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350 Ryndam (Retired) Cruise Reviews

We are relatively experienced cruisers, with about 15 cruises--more than 10 with Holland America. We fit the Holland America demographic and enjoy the smaller ships. We embarked on this cruise in Istanbul, after a three day stint exploring ... Read More
We are relatively experienced cruisers, with about 15 cruises--more than 10 with Holland America. We fit the Holland America demographic and enjoy the smaller ships. We embarked on this cruise in Istanbul, after a three day stint exploring the city. As the "sail away" from Istanbul was not until 11:00 pm, we had elected to board in the late afternoon. There was absolutely no line, so baggage drop off and embarkation processing was super smooth. It was less than 10 minutes from the time we arrived at the port until we were walking across the gangway to the ship. With a late afternoon boarding, our cabin was ready upon boarding and our luggage was delivered within 30 minutes. Can't beat that. This is our third cruise aboard the Ryndam. The ship is showing its age, with layers of paint, and corrosion apparent on the exterior decks. However, the public spaces, including the Lido deck and cabins are all well maintained and pleasant. We are very familiar with the layout of the Ryndam and that makes shore to ship transition easy. We are always big fans of the libraries on Holland America ships, and this cruise was no exception. With this cruise (a "collector voyage" of two cruises combined) including a transatlantic crossing, the library was under higher than normal pressure and the selection of available books declined as the sea days added up. Often a cruise is dramatically effected by the weather. On this cruise, it was uniformly awesome, with partly cloudy skies, moderate temperatures, and very mild seas nearly every day. We had one evening/night with about six foot seas--other than that, as calm as we have ever seen. This weather made the cruising and the port calls memorable. The activities on board were typical of Holland America and we are not big participants. We do attend events in the Culinary center and Barbara, the culinary center manager for this cruise was truly exceptional...what a personality. She hosted the daily "Sip and Savor" with a wine tasting and hors d'oeuvre prepared in the Pinnacle grill. It was a "sold out" event each day. We also enjoyed the Cellar Master Dinners...a gourmet food and wine pairing hosted by the cellar master in the Pinnacle Dining Room (at extra charge). Some passengers complained that the daily events became "routine" and there was no variety. The cruise director was not one of the most enthusiastic nor one of the more personable that we have encountered...which may have led to these opinions. Both my wife and I commented several times throughout the cruise that we felt this was the highest quality food we have had on any of our 15 or so cruises--across the board from the Lido buffet, the main dining room, and the Pinnacle Grill. We attributed this to the executive chef and his managing chefs--who were literally everywhere--leading by example. They would assist with the most mundane of tasks and were intent on teaching the entire staff the best way to accomplish each task. The results distinctly noticeable...great food. The service by the dining stewards and deck crews (food and beverage) was very good, with essentially no lapses...a difficult feat given the hours they work. The cabin service was about average for our experience, but phenomenal given the number of cabins each steward team is required to service. Our cabin was on the Lower Promenade (Deck 6), the "walking deck"--which is our preferred location. We had no issues with our cabin and found it to be comfortable and with enough storage for all our stuff. The shower and bath worked flawlessly and the water was extremely hot--a nice thing to have. We usually select "any time" dining, as we prefer to have the opportunity to meet as many new friends on the cruise as we can. This tends to bounce you around the dining room, so you do not get as strong an attachment to a particular steward crew. Our experiences were very good. As mentioned earlier--the quality of the food in the main dining room was exceptional on this cruise--kudos to the executive chef, his managing chefs, and the galley staff. The entertainment on this cruise was underwhelming. The cabaret singers and dancers had individual talent, but the programs somehow missed the mark for this demographic. One high note was a group name Ukebox, who joined the cruise in Madeira and played two ("sold out") shows. Armed with electric ukuleles (even a bass version), they translated their youthful energy and excellent musical talent into the most entertaining show we have ever seen on a cruise ship. Bravo. We selected this cruise because of the various ports of call, and we were not disappointed. We cannot say enough about Istanbul (but we had three days to see it). Other favorites were Ephesus, Turkey; Katakolon, Greece (Olympia), Naples, Italy (Pompeii), Barcelona, Malaga (Granada/Alhambra), Cadiz (Seville), and Madeira (not a scheduled port...but a fortuitous change). We elected to book private tours (for only two individuals or very small groups) in almost every port, so we did not use the ships shore excursions. We were a little nervous about the number of sea days in the Atlantic crossing (scheduled for eight and ended up being nine)...suspecting that we might get terminally bored. That did not happen. We had activities on board (both ship provided and individually arranged) that kept us engaged everyday and we never felt bored nor like we could not wait for the cruise to end. Good lesson for us, as these "transition" cruises can be a very good cruising value. Disembarkation did end up being a little bit rocky. We arrived in the port of Tampa at about 6:00 am. "Non-U.S. Passport Holders" had to clear immigration processing on board the ship prior to any passengers disembarking. As is always the case, there were a number of this group (as there are in any group) that felt the rules did not apply to them...so they did not show up. Finally the list was whittled down to about five couples and then, eventually, down to one couple who could not be located. However...this took over an hour. Frustrations were building rapidly, as many travelers had airline flight reservations that initially seemed to offer plenty of time to get to the airport...but after the extensive delays, were becoming tight. This is the first time we have experienced any delay of this type disembarking and it seemed that much of the delay may have been preventable by better procedures or by more effective actions once roadblocks were identified. Still...this was one of our best cruises ever and just whetted our appetite to begin thinking about our next itinerary. Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
We are experienced independent travelers who have recently started using cruises as a means of easily and cheaply getting from one place to another. We combined a 14-day segment from Istanbul to Barcelona (Istanbul, Kusadasi, Marmaris, ... Read More
We are experienced independent travelers who have recently started using cruises as a means of easily and cheaply getting from one place to another. We combined a 14-day segment from Istanbul to Barcelona (Istanbul, Kusadasi, Marmaris, Antalya, Port Said, Alexandria, Katakolon, Corfu, Messina, Naples, Barcelona) with another 14-day segment from Barcelona to Tampa (Barcelona, Cartagena, Malaga, Cadiz, Funchal, Tampa). We arrived in Turkey a week early and flew to Cappadocia (somewhat overrated but worth a day or two) then on to Istanbul (a fantastic city). We stayed at the Azze Hotel. The Azze Hotel is very inexpensive and sits in a wonderful location a few steps from the "Tunel" Funicular which takes you right down to the Galata Bridge. The manager, Tugba (pronounced "Tuba") was a wonderful young lady with a pleasant attitude and many good suggestions. The main pedestrian shopping street and dining/bar scene is less than 6 minutes walk away. Embarkation was a breeze in Istanbul. No fuss, no muss. Just checked our luggage through and walked right on board. The Ryndam was just right for us. Not too big and not too small. She carried about 1,100 passengers on our cruise. She has simple, clean common areas with traditional works of art that give her interior an old-world feel. Her wrap-around teak promenade deck and wooden deck chairs harken back to a time when passenger ships still had class and style. Fresh, live plants and flowers are everywhere. Staff is constantly polishing wood and brass, cleaning windows and keeping decks and common areas clean. Our cabin (#651) was quite nice with only minor issues found (see separate cabin review). The activities on board were sub-par and the entertainment was of a typically mediocre cabaret quality. Exceptions included the Piano/Violin duo who provided a very pleasant respite of classical music. A personal peeve of ours was how loudly the "Halcats" would play poolside and how poor the lead singer was. The musicians were all very good but the lead singer had a talent for ruining most every song she hurled at the audience (songs we love in their original form). It seems volume was her stand-in for talent. Service in the Main Dining Room (MDR) was very good. We opted for the late seating on the upper level and were quite satisfied. The food was of a predictable, yet satisfactory quality with only a few off nights. We tried the extra-charge Grill once and were very disappointed. The steaks were tough and the vegetable sides came out limp and greasy as if they had been kept under a heat lamp for hours. Dessert was great. Overall, It was not worth it. Our cabin stewards were very friendly and helpful. Service in the bar areas was relaxed with no pressure to buy additional drinks. Many of the people working the Guest Services desk were poorly trained with many things lost in translation. Explaining a situation or fixing a problem could be frustrating. Although senior ship officers were generally friendly and competent, the youth and experience levels of many lesser managers left much room for improvement. Excellent self-esteem is not a substitute for professionalism. The library was large and well stocked with a good selection of books and periodicals. The librarian was pleasant and helpful. During the first segment of the cruise library patrons were generally well- mannered and quiet. Unfortunately, during the second segment (after Barcelona), the new batch of passengers were decidedly less polite -- often eating and talking loudly with no regard for others. The self-serve laundries were conveniently located on most cabin decks. Laundry detergent was included with use of the machine, (a nice surprise and rare on many ships). As usual, trips to the laundry could result in pleasant companionship or combative, territorial show-downs depending on the time of day and the direction of the wind. We traveled independently or used private and semi-private guide services for almost all of our shore excursions. They are as good and often far better than the ship's excursion services at one half to one third the price! The one ship's excursion we took in Funchal (Madiera) was a complete waste of time and money with an obnoxious tour guide and bland, tasteless tourist food for lunch. Of our various shore excursions, our favorites included the fabulous city of Ephesus (Kusadasi) and the astounding statues of the Antalya Museum in Turkey; the historic city of Corfu in Greece; the ancient cities of Taurmina (Messina) and Pompeii (Naples) in Italy; and the exceptional cities of Barcelona, Granada (Malaga) and Seville (Cadiz) in Spain. But the one excursion that towers above them all was our overnight trip to Cairo with Samir Abbass of Real Egypt Tours as our guide (see our separate shore excursion review for Cairo/Port Said and Alexandria). If you’re considering a shore excursion to Cairo, do yourself a favor and contact Samir Abbass of Real Egypt Tours. Just look him up on Tripadvisor or do a Google search. You'll be glad you did. The last night of the cruise was all smiles and happiness. The next morning it was clear that you were nothing but an impediment to getting the next group of passengers on board. "Good morning! (Hurry up and get off so I can get my job done.)" You get the picture. Disembarkation in Tampa was a disaster. Things were delayed for nearly two hours because one German couple did not hear the announcement or understand that they were required to appear in the showroom lounge for an immigration interview before all the other passengers could get off. No one of the staff thought to knock on their cabin door or make the announcement in German until the very end! Needless to say, many people missed their flights that day. In summary, we liked the cruise and loved the ports of call. We would recommend this cruise and the Ryndam for people who like a relatively quiet, mid-size ship with traditional touches and exciting destinations.   Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
This was our first experience with Holland America, having cruised before on Royal Caribbean.  What can I say....we LOVED this amazing, beautiful ship and her exceptional crew. Embarkation was very smooth, with our cases delivered ... Read More
This was our first experience with Holland America, having cruised before on Royal Caribbean.  What can I say....we LOVED this amazing, beautiful ship and her exceptional crew. Embarkation was very smooth, with our cases delivered promptly. One thing that really stood out to us was the feeling of space on this ship - there were never crowds or queues anywhere!! I think the explanation is that there are so many different areas to go on the ship - it took us our whole cruise to find all the different places you could sit/lounge!! Ryndam is such an elegant ship - beautifully kept and maintained. However, the really special feature of the ship is it's AMAZING crew. So friendly - nothing is a bother and they can't do enough to make your holiday feel so special. The entertainment was also much better than we had expected. Loved that there were different bands, musicians and shows you could visit .... and you could just 'drop in' to them - no tedious booking required. Our fellow passengers - much to our relief- were a good mix of ages, though I have to say that we were shocked at how incredibly rude a small minority of them were to the crew (the crew took it all with a smile, but really, no-one goes to work to be spoken to in that manner). Only 2 things we weren't so keen on - formal night was much less "formal" than on Royal Caribbean and I felt a little out of place in my floor length dress which had fitted in perfectly with Royal Caribbean's formal evenings. Come on folks - its fun to get dressed up once in a while...isn't it?! :) Secondly, we had a trip to the spa and there was an extremely hard sell with one of the therapists (the other one was fine) which made me feel quite uncomfortable. The food was fab - a real step up from Royal Caribbean. I would say that HAL are less "in your face" and less "glitz and glamour" than Royal Caribbean, but we adored the chilled out, relaxed feel on Ryndam. Massive thank you to all the crew who made this trip our best ever holiday!!! We will definitely cruise HAL in the future. Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
My wife gets motion sick so we held off going on a cruise. She never got ill on this cruise it was mostly smooth, only one windy day precluding a stop at Mykonos for safety reasons. The staff were very helpful and friendly. As a first ... Read More
My wife gets motion sick so we held off going on a cruise. She never got ill on this cruise it was mostly smooth, only one windy day precluding a stop at Mykonos for safety reasons. The staff were very helpful and friendly. As a first cruise we went in a standard State room which was kind of crowded for the three of us. Hindsight I would have spent the extra $900p/p for a Suite on deck 10, still we enjoyed the trip. Internet was very slow and I advise those that have teenagers spend the $275 for 1000 minutes, as our incremental purchases put us well over that. For 14 days we would have come under 1000 minutes of internet, oh well, next time. I would have indulged in the alcohol package, I think that was several hundred dollars, but the lifestyle on board is more relaxed and the odd tipple is hard to knock back. We did get the Admiral Package of 7 quality wines for $320. Oh yeah, all my dollar references are in AUD which was about 91c USD at the time. Plan your trips ashore, if you are slack you must attend the daily briefings help on the ship about the next stops activities. You can do it more cheaply by researching, chatting to other Cruise Critic users, but be warned: if the tour is late the ship goes unless it is a tour organised by the ship. I found this trip an excellent way of exploring for future holidays, loved Venice, Santorini and Istanbul and have them on my future holiday list. The Karaoke was too short as were most shows, but remember this trip catered to older clientele so 45 minutes was good for them. The ship staff at Karaoke, particularly Henry and Alvin, were very talented singers and very funny also. From Australia I would not go by Emerites again, as even booking QANTAS meant delays in Dubai (ex Brisbane). The Captain has a second career as a Stand Up Comedian. Food was second to none, even the Lido Restaurant held it one. In all we will plan more cruising holidays - thanks Ryndam. Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
This was our 21st cruise and first with HAL. We were very pleased even with some minor problems. We arrived 3 days early to Barcelona and stayed at the Hotel Jazz, which we would recommend. The room was a little on the noisy side from ... Read More
This was our 21st cruise and first with HAL. We were very pleased even with some minor problems. We arrived 3 days early to Barcelona and stayed at the Hotel Jazz, which we would recommend. The room was a little on the noisy side from street traffic but not terrible. It was a great location not far from Las Ramblas and near the Metro. We left for the port at 11:30 the taxi was 20 EU and check in was quick and luggage was delivered promptly to our room. Lifeboat drill was outside on the promenade and was a little longer and slightly disorganized. It was uncomfortable staying outside in the heat and having to wait to hear your room number. ROOM: was on 6th floor with the promenade deck right outside our window. As we usually take a balcony we were a little concerned but it was very convenient and we loved the promenade. We did have some noise issues from the Kitchen above the room but guest relations did there best to minimize it late at night. Entertainment: surprisingly good for a small ship. We liked the comedian and the magician FOOD: WAS very good, especially in the dining room. Did not love the buffet as it was crowded and getting beverages and food at the same time was inconvenient. We ate lunch in Pinnacle Grill the last day ($10 pp)as only the buffet was available. It was very good. We also liked the set up they had for the grill by the pool as you ordered your burger and the pager rang when it was ready. Excursions: only booked 2 with HAL and they were just fair. I will say there wasn't alot to do on seadays. My husband did take 3 digital camera workshops which he liked. The gym was ok, and we also bought passes to use the thermal suite. The hot tub there was just mediocre and the steam room did not have steam. It was not worthwhile and even at $150 for 2. It was definitely one of our best cruises. All the staff were very pleasant. Yes it is an older ship but it had a lot of charm.   Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
This was our first cruise on Holand America, and I can say it will be our last. Queuing for thirty minutes each night to get into the restaurant, then waiting another thirty minutes for our order to be taken was realy quite poor. The ... Read More
This was our first cruise on Holand America, and I can say it will be our last. Queuing for thirty minutes each night to get into the restaurant, then waiting another thirty minutes for our order to be taken was realy quite poor. The main restaurant was in serious need for a refurbishment, and I would go as far as to say it was quite embarrassing . The food in the main resturant on most nights was cold, and was below average. On the positive side the buffet resturant was realy nice, hot and tasty. If you are looking for a luxury cruise Ryndam is not it. The staff in bars were very friendly,and worked very hard. The entertainment was quite good,but I think that was because they had one young lady that was exceptionally good. The children's club were very nice,and did their best with what they had. Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
This was our second cruise, after previously doing a cruise aboard Celebrity Reflection last year which I would rate as a 5 star experience. My review title pretty much sums up our experience, a good cruise, providing a solid 3 star ... Read More
This was our second cruise, after previously doing a cruise aboard Celebrity Reflection last year which I would rate as a 5 star experience. My review title pretty much sums up our experience, a good cruise, providing a solid 3 star service. It was marketed as 5-star but the reality falls short due to a few material short-comings, but let's start with the positives. WHAT WE LIKED Entertainment in the bars; choice of classical musicians, or the piano man (singing pop classics), plus a few others musical choices meant you could pick a bar according to your how you mood takes you any particular evening. Swimming pools: don't think they were heated, which for me was a plus as it meant they weren't overly crowded - and cold water is better for burning calories. Bar staff: very quick service, will take orders from your table/lounger and return with said drinks quickly. Casino/Bingo: Good fun Cinema: We liked watching the new releases with the complimentary pop corn (some days it's a documentary / old filem though which we didn't like) Library: Nice vibe to it Food: Nice chips / chicken / steak / desserts Cabin: We had a suite with a balcony - the room was good size and had bath/shower. It was kept clean by the staff. Some of the ports: We liked most of the ports (Bergen,Gerainger, Eidford). Alesund was pretty boring, the only interesting thing we found there was the antique shop - don't bother with the Art Noveau museum unless your the type that can look at a blank wall and consider it of profound importance. WHAT DISSAPOINTED US: Service in retsurants at PEAK TIMES was slow, whether we were eating in the Lido (informal dining area), or the Rottredam (seated dining). We worked out best way to get around this was to book a table at off-peak time (e.g. 5:30) if going to the Rotterdam, however, we couldn't find a similar solution to eating at the Lido (informal dining area) as it was nearly always busy. We gave up trying to get an omlette. No trays in Lido restaurant (unless you nick a staff tray) means you make multiple tips between the counter and table as it's not possible to carry everything in just two hands. I wonder if this is done on purpose to reduce food consumption? Having to book a table. We were on open-dining which theoretically meant we could turn up anytime and be seated in the Rotterdam restaurant. The reality is you will have to book a table for a specific time the day before if you want your own table - which is recommended if you don't want to wait for everyone else to be served before beginning a course (the one time we sat on a shared table, we were there for 2 hrs 40 minutes and the food/drink only took us 25 minutes to eat/drink, so we were waiting for 2 hours 15 mintes). Book a table, go at an off-peak time (e.g. 5:30) and you can do the same 3 courses in under 45 muntes. Food variety: Could have done with greater lunch/dinner variety in the Lido (informal dining area). Not much if anything in the way of Indian or Asian food. Water bottle replacement in cabins: On the whole the cabin service was very good but let down by non replacement of water bottles. I had to order room service for more and was told they may or may not be able to provide us with water as the bar had closed 10 minutes ago (luckily they did). WHAT WAS OK BUT NOTHING TO WRITE HOME ABOUT The shows: Neither great nor awful Friendliness of staff: They were friendly but it felt a bit false on some occassions. I wouldn't be surprised if there's a rule that they have to ask 'how are you?' while simultaneasouly smiling on pain of dismissal. Free Coffeee: I've had better Spa: Great massage ruined by a unwelcome and prolonged product push at the end. SUMMARY We enjoyed our cruise and many aspects of the ship and crew. Had our expectation been set on a solid 3-star (on some occassions 4 star) service then we would have been very pleased. As our expectations were a bit higher, while still enjoying the holiday, we would think carefully about the price vs. service balance before booking again. If the price was very competitive we might book as I'd feel it was a fair price for the service we would likely recieve. Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
This was our second cruise onboard the ryndam and the standards were still excellent. Perfect stateroom (vista 192 on deck 9) service was second to none as were the ports of call and wonderful weather. I would highly recommend a cruise ... Read More
This was our second cruise onboard the ryndam and the standards were still excellent. Perfect stateroom (vista 192 on deck 9) service was second to none as were the ports of call and wonderful weather. I would highly recommend a cruise through the Norwegian fjords as the scenery is stunning and it truly allows for relaxation. We visited Oslo, Kristiansand, Stavanger and Ulvik. All ports were great and with the exception of Oslo the weather was fantastic. Don't be put off by the fact that Oslo is a rainy city, we have been twice and it has rained on both occasions but it has never stopped our explorations (independently) of this beautiful place. Definitely do a trip if you go to Ulvik for hardangerfjord or anywhere in that area because the views around Osa are amazing. Having travelled with royal Caribbean, Costa, cunard and cruise and maritime as well as HAL I can honestly recommend cruises with HAL for the high level of service provided by every member of staff. The quality of the food in the Rotterdam restaurant was exceptional every night and I am shocked at the reviews that have not supported this because neither my husband or I had any criticism of any meal served, the selection was great and we tried some things that were new ( I thoroughly enjoyed my escargots, which were nothing like the rubbery things I had eaten as a child). My only criticism would be that I would have liked an indication of calories or even something that specified healthy option on the menu because as much as I thought I was guessing the best option my scales don't seem to agree but that is just another confirmation of how good the food was. All shows were good and the production, Droom, was probably the best show we had seen at sea, amazing costumes and one not to be missed. Ryndam is an old lady but she has worn well and as long as you are not expecting a brand new super liner like some of the newer ships you will not be disappointed, especially for couples wanting charm, relaxation and to be made to feel special every day. We can't wait for our next trip with them next year and as ever we will have a nightly visit to the crows nest to reflect on another lovely day.   Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
There were many things I liked about the Ryndam and our first HAL experience - the crew were excellent; genuinely friendly and helpful, our room was of a generous size, hygiene in the Lido was very good indeed - Cunard/Celebrity take note, ... Read More
There were many things I liked about the Ryndam and our first HAL experience - the crew were excellent; genuinely friendly and helpful, our room was of a generous size, hygiene in the Lido was very good indeed - Cunard/Celebrity take note, our stewards were the best yet... but...but... The food itself in the dinning room was frankly 'orrible and even when we mentioned it was burnt and inedible nothing was done about it - we relied on the Neptune Lounge for sustenance, not ideal and they looked aghast that we actually enjoyed/prefer dining offshore. It didn't enhance our holiday to have to supervise our 16 year old son (who competes at an high level in various sports) in the gym for an hour every day - terrible message to send out to teenagers trying to live an healthy lifestyle. In the room there was mould in the fridge!! and o dearie, dearie... the last night our son had a restless night and I fair gagged when the state of his mattress was revealed - just revolting and covered in stains. We'd recently had a grim 'Celebrity' experience...I think the Ryndam has finally nailed any thoughts to cruise again - shame as it could have been a very good experience. Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
This was my first ever cruise but a friend recommended it and I went along. I had a big cabin with balcony by myself and it was very nice and comfortable but for two people I find it too small. The cabin boy was excellent, his first ... Read More
This was my first ever cruise but a friend recommended it and I went along. I had a big cabin with balcony by myself and it was very nice and comfortable but for two people I find it too small. The cabin boy was excellent, his first cruise, his name Wiso. I found the food in the Lido so bad that I stuck to salads. My friend and I ate most nights in the jRotterdam which was o.k. but the food in the Italian restaurant was excellent as well as in the restaurant where one pays an extra 29,95. Good atmosphere and food. I went to the gym every day it had plenty of machines for everybody but I liked the conditioning class which was daily and pilates which was offered twice on the cruise with an additional charge for $15 which is high for just 40 minutes. Swimming was impossible since there were 300 kids on board. When I returned by 4:00 pm from the cruise I felt like a dip but kids would jump from all the sides and I fled. There should have been one hour in the afternoon where adults could swim but nobody interfered so I stayed away after 3 tries. The excursions were dull and without much to see, for example to Kristiansand past and present. We went by bus to an old church from the 1700, white and wooden but could only trample through the cemetery to get a photo from the outside, the church was locked. Then we went through a little village with houses and flours very pretty but nothing special and then an old former farm village which was nice but $60 for that. The worst was the excursion which took 5 1/2 hours mostly driving. I had expected going on a small ship through the fjords but we went to an information centre and saw a 20 minutes movie which was interesting flying over the fjords this hamlet had three or 4 houses a restaurant and nothing and we had a whole hour to sit and wait for the bus to take us to a water fall quite nice but that was it the restaurant with gift shop and we had another hour to sit around. The trip left the ship at 08:20 and we were there at 10:00 but only got back around 3:00 to the ship. The cost was $200. So I had paid in advance $339 for the three excursions and could not get out of them but I was told by my agent to sign up because they would be filled fast. This is not true most people did not take any although the last one had two busses because people expected more of the fjords to see. I would never take an excursion again in a country where almost everybody speaks good English but would find out what it entails before taking an excursion again. It is only good for people with a handicap but for somebody who likes to walk and get around it is a waste of money. The entertainment was offered every night but I went once and found it second rate so I returned to my cabin and read my book instead. I would have liked to go to a movie but most of the time they started at 6:00 which was too early with coming back from excursions an exercise classes from 5-6 nearly and my friend wanted to eat dinner at 8:00 and we had to be on time especially at the Rotterdam restaurant where we sat with 4 other people and you had to be there. Disembarkation ran smoothly and the organization was very good. I had problems with my cabin card three times on a day of excursion they told me my card had a fault and I had to get back to the front desk so after three times running back and forth I had enough and I told the desk if I did not get another card I would scream and I finally got one always having to queue up it was very frustrating, I wanted to buy a robe as a souvenir but the one they brought was too big so they told me they would try to get me a smaller one. I never heard from them again. I wanted to have a questionnaire because my friend got one right away after returning so wrote on the e-mail address she had if I could have one also. I did not get an answer so I contacted my agent in Hamburg and they said that it was not sent to people outside of the U.K. or the U.S.A. There were several other nationalities on board. On my statement it said it would be sent but nothing!!!!! Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
Just back from a week long cruise to norwegian fjords. Where to start: Cabins stewards and waiters very friendly but could do with a bit more training ie leaning over tables instead of going around, slopping water into the glasses, ... Read More
Just back from a week long cruise to norwegian fjords. Where to start: Cabins stewards and waiters very friendly but could do with a bit more training ie leaning over tables instead of going around, slopping water into the glasses, afternoon tea very rushed (no white gloves like other cruise lines who do afternoon tea). Entertainment hit and miss. Shows in the theatre were excellent especially by the ryndam singers, can't comment about entertainment in other places as they were all on at the same time (usually during dinner).Service was very slow but that was because they had 1438 people (supposed to be 1250max) one of the dining staff let it slip because we had to wait 3/4 of an hour for our main meal after the soup. The kitchen staff couldn't cope, but that is not their fault.  Cabins very spacious but a bit tired like the bathroom black plastic rim around the toilet seat kept falling down no-one came to repair it. There were quite a few people onboard who all said the same about the service. Lido ok but closes at 2pm. If you come back late only deli sandwich bar open. Needless to say we will not be sailing with Holland America again. Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
My wife and I wanted to escape the heat of South Florida and take a relaxing scenic cruise- and certainly a week cruising the Norwegian fjords on HAL's Ryndam fit the bill perfectly. We flew to London a day before the cruise and ... Read More
My wife and I wanted to escape the heat of South Florida and take a relaxing scenic cruise- and certainly a week cruising the Norwegian fjords on HAL's Ryndam fit the bill perfectly. We flew to London a day before the cruise and stayed at the Bailey's Millenium Hotel in Kensington. We've been there before, and we enjoy the English charm of the place, with quirky hallways and elevators and it's great location across the street from the tube station at Gloucester Road which is normally a straight shot from Heathrow on the Piccadilly Line. Two warnings however: 1) the facade of the hotel is covered by scaffolding as they renovate it (although we weren't bothered by any noise at all), and 2) the aforementioned tube station is also undergoing renovations until December, 2014. This meant that while the District and Circle lines are operating normally, you can't get off the Piccadilly Line at Gloucester Road. You can get off one stop beforehand at Earl's Court and walk 15 minutes (we did this since it was a nice day and rolling our two suitcases along the sidewalks was quite doable), catch a taxi, or transfer to the District Line at Earl's Court (or at several stops beforehand) and then get off at Gloucester Road. The next day we we caught HAL's transfer bus at the Green Bus Terminal near Victoria Station for the 2 hour ride to Dover. This was very easy to do since our hotel was only 10 minutes away from the bus terminal, and we were met by a HAL rep before we could even get out of the taxi (£5 fare). Dover embarkation was wonderfully easy- baggage handlers took the luggage off the bus (no tips) and twenty minutes later we were walking onto the ship. Bags arrived soon thereafter, and we were set for our cruise. This was the sort of thing we've come to expect from HAL, and they didn't disappoint. The cruise for us was just a nice boat ride through the fjords. The little ports are fun to walk around, do a little shopping, have a brewsky...but the draw is the scenery of Norway as it glides by. We only did one shore excursion, the Waterfalls and Waffles at Eidfjord, and that was very scenic despite the rainy weather. For rest of the towns, Bergen, Geiranger, and Alesund, we just walked around by ourselves. This was very enjoyable for us, particularly Bergen, where there are historical sites, outdoor cafes, an interesting wharf area, and plenty of shopping opportunities. After the cruise, we hired White Cliffs GeoTours (Les and Simone Richmond) to drive around the cliffs, tour Canterbury Cathedral, visit Winston Churchill's Chartwell home in Westerham, and ultimately return us to our hotel in London. More on these sites below. The Ryndam was quintessential HAL: great customer service, tasteful decor, easy-listening music on the pool deck, excellent food in the MDR and at the Pinnacle Grill, interesting table mates (we took pot luck by requesting a table for 4 and were rewarded by a great couple from Australia), and decent entertainment for a ship of its size (1200 passengers max).   Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
1st time with a HAL cruise ship after 10 cruises with other lines incl RCL, Cunard, F Olsen , MSC. Very positive experience at all levels. Itinerary to Norway & North Cape was very interesting including the fjord sailings. Weather ... Read More
1st time with a HAL cruise ship after 10 cruises with other lines incl RCL, Cunard, F Olsen , MSC. Very positive experience at all levels. Itinerary to Norway & North Cape was very interesting including the fjord sailings. Weather was kind and we were often sailing on a "duck pond". Sightings of whales & porpoises close to ship. Embarking & disembarking at Dover was very efficient and well organised. Ocean view Cabin 319 on lower promenade deck was good size & comfortable bed. Very acceptable. Food in all locations was either very good or excellent. Menu's were good and varied. Opted for Open Dining format which worked for us and we met a variety of very nice fellow passengers. Menu in main restaurant is available in Lido also with less formality and speed if you want it. Tried both specialty restaurants, Canaletto & Pinnacle, and they were really 1st class and worthy of the supplement. Entertainment we thought was of a high standard including the Revues by resident singers and dancers which were very professional.and enjoyable. We enjoyed the wide variety of music on board. All delivered at a high quality. Dancing facilities were varied and interesting incl " Dancing with Stars" program. Didn't try any Hal excursions. Always did our own thing incl hiring bicycles locally on 2 occasions. Could not fault this HAL trip, and we can be quite critical, as other cruise reviews will testify to. This trip reaffirmed our faith in cruising. Well done all staff on Ryndam who were very attentive. Ryndam felt very comfortable and we did not want to get off. We will return.   Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
We spent a couple of days in London before meeting the ship's transportation to Dover at Heathrow. The transportation to & from Heathrow before & after the cruise went very smoothly, as did the embarkation & debarkation. ... Read More
We spent a couple of days in London before meeting the ship's transportation to Dover at Heathrow. The transportation to & from Heathrow before & after the cruise went very smoothly, as did the embarkation & debarkation. We were in cabin 547 which was mid ship. Although the Ryndam is an older ship (which we understand has been sold to P&O & will be berth in Australia) it was very well maintained & very clean. Of course the windows in the state rooms were old, but that was not a big deal. The bathrooms were not the latest (whatever that might be b/c I haven't cruised on any other ship lately), but they were very clean & had wonderful soaps, lotions, etc. We were advised to wash our hands regularly & there were hand sanitizers all over the ship. The food was excellent as was the service. Dinner was usually 1 1/2+ hrs. id we were at a table with 2 other couples. That was fine because the conversation was always interesting & we weren't going anywhere (that we had to rush off to) since we were cruising to our next port. With that said, the staff could have used a little more help with the serving & clearing, but it wasn't that big a deal. The Lido (the buffet) served the same food as what was being served in the dining room so if you didn't feel like getting out of your "day wear" or you didn't feel like socializing you could just eat there. On formal nights, some men wore tuxs but most just wore sport jackets.Some women wore cocktail type dresses. I brought a couple of "casual" dresses (to be worn day and/or night) & put on "bling" to dress them up. I pack very lightly & don't care if someone sees me in the same outfit. I do mix & match & consequently it looks like I have brought along lots of outfits. Anyway, unless you are cruising with another couple or 2 you don't see the same people often at all & who remembers what anyone had on? There are washers, dryers, & detergent on board. We did not sign up for any of the ship's expensive excursions because I had read that it is less expensive to sign up when getting off the ship. The local agencies are waiting for passengers when they get off the ship. That worked out fine for us. There are LOTS of places to sit and many of them don't have lots of other passengers also sitting where you choose. There is a nice library near the Starbucks type "bar" (for the coffee for which you pay extra).   Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
Never been on a cruise before but have since done my homework on what to expect. Our cruise to the Norwegian fjords on the Ryndam was excellent. These mid size cruise ships have almost the same facilities as the big boys with 3000+ ... Read More
Never been on a cruise before but have since done my homework on what to expect. Our cruise to the Norwegian fjords on the Ryndam was excellent. These mid size cruise ships have almost the same facilities as the big boys with 3000+ passengers. We could always get a sunbed by the pools or on deck. In fact we actually found places to lounge in the sun where no one else was around which amazed us. Food was brilliant and hardly had to queue for anything. Disembarkation on trips was no problem. The staff could not be faulted for their helpful attitudes and we felt privileged to be on board a ship which allowed their wonderful mainly Philippino staff to celebrate their Independence Day and passengers to enjoy the celebrations too. Would thoroughly recommend Holland America's mid sized ships and the experience you will receive. Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
We had prebooked our cabin who advised us correctly about the choice. The cabin was spacious and the whole ship was being kept clean constantly without being obtrusive or bothersome. Really impressed by the sort of service we received ... Read More
We had prebooked our cabin who advised us correctly about the choice. The cabin was spacious and the whole ship was being kept clean constantly without being obtrusive or bothersome. Really impressed by the sort of service we received from the cabin crew who were willing to do anything at all times. As for the food-so much variety and so well prepared by chief chef Eric. Everyone on board really appreciated his cooking & there was ample variety & often with high teas & late night suppers if one still needed to eat more!! The entertainment by the Ryndham singers and dancers was really professional. Others were OK. After booking we had doubts if we should have gone for a larger ship; but on talking to other cruisers, we found out that a larger ship had just more cabins but the same type of entertainment and facilities except a bigger theatre and cinema. This particular ship would suit mostly adults though there were a couple of families since there was a special package for them being offered at the last stage. The library is very well stocked but there is no free internet cafe/facility and it is very expensive to connect on the internet which is a shame. That is the case with the telephone as well since the mobile phones do not work whilst at sea; only on reaching the shores/ports. Norway was awesome and the shore excursions are definitely cheaper on the shore rather than booking on the ship. Holland America really take care of their guests and keep giving incentives and discounts so that one is tempted to stick with the same cruise line since they appreciate their guests. We found many loyal cruisers who use this shipping line most of the time. This 20 yr old cruise liner is very well kept and did not show it's age at all. The captain sailed so smoothly that many times we were not aware we were at sea !! The beds are ultra comfortable and the mattress is about a foot high!! Lovely soft bed linen too. They have an ingenious way to store the empty luggage under the bed, so that it is neatly tucked away from sight. Bathroom is kept spotlessly clean at all times. Only sad part is there are no complimentary bottled water supplied in the cabins; but even so we can fill up our bottles in the ship's restaurant at all times. The crew are always obliging and so it is a pleasure to pay the compulsory tip at the end of the cruise when requested by the cruise liner. All in all Holland America run a very good ship and treat their staff well since we can see them smiling and being happy and spreading their cheer to the guests as well. So do not hesitate to book a cruise on MS Ryndham anytime. Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
We have cruised several times, but this was our first time with Holland America, and it will certainly not be our last. The embarkation at Dover was probably the best organised we have ever witnessed, we were on board 30 minutes after ... Read More
We have cruised several times, but this was our first time with Holland America, and it will certainly not be our last. The embarkation at Dover was probably the best organised we have ever witnessed, we were on board 30 minutes after arriving at the port. The Ryndam is not the newest of ships, but is in very good condition, there was always some maintenance being done, but it never interfered with the passengers. We had a balcony cabin on deck 9 which had everything you could wish for, it was kept immaculate throughout the cruise by the cabin attendant. The food on board is nothing short of exceptional, even in the Lido (self service), the only problem with the Lido, like most buffet areas on most ships, is getting a table. The main dining room is very well laid out and the service is superb, we were open dining and never had a problem getting a table, which we mainly shared with other people. The menu had something for every taste and is beautifully cooked and presented. There was a real mixture of nationalities on board and we met some very lovely people. The ship boasts a cinema as well as the show lounge. The films shown are quite new releases and if you do not catch it in the cinema, the film is run on a loop in your cabin the next day. The theatre is very well laid out, I don't think there is a bad seat in the house. The main shows also run 3 times a night, which means that regardless of your dining time, you can see the main show. I think we only saw two shows as the town guest entertainers were not to our taste, all of the other shows (with the exception of the staff show), were by the resident production team and again not to my taste. The ship does have a very good resident band called the HAL Cats, and you should definitely try to see them if you enjoy good musicians. Norway is not the most exciting of places but the scenery is stunning. On return to Dover, the disembarkation was as flawless as embarkation. Overall a fantastic cruise on a lovely ship with excellent staff,mew will use Holland America again. Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
So, here we are again .... In 2012 at the ripe old age of 45 I took my first cruise, and after very careful investigation (it was my honeymoon), we decided to see Alaska on a HAL cruise. With no expectation of HAL, we set sail on their 7 ... Read More
So, here we are again .... In 2012 at the ripe old age of 45 I took my first cruise, and after very careful investigation (it was my honeymoon), we decided to see Alaska on a HAL cruise. With no expectation of HAL, we set sail on their 7 day Inside Passage cruise out of Vancouver. HAL certainly made an impression, returning the following year for an unplanned 7 day cruise to Norway (7 day Norse Legends) - despite the worst week of summer weather for 30 years, HAL not only managed to impress us, but the Ryndam will forever be imprinted in the memory of my then 16yo daughter. So, now to 2014 - all cruised out? Hell no ..... With 4 weeks notice, we booked on the May 17th sailing out of Dover, enroute to Copenhagen, Rostock (Berlin transit), Tallinn, St Petersburg, Helsinki, Stockholm and finally Aarhus before returning to Dover. To help keep the price down, we opted for a restricted view cabin ...... Eventually being assigned cabin 700 on Deck A ...... You really can't go any lower or any further forward !!!!! We pre-booked the following tours before sailing: Copenhagen with Segway Tours Berlin with HAL St Petersburg with Alla Tours We decided to view Tallinn, Helsinki, Stockholm and Aarhus on foot .... Aided by free maps of the cities. MS Ryndam - little had changed since last year, always clean and tidy with excellent staff throughout the ship (front office staff could improve their manner but still ok) !!!! Entertainment was a little poor but not enough to make me look to an alternative cruise line. Here are some reviews I have posted on TripAdviser “Segway tour of Copenhagen” 5* Reviewed 2 June 2014 We booked our Segway tour direct prior to arriving on our Baltic Cruise - booking was simple and very easy via the web. Segway's office was an hours walk from the port through the centre of Copenhagen - fairly easy to find following their directions and a free map we picked up on route. Booking in was straight forward and after receiving our safety head gear and leaving personal items in secure lockers we were ready to get going. After just a few minutes introduction and practice we were ready to go - our group was of mixed age (mid 20s to mid 60s) - oh boy what fun. Our tour weaved in and out of Copenhagen using the bike lanes and roads, taking in all of what Copenhagen has to offer. Our head gear had earphones which allowed us to listen to our tour guide explaining the sites, stopping often to look around. After an hour we arrived at the Little Mermaid, where we had a 10 minute break before making our way back to the Segway office, completing our 2 hour tour. The best way to describe our tour was great fun whilst feeling safe in the hands of an experienced Segway rider, great overview of the city with very comprehensive commentary. For me, a keen photographer, I decided not to take photos whilst on the tour - instead, we went back to the best places we had seen, and took photos whilst on foot and making our way back through the city, new haven and the port. Price - value for money without a doubt Equipment - well maintained Guide - very good, made everyone feel at home and gave good commentary Recommendation - Just do it !!!!!! Thanks Segway for making Copenhagen so much fun “St Petersburg with Alla Tours” 5* Reviewed 7 June 2014 NEW When we first booked our Baltic Cruise we decided that our cruise line (HAL) offered a very good 2 day excursion in St Petersburg and we would go with them. When we started to look into alternatives, we came across Alla Tours and after making email contact and found out that THEY arranged tourist visas and guaranteed that they would ensure we didn't literally 'miss the boat', we decided to go with them, not just because of a 25% saving but a more comprehensive itinerary. Arriving at the cruise terminal and passing through immigration (if you smile, they smile!!), we were greeted by our tour guide, Anya, and led to our mini bus - our group consisted of 15 clients (all from our ship), Anya and our driver. This review isn't about St Petersburg, but of Alla Tours, who can make or break your visit !!! Anya spoke perfect English, extremely knowledgable about St Petersburg and always made us feel 'it was our tour' giving us plenty of time to stop and take photos - at no time during our 2 day tour did we feel rushed. A pack lunch and water were made available on day 1, with a visit to a restaurant for lunch on day 2. In summary, don't feel obliged to go on a cruise line excursion, Alla are extremely professional and I would strongly recommend them to family and friends, let alone strangers!! Definitely value for money. “Suomenlinna Fortress, Helsinki” 5* Reviewed 11 June 2014 NEW If like us, you arrive in Helsinki part way through a tour of the Baltic countries, having dodged the bicycles of Copenhagen, the building site known as Berlin, the beautiful streets of Tallinn, the gold topped domes of St Petersburg and the Old Town of Stockholm, you have a choice to make in Helsinki. Continue the tour of city centre and the endless list of churches and cathedrals or opt for something different - Suomenlina Fortress falls in the latter. For the cost of less than a half litre of beer, we jumped onto the ferry leaving from the Market Square for a short journey across the bay to the island fortress. There is no fee for landing on the island. Despite the fact that this is a UNESCO world heritage site, and appears on many travel guides and tourist blogs, Suomenlina allows you to go at your pace, leaving the stones paths to criss cross the island, imaging how the soldiers manned their positions and aimed the large guns at aggressors. The museums on the island provide the facts behind the history and for those of you with time to take these in, I'm sure the entrance fee is well worth it. For little expense, and the opportunity to do 'something' different, I would recommend investigating the gun placements and armament storage bunkers contained within the bricked walls of this impressive fortress. So ..... Tallinn - strongly recommend taking this in by foot, beautiful buildings ..... Welcoming people and a 10 minute walk from the port. Helsinki - 30 minute gentle and flat walk from where we berthed ..... Nice city stroll Berlin - very expensive HAL coach ride but a must see city ... Personally I won't return for at least 5 years by which time the building restorations should be complete. Stockholm - lovely Old Town but be warned that you may have to walk a long way!!! We berthed 30 minute flat walk from Old Town, but at 200 SEK, £20, $30 taxi journey (1 way) pack some walking shoes - hop on/off bus available but we walked - my must see attraction is the Vasa Museum !!! Aarhus - what can I say .... Do your laundry on board or catch up on your sleep - sorry to the people of Aarhus but why HAL did we go there? In summing up, fantastic crew, fantastic cities and great company (fellow passengers) One small request to HAL - when you know ahead of time that the thrusters will be used in the middle of the night (1am), please let the occupants of cabins closest to them know ahead of time. Cabin 700 is one such cabin. Word is the MS Ryndam becomes the property of P&O Australia in late 2015 ..... DAM shame !!!!! Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
My wife and I spent three weeks on the Ryndam looking round various Baltic cities and enjoyed every minute (admittedly, the wonderful weather throughout helped a lot). Our cabin was fine (especially after a crew member fixed three loose ... Read More
My wife and I spent three weeks on the Ryndam looking round various Baltic cities and enjoyed every minute (admittedly, the wonderful weather throughout helped a lot). Our cabin was fine (especially after a crew member fixed three loose desk drawers), the ship was clean and the crew polite and helpful and the general atmosphere relaxed. Dining too was good, even if the Lido deck was a little canteen-like (sometimes with long queues and slow service, not least at the omelette station). The Rotterdam restaurant - a more posh setting, sometimes with formal dress stipulated - was excellent, with very good food and first-rate service. For a smallish ship the well-stocked and well-furnished library was a pleasant place, though the small bar next door meant that one sometimes had to try to read against an often noisy background. The same was sometimes true of the Lido, where the thumping of basketball played on the deck directly above didn't make for a relaxing dinner - though, to be fair, this didn't happen often. More pleasant sounds came from Gavin's jazz combo and, just round the corner, the popular classics played by a violinist with piano accompaniment. Apart from one show in the main theatre - which was ok - we didn't bother with rest of the entertainment. The only real annoyance was the lengthy, droning and often semi-audible delivery through the ship's PA system whenever we left port of a description of where we'd been and of our next destination. This was an affliction from which it was impossible to escape, and Holland America should do something about it. Please.   Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
The Ryndam is still in good shape considering her age, although the policy of using only Indonesians and Philippine staff has its limitations. Holland America would be better served with an international staff. The ports were all ... Read More
The Ryndam is still in good shape considering her age, although the policy of using only Indonesians and Philippine staff has its limitations. Holland America would be better served with an international staff. The ports were all interesting enough, with the exception of Aarhus (we should have gone to Visby instead). Copenhagen was the least interesting, and the dirtiest, but Stockholm and St. Petersburg both deserved the two days each they got, and were well worth it. The food and service on board the Ryndam were both excellent, and when we complained that our room was below the kitchen (and thus very noisy late at night and early in the morning), we were moved to another room without hesitation. Although I would chose my cabin more carefully next time, I would not hesitate to sail on the Ryndam again. The entertainment was on the level of a high school production, but that is to be expected on a ship of this size. We have had much better entertainment, but always on much larger ships. We never had a problem with lines or waiting. Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
We took the Ryndam on what as part of their repositioning from the US to Europe. Boarded in Barcelona and stopped in Valencia, Alicante, Motril (for Granada), Gibraltar, Cadiz, Lisbon (Portugal), A Coruna, Bilboa, Portland (England) and ... Read More
We took the Ryndam on what as part of their repositioning from the US to Europe. Boarded in Barcelona and stopped in Valencia, Alicante, Motril (for Granada), Gibraltar, Cadiz, Lisbon (Portugal), A Coruna, Bilboa, Portland (England) and ended in Dover. HAL only has this cruise twice in 2014 and the second time was at the end of August. We decided August would be way too hot--so opted for mid/late April. Weather were generally in the 60's--most days it was great with one or two days being just a little cool. But, the ports were the best--this was exactly what we were looking for--an in-depth view of Spain. It was fun starting in Barcelona and then going virtually all the way around Spain in the ship. To put our comments in perspective, the four of us have cruised extensively--primarily on Princess, but also on Carnival, Celebrity, Norwegian, and Royal Caribbean. (Also two of us have done a number of river cruises with Grand Circle.) We had all wanted to try HAL and this trip fit the bill. The Ryndam is an older ship (built in 1994) that carries about 1280 passengers. It's apparent that it is older when viewed from the outside--and the lack of very many balcony cabins (they are restricted to two levels). But, once you board the Ryndam it does not seen like an older ship at all. Our overall impression of the Ryndam is that it matches, and in many aspects exceeds, the quality of what we have experienced on other ships. What we really liked about the Ryndam. 1. The ease of boarding and leaving the ship. We were on the ship within 10 minutes or so of arriving at the pier. And, when we disembarked we could stay in our cabins until time to disembark. The actual disembarking process was faster than anything we have experienced before. 2. Overall size of the ship. It felt just about right. The ship is big enough to have all the features most cruisers will want, but it never felt crowded. 3. Library--the most extensive we have experienced on any ship. Very good! 4. Shows and auditorium. Very nice. And the shows are as good or better than we have seen on other ships. Also, they had about five nights when they had entertainers other than they regular cast doing the show. The last show the regular cast did matched or exceeded anything we have seen on other ships. Also, one nice feature is that there were three shows most nights--at 7 pm, 8:30 pm and 10 pm. 5. Movies. Every day they showed current movies--generally 4 or 5 showings. The only "odd" thing was that on At Sea Days they only had movies at 6 pm and 9:30 pm. Seemed like they would make more effort to have at least as many—or more--showings on At Sea Days. The venue for watching the movies is adequate—not enough slope so you had to be careful where you sat so someone was not directly in front of you. (And, while we did not use them, they had about 1,000 movies on DVD you could watch in your cabin.) 6. Lounges and bars. There were a number and generally had good entertainment in them at night. (We did not check out any of the late night activities!) 7. We eat at the Pinnacle Restaurant twice. (The fee is about $30). Had filet both times--some of the best filet we have had. Other items about the ship. The cabin (we had a balcony) was as good or better than what we have had on other ships. The overall space allotted to shops, bars, etc. seemed to be (relatively) more than on other ships we have been on. The food in the Lido Restaurant was good--not great. But, I would rate it as good as the best we have had in buffet restaurants on other ships. One thing we could not believe was that on the day we disembarked there were very few individuals in the Lido. Our experience in the past has been that the buffet restaurant on the day we are disembarking are always a mess--not on the Ryndam. Another feature that we did not take advantage of was their Windows/camera classes. If I had needed to find out about Windows 8 I could have taken a number of classes about it on the ship. We did not take any ship shore excursions. Arranged private (or small group) tours in Barcelona (before the cruise), Valencia, Motril (for Granada) and Gibraltar. The tapas tours in Barcelona and Valencia were highlights of our trip. (Both lasted about four hours.) Likewise, you have to tour the Rock at Gibraltar. (We had an extended tour--it lasted about 6 hours. Was well worth it--Gibraltar has so much history!) Our experience was very favorable. The ship was at least as nice as any we have been on, and in many aspects the experience was more pleasant than we have experienced on other cruises. And the ports we called at were just what we wanted. In looking at HAL, they have some of the most interesting trips of any cruise line. Based on this experience it's highly likely our next cruise will be on HAL. Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
After having sailed on the Rotterdam the past 3 years, we decided to go on the Ryndam this year . We were not disappointed ! What a great ship, being slightly smaller than the Rotterdam there seems to more space per passenger . ... Read More
After having sailed on the Rotterdam the past 3 years, we decided to go on the Ryndam this year . We were not disappointed ! What a great ship, being slightly smaller than the Rotterdam there seems to more space per passenger . Embarkation: smoothly and efficient, we were on board in 15 minutes Public Rooms : all in tip top shape , is this ship 20 years old ? ;-) MDR : we had open seating , it worked out really well, we only had to wait once. The quality of the food is perfect ! Lobstertails are still on the menu... . Although there have cutbacks in the amount of stewards , service is still great. Entertainment : HAL standard, nothing special except for magician Ruben Millegrand and Spanish Dance group. Fitness : was never crowded, enough equipment Ports of Call : except for Portland UK , worth docking !! Disembarkation : we took expedited, walked off with our own bags at 8 o'clock. Hotel Manager, Cruise Director and more staff were at the gangway to say goodbye, nice touch ! In General : very friendly crew ( even on disembarkation day ! ) and a very informative and "social" Captain. I hope that HAL will keep ships like the Ryndam in their fleet for a long time to come. If you 're looking for skating rink, climbing wall etc . not your ship . If you're looking for a great library, trivia quizzes, talking to fellow passengers, a casino , Ryndam is for you . Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
Husband and I were thrilled to be coming back to HAL after a seven-year absence. This was my 16th cruise, hub's 13th, and 4th/3rd on HAL, respectively. We chose this itinerary because it had four of our favorite ports, all of which we ... Read More
Husband and I were thrilled to be coming back to HAL after a seven-year absence. This was my 16th cruise, hub's 13th, and 4th/3rd on HAL, respectively. We chose this itinerary because it had four of our favorite ports, all of which we can do on our own without having to utilize shore excursions – and because Holland America was offering a great deal on the sailing. The Ryndam had been fully refurbished since we sailed it last (2001) and, apparently, is well overdue for another drydock. While overall the ship is beautiful and a perfect size, it was hard not to notice the wear and tear that has accumulated (worn brass fittings and torn up leather coverings in the elevators; stains on the rugs and pool backsplash tiles; etc.). Maybe it’s because they are CONSTANTLY wiping surfaces down to keep communicable illnesses at bay. We were also surprised by how significantly older our fellow passengers seemed. We usually sail during ‘shoulder’ or ‘off’ seasons because of our work schedules. This being ‘high season’ and on the very edge of the beginning of school breaks, we did not think that we might be one of the youngest on the ship (including the six kids under the age of 18 we saw). We learned later that we were the second (short) leg of a 21 day 'collectors cruise,' which might have explained things. Ironically, it didn’t necessarily make for a significantly politer corpus of passengers: it was not unusual to have people block hallways with group conversations or just plunk down at your table at the lido deck without so much as a by your leave. We were in cabin 821 – aft interior, deck A. Well-appointed room, but some serious issues, including a visibly (and olfactory) mildewed shower curtain; stained fabrics; and shower temperature controls that were anything BUT consistent at any time. Noise from the deck below was noticeable at points. Cabin stewards were, for the most part, efficient and attentive, though not overly friendly; we appreciated having a small fruit basket in the cabin, as my husband rarely makes breakfast. We asked for towel animals and were treated to: a crab made out of two hand towels; a stingray made out of a hand towel and a washcloth; and finally, on the third night, a dog and, the fourth, a monkey. After three straight sailings on Carnival, we were somewhat underwhelmed. Cusine, as usual, was excellent, but the dining room menu seemed noticeably ‘pared down’ from previous HAL sailings. To wit: a good half of one side of the menu was devoted to whatever “Culinary Council” chef was being featured that evening, along with two dishes that were then repeated on the other side of the menu. My husband, having unusual food allergies, sometimes struggled to find something he wanted to eat that they could tweak for him. Having said that, the dining room staff went out of their way to ensure that he DID have something he liked every evening, and we greatly appreciated their attention. One thing that really took us by surprise was the lack of wifi across the ship – for the most part, you could only gain a steady signal in public rooms, and even THAT was not a given with Android phones. It became a real nuisance at points, as my husband was having to contact work because of inclement weather hampering things back home, and had to traipse upstairs time and time again to get a good signal . . . when there WAS a signal, that is. Of course, there were no power sources available in public areas, which further complicated things. We, as a rule, don’t do shows or alternative dining venues, so we can’t comment on them, nor the “Dancing with the Stars” offerings – if you aren’t part of a couple, it’s difficult to get the opportunity to learn any of the dances. While I like the new layout that has most of the shops on board mixed in with the bars and public areas, we were quite underwhelmed with the selection we saw within them. Many of the daytime activities focused on sedentary pursuits -- cooking demonstrations, trivia, etc. We were very disappointed to learn that the weekly crew talent show is now only offered on longer cruises. There was one movie shown thrice daily in the theater – which, we discovered, was also shown in the cabin tv network that day or the day after. The other TV offerings were anemic – three faux news channels, BBC, two ESPN channels, three movie channels, and a half-dozen ship-based ones. It was a struggle to get any kind of real news outside of the NY Times digest available in the library (unless one went on the slow and pricey internet, of course). By far, though, the thing that really disappointed us was a noted lack of detail when it came to important things like muster drill and sail away times. Our muster drill was a mess – the crew didn’t take things in hand to make sure people were lining up neatly and properly, and room numbers couldn’t be understood during roll call. Even the voiceover instructions from the cruise director was noticeably lacking in purpose and efficacy. Maybe they feel as if they don’t have to be as forceful and straightforward with passengers as they do with a more ‘main-line’ choice like Carnival, but it would have been helpful to impress upon those who felt as if they didn’t have to pay attention to instructions because they’d sailed HAL for as many days as they were years old. Similarly, at the beginning of the trip, it was not unusual to see THREE different times in terms of when you were to be back on board after visiting a port of call. At first, the daily cabin notice deemed “all on board” as the time the boat was SAILING – which, of course, meant that you actually had to be on board a half-hour earlier. THEN, you’d get to the gangplank and see an ‘all on board’ time that was a THIRD different time altogether. I’m surprised we didn’t leave anyone on shore (that I know of). It seemed that as we went through the week they managed to clear that up a little better, but it didn’t make much sense as to why they couldn’t get it together sooner – our cruise director had been on this ship for weeks, if his shore excursion talk was any indication. We were also told that the ship would not be resetting clocks when we were in the Central time zone, because of Daylight Savings Time later in the week (which the ship did at 2 am on SATURDAY, perhaps to avoid more confusion during disembarkation day). Given that half the clocks on the ship weren’t set with the proper time at all, I suppose it wouldn’t have made any difference. We did notice that towards the end of the week they had managed to sync most of them up. Still, it made for lots of confusion. Disembarkation was similarly lacking in important details. For example: is there a time we need to be out of the cabins? We had late embarkation and thought we'd be able to leave the cabin closer to luggage arrival announcement time . . . so imagine our surprise when cabin staff stopped by twice to get minibar counts and soiled bedding/towels. Usually cruise lines make it pretty clear when they want you out of the cabins. HAL, not so much. Overall, we feel that any day on a boat is better than one on terra firma. However, given how HAL positions itself as a much more ‘upscale’ experience – which, we feel, came up wanting this past week -- we probably won’t go out of our way to sail on them again unless the right itinerary and price comes along.   Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
Our family spent spring break on board the Ryndam. My husband, my 11 year old son, my 9 year old son and I met our two friends and their 8 and 5 year old sons in Tampa. It was our family's 6th cruise (previous cruises have been on ... Read More
Our family spent spring break on board the Ryndam. My husband, my 11 year old son, my 9 year old son and I met our two friends and their 8 and 5 year old sons in Tampa. It was our family's 6th cruise (previous cruises have been on Royal Caribbean, Costa and HAL) and our friends' first cruise. We flew in the night before and stayed at a Hampton Inn. It was just fine, and most importantly we used HHonors points to pay for it. The morning of the cruise we walked to the local drug store, loaded up on sun screen and bought 2 bottles of wine. We then checked out of the hotel and took a taxi to the port. We arrived shortly before 1:00, which was the time designated for check in. There was zero wait; we walked right on in. The ship was classic HAL. It's small enough that it was very negotiable, and even the kids could quickly navigate about the ship. It was going into dry dock when our cruise ended, and I won't lie - there were a few worn areas on bannisters, the backboards on the baskets on the basketball court were broken,etc. Everything was extremely clean. HAL's classic touches always thrill me -- the antiques, the orchids and other flowers. In regards to activities, there were several Dancing with the Stars options, twice daily trivia, cooking and computer classes. We attended the mixology and beer tasting classes which were great fun. We spent a fair amount of time at the pool, on the tennis court, and on the basketball court with the kids and also played ping pong. Service was excellent, as I have come to expect on HAL. Our room steward, the bartenders, and the wait staff were great. There was even one member of the main dining room wait staff who was retiring after our cruise after 35 years on HAL! We picked this cruise because of the stop in Guatemala with the shore excursion to Tikkal. It was a wonderful day and an incredible experience. It was far superior of an experience to anything I've done near Mexico City or Cancun. The ruins were awesome, the tour guide was great, and I really felt that we really "got the feel of" Guatemala from that day. It ended with a bang. Due to fog, the plane back to the port was delayed, and the ship was waiting for us. From the airport to the port, therefore, our bus was given a police escort with sirens and M16! This excursion we booked through HAL, and I was pleased with it. In Roatan, we independently booked with Little French Keys (google it). It was a fabulous tiny island with a great beach, a wonderful platform 15 feet in the air from which we jumped into the ocean, kayaks, sand volleyball, and included the best lunch we had - lobster, fish, chicken, steak --incredible. Our stops in Costa Maya and Key West were fine. In Key West, the boys found a massive banyon tree, and spent in excess of an hour playing in and climbing on it. Otherwise, we walked about and had a drink. In Costa Maya, we went to a nice beach, but I will admit that I found the vendors to be oppressive. We always get interior rooms. We're not in the rooms much, and the boys sleep better in a darker room. It was fine. We had the parents in flanking rooms and the four boys in a third room in the middle. They were nicely decorated and clean, although there was one small stain on the curtain behind our bed. They had fresh fruit in the room which the boys really liked. The boys loved their nightly chocolates and towel animals! Dining seemed better than ever. We took the kids to the Lido buffet at 6:45 and fed them dinner and then took them to Club HAL at 7:00 when it opened. After dropping them off, we adults went to the main dining room. The food was incredible. One of our friends had given up meat for Lent, and she always had great seafood or vegetarian options. The desserts were awesome. They were more than willing to bring double entrees or desserts. The only thing I missed was the dessert extravaganza by the Lido Pool that they used to have on prior cruises. Club HAL was great for the 4, 8 and 9 year old boys. The 8 and 9 year olds especially couldn't wait for Club HAL to open, and didn't want to miss a moment of the programming! Our almost 12 year old felt a little old for the activities, and he would have liked to have seen more kids his age on the cruise. There is a game area that he went to, but he would have liked to have been able to go between the Club HAL programming and the independent gaming area without having a parent sign him in and out. The one show we went to was very good, and kid appropriate as well. Disembarkation was fine as well.   Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
This was our fourth HAL cruise. We decided to take this cruise because of the pricing and itinerary. We were surprised by the condition of the ship! We were last on the Ryndam for the 2012 New Years holiday. In such a short time, there ... Read More
This was our fourth HAL cruise. We decided to take this cruise because of the pricing and itinerary. We were surprised by the condition of the ship! We were last on the Ryndam for the 2012 New Years holiday. In such a short time, there were dramatic changes--none for the good. Until we were actually aboard, we had no idea that this was the last cruise prior to a scheduled two-week rehab. This ship certainly needs rehabing, but two weeks isn't enough time to take care of its appearance. The last day of this particular cruise was at sea. Upon arrival in the aft pool area, some of the gangways were closed off because they had varnished the rails while we were cruising. The morning of disembarktion crew members were vacumming the carpets outside the various elevator banks while passengers were congregated waiting for their "color" to be called. I have never been an a cruise (we have cruised approximately 15 times) where you were hustled from your cabins as early as this time. The first disembarkation announcement was at 7 am. The crew on the Ryndam, especially those working the Lido Restaurant and Pool Bar, was extremely cordial and accommodating. They helped to bring some much needed lighter moments. Their sunny and personable personalities brightened this cruise for us. Activites on this cruise were anemic at best. We did enjoy eating in the speciality restaurants and the Lido Restaurant. One evening we did eat in the main dining room, but found the choices lacking. There were many more choices in other restaurants. All in all it was an ok cruise, but we have decided that choosing HAL again is not in the cards! Read Less
Sail Date March 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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