own thing in the other ports and had Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
We Have Cruised with many cruise lines over the past 20 years, more than 50 cruises, but this was our first cruise with Holland America. First, the good. The Cabin, Food, Staff and Ship were all fine. The BAD- We did a ... Read More
We Have Cruised with many cruise lines over the past 20 years, more than 50 cruises, but this was our first cruise with Holland America. First, the good. The Cabin, Food, Staff and Ship were all fine. The BAD- We did a "back to back" Cruise, and were FORCED to do the Safety drill TWICE, being told that it was Maritime law. This is NOT true, and we have NEVER been asked on any other Cruise line to do it twice! We didn't do any Shore Excursions because they were priced way more than other Cruise lines we have been with. The average age of the passengers was about 65 to 70. The Shows by the Team, were all aimed at people in their 30s! We (In our 70s), knew NONE of the songs ! Also they were sung in the Modern style, ie screeching and shouting and caterwauling ! One song that we did know- "My Funny Valentine" was yelled ! Comedy and Magician- ALL the comedians were "Old Style", meaning, they had assembled their material from hackneyed jokes going back as far as world war 1 ! NO original material at all ! I knew every single punch line before it arrived. Game Shows- There were NONE! Quizzes- Sometimes one at 1-15pm , a Music quiz at 9pm , and every night a quiz at 6-30pm when we were eating our evening meal! Crafts and Art- None Lectures- None They did have Many Lessons on Windows 8.1 - OBSOLETE later this year ! They had many Art Auctions, selling "Art" by People like Peter Max ! Who, if you don't know, is unknown apart from on Cruise Ships, where they flog his daubed on Prints for vast amounts of money! Needless to say, but I will anyway, we will not be returning to Holland America ! Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
I'd like to start with the positive. The hotel staff on board are really amazing: kind, discreet, and friendly. Also, the most excellent Captain Mark made some hard but much appreciated safety decisions regarding missing ports and ... Read More
I'd like to start with the positive. The hotel staff on board are really amazing: kind, discreet, and friendly. Also, the most excellent Captain Mark made some hard but much appreciated safety decisions regarding missing ports and changing port times when we encountered a bad storm. There was not a minute I didn't feel that I was in the hands of a capable, alert crew. The childcare staff (well, two out of three) were friendly, energetic, and flexible. One clearly wanted to go home, and, she rarely smiled. Now the negatives: First, I NEVER would have booked this cruise had I known that the ship has already been sold to P and O. There is obviously no investment whatsoever being put into the upkeep of the boat beyond getting her creaking afloat to the buyer in October. There was rust in many toilets and other areas. You just had to look into every corner. The toilet mysteriously overflowed during the night on three different occasions, none connected in anyway with our usage, nor with flushing. In general, to say the ship shows her age is an understatement. Purposeful segway to the guests now. . .we were told once onboard that the median age on that particular cruise was 68. At many times the public rooms resembled retirement homes. My husband joked that the lines for food at the breakfast buffet were like scenes from The Walking Dead! On three occasions, guests were literally screaming down the cabin hallways at each other, presumably due to hearing issues rather than rudeness! HAL is not for any below 70s demographic. I know we cruised out of school vacation times, but what about other couples and singles without children? They are conspicuously absent. We would have prefered a more mixed social group. Perhaps the key to that is also to choose a 7 day, rather than a longer cruise, one that working adults can more easily make time for. Some lessons learned! The food: The menus were a delight to read. But somehow, the dishes that appeared never quite lived up to the billing. Cunard this is not. However, the dining room staff were wonderfully hospitable. We stayed in the main dining room rather than using the specialty restaurants. First seating for dinner is a bad idea on HAL. It seems that any evening fun happens while the first diners eat. By 9:30 PM , most people had gone to bed. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
We sailed from Harwich on the MS Ryndam to Cherbourg France, unfortunately there was as strom so we were delayed by 24 hours but you cant fight mother nature so nothing to moan about. We were told that due to the delay we would have to ... Read More
We sailed from Harwich on the MS Ryndam to Cherbourg France, unfortunately there was as strom so we were delayed by 24 hours but you cant fight mother nature so nothing to moan about. We were told that due to the delay we would have to miss out a port in Porto Portugal which was disappointing as were looking forward to that port. We sailed direct to Acoruna then onto Gibraltar, we hired a private taxis to take us on the tour of the island at £15 each much cheaper than on an excursion and we werent disappointed. Cadiz Spain our next port then onto Lisbon which instead of a 24 hour layover we got there early and left at 11.30pm due to the storm headed towards the English channel so we then sailed on the an added port of Zeebrugge to make up for the one missed out earlier. We didnt book any excursion from the ship as i have a mobility scooter and there seemed to be a problem with them so we did our own thing in every port. We even went on the open top bus in tow ports which is a great way of seeing somewhere and really cheap as well. Lisbon was 19 euros each return ticket all over the city. The ship itself is amazing and so much to see and do, i was worried that as an American ship it would be all Jazz hands and have a nice day but most of the staff are from the Phillipines or there abouts and very pleasant. We didnt book sittings for dinner we went to the Lido and had very nice meals every meal once you got used the opening times. Some parts were open when some were closed but always able to get cups of tea and cold drinks at no charge. We went to the casino but found it to be rather uncomfortable with all the staff watching your every move, not being able to have the cards to close to you or show your partner your hand if you werent sure whether to play or not. All things we were used to doing on previous cruises with other companies so we dint go there as much as other cruises. We did find the Crows nest bar and spent most nights there and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, we didnt go the shows its not our sort of thing. Embarkation and disembarkation was smooth everyone was very helpful even when we were given wrong tickets for our luggage, no complaints whatsover. The service was eexceptional in every way even when i had forgotten to put our stateroom number on the luggage they still managed to find us. The only thing we didnt like was being charged 15% on top of every drink we had, the port fees added at the last minute and the price of the excursions wasnt cheap. As much as we enjoyed ourselves we wont be sailing with an American company again we prefer to pay one price and all gratuities are included. You can opt out of the gratuities on the last day of your cruise by going to the reception and filling out a form, so we paid one lot and my partner paid the staff we dealt with most some money directly. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
We love the Ryndam. It's a smaller ship, very friendly staff. We found that on our cruise in April, the entertainment has gotten so much better. We just like everything about the Ryndam. Sorry to see it leave. Hope they replace it ... Read More
We love the Ryndam. It's a smaller ship, very friendly staff. We found that on our cruise in April, the entertainment has gotten so much better. We just like everything about the Ryndam. Sorry to see it leave. Hope they replace it with an equally great ship and crew. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
This was our fourth cruise on Holland America which has become our favorite cruise line. Embarkation was a breeze. The ms Ryndam is well maintained and very clean. Food was okay, not best, have had better. The band Brittany and the ... Read More
This was our fourth cruise on Holland America which has become our favorite cruise line. Embarkation was a breeze. The ms Ryndam is well maintained and very clean. Food was okay, not best, have had better. The band Brittany and the HAL Cats..could of done without the singer. She was terrible! The cruise went to Key West – Mahogany Bay, Roatan, Costa Maya. Mexico- Santo Thomas, Guatemala. Key West - no tours have been there numerous times already. Just wandered around the town Mahogany Bay, Roatan - didn't take any tours. Walked down to the beach a very pleasant walk instead of using the "Magical" flying chair. Took the nature walk back to the pier. Very nice. Santo Thomas, Guatemala - I did the Quirigua Archaeological Ruins - You will not find the usual Mayan temples here. Quirigua is one of the major testimonies to the Mayan civilization. The monuments, called stelae, contain hieroglyphic texts describing significant calendar dates, celestial events such as eclipses, passages of Maya mythology and political events, as well as important social and historic events to the development of the city. At the far end of the plaza you will find steps leading up. On the other side of these steps are the ruins of the acropolis ( did not go up) My husband did the Tikal, Maya City of Voices and absolutely loved it. Was a plane ride out and back. Costa Maya, Mexico - We decided to take the Chacchoben Mayan Ruins excursion - The Chacchoben Mayan Ruins are a fairly newly discovered set of ruins. Our guide Sergio was very helpful in explaining the life of the Mayans. Paths are uneven so watch where you are walking. There is another section of the ruins which I did not climb up to see. If you decide to climb these steps (which my husband did) you will see some pyramids and other structures. You will also see as you walk farther on what was considered to be the general living quarters. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
We sailed from Tampa on 2nd March. The embarkation was smooth and soon on board. We lazed around Lido deck for couple of hours and when we went to cabin everything there. The ship itself was fine and didn't see any particular wear. ... Read More
We sailed from Tampa on 2nd March. The embarkation was smooth and soon on board. We lazed around Lido deck for couple of hours and when we went to cabin everything there. The ship itself was fine and didn't see any particular wear. From the outset the staff were open about the ship being moved on to P&O fleet soon, and maybe this was why we felt it was a bit "under par" in places, especially the dining rooms. They have the English breakfast station by the omelette station and when I asked for fried eggs the cook was rude and aggressive and told me he would serve the breakfast minus eggs and I would have to take plate and queue in next station where I could get eggs. Eventually he shouted at cook behind for eggs. I took this up with officers and chef on duty and the rest of cruise the cook was not customer facing and eggs weren't an issue. I ordered salmon one night which was not only raw but cold inside, the replacement was the same and the replacement for that cooked to death. The portion sizes especially starters were sometimes ridiculously small almost back to the bad old days of Nouvelle Cuisine. Those issues aside the rest of cruise was very good. We arranged all our own excursions and they were all excellent, small groups, us only in Roatan at arboretum, 9 on Rio Dulce Canyon in Santo Tomas and 15 in Costa Maya Chaccobean ruins. Entertainment was above par and wait staff and cabin boys very good. Maybe this was just a one off, but other HAL cruisers said they had similar feeling that the whole experience was a little underwhelming. The mixology class was an anti-climax and the other cruisers again said something was lacking. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
Two friends and I embarked on the Ryndam 21 years after our first cruise together on the SS Norway. Embarkation was very smooth and fast. We were able to immediately go to our cabin, an OV, to drop carryon bags. The cabin worked well ... Read More
Two friends and I embarked on the Ryndam 21 years after our first cruise together on the SS Norway. Embarkation was very smooth and fast. We were able to immediately go to our cabin, an OV, to drop carryon bags. The cabin worked well for the three of us and was very near the forward elevators. I had my eye on this itinerary for a couple years due to the different ports. We did two HAL excursions; Las Escobas in Guatemala, more strenuous than expected, but we did it with great guides for a memorable trek. On Roatan, we took the tour to the West Side to see the island and just to get away from the made-for-cruise ships port. Having been to Costa Maya 11 years ago, I knew to take the $3 cab to Majahual for a beach day. I was glad to repeat the 45 minutes for $20 massage on the beach. We had lounge chairs for tip only and a couple $4 beers. No need for an excursion or an all inclusive here! Key West was a shopping and a couple beers day. It was nice to be docked at Mallory Square. Disembarking was efficient. I would recommend this cruise for when the Veendam takes over next year. As always, the crew was superb. Dancing With the Stars was fun and nicely done. Dinner in the dining room was quite slow, 2 hours, a couple nights. Pre-made breakfast items were mostly lukewarm. Get an omelet or something made-to-order instead! Overall a good time was had by all! Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
Hi, We just took a 7 day HAL cruise.  Overall we had a great time with the other New York Times guests, approximately 85 of us.  Our conversations and speakers combined to make this trip more than worth the extra price.  The 4 speakers ... Read More
Hi, We just took a 7 day HAL cruise.  Overall we had a great time with the other New York Times guests, approximately 85 of us.  Our conversations and speakers combined to make this trip more than worth the extra price.  The 4 speakers were extremely knowledgeable and accessible, either at meal time, around the ship or on shore excursions.  Shore trips, room stewards, Lido and of course the Explorer's Lounge were at the level that my wife and I have come to expect as long term Mariners. Our first HAL cruise was in 1980. That was the good part. ROTTERDAM SEATING & SERVICE Rotterdam seating arrangements caused serious problems. Our group of approximately 90 had a reserved section on departure night and that worked smoothly. On the following nights our tables were spread throughout the Rotterdam and this arrangement did not work. On 1 evening our table of 8 sat before 8 PM and left after 10 PM, causing us to miss the wonderful Explorer's Lounge music selection. They took over 30 minutes to tell my wife they were out of San Pellegrino. We were literally the last table to leave and we did not order off-menu. Similar service lapses occurred on 2 other evenings. On another evening, formal night, we were quite dressed - I had a tuxedo and my wife was equally dressed. We were seated by our NYT hostess at one of the reserved NYT tables and then proceeded to have our table for 6 remain a table of 2 for the entire meal. On several occasions the wine steward and the waiter were not coordinated and we had a long wait for mediocre wine. UNLIMITED BEVERAGE Card is a MISNOMER At dinner we were told there was a choice of 4 wines that were covered under the card. This so-called "unlimited" beverage card had a $7 limit. My wife and I offered to choose a $9 glass of wine and charge the difference to our room. That was not possible, our waiter told us. At the Lido deck poolside bar I decided to have an orange juice and tonic water. The bartender was quite pleasant but told me I would have to wait several minutes between purchase. This is a very strange and quite annoying policy. Unless you drink a lot of soda (which is unhealthy) you should consider the down side of the so-called "unlimited beverage" package. Overall, my wife and I thoroughly enjoyed our New York Times Travels vacation. We enjoyed the speakers and their materials. We learned some good things and would do another Insight cruise but make sure about the Rotterdam seating and go back to choosing our beverages off the full list as we require them. Happy Sailing! Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
Old boat (-around 20 yrs old) makes everything dated and "tired" looking. We had a Veranda Suite that was clean, but old and it showed. Staff must know it too, or perhaps they don't like HALs tipping policy because while ... Read More
Old boat (-around 20 yrs old) makes everything dated and "tired" looking. We had a Veranda Suite that was clean, but old and it showed. Staff must know it too, or perhaps they don't like HALs tipping policy because while they weren't rude, they weren't nearly as service oriented as we had experienced from HAL in past. Food was unremarkable and service was "matter of fact" at best. Pinnacle was great as always. Shows were few at best - two nights if you take the welcome and farewell out. Daily Mass Dias nice though.We are frequent cruisers and chose this cruise because it left Tampa and went to some new ports in Honduras and Guatamala. We learned you cannot base your experience simply on a line...you need to look at boat reviews too. This cruise left us questioning our loyalty to HAL. Last note. We booked transfers and hotels via HAL - worked well going. Coming back we waited on bus for 40 min prior to departure and when we got to hotel (they booked) of course no room so we sit until rooms become available. Seems HAL would discuss this with the Grand Hyatt prior to be sure we had rooms, or at least let the passengers know? Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
This will be a short review as we have sailed with Holland America many times and I've written a few reviews. My husband and I stayed overnight at the Grand Hyatt. Beautiful hotel. The next morning we were on the bus at 10:30 and on ... Read More
This will be a short review as we have sailed with Holland America many times and I've written a few reviews. My husband and I stayed overnight at the Grand Hyatt. Beautiful hotel. The next morning we were on the bus at 10:30 and on our way at 11:00. Embarkation went smoothly and we were in our room at 12:15. Went to the Lido, had lunch and walked around the ship. Our luggage arrived at 2:30 and we unpacked and relaxed in our room until the drill. Came back to our room to freshen up and it was time for dinner. We prefer the early seating. We also purchased beverage cards this time and had no difficulty ordering alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. At the end of the cruise we has some money left on our cards and this was shown as a credit on our final statement. We had no difficulty with disembarkation. We went to three shows and enjoyed them. We have enjoyed every cruise with Holland America and we will be cruising with friends this August to Alaska and my husband and I booked a Mediterranean cruise for April 2016. We did this on the Ryndam and received quite a discount on the Signature Suite. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
Before we decided on this cruise, we had looked at several other scenarios’ taking the cruises from central Florida instead of driving all the way to Ft. Lauderdale to get on a cruise. We looked at RCI out of Tampa and then driving over ... Read More
Before we decided on this cruise, we had looked at several other scenarios’ taking the cruises from central Florida instead of driving all the way to Ft. Lauderdale to get on a cruise. We looked at RCI out of Tampa and then driving over to Port Canaveral and getting another RCI. However, the cost for 2 weeks with 2 hotel stays would be almost as much as 3 weeks on the HAL out of Tampa. The main problem with this scenario was that we had been on the Ryndam for 36 days the previous fall and the entertainment would be the same; however, we elected for the 3 weeks on HAL. We drove from our home and stayed at the Holiday Inn Westshore using their stay, park and cruise package. This was fantastic because it included a free shuttle to and from the cruise port, 3 weeks free parking and it's a great hotel! The first 7 days were considered one cruise, returning to Tampa, and the last 14 days were considered another cruise, so there was a repeat of the musical production shows. When we went back to Tampa we had to disembark and go through passport control after everyone else who had cleaned customs. The process took less than an hour and I did have a chance for free wifi before going back on board. The cruise in general: 1. Embarkation was excellent. 2. Dining in the Lido- We ate in the Lido for breakfast and lunch every day with the exception of the Mariner’s luncheon. Breakfast has many options and I especially enjoy the different kinds of eggs that HAL does such as the Egg Florentine or Egg Benedict. Of course there is the omelet and all other sorts of eggs to order, smoked salmon and herring, assorted cheeses and meats, waffles with fruit, pancakes, French toast, yogurt and fruits. The selections are endless. Lunch has a wonderful salad bar, sandwiches to order, various meats, fish and vegetables, cooked to order pasta and Asian food. The deserts are beautifully displayed and numerous, including sugar-free selections. Another bonus of HAL is the ice cream bar featuring real ice cream, not just soft serve. I especially like their coconut and look for it every day. The “Dive-In” has made to order hamburgers and hotdogs and a wonderful grilled portabella mushroom sandwich with cheese and avocado. We had open dining in the Rotterdam dining room every night. The service is good and the menu selection is good, but not excellent. However, the food and presentation is very good. I was not disappointed with any of the food. The entertainment is good, but we had seen almost every entertainer and musical show previously and we don't cruise that much. The Ryndam singers and dancers are very talented and the performances are top notch. We also enjoy Adagio (classical piano and strings) is like icing on the cake, as we love classical music. The fitness facility is excellent for this size cruise ship and Penny, the fitness guru is the best I've seen in all of my cruising. The Microsoft computer classes are another bonus and I'm so glad that HAL was smart enough to see this need! Some of the reasons we continue to cruise HAL: 1. Adagio is so wonderful and is like icing on the cake. 2. Cloth towels in the rest rooms. This is just a nice touch. 3. Entertainment that is clean. Many of the other cruise lines think they have to have raunchy entertainment and scantily clad women in order to please the cruisers, but this would discourage me from cruising. 4. Interesting itineraries. The Caribbean is ok for getting away from cold weather, but the islands don’t hold much interest after several Caribbean cruises. We prefer more interesting destinations. 5. The library is a great bonus as it has lots of books and is a great place to read and relax. Thank you HAL for providing this bonuses! Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
My husband, brother cousin and I were so looking forward tospending 14 days of sunshine on the Ryandam and its various destinations, moat of which we had seen on previous sailings. We embarked in Tampa, very efficient and looked forward to ... Read More
My husband, brother cousin and I were so looking forward tospending 14 days of sunshine on the Ryandam and its various destinations, moat of which we had seen on previous sailings. We embarked in Tampa, very efficient and looked forward to a nice lunch. The food was very good for the whole trip. This incluced a Pinacle meal and a Le Cercle dinner. These were outstanding, from the service to the presentation and the food itself. Excellent quality and a nice selection. Our cabin crew were nice and efficient as were the other crew members. The entertainment was good and the guests seemed to enjoy the variety on offer. However, there wa a cough circulating the ship from what seems to have been day one to when we disembarked. My husband came down at the beginning of the second week and was so ill he went to see the ship's doctor and was provided with antibiotics and pain killers. I then came down with the illness. Both of us ended up with pneumonia which we are still trying to recover. Essentially our vacation was ruined because of this illness. I feel theere is not enough time delegated to the cleaning of the ship from one cruise to the next, a three hour time period. This does not allow for proper cleaning of bugs, viruses etc which are then free to recitculate. We heard of several people who had come down with what I call the HAC, the Holland America Cough. I am so disappointed that our long awaited holiday was cut off so completely and we are so unhappy with the lack of response from Holland America that we will probably not cruise any more. What a sad ending to something we have enjoyed with the company for over ten years. Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
This Western Caribbean cruise to Key West, Santo Tomas (Guatemala) , Banana Coast (Honduras) and Costa Maya (Mexico) was just he relaxing holiday escape that we were looking for. Tampa is an easy port in terms of finding the Port of Tampa ... Read More
This Western Caribbean cruise to Key West, Santo Tomas (Guatemala) , Banana Coast (Honduras) and Costa Maya (Mexico) was just he relaxing holiday escape that we were looking for. Tampa is an easy port in terms of finding the Port of Tampa (excellent signage from Route 618 Leroy Selman Expressway), parking (Park4Cruise.com lot is a one minute ride and 40% less than Port parking lots) , embarkation and disembarkation. But the real story was onboard the Ryndam. We (my wife, 11 year old son and I) greatly enjoyed the food selections in the Rotterdam Dining Room (main dining room). Some dishes appear nightly - caesar salad, french onion soup, roasted chicken, salmon and NY strip steak. Other items vary by the day but there are always excellent seafood and poultry selections. On New Year's Eve my wife and son had four lobster tails each. Another night,they offered a Land and Sea option of a steak and jumbo shrimp. Those with Open Seating, should make a reservation on the first day for every night of the cruise to accommodate the dining preferences of their family. We enjoyed Rota, our waiter, so much that we requested the same table in his section every night of the cruise. Rota speaks English perfectly and has a superior understanding of each item on the menu. Every one of his recommendations worked. He also knows what changes can be made to side dishes as well as other items on the menu. Rota and his assistant were excellent and contributed greatly to our enjoyment of the trip. The casual Lido restaurant is good for breakfast but we did not o there for lunch or din er after trying their evening snacks (10:30 pm- 11:30 pm) and feeling disappointed with the quality and variety of the food. For breakfast, a good option is room service which doubles as a wake up call. The room service menu is excellent for the rest of the day but we did not use it. The Dive-pIn burger and hot dog snack place on the Lido Deck is excellent but closes at 5:00 pm daily. The entertainment aboard the hip varies greatly. The stage production shows are outstanding with strong singing and dancing. The comedian was very funny and has appeared on many comedy television shows but the magic show with a dog seemed far less enjoyable to he there of us. There was no crew show, instead they offered Dancing With the Stars at Sea (we did not attend). In the lounges, the HAL Kat band had good musicians but a weak lead singer (far weaker than the stage sings). The pianist was good but offered too much commentary to accompany the songs. The Neptunes were excellent, as was the violinist and a guitarist in two separate acts. Overall, Holland America musical selections stopped in the 1970's - apparently, they know not of Lady Gaga or Adele or U-2. The exception to this was the steel drum player Ravon who played anything requested. Excursions : we walked Key West on our own visiting the Butterfly Conservatory at the far end of Duval Street and are glad we packed pinches from Walmart to seal with a surprise shower. . In Santo Tomas de Castillo, we opted for the Quirigua Mayan Ruins and were not disappointed. Our guide, Galileo Galilee, was the best guide we have had on 10 cruises and far more excursions. Knowledgeable, great English skills and a commitment to guest enjoyment - Galileo made the day all the more special. We learned a lot about Guatemala and were welcomed by him on several occasions. Nice gift shop and clean facilities. The roads in Guatemala were paved and in great condition. Bring bug spray. In the Bananas Coast of Honduras (Trujillo) we enjoyed Campo del Mar which has a great beach with new facilities and an excellent buffet lunch of fresh snapper or chicken, rice with beans and several other side dishes like plantain and bananas. iced tea and water were also included. The beach has a large water trampoline which all of the kids and several adults loved. The roads around Honduras are dirt roads with many bumps and dips along the way. Do not walk around on your own. In Costa Maya, we chose the Checcoben Mayan Ruins excursion with Letitia as our guide. She knew a lot and handed out several artifacts for us to handle abroad the bus en route to the ruins. Again, bring bug spray for the jungle bugs/fleas. very clean facilities and helpful staff. Club HAL for kids was good but it all depends on which kids are there at any particular time. Lots of kids on a holiday week but only three for the next 14 day sailing. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
I'll start by saying that the reason we took this particular cruise was the unique list of ports. We're a family of four - my parents (late 50's), myself (30) and my sister (28). We love to travel and explore new places. The ... Read More
I'll start by saying that the reason we took this particular cruise was the unique list of ports. We're a family of four - my parents (late 50's), myself (30) and my sister (28). We love to travel and explore new places. The fact that this cruise went to Guatemala, Honduras and Costa Maya was the main draw or us. We weren't interested in the typical cruise ship ports. For reference, the four of us have each done 3-5 cruses each, ranging from cruises on NCL, Celebrity, Princess and Crystal. We arrived in Tampa the night before and stayed at the Grand Hyatt, which we arranged through HCL. We were originally disappointed because we were told the hotel was right downtown, but the hotel ended up being lovely. It had a nice area to walk around and a couple of pools. The cool thing was that the Auburn football team was staying there before The Outback Bowl. The shuttle picked us up and brought us to the port. There was a Bucks game that Sunday, and they said there was traffic, but clearly they've never been to Boston or other places with true traffic, because there was barely any. We arrived in about 25 minutes. It took us about 45 minutes to get through security, check in and get on the ship. It was a little busy and I found it somewhat disorganized, but it was nice to get onboard and go directly to our rooms. The Ship The ship itself is definitely showing its age, although it has been updated at times. For example, there were lots of nicks and paint flakes all over the place. While it was nice to have a tub in the room, I refused to fill it because the jets were nasty and I wasn't going to sit in water that touched those jets. The ship is relatively small and is very easy to manage. It takes no time at all to get from one point to another. There are two pools, one is much better than the other. The main pool has a retractable roof, which is often open ever so slightly. This pool would have been much more appealing if it actually had more fresh air. This seemed to be the pool that most families hung out at. This one is where the action is. There's a lot of LOUD music, a grill, and you're right next to the Lido buffet. The second pool is the Sea View pool and is much more relaxed it quite. On both of our sea days, it was very difficult to grab a chair at both pools. They should really move the cart with beer displayed and replace it with a dozen chairs. You could easily fit three tables with four chairs each in the area where they displayed a ton of beer that sat out every day. There were a few areas to hang out inside that we tended to spend time at. The first was the bar near the shops on deck 8. This is where a (less-than-average) guitar player played each night, BUT, we could catch any game that was on ESPN here. Since it was football playoff season, we hung out here a bit. The second place we hung out was the Crows Nest. We could also watch games here, but we also were able to watch other events taking place here. One of our favorite activities though was to walk around deck 6 in the morning. The nice thing about this ship is the fact that it has a wrap around deck that's pretty wide. Three times during the cruise we went for 3 mile walks to make sure we didn't gain too much weight. While I wish I could have run around the deck, I understand why jogging isn't allowed. Being stuck in the cold north, I miss running outside in nice weather, but it will be back soon enough. Activities I have to say, we really didn't participate in any activities onboard. Why? There really weren't many options offered, and the ones that were weren't very interesting. Looking at the activities, you can tell what HAL's demographics are - people a lot older than us. We're not exactly keen on taking a bookmark making class. I've heard multiple times that they're looking to attract a younger demographic, but I haven't seen anything that makes me think that they're taking it seriously. Entertainment We went to a number of the shows in the theater, and I have to say, I was pretty disappointed overall. Some shows were better than others. The shows with singers and dancers were better than the other ones. I will say though, that even those shows could be elevated a bit. Clearly HAL doesn't put as much into these shows as some of the other cruise lines. The musical entertainers could also improve. The guitarist was average, but he really couldn't mix it up. All if his songs had a similar sound. He had zero personality. We tried talking to him a little and he wanted nothing to do with it. In addition, the HALCats played a lot, and they stuck to their 50's/60's playlist most of the time. One time in the Crows Nest, they played Smooth by Santana and a ton of people got up to dance. After that, they went back to their old 50's playlist and EVERYONE sat down. Another time, there were a ton of teens and 20-somethings in the Crows Nest and they really wanted to dance. Many good bands would adjust accordingly, but they just kept on with their old setlist. For obvious reasons, those kids left and tried to find something else to do. Dining Having cruised NCL and Celebrity in the past, I'd have to put the food above NCL, but below Celebrity. The food in the Lido for breakfast and lunch left A LOT to be desired. Lines were VERY long and I was rather disappointed with the options. I thought that there were fewer options to pick from on this cruise that any other I've been on. The salad options at lunch were often picked over and lacked variety. The breakfast options seemed to be exactly the same every day. I love corned beef hash for breakfast, but not once did I see it as a meat option, just ham, sausage and bacon. Not to say that there wasn't a decent variety, but they didn't mix it up. The potatoes were always the home fried potatoes, never hash browns or tater tots for example. I know it's difficult to carry a ton of food like that for a cruise, but if they can mix up dinner each night, why can't they mix breakfast up every now and then. Twice we ate at the Dive In burger and hot dog bar for lunch. This was definitely the better option for lunch. While it took a little while to get food, the food here was better than in the Lido. Note that you can get a side of those decent onion straws if you want. They aren't just for burgers and dogs. And if you want to create a customized burger or do, you're welcome to do so. I saw the person taking orders even suggest some customized options. The main dining room was decent for dinner, although not spectacular. I was underwhelmed with the choices each night, but always seemed to find something I'd enjoy. Overall, I found the food was fairly bland and could have used a lot more seasoning. I really wish they'd offer a few different salads as well. In addition, I would have loved the option to add grilled shrimp on top of a salad for dinner sometimes. The portions were a good size - meaning you could order an appetizer, a soup or salad, an entree and a dessert and not leave feeling overly full. If you want extra of something, just ask. We did all three specialty restaurants on board and found two out of three to be good. The first one, which was nice, was Pinnacle Grill. The food here was really nice and was definitely a step above what is offered in the main dining room. You can't go wrong with the steaks here. The only gripe we had here was that they didn't tell us the soufflé would take extra time to prepare before we received the dessert menu. We weren't in a rush, so it wasn't a big deal, but they should have told us. The second specialty meal we had was a disaster. It was also the most expensive, at over $250 for all four of us ($50pp and a few glasses of wine). First of all, the dinner took two and a half hours. Most of this time was taken up by waiting 45 minutes between our soup and entree. The salads were pretty good, but the soup received mixed reviews. Those with the cold soup were very disappointed. The warm soup good decent reviews, but no one was raving about it. Our entrees were also decent, but because we waited so long, we weren't that thrilled. I have to say, we all pretty much agreed that the entrees were good, but weren't overwhelmingly better than anything in the MDR. Dessert was also mixed. Two of us ordered the much talked about creme brûlée, but were utterly disappointed when it came out very warm and with a puddle of liquid on the top. The traditional crispy sugared top was soggy and just not good. When we pointed everything out to the head waiter, he insisted that they were made fresh and that there was an issue with the kitchen that delayed our meals. This meal was our worst meal of the entire cruise and also the most expensive. We'd skip this and would recommend others skip it if you do a HAL cruise. The third specialty restaurant we did was Canaletto. This was pretty good and one of our top meals of the trip. Food was served family style, so we got to try a lot of different things. The meatballs, salads, antipasto and entrees were all very good. We really enjoyed the lemoncello dessert as well. We'd return here and would recommend this along with Pinnacle Grill. Service The service on the ship was done very well, except for two areas. The first I already mentioned, and that was with Le Cirque. The head waiter basically made us feel like we didn't know good food when we complained about our soupy creme brûlée. The other area we had a negative experience with was the photography area. I had purchased a candid photo package for my mom for Christmas. We arrived on the first day to make sure it was noted, as directed to do so in the note delivered to our room. The woman we spoke to said come back when you have a photo you like. I asked if we could start a folder with all of our photos to decide later and she said, sure. It would have been nice if she recommended this. What she also failed to mention is that most of the candid photos, we would have to seek out. We weren't in the MDR for formal night, we were in Pinnacle Grill and Canaletto, so we missed those opportunities. We were later told that we could have requested photos. Also, in two out of the four port photos, we had some random people from the ship. One was the original photo gal, dressed in a weird tux photo. The other was a Pirate. We tried asking for photos without them, but had no luck. In the end, we had very few photos to pick from. I'd advice against pre purchasing a photo package as a result. The rest of the service we received, in our staterooms, the main dining room, and elsewhere on the ship was wonderful. For example, after two nights, they knew to bring my dad his decaf coffee after dinner. No need to ask again. We were always greeted by name by our cabin stewards as well. Ports The ports we visited were wonderful. The first one, Key West, was our least favorite, but probably because it was so touristy and busy compared to all of the others. While Key West was nice, I wouldn't make a point to book a cruise because of it as a destination unless it was in the off season. Guatemala was our second port and one that I was really looking forward to. The pier was a shipping pier and not really for a cruise ship, but they did have a welcome center with merchants set up to purchase local goods. The people selling goods were a little aggressive and a lot sold some of the same things, so just know to be patient and know that they're going to try to sell you a few things. We negotiated on a few things, but didn't push too hard. After all, a $1 to us isn't that much, where a $1 for them goes a lot further. We did a tour of Las Escobas, which was beautiful. It's too bad it rained a little, but the waterfalls and the hike was very nice. It's not a very long hike and is easy for most people. I would have actually preferred a longer hike with more to see, but I doubt too many people on HAL would be willing to do that. The guides we had were very nice and well versed on the area. The drive was a little sketchy, but not the worst I've experienced. In Honduras, which ended up being our favorite port, we did the Starfish Snorkel and Beach excursion. The people here were SO friendly and welcoming. We took a boat to the snorkel area, but not your traditional snorkel catamaran. This was just your basic boat that fit about 25 people, all sitting and facing forward. The snorkel area had half a dozen or so starfish and a shipwreck to snorkel around. Honestly, it was hard to tell if the starfish were just placed here though. They were huge in any case. After about 45 minutes here, we went to a small beach for about 35 minutes before a bus drive back to the port. This is a tender port, so be prepared for that. We found the people of Honduras very friendly and welcoming. They weren't as pushy trying to sell us stuff. I'd highly recommend this port. Our final port was Costa Maya, Mexico. Here, we did the Chacchoben ruins, along with practically everyone else. It was a very busy tour, especially with two ships docked this day. Because the ruins are spread out, it doesn't feel like a ton of people are there for most of the tour, except for the welcome area and the very beginning. The ruins were beautiful and we had a decent amount of time here. The ride to and from was about an hour each way, and wasn't very scenic. I'd recommend this trip. Disembarkment was somewhat chaotic. They would call colors and numbers and people would congregate all over the halls. People were pushing and shoving to get out and it wasn't very pleasant. Eventually, we got off the ship and breezed through customs. A coach bus was waiting for us to take us to the airport, which was about a 25 minute drive. Overall, I thought the cruise was nice, but I'm not itching to run back to HAL. HAL visits some great ports, which is probably the only reason I'd return. Right now, I'd probably return to Celebrity if I had to choose, although I'll probably stick to a few land-only vacations first before hopping back on a cruise. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
7 day cruise, sail date 11/30/14 I've sailed on two previous HAL ships, the Prisendam to the Western Med and the Rotterdam to Baltic. This was my first domestic cruise and first on the Ryndam. Several points: first, HAL is up ... Read More
7 day cruise, sail date 11/30/14 I've sailed on two previous HAL ships, the Prisendam to the Western Med and the Rotterdam to Baltic. This was my first domestic cruise and first on the Ryndam. Several points: first, HAL is up front, when you sign up for shore excursions, that if they don't get enough people they will cancel the excursion; this is purely business decision on their part and I can't fault them for it; nonetheless, just be aware that if you buy a cruise because of a particular shore excursion, they may not have that shore excursion; in my case I had signed up for the Tikal tour and they were unable to get the requisite 12 people needed and cancelled it; understand, I am not blaming HAL but just be aware that this could happen. Overall, the trip was pleasant, and the staff was polite, and by and large if you brought something to their attention it would be addressed. Nonetheless, to be blunt, the level of service was not up to that of previous ships, particularly the Prinsendam; the staff seemed overworked and somewhat clueless. There were several minor annoyances and one moderate one. Most of the problem was in the food service. I understand the Lido is not 24/7 food service, but they are, or should be, at least 24/7 coffee service. They repeatedly, over a number of days, ran out of teaspoons for coffee or tea; in the late morning and during the afternoon and even during dinner hours, you pour your tea and want to stir in some sugar, there are no teaspoons; on either side of the Lido, and when you asked a steward, they couldn't get you any. I can understand running out of spoons once in a while but not for hours and not repeatedly. Also, on all the HAL ships I've been on the first 48 hours after sailing, you are not allowed to 'self serve' from the buffet; this is to prevent the spread of Norovirus; it's kind of a pain in the neck, but it's a very good rule; you want salad; you want bread, you tell a server and they will hand it to you; you want a breakfast pastry or juice or cereal or fruit, they'll hand it to you. Not in this case; it was self service in these areas for the first 48 hours. It is much more convenient, but frankly I wondered about the spread of bugs. The main dining room, we went to a mariners lunch the last day, and the menu was fine, the food was fine, but the menu listed "petit fours" (i.e, little cookies) following the dessert; I saw stewards passing them out at some tables but they never made it to ours. I'm not going to go ballistic over not getting a lousy cookie but it was just a matter of inattention to detail; they didn't get around to offering it to our table and by the looks of it. some others as well. The cabin stewards were very polite but seemed overworked; in past cruises, the stewards were constantly cleaning the rooms; you go to breakfast and get back and the bed is made, the towels are up from the bathroom and then in the afternoon they come in and clean again and later in the day they clean again. Here, the beds are unmade and the towels are in the bathroom until after lunch, even if I put a "service please" tag in the door slot. If I specifically asked the steward to clean he would; but the fact is, I did not see him as frequently as I did on other cruises. I do not think that he was slack, I do think he had many more cabins to look after; I asked him and he was responsible for all the cabins on that side of the ship on that floor; amounting to 60 cabins; it seems to me that stewards had responsibility for fewer cabins on other ships. Also, for the smokers; on other ships there are two places to smoke, either a portion of the aft deck, or in the case of the Prinsendam, a corner of the Lido deck, and on the sports deck. Here, they had closed off the sports deck to smoking; they had an ashtray but it was roped off and you could not smoke there. That's fine, but the problem is that they shut down the aft deck, one time at 6 pm, one time at 7 pm, for cleaning, leaving smokers no place to smoke. The Prinsendam and Rotterdam cleaned these areas in the early morning hours; closing it down at dinner time is when a lot of people want a cig, a pipe or cigar, right after they've eaten. It just seemed not the best time to do their cleaning, particularly in light of the nonavailability of alternative smoking areas. If you don't smoke then you don't care but for those of us who do, it's a bit of annoyance. None of which 'ruined the cruise' but it did seem to me that the level of service was lower and more confused than in the other ships. The one "moderate" annoyance was this; once again, every other ship I've been on, both sides of the Lido were open for dinner. In the Ryndam, however, they'd shut down the port side of the Lido at 4:30 for dinner for "Crew and Staff" and keep it closed all throughout dinner. This really, really, made the traffic heavy and cut down on the table availability on the starboard side. I understand that the crew needs to eat, but once again, every other HAL ship the crew ate with the passengers.   Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
We are a retired married couple and have done 15 cruises (including this one) on 8 different cruise lines. We usually drive down to FL, so no restrictions on what we take. We just have to remember that we do the self-disembarkation and ... Read More
We are a retired married couple and have done 15 cruises (including this one) on 8 different cruise lines. We usually drive down to FL, so no restrictions on what we take. We just have to remember that we do the self-disembarkation and have to lug it all off by ourselves! Stayed at the Hampton Inn Westshore in Tampa through stay123. T Free on-site parking for 7 days, free breakfast, free WI-fi, free shuttle to & from the cruise port, plus a shuttle during your stay within a 3 mile radius. Within that radius is the International Mall with tons of retail stores and several eclectic restaurants. We had a large OV room on deck 5. Ship will be retired soon, so there is some wear, but generally in fairly good condition. The two rumors we heard - it was sold to either Singapore or Australia and would be used as a wine & dine venue. POSITIVES: Embarkation & disembarkation were very smooth. Our room felt spacious with plenty of storage. Personnel very engaging. Ship never felt crowded - good flow of passengers. Food quality was excellent - portions sized perfectly. Strong coffee & iced tea - just the way we like it! Buffet had servers handling most of the food items. Foods were generally under seasoned - which is good for those watching their sodium intake. Constantly saw HAL employees cleaning tables, glass doors railings, public bathrooms, etc. Music was not intrusive. Raven, the Steel Drum player was excellent! Loved the cooking shows at the Culinary Arts Center with Barbara. Happy hour at two bars most nights - Buy one drink - get second for $1.00. Room stewards did not have large cleaning carts in the hallway. NEGATIVES: Some of our towels were off-colored. Tub wall was very tall & hard to get into - prefer a walk-in shower with a door. Several night the service was glacial. Once seated at 5:15 and entree came at 6:30. Older clientele, thus dancing venue should be earlier. Most people were going to bed right after the show. The Ryndam will no longer be in the HAL line. The Ryndam's final farewell voyage is a 30 day cruise from Seattle, WA to Singapore on September, 21, 2015. I did review on 3 of our stops, but there was not a choice of picking: Santo Tomas de Castilla, Guatemala. So this is my GUATEMALA review: We usually do independent tours. However in Guatemala, due to safety reasons, we booked the tour of the Archaeological Ruins of Quirigua, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site, through the Holland American Ryndam ship. The tour was $89.95 per adult (which included the $10 per person entrance fee) and was scheduled for 4.5 hours. They noted that there would be no stops for food and to bring a snack. It was also noted that water would be provided, we were offered 1 bottle of non-chilled water. We left at 7:30 AM and did not get back until 1:10 PM. It was a 1.5 hour ride each way on a fairly smooth main road to get to the archaeological site. The bus was an air-conditioned Mercedes-Benz with cushioned seats and a compact bathroom at the rear of the bus. We arrived at the site and we toured the museum (none of the signs were in English) and then the Jade museum. Our guide Alfredo Juarez noted that we could stay with him or we could venture off by ourselves. He was very much into the fine details of each stalae, and after a few minutes, I decided to go off to take photos. I was able to climb the steps up to the Courtyard, which the rest of our tour group did not get to see. The ground was very muddy, as it had rained for the past several days. Fortunately, it was not raining while we were there. Primitive & buggy bathroom facilities with a large roll of toilet paper outside at the entrance. So, be sure to get your toilet paper before you enter a stall. There was a 15 minute stop to see a banana plantation. My problem was I found this 3rd world country to be very depressing. I saw many citizens with cell phone and the tour guide even mentioned that Facebook is very popular. Yet, the houses had no doors or windows and it appears that everyone just throws there garbage out the opened windows into the side yard. I loved the Mayan ruins, but if I am ever on another cruise to Guatemala, I will choose to stay on the ship!   Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
We had been on the Eastern Caribbean cruise in 2012 on the Nieuw Amsterdam and found that trip to be most excellent in all respects so we were quite excited to go on another HAL cruise. Embarking from Tampa, this cruise was clearly geared ... Read More
We had been on the Eastern Caribbean cruise in 2012 on the Nieuw Amsterdam and found that trip to be most excellent in all respects so we were quite excited to go on another HAL cruise. Embarking from Tampa, this cruise was clearly geared for the over 70 crowd which seem to be the average age of most of the passengers. That didn't bother us as we tend to go for the more adventurous excursions. Most of the passengers were, in fact, local Floridians. We embarked on Nov. 30th from Tampa pretty smoothly. We purposely waited until 1pm to arrive at the cruise port to avoid the initial rush and as a result, there was no line-up. My husband did get stuck behind a lady with a walker on the narrow gangplank but she was quite animated and fun to talk to. We saw quite a few walkers and wheel chairs on this cruise, most of them waiting for elevators which made the stairs very open and free for use. We had a fairly decent cabin steward this trip, we were near the stern of the ship on deck 14. Our cabin was always clean almost right after we left each morning. We were always greeted with a friendly hello and wave from the 2 stewards on our floor. The real issue with this cruise was the dining room and the pool area. HAL was clearly short staffing this particular cruise as I waited at least 30 minutes for anyone to walk by while sitting by the pool waiting for a drink order. Not that big of a deal since I probably saved myself some cash, however, given the last cruise we practically had to shoo the servers away, it was like going from one extreme to the other. Surely there must be some sort of happy medium? The 2nd problem was the dining room. We had the early seating sitting at a table for 6 with 2 lovely single senior ladies, both from Florida. The 2 other seats at our table remained empty throughout the cruise despite hearing from other people that they were hoping to get added to the first seating. Not sure why they didn't fill those seats. We also had to wait an extraordinarily long time between our first course and 2nd courses, in one case, 40 minutes. And then to add insult to injury, they gonged us to get out of the room so that they could get ready for the next sitting, wow! All of the wait staff were working very hard so we couldn't fault them, however, it was clear that more servers were needed in the room. The food was good but the selection was not nearly as varied as we experienced on our previous HAL cruise. The ports of call were ok, but we both preferred the Eastern Caribbean cruise ports. Disembarkation turned out to be very stressful for us as we had booked an 11:05am flight. The other choice for a direct flight was 5:30pm. Knowing the cruise line recommended that we book flights after 1pm I hemmed a bit before picking the 11:05 flight. All of our previous cruises (this was our 6th one) had arrived at the final port before 7am and since the airport ride was only 15 minutes by cab, I figured we were safe. Well, unfortunately for all of us, we were held up by the fog which was not the cruise lines fault so we did not actually land until just after 9:30am. The one thing that I didn't realize and don't remember reading anywhere, was the fact that the cruise line was the fact that everyone on board was being held hostage until ALL non-US passengers were to be cleared by customs prior to leaving the ship, wow, we did not have that experience on any of our previous cruises. They really should paid for a customs office board our ship while we were anchored early in the morning and cleared everyone while we were traversing the channel. It would have been so much more efficient. Had we been able to get off the ship immediately upon docking, I have no doubt we would have made our flight on time as our cab driver got us to the airport in 10 minutes. The other issue was after we were given the clear to disembark, the HAL staff did not properly guide people off in our respective groups, it was a free-for-all in the hallway and most of the passengers (including our 2 dinner companions) could have waited to disembark as they were all just local Floridians. We weren't the only ones that missed their flights either so it was disappointing. I will accept the fact that we should have booked our flights later, however, we were not impressed at all with HAL's handling of the disembarkation process which, quite frankly, left a bad taste in our mouths. We will likely give HAL one more chance in the future to hopefully, to return their service levels back up to previous levels, and of course, next time we will book flight AFTER 1pm. Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
This was my first time on Holland America. I chose the Ryndam for the itinerary -- Key West, Trujillo, Santo Tomas Castillo, and Costa Maya. The ship is mid sized, and she is just gorgeous. The decor is not glitzy, but very elegant ... Read More
This was my first time on Holland America. I chose the Ryndam for the itinerary -- Key West, Trujillo, Santo Tomas Castillo, and Costa Maya. The ship is mid sized, and she is just gorgeous. The decor is not glitzy, but very elegant focusing on old world nautical decor. It's easy to navigate as well. I had a Vista Spa Suite, and it was huge with all the amenities which made the cruise even more pleasant. The bedding was fantastic. The food and service on board was first rate. Room service was also first rate and beautifully presented (prompt too). The entertainment was great. Many cruise lines have cut back on entertainment, but it seems that Holland America has not made any cutbacks. I loved the different afternoon teas and they all had a different theme. Embarkation and debarkation was a breeze. Believe me when I tell you that Holland America is a first class operation. They really know what they are doing and they do it so well. Age group was a good amount of seniors, but middle age and young as well. I felt there was something for everyone to enjoy while on board. I have been on almost 60 cruises, and I believe this expereince was among the best for me. I felt it far exceeded Celebrity as Celebrity has cut back a lot and it's very noticeable to its guests. The ports were great. Unfortunately, there was a lot of rain in Honduras, and many passengers were stuck on a bus (including myself) for several hours because the bus could not initially cross a river. Holland America made good on the bad experience, and refunded our money for this shore excursion. I believe they will do further research about this port because the roads are primitive, and the transportation cannot safely transport cruise guests. However, Trujillo is a beautiful place, and the locals were trying in every way to make us happy. Areas of improvement. Holland America needs to have a string quartet or some sort of music during dinner in the main dining room. Homemade ice cream would also be a plus. Overall, this was a very organized cruise and an extremely pleasant experience for me. I would definitely sail with Holland again before even considering other cruise lines. Truly, I felt as if Holland America still continues with providing guests with a classy cruise experience of years gone by, which many cruise lines don't provide these days. Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
We are long time cruisers, having been on anything from Carnival to Oceania. This was our first and probably our last with Holland America. We were attracted to the Ryndam because it is a smaller ship as well as its departure port ... Read More
We are long time cruisers, having been on anything from Carnival to Oceania. This was our first and probably our last with Holland America. We were attracted to the Ryndam because it is a smaller ship as well as its departure port (Tampa). I had worried when I read before that HAL attracted an older clientele and had shared that with my husband prior to booking. We aren't spring chickens but we are active adults. We decided to give it a try. Our room was excellent and the layout of the ship is great. The food was tasty, albeit limited choices (we attributed that to the smaller ship). Entertainment was excellent. However, here are some issues that really made the trip less than enjoyable: No attention paid to passenger sanitization. On NCL, there is usually an individual standing at the entrance to the cafe and the entrance when returning from a stop, monitoring hand sanitization. We never saw one person ever pay attention at any stop or venue. Just as an experiment, we sat in the cafe at a busy lunchtime and counted the next 40 people who entered the Lido Cafe. 6 out of 40 applied hand sanitizer. That is 15%! Long waits in the dining room for table service. When seated in the dining room, if you are the first couple placed at a table (they seem to frown on couples dining alone) you have to wait until another couple is seated with you before any beverages (including water) is served. Not sure if they are short staffed, but definitely slower than NCL or Royal Caribbean. The menu was not as varied as NCL or Royal Caribbean. The staff (high Indonesian percentage) really struggles with English. They are polite, but do not communicate well. The salad bar in the Lido Cafe was not up to par. Two days found no onions. Never saw crumbled egg or croutons. Often the containers were empty (crock type containers that have assorted toppings). Ice water and iced tea are pre-poured by staff and the trays are left in front of the coffee machines. Passengers regularly reached over the trays to get coffee or grab something. Very unsanitary, IMHO. The fitness center equipment needs attention. The touch pads were on their last leg, several attached TVs didn't even work. Two of our four stops were Trujillo (Honduras) and Santo Tomas de Castilla (Guatemala). They are relatively primitive stops and really need improvement to compete with Roatan or Costa Maya, etc. Finally and this is not HAL fault: this ship attracts an elderly crowd. As we would leave the dining room at the end of our meal, it was not unusual to see 6-8 assorted wheelchairs, walkers and scooters. While I applaud the bravery of those with challenges traveling, we found it depressing. Again this was not Holland America's fault. Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
My wife and I have sailed on cruises from 7 different cruise lines and I can say hands down that this was the worst. The entire experience was flat at best. Yes, there were good experiences but the bad outweighed them by more than just a ... Read More
My wife and I have sailed on cruises from 7 different cruise lines and I can say hands down that this was the worst. The entire experience was flat at best. Yes, there were good experiences but the bad outweighed them by more than just a bit. Where to start? The cabin was OK and our steward was average at best. One easily got the feeling that the entire ship was short staffed. Our steward appeared overworked and it took until the afternoon to have our room made up. All of the staff was well trained but most lacked a command of the English language. It was difficult to converse with anyone except on a very basic level. The food was good but there were some serious shortcomings in this area. The main dining room was slow at best. They were always trying to seat you at a table of 8 or more. Four is OK bit more is not for us. More than once we were sat first only to have to wait 7-8 minutes for another couple to join us before we even got a glass of water. There were long waits for courses. The buffet was lacking in many respects. The salad bar was incomplete, sometimes without croutons, onion, cheese or other basics. Not all at once but enough to annoy us. Not being able to dish out our own scrambled eggs, meats, and other breakfast essentials only caused long lines and bad attitudes. Way too many times the cruise ship staff ate at the buffet during "peak" times again causing non necessary long waits for sandwiches and the like. No one EVER checked or encouraged patrons to the buffet area or dining room to sanitized their hands. I would guess that less than 10% of people entering bothered to sanitize. It would seem they were begging for a flu epidemic. The ship in general is very tired in most areas. We frequently use the exercise facilities and found while the the equipment worked, the electronics were screwed up on most of the bikes, treadmills, and elliptical machines. This really surprised me. I really don't have an axe to grind but my expectations of this cruise line was based on my past experiences from 7 other cruise lines. I have come to a new appreciation of these cruise lines. Holland America was below average at best. I really don't see myself sailing with them again. These folks need to look at their competition and up their game.   Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
Ryndam (Retired) 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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