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350 Ryndam (Retired) Cruise Reviews

This is my 19th cruise on 8 cruise lines to give you some perspective. The Ryndam is a small ship which overall does things right. If you want a quieter, more relaxing cruise experience in direct contrast to the Mega ship experience, then ... Read More
This is my 19th cruise on 8 cruise lines to give you some perspective. The Ryndam is a small ship which overall does things right. If you want a quieter, more relaxing cruise experience in direct contrast to the Mega ship experience, then this class of ship is good for you. Entertainment in the lounges was varied and good, and the library / reading room is the largest and nicest I have seen. An adjacent coffee shop was well visited. The "main" showroom entertainment was of average quality and variety. The remodel of the public spaces was tasteful and well done. Cabins could use some updating, but are functional and slightly larger than other lines. Holland by stereotype, appeals to an "older" crowd and I would agree. But "more mature" can be a good thing too! Travelers with good manners and decent attire are becoming rarer and rarer, so I appreciated this. The small things Holland does like free hot appetizers during happy hour, well done deck events (food,drink), limited announcements over the 1MC (intercom) are all appreciated. There was no ice carving by the pool, or Hairy chest contest, etc......if you are a frequent cruiser, this is a good thing! If you want loud music and a big movie screen by the pool, groups of maundering cocktailers, noise in the hallways late at night....you need to find another ship. Both have their merits. Many ships no longer have a promenade deck that has chairs to sit and read. I find this a horrible trend, and the Ryndam had chairs all around, and they were constantly well used by grateful cruisers. It is this type of "old style" experience which is slowly disappearing on many larger ships. I found the crew friendly and very attentive....again, a trait that is less frequent. The main dining room food was better than average and the staff well trained. They were attentive and followed up on any issues. Overall, I would return to Holland on this vessel class.   Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
We took the 14-day South Caribbean Cruise on Holland America Ryndam from January 5 to 19. This was our ninth cruise on Holland America, and, even though there seems to be disagreement about the quality of service and dining, we thoroughly ... Read More
We took the 14-day South Caribbean Cruise on Holland America Ryndam from January 5 to 19. This was our ninth cruise on Holland America, and, even though there seems to be disagreement about the quality of service and dining, we thoroughly enjoy the size of the ships, the friendliness and attention, and the wonderful cuisine and service. We have not found that anything is going downhill. We spent Friday night in the Kansas City Airport Hilton. It is a great place to stay before a cruise. We flew nonstop from Kansas City to Tampa and took the hotel shuttle to the cruise hotel – the Sheraton Suites Tampa Airport Westshore. The hotel, itself, was fine, but very noisy. I think we heard every shower running through the pipes! We should have walked to dinner at Charley’s Steak House (right next door). I cannot recommend the dinner or breakfast in the hotel. Very slow service. The next morning, we sat in the lobby waiting on the HAL busses. HAL was not very organized as nobody would tell us when to load. We finally went outside and saw a line forming, so we were able to get on the first bus to the terminal with a terrific bus driver. This was absolutely the smoothest embarkation process we have ever experienced. There was no waiting to get our key cards. Our cabin was ready, so we left our carry-on bags and went to the Main Dining Room for lunch, signed up for Internet minutes in the Exploration’s Café; signed up for the Navigator’s Wine Package; attended the muster drill; unpacked all of our luggage, and dressed for dinner. We were late leaving Tampa as the ship waited on several passengers who had been delayed by all the bad weather in Northeast USA. Three passengers even boarded in Key West. After dinner, we listened to the Adagio Duo in the Explorer’s Lounge. There were two men who played the piano and violin. Our day-to-day schedule was very routine. My husband and I do not do many excursions as the cruise ship is our destination. We cruise to enjoy the relaxation, cuisine, and entertainment. We like to read, attend the lectures and demonstrations, walk on the deck, go to wine tastings, play trivia, meet new people, dine, go to the shows, and watch the ocean. A short review of the ship follows: EMBARKATION: The best ever! Went very smoothly. STATEROOM: We were in an inside stateroom on the Main Deck (5) in the middle of the ship - #585. We are seldom in the cabin, so an inside stateroom works great for us. There was plenty of closet and drawer space and two small cabinets, with locks, beside the bed. There was also a safe in the closet. The bathroom had just a shower and plenty of counter space. The bed was very comfortable with nice linens and the towels were nice and large. We did not experience any plumbing problems and the a/c worked perfectly. In fact, many people were complaining about how cold it was, but we love to sleep in a cool room. We very seldom saw our cabin stewards, but we cannot say enough good things about them. THE RYNDAM: We heard the Ryndam is going into dry dock in a few weeks. The interior of the ship looked good. They were constantly working on the fountain in the atrium area, and never did get it to work properly. I especially liked the carpet on the stairs, with the top and bottom steps carpeted in red and the other steps in blue. Of course, there was cleaning going on all the time. The only negative was the worn furniture in the Crow’s Nest, so I imagine it will be replaced in dry dock. DINING: We were able to get early fixed seating (5:15 p.m.) on this cruise. Our table for four was by a window, so we had an excellent view of the ocean. Our outstanding dining room stewards were Widodo and Jajang and the wine steward was Angelo. Every meal in the MDR was superb. We so enjoy trying different items and my husband always looks forward to the chilled soups. Contrary to many comments on Cruise Critic our service and food was beyond outstanding. The prime rib, beef tenderloin, and lobster were excellent. A pleasant surprise was that on formal nights, there were at least 40% of the men in tuxedos. On smart casual evenings, most passengers were dressed nicely. We ate two lunches in the Pinnacle Grill which were very slow. The food was wonderful and the service very good……..just slow. We chose to eat breakfast in The Lido since we are early risers and the MDR did not open until 8:00 a.m. Personally, I do not care to ever eat in The Lido, but the food was good, and it was not very crowded at 6:30 a.m., so I could tolerate breakfasts there. ENTERTAINMENT: As I stated before, the Adagio Duo was a pianist and a violinist. They did a very nice job, but never said a word and took very long breaks, so we ended up mainly in the Ocean Bar listening to the Neptunes and watching the dancers. We also enjoyed several fantastic shows in the Showroom at Sea: Joe Yannetty, comedian; Den West, singer and multi-instrumentalist; Michelle Murlin, Broadway vocalist; Paul Pappas, extraordinary pianist; Jeff Burghart, an impressionist-comedian; Steve Stevens, comedian, instrumentalist, and vocalist; Dancing with the Stars; and the Ryndam singers and dancers. All the entertainment was outstanding except for the singers and dancers. The costumes and dancing were beautiful, but the singing (and sound system) was WAY TOO LOUD, and the strobe lighting hitting the audience was awful. We usually love these productions, but had to leave during two of the productions. EXCURSIONS: We walked into town in most ports, but took no excursions. Other passengers reported the tours on the islands were very beautiful. The seas were too rough to tender into Grand Cayman, so I’m sure there were some disappointed passengers. STAFF: The captain of the Ryndam was Captain Mark Rowden, who did an excellent job keeping us informed of the weather conditions, etc. He was also easy to understand and very personable. Rick Barnes was the Cruise Director and he was a little overbearing, but we liked him better toward the end of the cruise. We played Team Trivia each day with him as the host, and he did an excellent job. KC, the librarian was the best librarian we have ever had. She was always pleasant and helpful to everyone. Culinary Arts Center Host, Jess, and Show Chef, Mauricio, were outstanding. DISEMBARKATION: No disembarkation talk was given, which was rather nice. There was a delay in disembarking because of an immigration problem, but once it started, things went smoothly. We were only disappointed that Luggage Direct is not offered in Tampa, so we had to drag our suitcases to the airport. No cruise is perfect, but this one was right up there. We had a wonderful cruise on the Ryndam and are looking forward to many more with Holland America.   Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
This was my 58th cruise and it was one of the best. The cruise was to celebrate my Mom's 80th birthday, I am 56. I have been on just about every cruise line, and every size ship, from the mini's to the mega's and everything ... Read More
This was my 58th cruise and it was one of the best. The cruise was to celebrate my Mom's 80th birthday, I am 56. I have been on just about every cruise line, and every size ship, from the mini's to the mega's and everything in between. I find now that I tend to enjoy the smaller ships (under 100K tons) the most, mainly because they hold fewer people. I live just outside of Washington DC and am always fighting crowds of people, while on vacation I like to avoid the crowds. This year the Ryndam will celebrate her 20th birthday. She looks great for her age, the crew are constantly cleaning, polishing, waxing and doing everything possible to keep the old gal looking her best. I understand the ship will be going into dry dock this year for some refreshing. The only areas that looked a bit worn were inside the elevators and the furniture in the crows nest, both look a little tired. This ship is not for everyone, this is classic cruising in an elegant style. There are no rock climbing walls, no ice skating rinks, no pool tables, or flow riders. But there are no huge crowds or long lines at anytime on this ship. Service in all locations is flawless, they do anything and everything to make you happy with a smile on their face. We did not do any shore excursions, the ship is our destination, in fact we never got off the ship the entire two weeks. We enjoy seeing the shows, reading, relaxing, swimming, going to the gym, dining in the dining room as well as the Lido buffet. The first two Broadway shows were average, the last two were wonderful. The other shows included a few comedians, a juggler team, and a pianist. I enjoyed them all, especially the improv comedian, a show NOT to be missed. He includes the audience in the show - A++. Food and service in both the Lido and MDR (Main DIning Room) were both top notch. Extra points for two servers in the Lido - Happy Harry, and Frixy. Rick the cruise director is perfect for the ship, he is seen all over the ship, is dressed sharply, and is easy to understand. We had room service for breakfast three times, and all three times the food was delivered on time, hot, and correct. Another A++ Our ocean view cabin on the lower prom deck was fresh, clean, spacious, and had plenty of storage. Our cabin stewards also did a excellent job, filling our few extra requests immediately. More A++'s Most every day a movie is shown in the Wajang Theater. They provide bags of popcorn as you enter, nice touch. I just wish a little info would be provided about the movie of the day in the daily planner, such as the stars and a brief description. Burgers, pizza, and taco fixings are offered at a station out on the pool deck near the gym. I only tried the pizza and it was fine. One problem is there is no water or iced tea available at this station. You must go into the gym and get a paper cup of water, or the opposite end of the ship into the Lido for beverages. Going into the Lido wearing your bikini or thong does not fit the image of this ship. A drink station should be provided in the area. Only one other area needs updating- in the last update the TV's in the cabins have been upgraded to flat screens - nice, but there is no interactive TV. It would be great to use your TV to order room service, check you ship board account, and view the dining room menu for the evening. Overall this was absolutely one of the best cruises I have ever done. This was my 2nd time on the Ryndam, and very much hope it will not be my last. Next cruise - RCCL Brilliance of the Seas 05/26/14 - Northern Europe.   Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
Personal Background Information: We are a retired couple in the mid 50s and early 60s and have cruised on Carnival, Holland America, and Royal Caribbean lines. Travel To Port of Embarkation: We drove to the Hampton Inn on Waters St. in ... Read More
Personal Background Information: We are a retired couple in the mid 50s and early 60s and have cruised on Carnival, Holland America, and Royal Caribbean lines. Travel To Port of Embarkation: We drove to the Hampton Inn on Waters St. in Tampa. They had a package deal where they shuttle you to the port. When we checked in, we signed up for a time to go to the port. I’m glad we picked 10am because due to traffic and other stops, we didn’t arrive at the port until 11am which was the perfect time. Embarkation: It was so smooth and easy. Once we dropped our bags off with the porter, we checked in and went right on to the ship. Our cabins weren’t ready yet but we went to the Lido deck and had lunch. In the middle of eating, it was announced that the cabins were ready. Stateroom: Our cabin (394) had a porthole and was on Deck 6 with the walking deck. I was afraid it would be noisy outside our cabin but it wasn’t. At night the lights outside were on all of the time and I was afraid it would bother us but it never did. The safe in the cabin didn’t work but once they fixed the battery, it worked perfectly. The bathtub drain plug also didn’t work but eventually it was fixed. The outlet for the dryer was wonky and I had to prop the dryer plug with things to make it stay in the outlet. I didn’t complain about it to anyone though. The size of the cabin was great and we had plenty of room to move around. We liked the cabin and where it was situated too. Our cabin steward kept our cabin clean and neat. Ship Info: This was a 14 day cruise with stops in Key West, San Juan, St. Thomas, Antigua, St. Lucia, Curacao, Aruba, and Grand Cayman. I loved the size of the ship and the amount of people on it. We were able to see people several times and get to know them. The food was excellent but the desserts were mediocre. I didn’t like that they had different types of banana pudding on the Lido deck every day. The best one was the original bread pudding. Activities: There were plenty of activities going on around the ship. We attended all of the Digital Workshops which were wonderful. The teacher was extremely patient and helpful. Even though I use the computer a lot, I learned something new in every class. We also went to the afternoon teas, and the culinary art demos which were fun. In the evenings, we went to the movie theater which was interesting. Some of the movies were strange choices to show on a ship: Enough Said (relationship between a man and woman which goes awry), Before Midnight (Couple on Greece vacation argue for 2 hours), Captain Phillips (Pirates attack a ship), Gravity, Hunger Games: Catching Fire (postapocalyptic survival movie Part 2), Last Love (elderly man becomes a widower and is suicidal), and Still Mine (elderly couple dealng with dementia issues). Staff & Service: Front Desk service was weak. It took 2 days for them to get the safe repaired. I also bought the 1000 minutes of internet for $250. On the day of disembarkation, I got up around 4:30am so I could get on the internet and use the rest of the minutes that I bought. The “On Location” daily paper said that we would be able to use the internet until we got off the ship. The wifi hadn’t worked in a couple of days so I used their computers but was still unable to get on the internet. When I went to the front desk, the girl told me that the internet was unavailable on the disembarkation day so I asked why they lied in the daily paper. She didn’t have an answer and told me that she would contact the internet manager at 7am. I continually tried to connect using my iPad and again on their computer before 7 but couldn’t do it. The girl called me to tell me that the internet manager said there was no problem with the internet so I asked for him to meet me at the computers. While I was waiting, it still didn’t work and then all of a sudden, it worked so I guess he reset them. By then, it was too late to use the computer because it was time to go eat breakfast. This means that I lost about 200 minutes left on my account. I won’t ever get that many minutes again! Spa – Staff was not very friendly. When we first arrived and were exploring, the spa had an open house. When we walked around I took some pictures and one of the ladies scolded me for taking photos. Another day when we were walking on the treadmill around 6:30am, one man raised the shades so he could see when the sun began to rise, and the lady came and told him that they had to stay lowered. 30 minutes later, she raised them up anyway. I decided to stay away from the spa because they turned me off by their attitudes so I didn’t sign up for any packages. Food service was excellent. On the Lido deck, I would be the first one to get an omelet from Billy, one of the chefs. There were also guys (Andi and Rizky) who would keep the juice, tea, and coffee cups filled. In the evening, we had a glass of wine when we arrived and one of the maitre’ds greeting us would always carry them to the table so we could use the hand sanitizer. When we left, Andi would be there to offer us mints, or ginger. Crew and staff were always friendly when I saw them around the ship. Everyone had a smile and a greeting for us. Entertainment: The entertainment was okay but I think the dance shows on the Carnival ships are much better with costumes, sets, and overall themes. We did really enjoy the comedian Jeff DeHart and the violinists, Lazlo and Claudia. Disembarkation: Getting off the ship was fast and easy. They called people by the color and number on their tags. We got off the ship about 9am and I called the hotel when we got out of the building about 9:20. They picked us up and we were back at our car by 10:30am. Summary: I would definitely take the cruise on this ship again. We had a great time. There were no major problems for us about anything or anyone. I did write some posts about the cruise on my blog: Successful Teaching and added links to pictures from our trip. They are on http://successfulteaching.blogspot.com/search/label/Ryndam. Feel free to visit there to see the pictures. Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
Stayed in a hotel in Tampa prior to the cruise. Scow in New England was a travel problem. Staying in Tampa for several nights prior to the cruise soothed my worries of missing the ship. I had made my own flight arrangements. It was nice ... Read More
Stayed in a hotel in Tampa prior to the cruise. Scow in New England was a travel problem. Staying in Tampa for several nights prior to the cruise soothed my worries of missing the ship. I had made my own flight arrangements. It was nice seeing Holland American's policies put into action when a party from New England was late arriving at the ship. This family did have a package of cruise and air. The ship made announcements letting everyone know that departure would be delayed as they waited for these people to arrive. Once they were safely onboard we departed on our cruise! The cabin was on the Veranda deck, cabin 100. A nice location is a quiet area. Lots of closet space , tub and shower and additional room features for the Spa Cabin. Cabin attendants were attentive. Had wonderful towel animals each night. Wave action on stormy nights can be heard from this cabin. Sounds from the Show Room at Sea had be heard but are not disruptive. Dining in the Deck 7 dining room was fine. Both lines, one for those with reservations and those without, were quickly accommodated. I was seated at the type of table I requested for every meal. Formal nights were a delight but I would be just as happy to continue with resort casual. Formal nights were a hit with many passengers. I just do not have the need to dress up after busy days on ship. I complied with the dress code and eat in the ding room every day of the cruise. I liked the small servings presented. The afternoon teas were well attended and provided a good social activity. The Assistant dining room manager from Holland was very good with two children cruising with their Grandparents. On one formal night he let the boy don his uniform jacket for a formal night picture. Such wonderful bonding! The boy was all smiles. The pool area was clean and it was easy to find a deck chair. Passengers were kind enough to move some chairs around to accommodate their fellow passengers. Never did I have difficulty getting a table or lounge chair. The Lido buffet for breakfast and lunch was well stocked with good food. I liked that Holland America does not allow self service at the buffets for the first few days of each cruise. They pay attention to how the food is served and watch that passengers are using hand sanitizer. I enjoyed all the shows in the Show room at Sea. The schedule was just right. Most shows were geared to an older crowd and those with a Rock and Roll focus were not particularly appreciated by the older demographic on the ship. This is sad because there were many who wanted more of this type of show. The crew members were quick to help older folks who had lost their way or who had fallen. They were aware of the fragility of some for the passengers. They would always ask how they were and reunite them with family members if they became separated. Holland American shore excursions were well planned and good value for amount charged.   Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
First days were uncoordinated in the deck 7 dining room with wrong food selections delivered to diners and lengthy waiting times for meal delivery. It appeared that the number of crew in the area was low. The issue resolved itself. ... Read More
First days were uncoordinated in the deck 7 dining room with wrong food selections delivered to diners and lengthy waiting times for meal delivery. It appeared that the number of crew in the area was low. The issue resolved itself. Entertainment was lacking on this portion of the cruise with nothing in the Showroom at Sea for several times during the seven day cruise. They seem to like to blast the volume in the Showroom at Sea. The loudness did not flatter all the singers. Large stateroom with good layout. First cabin on port side. No walk through traffic other than crew. Very quiet areaFour closets, six drawers, leatherette couch, IPod doc, yoga mats, water feature, safe, shower and tub and lighted makeup mirror. No peek hole in this particular door, a minor issue as I only had room service and they clearly announced themselves.Can hear waves when wind is heavy. Occasionally noticed water hitting window from crew cleaning areas above cabin. I did the back to back 21 day cruise. Thankfully the first 14 days were filled with great service in the dining room and frequent Showroom at Sea programs. The ports on the 7 day cruise were not of great quality, they all appeared to be manufactured for cruise ships. Two shore excursions stood out. In Guatemala the trip up the river to see the school was exceptional. The added stop at Livingston was fun when we were loaded into the bed of a pickup truck to travel up the steep hill and back. Really did wonder if that portion of the trip was sanctioned by Holland America. our guide paid for the ride from his own funds. Costa Maya ATVS/Jeep tour was fun but the area is so far from the ship that the full excursion cannot be accomplished in the time the ship is docked. We had to leave the venue prior to being able to swim at the beach. Cost of the trip should be lowered as the price is about $100 an hour! Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
Our family (a three year old, two parents and four grandparents) all generally enjoyed this cruise. The ship is a very manageable size, which makes it very convenient for travelers. As others have noted, there are some maintenance issues ... Read More
Our family (a three year old, two parents and four grandparents) all generally enjoyed this cruise. The ship is a very manageable size, which makes it very convenient for travelers. As others have noted, there are some maintenance issues with the Ryndam and hopefully these issues will be resolved during its dry dock in March. Travelers should bring layers in case the room is very cold, and be prepared for the possibility that the ac may not work in all cabins. My mother's cabin was very cold, and the problem was initially helped with duct tape, and fixed the next day. HAL kindly sent her a bottle of wine for the inconvenience. Please utilize caution when turning on the water in the faucet or the shower, as the water can be quite hot if set to the maximum temperature. As long as the faucet is set to the middle temperature, you will be perfectly fine. If you are bringing many cameras or electronic devices, you may also want to bring an adapter or splitter, since there is only one outlet in the cabin near the desk, and there currently are no outlets in the bathroom (although it is possible that this may change after the dry dock, so please ignore this if more recent reviews indicate a change). The Ryndam is a favorite ship of people who prefer inside cabins or ocean view cabins since there are many interior rooms to choose from in excellent locations. People who prefer balconies should note that the balconies are only available on decks 9 and 10 (the suites are located on deck 10). Deck 10 is located directly below the Lido deck, and in the gym on the lido deck there is a note requesting that passengers please be careful with the weights since the gym is located directly above other passengers' cabins. I was concerned prior to sailing that my deck 9 cabin might be too loud since most of the deck 9 balconies face interior spaces and it is hard to tell in advance if they will be loud or quiet crew workspaces. We had some limited noise from the Lido deck announcements, but it wasn't too loud or distracting and there was no noise from the interior work spaces across the hall from our cabin. In general, dining was good. The quality of the meat wasn't always as strong as I would hope for, but most of the food was very well seasoned and cooked so dining was generally enjoyable. We did experience some difficulty with the maitre d' at the open dining. Dinner service during our first night was very leisurely, and by the time we received our desserts the maitre d' came over to tell us that he needed the table for the next patrons and requested that we take our dessert to go. It would be much better if the maitre d' pushed the chefs and waiters to bring out food faster if they need to turn over the tables, as we didn't eat slowly - we were there for a long time since the food was served slowly. When my son ate all of my dinner or I didn't like my food on previous cruises I would just ask the waiter to please bring me a different entree. But since the maitre d' was trying to push us out of the restaurant, I didn't feel comfortable requesting more food, so I called room service to request for more food. A very nice feature on HAL is that room service will bring you any item on the main dining room menu during the hours the main dining room is open for dinner. Room service is very helpful and polite, but please note that you need to make very specific requests for your room service - if you order a dinner entree and want bread, you need to specifically ask for the bread. If you want a spoon, or sugar or anything else with your meal, you need to specifically request it (otherwise they will bring you things like yogurt and cereal without spoons unless you ask for them). Please also note that HAL does not leave breakfast outside of your door. Room service will knock on the door to bring your breakfast inside, so if you choose to order room service for breakfast you need to request it at a time you are certain you will be awake. We enjoyed an outstanding meal at the Pinnacle Grill, with excellent food and service as part of our Explore4 package. Please note that HAL reserves the right to assign you a dining time for the Pinnacle Grill if you are utilizing the Explore4 package. We chose this cruise primarily for the ports, and we were quite happy with all of our excursions. Guatemala was really lovely, and we greatly enjoyed our tour with Go With Gus. We were able to visit a local school, have a very nice boat ride down the Rio Dulce, and visited the hot springs. If you visit the school, please contact Gus to find out what the children currently need if you would like to donate items to the school. We were told to bring composition notebooks for the children. In Roatan we had another enjoyable day with Bodden Adventures, and greatly enjoyed visiting the monkeys at the Bodden home. We also greatly enjoyed our eco walk at South Shore through the suspension bridges. The bridges are a bit challenging for a three year old (which we fully anticipated prior to booking) but overall quite manageable for a child. In Costa Maya, we greatly enjoyed our Native Choice Mayan Experience tour. We had an outstanding tour guide, and my son loved climbing on the Mayan ruins and making tortillas. It may be a bit challenging for families to reach the Native Choice office, as the port itself is a bit large (there is a free trolley down the boardwalk, but my son didn't want to wait) and it is a four block walk to the Native Choice offices after you clear the port (they suggest taking a cab if you have difficulties walking, but there were no cabs available when we reached the exit of the port). Overall, we generally enjoyed this cruise and would choose to sail again with HAL if we found the right itinerary. We were more impressed with the quality of dining on Princess, and strongly prefer the mini suite rooms on Princess but we would be willing to sail again with HAL if we found the right cruise. Special Notes for families: I am concerned about the staffing levels in Club HAL. There were only 15 children aboard our ship, and therefore only 2 children's counselors were assigned to CLUB Hal. They were very nice girls, but I believe that it is too much to expect two counselors to handle all of the hours CLUB Hal is open. On port days, Club HAL is open from 8 am -4 pm, and again from 7 pm -10 pm, and possibly from 10 pm -midnight if teenagers are on board (which there weren't on our voyage). Our previous voyage on the Coral Princess had only 11 children, and Princess assigned 4 counselors to the ship, since 4 is their minimum staffing levels for their KidZone. Given how hard it is to take care of children, I'd feel better if the counselors didn't need to work all of the shifts, and I don't understand what happens if one of the two CLUB Hal counselors falls ill and cannot work. My 3 year old son greatly enjoyed attending Club Hal, especially the cooking class. He stated that his pancakes didn't come out as well as the chef's pancakes. The toddlers generally did arts and crafts of the gluing things to paper plates variety. HAL does not provide parents of young children with phones or beepers or means of communication while the children are in Club Hal, but you can call Club Hal to check up on your child. Parents should also note that there are very limited numbers of balcony cabins that can hold more than two people on the Ryndam, especially if you don't want a room directly under the Lido deck. Please also note that when I tried to confirm that my request for a crib had been received, I was informed by email that only children under two are given cribs and that I would not receive a crib for the sailing. As it turned out, there was in fact a crib in my room, but if your child is older than two please be prepared for the possibility that you may not be granted a crib, as per HAL's regulations (the age limit for cribs is listed on their website). Many parents have turned the couch in the room backwards facing the wall, and put sheets on the couch to make a small bed for toddlers. Parents should also consider bringing their own sheets if their children are still napping. The pack n play sheets were not delivered until the evening, which was several hours after our son's nap (fortunately we had brought our own sheets so this wasn't a problem). If you run into your steward in the hallway before you enter the room, you might want to ask if your pack n play has arrived, and if it has been built. We neglected to ask since we assumed it was set up already, and our son's nap was delayed because the pack n play was not assembled and we had trouble building the pack n play ourselves. We were unable to reach anyone for help, as both the front desk and steward did not pick up their phones. So if you see the steward in the hallway or a nearby room and have a child who needs to nap, you might want to ask them directly for assistance, as embarkation day is very hectic for the ship's staff. If possible, parents should try to book private tours, so they can modify the tours if children start to get fussy, and can return to the ship if necessary. We found it very helpful to bring a variety of healthy cereals with us on tours. Whenever our son got bored or frustrated, we would let him pick a new cereal and he was happy again.   Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
We are retired 60 yr olds who felt like a pre-Christmas cruise would be a nice get-away from the hustle and bustle before the Holidays. We were right! We've been on over 15 cruises, but usually choose HAL. Normally we take one of the ... Read More
We are retired 60 yr olds who felt like a pre-Christmas cruise would be a nice get-away from the hustle and bustle before the Holidays. We were right! We've been on over 15 cruises, but usually choose HAL. Normally we take one of the Vista Class ships, but liked the Ryndam's itinerary. It had been awhile since we'd been on a ship that small, so didn't know what to expect. We were pleasantly surprised! We flew to Tampa 1 day early ( and leaving behind 8" of snow). There was no shuttle to our hotel, so we caught a taxi to the Downtown Marriot Courtyard for $25. It was a nice hotel with plenty of places to eat in the downtown area. They provided a free shuttle to locations within 3 miles, which included the pier. We chose to take a cab to the pier Sunday at 11:00 because we didn't want to make the stops at the other two ships while they dropped off passengers. The cab ride was quick and cost only $10. At 11:15, we dropped our luggage off at the curb and proceeded directly up to the check-in. Since we were Neptune suite guests, we were immediately processed and given a seat . Just shortly after 11:30 we were allowed on board. Our cabin was ready and we went directly there. Before 2:00 our luggage was in our room and we were ready to cruise! After the 3:15 lifeboat drill, we went back to our cabin and met our cabin stewards who were there to take care of our every need. They didn't fail us the entire 2 weeks! Between Ari & Putu ( our stewards) and Vincent & Angelie ( the Navigator's lounge concierges ), anything we needed or wanted was quickly taken care of. You could tell the Ryndam wasn't a new ship, but it was well taken care of. Our cabin was clean and everything in good working order. We didn't experience any problems aboard during our 2 weeks. Breakfast and Lunch in the Lido seemed to always go smoothly. There didn't seem to be the kind of lines we sometimes encountered on the Vista size ships. The servers were, for the most part, very friendly. On occasion, we might encounter someone having a bad day. That's understandable when you're trying to keep 1300 people happy! There seemed to be a lot of staff in the Lido to get drinks or clear tables. There was always a good selection for lunch: American, Asian, Italian, salads, sandwiches, burgers, pizza, salad/taco bar, desserts, ice cream and the famous Bread Pudding! We chose early assigned seating in the MDR. We hadn't tried early seating for many years and thought we'd try it. For our personal taste, we think we'll go back to late seating next cruise. Sometimes it seems a little rushed when you're getting ready for formal night after a nice day in port. Our requested table for 6 only ended up having 4. The 4 of us got along great and thoroughly enjoyed our meals. Our dinning room stewards were very efficient and took care of us quickly, but you can tell things have changed and they don't have any extra time. They have a lot of tables to take care of and no free time for you to get to know each other like in the "old days". The wine steward took care of us quickly every night since we had a wine package. Otherwise, I'm not sure how quickly we would have gotten drinks. At early seating we felt more rushed since they have to be ready for late seating by 8. About the food.... We have nothing bad to say! The selection was very good for the 2 weeks. We felt the beef was tender and there was good selection of seafood. The creamed soups and chilled soups were as good, if not better, than ever! We felt the portion size was very good. Sometimes there was food left our plates if we were trying to taste something in each course! We did eat all three meals (at different times) in the Pinnacle Grill. Breakfast is available there for suite guests starting at 8 . It was very good, but we were fine with eating omelets in the Lido most days. Lunch was served there 1 day for the suite guests. It was very good and a lot of wine flowed. Since it was a sea day, it was a wonderful way to spend the time! Our evening meals there were perfect. The atmosphere was much nicer than the MDR. The wait staff and wine steward were all very friendly and efficient. We had the Steak Diane and the Filet Mignon...so juicy and big. The shrimp cocktail and lobster bisque were as good, or better, than any we'd ever had. The chocolate volcano dessert was SINFUL, but delicious! We'd recommend trying the Pinnacle at least once..... We didn't take part in any of the organized activities, we made good use of our veranda! There seemed to be plenty to keep you busy on most days. The daily paper keeps you apprised of all activities. The gym seemed to by fine and not always packed. Mornings seemed the busiest, of course. Neither of us used the spa , but they did seem to advertise some better than usual package deals. The shops on board were the usual ones with no real bargains or buys to be found. All the shop workers seemed very friendly, however, not very busy. The Casino was like all cruise ship casinos...not paying well. We tried only slots and could hold our own for a while before we "fed the machines". It didn't seem overly smoky like some ships have. The bars seemed fairly busy in the evenings, but not during the day. We only attended a few shows. There always seemed to be plenty of seating in the upper show room. A husband and wife acrobat team was absolutely wonderful! It started out slow, but ended great. A comedian/juggler we'd seen before was still good. We attended the musical production of "Droom". We thoroughly enjoyed it and thought the butterfly costumes were the best costuming we'd ever seen on a cruise ship! Capt. Rowden was a young pleasant captain. He kept us well informed with his daily reports. He did a good job letting us know why we were delayed on leaving or docking in certain ports. One delay was waiting on mushrooms to be delivered, which didn't make it until the next port. It's great to know they take our pleasure in good dinning very serious! The ports were great stops with no complaints: Key West / nice start. Docked at Navy Pier so we had to shuttle into town. It's a quick , free ride to Duval st. San Juan / nice stop, lots of history, good pier St. Thomas / always so scenic sailing in and out. Docked at Crown Bay, so took the $4 shuttle to downtown. Good shopping both in town and at pier. Antiqua / Beautiful island but not much to see from pier. Best of Antigua tour gave us a good overview of the island and it's history. We got a lot of great photos! The "usual" shopping at the pier shops. St. Lucia / Beautiful island but not much to see from pier. Usual shopping at pier shops. We took the 41/2hr history tour over to Soufiere. The island interior is pretty and hilly. The drive in volcano is interesting. It rained so we didn't get good photos of the Pitons from inland. We got better photos and views of the pitons our last trip when we took the ship from Castries to Soufriere. Curacao / We love the scenic look of this town. The Mega pier is a easy walk into town across the floating bridge. There's a lot to see in town if you don't like to shop. Aruba / We feel this island isn't as pretty but it has beautiful waters. Where the ship docks, it's an easy walk to all things shopping. If you've never been here, we'd certainly recommend an Island tour( it doesn't take long to see everything). The waters are great for swimming or snorkeling, too. Grand Cayman / We were a little late getting in because the garbage dump was on fire and the Capt had to see if it was safe to anchor. There was only 1 other ship there, so it wasn't bad walking the streets. Plenty of shopping if you've missed it anywhere else. We like swimming with the stingrays when in Grand Cayman. The tender ride to and from the ship isn't too long. Disembarkation went very quickly once the few foreigners that had to be tracked down for customs were persuaded to show up! They started disembarkation by 8:30. In Tampa we were told they don't have luggage direct, so we quickly found our luggage in the terminal and got in the quickest moving customs line We'd ever seen. We were getting our pre-arranged shuttle to the airport by 8:45. We had paid $25 at the hotel for the prepaid shuttle. We think it would have been as easy at about the same price to get a cab at the pier. This ship is going into dry dock in the Spring so maybe they will work on the heating and cooling systems. Some people complained about this, but we had no problems whatever. All things considered, we'd definitely recommend this cruise to anyone. It's truly an older crowd, like most HAL cruises, but it's a great cruise to relax on. There's nothing so nice as sitting on the veranda in 80 degree weather and watching the sea roll by, knowing it's freezing and snowy back home!   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
Previously, I sailed with Holland-America, on the Veendam in 1999, and the Volendam in 2001. Fine and impeccable was the service of the day, back then. Unfortunately, the service which previously existed, is alas, no more on the Ryndam. ... Read More
Previously, I sailed with Holland-America, on the Veendam in 1999, and the Volendam in 2001. Fine and impeccable was the service of the day, back then. Unfortunately, the service which previously existed, is alas, no more on the Ryndam. No sooner had my wife and I boarded the Ryndam on Dec. 1, 2013, that I noticed that there was a problem with the diverter valve in the shower. I was unable to get the water in the bathtub, to come out of the showerhead. Hence, I summoned the cabin attendant, who also had a problem with that device. In addition, the water was not properly draining out of the bathtub, as it was clogged. Someone had to have known about that problem, prior to Dec. 1, 2013. In any event, I called their main "service" desk, and reported the problem. One would have thought that both the cabin attendant and the main desk, would have contacted the ship's plumber. In fact, the matter was never addressed, until I again complained on Tuesday. I contacted a ship's officer, and also complained to the main desk, in person. This time, I got some action, as a maintenance person was actually sent to diagnose the problem. Afterwards, two plumbers came, and not only attempted to fix the problem, but also repaired a leaking faucet in the bathtub. However, I still had continuous problems with the diverter valve for the rest of the cruise, although I eventually got the water to come out of the shower head. To make matters worse, the toilet stopped flushing several days later. This time, the matter was expeditiously taken care of, and repairs were rendered. In addition to the maintenance problems, there were problems with the Ryndam's security personnel. Some of them, whom we encountered when we disembarked and embarked at the various ports of call, were the lowest of the lowest, pertaining to professionalism, or the lack thereof. They had no training in dealing with customers who had mobility issues. I saw one of their lowlifes, grab the wrist of an older lady, as she was having issues with walking past their security scanner. Another one screamed at a passenger, who inadvertently left his cell phone in the security area, after he successfully passed through screening. I personally complained to the number two man on the ship (the Hotel Manager), and he straightened the security miscreants out. Unfortunately, when we left the Ryndam in Tampa, on Dec. 8, 2013, there was mass pandemonium regarding the expedited disembarkation. It was extremely disorganized, and some of the Holland-America crew, were shouting at the passengers. Again, it was very unprofessional., and could have been handled better. When we asked for assistance with our luggage, in getting off, the Ryndam refused to help us. However, there were plenty of porters in the Tampa terminal, once we exited the ship. Years ago, Holland-America used to have a master baker on board, and he would bake the most delicious pastries. Then, in the evening, those pastries would be displayed for all of the guests to enjoy. Unfortunately, the Ryndam no longer does that, as the type and variety of pastries, left a lot to be desired. Entertainment-The so-called entertainment on the Ryndam, with one exception, was definitely third rate. Years ago, Holland-America had a number of variety acts, singers, dancers, and comedians, similar to the Ed Sullivan Show. Today, the performers are definitely substandard. In addition, the Ryndam employed a violinist who put me to sleep with boring melodies, every night. Also, the bands in the Crow's Nest, and the Ocean Bar area, were not the greatest. Lifeboat drill- I wasn't impressed with the so-called lifeboat drill. Years ago, on the Veendam and the Volendam, we were required to put our life jackets on before coming to the lifeboat station. And, the life jackets were inspected by the crew, to make sure that they were properly placed on the passengers. Now, it is no longer required. Also, there was confusion at the various lifeboat stations, and the deck crew were rude to the passengers. They wanted the door area cleared, but there was no area, for the passengers to stand, since we were crowded on top of each other. I always wondered how everybody would act, and how efficiently the crew would handle the task in a real emergency. Dining Room- I have to compliment our Waiter, and Assistant Waiter, as they worked very hard, and the food was very good. Unfortunately, it appeared that the personnel in the dining room, have been trimmed, Elevators- The elevator service on the Ryndam was atrocious. Not all of the elevators worked. Also, the elevators were not that large. Unfortunately, there were quite a number of overweight people on the cruise. When they enter an elevator, there is very little room left, for less obese people. I make a point of letting several elevators pass, rather than getting on a crowded one. However, there are some selfish individuals, who will opt to make a crowded elevator even worse, by shoving themselves onto it, instead of waiting for the next one. Type of passengers- There were passengers of all ages, including young children. I noticed two instances which made my blood boil, whereby the parents who should have known better, actually endangered the physical well being of their children. In one case, a young Mother, held her small child, over the top of the railing to show him the ocean! In another case, a young Mother got off the elevator, and failed to notice that her child was standing in the area, where the door closes. The Mother was completely oblivious to the danger that she placed her child in, by not exercising better supervision. Captain of the Ryndam- My hat goes off to Captain Werner Timmars, as he continuously kept us informed of the progress of the Ryndam, pertaining to Longitude, Lattitude, Water Temperature, Air Temperature, speed of the ship, etc. In addition, he was a very personable, and friendly individual. I was not impressed with the Cruise Director Rick Barnes, who seemed to be making excuses for the lack of quality entertainment. Internet Service Manager- I was impressed with that individual, as he assisted me with printing my airline boarding passes, while onboard the Ryndam. Once, I came online, it was very easy to use the computer sevices at sea. Overall, on a scale of 1-100, I'd have to regretfully rate the Ryndam at 72% or a C. The Ryndam is nearly twenty years old, and it should be retired. Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
This was our first Christmas cruise ever. We enjoyed ourselves and may do this again. The Ryndam is one of the smaller ships in the HAL fleet and we find her size to be just right. It was easy to see the same people again and again, not ... Read More
This was our first Christmas cruise ever. We enjoyed ourselves and may do this again. The Ryndam is one of the smaller ships in the HAL fleet and we find her size to be just right. It was easy to see the same people again and again, not like on a big ship. The ship was decorated for Christmas and everyone was in a festive mood. Mama Lou was on our sailing and will be on the sailing for New Year’s as well. She is a very interesting lady and extremely sharp. She is 90 years old now and has been cruising HAL for 18.5 years. The crew love her and dote on her. We had a small Cruise Critic Meet and Greet. 14 people attended. Seattle had scheduled us for The Mix. The area was not ideal but it served our purpose. The only problem was Seattle neglected to let the ship know about our meeting so no crew came by and no coffee and cookies were served. The Beverage Manager called to apologize when I made the Front Desk aware of the oversight and was ready to schedule another meeting for us. I declined but thanked him for the offer. I really just wanted them to let Seattle know that they had messed up. Our meeting went well without the cookies but a visit from a Staff member would have been nice. Cabin 628 – I had bought an HH guarantee, fully obstructed outside and we were placed in an unobstructed outside. That was nice. The cabin was in good shape. Everything worked. The toilet was a little slow occasionally but it always flushed. I set the air conditioner when we entered and never touched it again. It remained at a constant comfortable temperature until the last two days. Then the cabin would warm up until the air kicked in. Others had issues with their air, some never getting it to work. They were provided with fans. I cannot quote room numbers, I wish I could, but these comments were all heard in passing or while waiting at the front desk for other information. One member of the Cruise Critic group did have to get moved from their cabin. On returning from Key West, the toilet in their cabin was spewing water, flooding right out the door. Maintenance had a hard time shutting off the water. On two occasions, the water in our cabin ran a tan colour before it became clear. Not sure what that was but I noted it on my survey. Several areas of the ship were quite cold. The Showroom at Sea was always like an icebox. The library and Explorations café were also quite cold. The balance is certainly off in how the air conditioning works. I was told by one of the front office staff that the Ryndam is going into dry dock in March of 2014 but he couldn’t tell me what was being done – only soft goods or more extensive repairs. The furnishings in our cabin looked fine as did much of the public space. There are chairs that have seen better days but generally everything looked pretty good. Food – We ate in the Lido most nights and only made the dining room on the formal nights. There was prime rib on the first formal night and 3 people at our table ordered it. Not one was able to finish it since it was very sinewy. The second formal night had surf and turf. The lobster was a good size but the turf was small, but it was very tender. The first 48 hours in the lido under code orange went much better than I expected with no long lines and the code was lifted after 48 hours. We seem to have a healthy ship. Because food is so subjective, no further comments are necessary. We enjoyed our food and had lots of choices. There were many multi generational family groups on board. We were told that there were 150 children. For the most part, they were well behaved. I didn’t run into any elevator issues or running children or really loud children either. The Ryndam had three shows most nights – 6:30. 8:00 and 10:00. This worked well since the Showroom is not very large. Listen to the Music – cast introduction (Only one show) - enjoyed Rock Legends – Ryndam cast – did not see Rich Purpura – comedian, mind reader – did not enjoy Classique – Ryndam cast - enjoyed Dave Hempstad – Comedian - enjoyed Droom – Ryandam Cast - enjoyed Dancing with the Stars finale (only one show) – did not see Happy hours were in the Ocean bar from 4 to 5 pm and the 9 to 10pm or 10 to 11pm in the Crow’s Nest. This varied from one day to the next. It is buy one get one for $1 more. Lounges Explorer’s Lounge – Adagio – Piano and violin - enjoyed Ocean Bar – The Neptunes Mix – Solo Guitarist – Terry - enjoyed Piano Bar – Jamm The Halcats – on deck and the Crow’s Nest – actually quite good Cruise Director – Rick We had booked no excursions, preferring to get off at each port and wander. However, if you do this cruise, do yourself a favour and book an excursion in Santo Tomas, Guatemala. There is a port building with some souvenir shopping and some entertainment and food but there isn’t much else. We booked a trolley excursion at the last minute. It was one hour and took us to Porto Bario where we saw some of the city and how the local people live. We had a very good guide, a local teacher, who does these tours while the winter vacation is on. School is out from November to the middle of January. Santo Tomas gave us the best send off of all the ports. The locals congregated on the pier, danced for us, played music and as we pulled away from the dock honked the horns of the cars and busses parked at the pier. They love the cruise ships and are really a very friendly people. Sadly the pillow chocolates are just little golden squares of milk chocolate, not as good as before but as RuthC would say, still chocolate!! We received a blue HAL bag on our second night and I won a bottle of champagne at the Future Cruise presentation. The Champagne this cruise has been better than on the last couple of cruises. They seem to have changed their brand. Being Canadian we were invited to a Commonwealth Party in the Crow’s Nest. We were provided with appetizers and buy one get one for $1 drinks. This is the first time we have seen a Commonwealth Party although others told us they have been to them before. Different happenings on different ships. There were two Mariner Brunches. Ours was early in the week on the first sea day (two star) and people we met who were 4 star had theirs on the last sea day. I can only imagine we have lots of Mariners aboard. For the Non US citizens reading this, I should tell you we had a strange disembarkation routine. First, we were not eligible to do self disembarkation. The walk off option was limited to US citizens only. Then on Saturday, after we had already completed our requests for a disembarkation time, we were left a letter that we would have to appear in the Wajang Theater at 6:45 am to meet with Immigration officials. The ship could not be cleared until all non US citizens had been interviewed. This has never happened at Miami, Fort Lauderdale or Boston. There, we were allowed to walk off and both Customs and Immigration were done in the terminal. I wish we had known about the early timing before we requested a disembarkation time since I would then have picked an earlier time. So, non citizens, be prepared for this type of disembarkation in Tampa.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
29-DAY ANTIQUITIES & SPANISH PASSAGE COLLECTOR 15 Day Barcelona to Tampa on HAL Ryndam cruise Background information: In Jan. 2013 I cruised the Caribbean & on that voyage was the Mt. Laurel Autoharp Group; I overheard them say ... Read More
29-DAY ANTIQUITIES & SPANISH PASSAGE COLLECTOR 15 Day Barcelona to Tampa on HAL Ryndam cruise Background information: In Jan. 2013 I cruised the Caribbean & on that voyage was the Mt. Laurel Autoharp Group; I overheard them say their next cruise was going to be transatlantic. Well it was but they were not on it. Note: I was on this cruise from Athens to Tampa which was known as the 29-Day Antiquities & Spanish Passage Collector; however the Ryndam broke it down to Athens – Rome, Rome – Barcelona & Barcelona to Tampa. This is the 15 day Barcelona to Tampa cruise. Activities: There were not as many as I had expected but this was a smaller ship, capacity 1260, roughly a port of call each day & my 1st visit to the Mediterranean. However there were sufficient activities I was interested in. Cabin: I had cabin 030 which was convenient to the elevators FORE & AFT. I also had use of the Neptune Lounge & the Pinnacle Grill for breakfast. Captain: Werner Timers kept us updated with navigational highlights & was often seen around the ship on special events. During his communication at noontime, he would inform us of the history of certain places we were passing. One looked forward to this. Cell Phone: Best bet here is to contact your local cell phone carrier. I was told to have airplane mode on, data off & fetch new data off. Of course turning your phone off will probably guarantee you of no surprised bill. Children’s Clubs: No experience here. Dining: There was plenty of food; I am not a connoisseur so am unable to say whether it was good or not. This is the first cruise I tried anytime dining & I like it. You sit with different people each evening. E Reader: There are various types; basically they are all the same. Either take a bunch of books or you can put them on an E Reader which is easier to carry. In addition the E reader I took a Microsoft Surface tablet. Embarkation & Disembarkation: Disembarkation in Tampa was swift with customs just comparing passport & the customs form. Entertainment in the Showroom at Sea: The Ryndam singers & dancers were terrific, as were Brett Cave, Romany, The Marriage Game, Tribute to the Temptations, Rafael, Annette Wardell, Joe Yannety, Duo Acrobatique, & Dancing with the Stars. Fitness & Recreation: Did not use Formal Nights: There were 4 formal nights. Gratuity: These are charged to your account and range about $12. When we tipped a steward upon completion of the cruise, we were told in advance by the Captain that these tips are supposed to be turned in. This leads to the question “Why tip extra?” But on the other hand you normally tip a maid when staying at a hotel. Laundry: There are washers & dryers on decks 9, 6, & 5; washing was $2, dryers $1, soap is provided free. Navigational Sights & Scenery: Breathtaking. Public Rooms: DECK 8: Lido Restaurant: Here was breakfast, the advantage of eating here was it opened early. DECK 8: Gym: Went here once at the beginning to the cruise to weigh myself. DECK 8: Explorer’s Lounge, Library, Internet, Puzzle’s & Game’s: I spent my time here while waiting for the dining room to open, using the internet, or just reading. DECK 8: Pinnacle Grill: I had breakfast here once. DECK 8: Shops: Purchased a pair of shorts here. DECKS 8-7: Showroom at Sea: Where the shows are. DECK 7: Wajang Theater: There were movies about 12 noon most every day. DECK 7: Front Office: Open 24/7 & I visited here a few times; Shore Excursions is beside it. DECK 3: Tenders: decks B or 5. Rates: Reasonable. Rotterdam Dining Room food: I’m not a connoisseur but there was ample & I’m not one to complain. SAFE There is one in the room, that’s where I put the valuables that I won’t be using on the cruise. Service & Staff: HAL is known for their service. Everyone was very helpful. Ship Info: The ship was relatively small & there are 2 banks of elevators 4 each or 8 in total. I found walking from bow to stern rather easy plus one really does not have any choice. Smoking: About the only place you notice this is in the Casino & here 1 side is reserved for smokers, the other side non-smoking. Outside the ship smoking is allowed. At the Sea View Pool on Deck 10, smoking is allowed on the starboard side only. Tours – Private: Malaga, Spain: HoHo buses, taxis, miniature train trolley. Cadiz, Spain: HoHo buses. Lisbon, Portugal: taxi tours, HoHo bus, walking city tour Wi-Fi: Malaga, Spain: probably available Cadiz, Spain: probably available. Lisbon, Portugal: available – you have to look for it Value for Money: Very good. Overall: I was very satisfied as I did not take this cruise for activities, but for the ports of call. It was An interesting cruise & one I hope to repeat. Summary: If I had a bad time it was my fault as there were many activities & shore excursions. As I have said above, I do plan to take this cruise again because of the ports & the ship. Dairy Sat. Nov. 2: Barcelona, Spain: mostly sunny, 64F, leave 4pm, Smart Casual In port with the Costa There is a bus from the pier to the Christopher Columbus statue & from there you can catch the HoHo bus. I took the Barcelona Sights & Flamenco Show tour. It was a drive through Barcelona with a Flamenco demonstration & photo stop at Sagrada Familia & a wine tasting. Tonight’s entertainment was “Listen to The Music” with the Ryndam singers and dancers. Sun. Nov. 3: At Sea: mostly sunny to p/c, 68F, Formal At breakfast (6.00) with Kathy & Larry. We had the M&G in the Crow’s Nest from 10-11. LoveHal did a great job. After we got acquainted he asked everyone to introduce themselves, thanked HAL for their part, and then asked the HAL representatives to say a few words. It was a huge success. After the M&G was lunch in the Lido followed by the movie Red2 in the Wajang Theater; it was very funny. Tonight’s entertainment was “Heat” at the Showroom at Sea along with the Captain’s Welcome Toast. Mon. Nov. 4: Malaga, Spain: sunny – p/c, 61F, windy, Smart Casual, 8am-6pm In port with Costa Fortuna & Carnival Sunshine, calm seas from Barcelona to Malaga. Breakfast with Kathy & Larry again. It’s rather nice having breakfast with the same people. When you are traveling for 15 days, it is like one big happy family. Today I took “Panoramic Malaga” a 2 ½ hour bus tour viewing the main attractions of Malaga with breathtaking views. Back at the ship I had lunch, saw the movie “We Steal Secrets” in the Wajang Theater about the Wikileaks & Bradley Manning, had Afternoon Tea, and then read. There are HoHo buses, many taxi’s (probably because 3 ships were in port) & a miniature trolley train. There is a free shuttle from the pier to town. From there you can catch the HoHo trolley. As the tour bus was going back to the pier I saw on one of the city buses an ad that said “free Wi-Fi. Tonight’s entertainment was “Brett Cave” pianist. Tues. Nov. 5: Cadiz, Spain: mostly cloudy, 59F, Smart Casual, 7am-5pm Ryndam only ship in port, calm seas from Malaga to Cadiz About 11pm last night we passed the straits of Gibraltar Today we were joined for breakfast by a Russian traveler. Cruise Director Rick stopped by to say hello; he has a house in TX that he built & spends time in FLA with his father. He said he will be with the ship until Mar 2015 when the ship will go to dry-dock, most likely in Bahamas. Take the free shuttle to town, & there connect with the HoHo bus. Today I took a bus tour “Panoramic Cadiz & Jerez with Sherry Tasting” that included a panoramic drive thru Cadiz & Jerez with Sherry Tasting in Cadiz at Harvey’s Bristol Cream. Back at the ship I had lunch, saw the movie The Great Gatsby & went to Afternoon Tea. Tonight’s entertainment was “Romany” a female magician. Wed. Nov. 6: Lisbon, Portugal: mostly cloudy, 63F, Smart Casual, 9am-5pm Ryndam only ship in port, little rocking & rolling from Cadiz to Lisbon pitch yawl At breakfast this morning Larry told us how some of the tricks last night were done. We turned our clocks back 1 hour at 2am. There was a noise last night as the ship was rocking & rolling. I discovered that it was the closet door banging; I fixed that with a chair & was able to sleep. In the morning I told the steward, he showed me a lock that I neglected to see. I took the ships “Lisbon & Estoril” tour a panoramic drive of Lisbon, view of the Old Town, & the town of Estoril which has a beautiful beach & is located on the seashore. Tonight’s entertainment was “The Marriage Game”. This is always good as it involves audience participation. Thur. Nov. 7 At Sea: mostly cloudy, 68F, Formal During these sea days there are plenty of activities, they have to keep you busy. There is the gym with saunas & steam rooms & showers. I spent time in the Digital Workshop trying to get help with Skydrive to no avail. Tonight’s entertainment was “Droom”. Fri. Nov. 8: At Sea: p/c, 64F, Smart Casual We turned our clocks back 1 hour at 2am.Read in the library until 10:30 where I went to the Digital Workshop for help with Skydrive again, decided I will get help with the Microsoft Store back in Boston. Saw the movie ‘World War Z”. Tonight’s entertainment was “A Tribute to the Temptations”. Sat. Nov. 9: At Sea: mostly cloudy, 68F, Smart Casual Today during breakfast the Captain announced that a smoke alarm went off on A deck. It turned out to be a false alarm. After breakfast I went to the Crow’s Nest then lunch & the movie Wolverine. Tonight’s entertainment was violinist “Rafael”. Sun. Nov. 10: At Sea: mostly cloudy, 64F, Smart Casual We turned out clocks back 1 hour a 2am. After breakfast I worked on my review of this trip as it involves 3 trips. The more done now, the less I’ll have to do at home. Today’s movie was “The Heat”. The main reason I saw it, at breakfast Kathy said it was a funny movie. Tonight’s entertainment was “Diva” with soprano Annette Wardell. She had a great voice but it was not my type of music. Tonight I made reservations for the Pinnacle Grill. Mon. Nov. 11: At Sea: After breakfast I went to the spa to get a free head massage received for booking a future cruise. Then went to Showroom at Sea for Mariners Award. I got a medallion for 100 days of travelling with HAL. Following that was the Mariners luncheon. I sat with Marty (LoveHal) who told me the benefits of a 4 star Mariner that included 50% off fees at the Pinnacle Grill; so I cancelled tonight’s meal. After lunch the movie “Pacific Rim” which appeared to be a Sci-Fi flick. Tonight’s entertainment was “Rock Legends”. Tues. Nov. 12: At Sea: For the past few days I have been wearing walking shorts. After breakfast I gave my laundry to the cabin steward knowing it will be returned to me in the evening. I went to the Lido to work on my review then did the internet until lunch in the Rotterdam Dining Room. After that went to the Wajang/Culinary Arts Center on Deck 7. There were 3 Officers including the Captain and the Hotel Director. It was very funny and the Captain won. Just before the end the ships alarm went off which indicated a fire so everybody made a quick exit with the exception of the Hotel Director. We were told that it was another false alarm. I stayed in Wajang Theater to see the movie “Blackfish” which showed how little we know about Orca Whales, the mistreating of Orcas by Seaworld & the deaths of various trainers. At supper we talked about the main advantage of Anytime Dining is that you sit each night with different people. Tonight’s entertainment was comedian Joe Yanetty from Boston’s North End. Wed. Nov. 13: At Sea: Today I sat in the Location Lecture Series “The Mayan Mystery” &“History of Oceanography & Oceanic Navigation. Then lunch in the Rotterdam Dining Room followed by the movie RIPD then high tea. In the Wajang Theater was a Virtual Bridge Tour which was very interesting. Tonight’s entertainment was Duo Acrobatique with 3 performances at 6:30, 8 & 10pm. Thurs. Nov. 14: At Sea: Today the Lecture Series “Costa Rica Eco Tourism”. “The Artic”, & a question & answer session with the Officers. After lunch in the Rotterdam Dining Room the movie “Way, Way, Back” followed by afternoon tea. After supper I went to the variety show featuring Rafael, Joe Yanetty, Annette Wardell, & Tribute to the Temptations. Again 3 performances 6:30, 8 & 10pm. Fri. Nov 15: Half Moon Cay, Bahamas: Here I rented a tent, well it was cheaper than a clamshell but I ended up with a clamshell, go figure. There were two HAL ships in the Cay also. The weather was nice as well as the water. I went back to the ship for lunch followed by the movie Austenland and afternoon tea. After supper I went to “Classique” with the Ryndam cast & musicians. It was supposed to be from Mozart to Manilow but there were few classical songs if any. Sat. Nov 16: At Sea: Today there was a question & answer session for guest lecturer Allan Thomas then a Soprano Soiree with Annette Wardell. Now most of us agreed that she has a fantastic voice but Soprano Opera is just not our cup of tea. I spent the afternoon packing my baggage that was to be checked then worked on the carry-on baggage. Tonight’s entertainment was Dancing with the Stars featuring fellow passengers who won various dancing contests. Sun. Nov 17: Tampa, FL: We arrived at 7am, a nice voyage & one I hope to repeat. Debarkation went smoothly with customs just comparing the passport with customs form. I was on the bus to Tampa airport in a jiffy but had to wait what seemed an hour for the thing to move. Along the way to the airport I noticed much construction. I took Delta from Tampa to JFK and regretted doing it but that was how HAL arranged it. JFK was fogged in, well not that fogged in; flights were being cancelled but the Boston flight was not. Master: Captain Werner Timmers Chief Engineer: Pieter Engels Purser: Moesa Djoemena Guest Relations Manager: Christine Lubaton Dining Room Manager: Pulung Baskoro Executive Chef: Tony Tudla Hotel Director: Kees van Santen Staff Captain: Paul Adams Culinary Operations Manager: Florin Dragomir Cruise Director: Rick Barnes Security Officer: Mark Miranda Executive Housekeeper: Rita Lynch Event Manager: Kristy Berlin   Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
First time cruiser on Holland America and likely the last. The Stateroom was spacious but only had one electrical outlet, no fan in the bathroom and poor draining shower stall as well toilet plugged up several times. We were fortunate to ... Read More
First time cruiser on Holland America and likely the last. The Stateroom was spacious but only had one electrical outlet, no fan in the bathroom and poor draining shower stall as well toilet plugged up several times. We were fortunate to have a functioning a/c room, a privilege many on our level did not have, even after registering complaints. The lounges around the pool were so tightly crammed together making it difficult to get into. Elevators and beverage machines were regularly out of order. Service was almost non-existent - Possibly due to shortage of staff, inexperience, did not understand English and lack of interest in both Lido and Dining Room. The meals were so slow in arriving that on several occasions were late for the entertainment. Also the Lido food often ran out and area closed far too soon. The last week of the cruise visited Honduras, Guatemala and Costa Maya and unless you want to go to the beach there is nothing else to see. Also on the last week the pool was the same temperate as the hot tubs and only repaired on the last day. Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
This was our 6th cruise on HAL and both DW and I think the quality and value has slipped since our first cruise on the older Westerdam in 1996. On that first cruise we were escorted to our oceanview cabin by a member of the staff, as were ... Read More
This was our 6th cruise on HAL and both DW and I think the quality and value has slipped since our first cruise on the older Westerdam in 1996. On that first cruise we were escorted to our oceanview cabin by a member of the staff, as were most, if not all the other guests. Hasn't happened since. The only staff member who really made an effort to do more than the required tasks was the Neptune Lounge concierge, and we rewarded him accordingly at the end. Our first breakfast in the Pinnacle Grill my wife ordered eggs benedict and they were cold. After 3 tries to get poached eggs that were at least warm, she gave up. The adjoining table gave up after just 2 tries. The next day she only gave them kitchen 1 chance for warm eggs before switching. How hard can it be to serve warm eggs? The wine stewards tried to upsell nearly every night. We're at the start of a cruise and they're already out of some wines? Even after at least a few years of having the "anytime" dining, I still feel the "anytime" folks do not get as good a service as the fixed seating diners. I sup[pose it's to be expected since the staff doesn't get to know you with new people at a table every night, but we pay the same price and should get equal service. Final gripe. The MDR was closed for lunch on the 1 and only sea day of this cruise. That left almost all of us jammed into the Lido buffet. Enough of what's wrong - now, what's still good. The cabins are clean, the beds comfortable and the food (mostly) good,. The entertainment was well done .The ports of call were well chosen and for our portion of the cruise I felt we had adequate time in each port. We didn't use the ship shore excursions. The Captain and senior staff were frequently visible and the Captain made regular announcements on the course. He alerted us to the fact we would be sailing past the Stromboli volcano, allowing many of the passengers to see it erupting in the night. Despite the glitches I would have probably sailed with HAL again if not for the new wine policy. If that remains unchanged, this will be my last trip with HAL. Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
Note: I was on this cruise from Athens to Tampa which was known as the 29-Day Antiquities & Spanish Passage Collector, however the Ryndam broke it down to Athens Rome, Rome Barcelona, & Barcelona to Tampa. This is the 7 day Athens ... Read More
Note: I was on this cruise from Athens to Tampa which was known as the 29-Day Antiquities & Spanish Passage Collector, however the Ryndam broke it down to Athens Rome, Rome Barcelona, & Barcelona to Tampa. This is the 7 day Athens to Rome portion. Pre-Cruise: I spent several days in Athens, should have spent more & stayed at a cheaper hotel around less expensive restaurants. Background information: In Jan. 2013 I cruised the Caribbean & on that voyage was the Mt. Laurel Autoharp Group. I overheard them say that their next cruise was going to be transatlantic. Well it was but for some reason they like the Noordam. Activities: I was used to larger ships, also this was in the Mediterranean; I thought there could have been more but we had a port for each day; some passengers thought this too much. Cabin: I had cabin 030 on the Navigation Deck giving me use of the Neptune Lounge and breakfast at the Pinnacle Grill. Captain: Werner Timmers kept us updated with navigational highlights & was often seen around the ship on special events & for lunch at the Lido. He was the first Captain I have seen not wearing a jacket; fellow officer were the same. Maybe this is what you get with smaller ships. The Captain’s humor, wit & knowledge were well appreciated. The fact that we had nice weather throughout the cruise probably had some affect. Cell Phone: Best bet here is to contact your local cell phone carrier. I was told to have airplane mode on, data off & fetch new data off. Of course turning your phone off is probably the best bet. I called my provider (AT&T) & asked for international calling for a month just in case of emergency. Children’s Clubs: Not used Cruise Director: Michael Langley; it took getting used to him for this was my first cruise to the Med. He was very knowledgeable of the different ports. Dining: There was plenty of food but for me the selection was bad as I am a fussy eater. I have yet to have a tender HAL steak. This was the first cruise I chose anytime dining & I found it better than fixed for one is seated with different people each night. E Reader: There are various types, basically they are all the same. Either take a bunch of books or you can put them on an E Reader. In addition the E reader I took a Microsoft Surface tablet. A lot of people had IPads. Embarkation & Disembarkation: Embarkation was pretty swift. Disembarkation did not apply as I was going to Tampa. Entertainment: The Ryndam singers & dancers were terrific as were comedian’s Kevin Devane & Scotty McLean. The volume in the Showroom at Sea was loud, always has been no matter what ship I’ve been on. Others agreed with me. Fitness & Recreation: Did not use Formal Nights: There were 2 formal nights. There were few tuxedos Gratuity: For me the gratuity was $12 per day; for most people it was $11.50. This is deducted automatically & charged to your account. Laundry: There were washers & dryers on decks 9, 6, & 5; washing was $2, dryers $1, soap was provided free. What I did while the laundry was being washed was to sit in the one seat available & read my E-reader. Navigational Sights & Scenery: Breathtaking. Passengers: We had a somewhat younger crowd than the older over 60’s that one would expect, most of the children were from European countries. Perks: I was in a Neptune Suite so took advantage of the free laundry & Pinnacle Grill for breakfast which I used only once since breakfast in the Pinnacle was at 8am & breakfast in the Lido began about 6-7 depending on the port visited. Public Rooms: DECK 8: Lido Restaurant: Here was breakfast, the advantage of eating here was it opened early. DECK 8: Gym: Went here once at the beginning to the cruise to weigh myself. DECKS 8-7: Rotterdam Dining Room: This is where I took evening meals on Deck 7 & Deck 8 for hi-tea at 3PM. DECK 8: Explorer’s Lounge, Library, Internet, Puzzle’s & Game’s: I spent my time here while waiting for the dining room to open, using the internet, or just reading. DECK 8: Pinnacle Grill: I had breakfast here once, but breakfast is reserved for Neptune Suite guests. DECKS 8-7: Showroom at Sea: Where the shows are. DECK 8: Shops: Purchased a pair of shorts here. DECK 7: Wajang Theater: There were movies about 12 noon most evry day. DECK 7: Front Office: Open 24/7 & I visited here a few times; Shore Excursions is beside it. DECK 3: Tenders: decks B or 5. Rates: Reasonable. Service: HAL is known for their service. Everyone was very helpful. Ship: The ship was relatively small & there are 2 banks of elevators 4 each or 8 in total. I found walking from bow to stern rather easy plus you really do not have any choice. Smoking: About the only place you notice this is in the Casino & here 1 side is reserved for smokers, the other side non-smoking. But a sign in the casino says "Smoking is permitted at designated slots & tables while playing only”. Outside the ship smoking is allowed. At the Sea View Pool on Deck 10, smoking is allowed on the starboard side only. Stewards: My stewards were Ari & Putu who were responsible for 17 Neptune Suite cabins. Tours  Private: For independent tours check reviews on Cruise Critic and Tripadvistor. Independent Tours are less expensive than ship’s tours. Taking a ships tour means that the ship will not leave without you; you lack that advantage with independent tours. Olympia (Katakolon) Greece: tours available at the pier. Kerkira (Corfu) Greece: tours available at the pier. Kotor, Montenegro: available are taxi tours, tour of Walled City, walk to Kalemija mall. Dubrovnik, Croatia: available at the pier taxi tours. Naples, Italy: taxi tours available. Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy: available Wi-Fi: Olympia (Katakolon), Greece: available at various places. Kerkira (Corfu), Greece: available in the terminal as you exit for the city. Kotor, Montenegro: at Kalemija Mall, a short walk from the pier. Dubrovnik, Croatia: Wi-Fi available at the pier. Naples, Italy: Wi-Fi available at the terminal where the ship docks Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy: available outside the terminal at restaurants Value for Money: Very good. Overall: I was very satisfied as I did not take this cruise for activities, but for the ports of call. It was an interesting cruise. Athens: there are many tours in this marvelous city among them a HoHo (Hop On Hop Off) bus. Katakolon (Olympia), Greece: I took the ships tour "Ancient Olympia & the Village” but there is also the HoHo bus plus independent tours you can book; do a search on cruise critic or tripadvisor. Some people just walked around the city. Kerkira (Corfu), Greece: Here you can also do an independent tour or walk around the city. I took the "Achillion, Kanoni & Corfu” ships tour. Kotor, Montenegro: Here I took the HoHo bus then walked to Kamelija which is the large shopping center, large according to Kotor standings. Montenegro was one of the best ports visited. There are also private taxis. Dubrovnik, Croatia: Here I took the "Panoramic & Traditional Konavle” ships tour. There are also independent taxis available. Naples, Italy: I took the ships tour "Panoramic Naples” but there are taxi tours independent tours. Rome, Italy: Ship tours are available as are independent tours. Dairy: Tuesday Oct. 15: Pre-Cruise: Boston, p/c I took a taxi to Lufthansa terminal, checked in then went to the Business Class lounge. We boarded 1 hour late (the captain said it was a medical emergency). An hour after taking off we were served a sumptuous supper followed by lights out but I did not sleep a wink. Then a few hours later, before landing, we were served breakfast. Mind you the flight was only 7 hours long; how much food does one person need and the airlines are complaining about expenses? Wednesday Oct. 16: Pre-Cruise: Athens, overcast, 70’s After arriving in Frankfurt I went to the gate A18 for the Athens flight only to be told by an attendant that the Lounge was at gate 26. So I backtracked to 26, spent an hour in the lounge & returned to gate A 18 where we were bussed to the plane which seemed like 15 minutes. After boarding, Business Class was served yet another breakfast, & this was far better than the one from Boston to Frankfurt; Lufthansa outdid themselves. We arrived at Athens Airport (about a 3 hour flight) & I was surprised to see someone waiting for me after the fiasco with Princess Cruise Lines in Sept. 2012. When we got to the Ledra Marriott there was a long check-in line. The attendant could not find my reservation; to make a long story short everything turned out ok when the HAL rep finally cleared things up. I was told to have my luggage outside my door at 8am Saturday morning. Thursday Oct. 17: Pre-Cruise: Athens, sunny in morning, showers in afternoon; 60’s, windy. Caught up on sleep today with an occasional break for meals. The flight may be short but it takes a lot out of you. At supper tonight met Michele who works as an inspector for RCCL, Azmara and Celebrity cruise lines. She travels a lot and we talked about various things. She said the reason embarkation & debarkation is so good is that a terminal was specially built for the 6000+ passenger ships however she prefers the smaller ships. Friday Oct. 18: Pre-Cruise: Athens, 60-70, clear, sunny, slight breeze. Today I caught the 10:09 HOHO blue bus to the Acropolis; there the bus was emptied, I believe it was going out of service, & we were put on a red bus. There are two tours, the red which covers Athens and blue which covers Piraeus. On the red route we went to Syntagma Sq., Melina Merkouri / Plaka, New Acropolis Museum, The Acropolis and Parthernon, Temple of Zeus, National Gardens, The 4 Museums, Panathenaic Stadium, National Gardens / Attica Dept Store, National Library, Archaeological Museum, Omonia Square, Karaiskaki Square, Monastiraki / Thession station, Kotzia Square. At stop 8 I got off then took the Blue Bus to Marriott & Intercontinental, Planetarium, Municipal Theatre, Cruise Terminal, Lions Gate, Archaeological Museum of Piraeus, Votsalakia Beach, Mikrolimano Harbour, Planetarium, and Marriott & Intercontinental. You will notice that the bus stops at Marriott 2 times. (Note) Piraeus is a nice port area. We leave from there tomorrow. For lunch I went to Maeina, about a 2 minute walk from the hotel walking towards Piraeus on the same side as the hotel. I had a beef souvlaki wrap and bottled water for 2.20 Euro. There are 3 eateries all next to each other & very near the hotel. Back at the hotel I met Kris & Sheila, we went to the outside rooftop restaurant but it was rather windy with a good view of the Acropolis. About the tour, they give you these small headsets that fit in your ears & for the life of me I could not get them to fit in my ears. Saturday Oct. 19: Athens, leave 4:30: 68F, sunny, Smart Casual. After breakfast, with my bags packed I turned on the tube; the only channel of interest was the Japan one which seemed devoted to nature programming. I went to the lobby at 11am, did not see my luggage asked the HAL rep who said "well I hope not as it should be on the truck”. On the ride from the Marriott to Piraeus I noticed near the hotel walking towards the city on the same side of the hotel was a cinema. The ride took about 20 minutes & I was in my cabin by 12:30, unpacked then went to the Neptune Lounge for snacks also changed my dining from fixed to anytime. After you check-in at the dock & before you board the ship was a duty-free shop. There was not a desk in the cabin, so I ended up using the makeup table. Then I walked to the Drill & from there to the Sea View pool & the Sail-a-way party. The Halcats were playing & Kris and Sheila showed up, we ended to my cabin then to supper. After we had finished, I went back to have my zippered pants, jacket, and shirt laundered. Formal night is Monday but I will get the laundry back Sunday night. Tom & Shondra met me in the Neptune Lounge as I stopped in to have some sandwiches. Between that & herring I’m probably going to gain a few pounds. Entertainment tonight was "Listen to the Music” with Cruise Director Michael Langley & the entertainers of the Ryndam. Sunday Oct. 20: Katakalon, Greece, 8am-6pm: 75F, mostly sunny; Smart Casual. Calm seas from Athens to Katakalon. In port today with Quest for Adventure. Set a Wake-up call for 6am but also used the wakeup app on my iphone. Shaved, then went to breakfast, after which I returned to the cabin & finished getting ready for the day. I took a tour & we saw the site of ancient Olympia & the remains of temples, treasuries, porticoes and statues. We briefly stopped in an Olympia village then we walked to a renovated museum. Back to the ship, I walked around town. There are cars for hire at 35 Euro & various places have Wi-Fi. There is a duty free shop a stone’s throw from where the ship docks and many crew members go there for water. Entertainment tonight was "Rock Legends” with the Ryndam Singers & Dancers. Monday Oct. 21: Kerkira, Greece, 8am-4pm: 68F, mostly clear, Formal. Calm seas from Katakalon to Kerkira. In port today with Splendor of the Seas and MSC Armonia. Took a tour to Achillion, Kanoni & Corfu seeing the village of Gastouri, Achillion Place & the mansion built by Empress Elisabeth of Austria. At Kononi we saw the convent of Vlacherna & Mouse Island; followed by a guided walk through the narrow streets of Old Town Corfu with a stop at St. Spiridon Church. Tonight was comedian Kevin Devan, A few people left because some of his material was a bit risqué. Tuesday Oct. 22: Kotor, Montenegro, 8am-11pm; 64F, clear, Smart Casual. Calm seas from Kerkira to Kotor. Ryndam was the only cruise ship in port; There are taxi tours available, a HoHo bus tour & a guided tour of the Old Town. It’s about a 10 minute walk to Kamelija which is a large shopping center, It really is picturesque & (for me) the best stop so far. Took the HoHo bus & saw Bajova kula, Perast, & Risan. Then I walked to Kamelija which is touted to be a large shopping center & probably is by Montenegro standards; there is also Wi-Fi available. Entertainment tonight was "Going Global” with the Ryndam Singers & Dancers. Wednesday Oct. 23: Dubrovnik, Croatia, 8am-5pm; 69F, clear, Smart Casual. Calm seas from Kotor to Dubrovnik. In port with Thompson Majesty; I had a tour "Panoramic & Traditional Konavie” & saw Dubrovnik at a relaxed pace, drove through the Konavle Region to the old water mill, viewed the fully functional river-powered flourmill & had a local snack. Wi-Fi is available at the pier. Tonight was comedian Scotty McLean & he was good. Tonight was also the Filipino Crew Show; the Filipino & Indonesian crew shows are always good but the disadvantage is that they are usually at a late hour. Thursday Oct. 24: At Sea; p/c, 73F, sunny, Formal Calm seas. Decided to have breakfast in the Pinnacle Grill (Neptune Suites have that "Perk” for breakfast only). Then went back to cabin to get ready for the Mariner Luncheon which really was nothing to write home about. Next spent 28 minutes on the computer cleaning up email then went to the Lido Deck & purchased 2 T-shirts that were on sale (believe that & I have a bridge to sell you). Friday Oct. 25: Naples, Italy; 8am-6pm: sunny, 70F, smart casual Calm Seas from Dubrovnik to Naples. In port with Norwegian Jade, Liberty of Sea & Mein Schiff. I took the Panoramic Naples (through HAL) including the Royal Palace façade adorned with Greek, Roman, Gothic, Byzantine, Norman, Spanish, Bourbon & Italian statues. Saw San Carlo, one of the most famous opera houses in the world, the Mashie Angelino castle, Mt. Vesuvius, & Naples Bay. The tour was advertised as easy; some people disagreed with that. There was Wi-Fi at the terminal. Entertainment tonight was "Dancing with the Stars at Sea” starring some of our fellow guests who won various dancing contests during the preceding week. Saturday Oct. 26: Rome (Cititavecchia), Italy, arrive 7am; 70F, sunny. Calm Seas from Naples to Rome. In port with Norwegian Jade, W Spirit, Lirica, Mein Schiff. For this cruise we have had excellent weather & calm seas. Captain: Werner Timmers Hotel Director: Kees Van Santen Cruise Director: Michael Langley Chief Engineer: Pieter Engels Purser: Moesa Djoemena Guest Relations Manager: Christine Lubaton Dining Room Manager: Pulung Baskoro Executive Chef: Antonia Tudla Staff Captain: Paul Adams Culinary Operations Manager: Ruben Kooiman Security Officer: Mark Miranda Executive Housekeeper: Rita Lynch Event Manager: Kristy Berlin   Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
I jumped ship from RCCL/Celebrity to HAL on the recommendation of some friends, I'm jumping straight back. The ship is lovely, clean, stylishly decorated and a manageable size. The crew however, are the most miserable bunch of ... Read More
I jumped ship from RCCL/Celebrity to HAL on the recommendation of some friends, I'm jumping straight back. The ship is lovely, clean, stylishly decorated and a manageable size. The crew however, are the most miserable bunch of people in the service industry I have encountered, a couple were downright rude. There was very little evidence of anyone in charge in the restaurant which led to lacklustre service and very few sightings of any senior crew at all. I seriously think HAL have major staff/union issues on this ship. The service from room service was so abysmal that it was almost funny, bottles of champagne simply thrust through the door without any ice bucket or glasses and on several occasions we were told they were too busy and could we 'nip' upto the bar, seeing as the ship was half empty, this was a bit worrying. Many of the staff had difficulty in communicating in english, which led us to believe this may be a training ship?. My major disppointment was that apart from two days, the only lunch service was in the pool buffet (not my idea of a nice lunch) and even this ended at 1400 making any long morning shore exploration a project, we ate in our cabin most lunchtimes, my idea of lunch isn't queueing for canteen style food with 700 other people. The most appalling thing?, the way HAL dealt with our complaints, a free dinner in the Pinnacle grill on my next HAL cruise, which isn't going to happen. Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
We are fairly experienced cruisers, on a range of cruise lines, our favourites among the "big names" being Holland America and Celebrity. We have done two transAtlantic crssings and a Med cruise on the Ryndam. She is a nice sized ... Read More
We are fairly experienced cruisers, on a range of cruise lines, our favourites among the "big names" being Holland America and Celebrity. We have done two transAtlantic crssings and a Med cruise on the Ryndam. She is a nice sized ship - we're not into rock climbing walls and ice rinks,and prefer the smaller vessels. Our last trip on the Ryndam did not disappoint, but we did notice that she is starting to show her age a little, for example with carpets getting scuffed and the binding on the hand rails in the elevators coming apart. Perhaps more significant were a couple of fire alarms due to aging components of the ships innards - a burned out fan belt, and a flexible vent that ceased to flex. Neither was a real fire, and the way in which the crew behaved, and the way in which we were kept informed were exemplary, It does however make one wonder a little about maintenance. (I disagree strongly with one irate passenger who was telling everyone that HAL would be hearing from his lawyer as soon as he got to land, that his trip was ruined and that he wanted a substantial settlement. Rubbish.) Little cost cutting measures were also evident - "happy hour" drinks were no longer two for one - instead the second drink was at a discounted price. The entertainment was excellent, but there was no longer a "headline act" or a cruise cast show every single night. Dinner service seemed bit slower - I cannot be sure, but I suspect the waiter and assistant had a few more people to look after than in the past. Would I travel on this ship again? Absolutely YES, but I will be watching to ensure that Carnival lines (HAL's parent company) do not let their standards slip further to pay for the sunken Costa ship debacle. (If anyone does not know, Costa is another company in the Carnival family.) I should mention that we had Captain Timmers again on this cruise. He is friendly, good humoured and somehow gives one confidence. A real asset to HAL.   Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
29-DAY ANTIQUITIES & SPANISH PASSAGE COLLECTOR Note: I was on this cruise from Athens to Tampa which was known as the 29-Day Antiquities & Spanish Passage Collector, however the Ryndam broke it down to Athens – Rome, Rome – ... Read More
29-DAY ANTIQUITIES & SPANISH PASSAGE COLLECTOR Note: I was on this cruise from Athens to Tampa which was known as the 29-Day Antiquities & Spanish Passage Collector, however the Ryndam broke it down to Athens – Rome, Rome – Barcelona, & Barcelona to Tampa. This is the 7 day Rome to Barcelona portion. Background information: In Jan. 2013 I cruised the Caribbean & on that voyage was the Mt. Laurel Autoharp Group. I overheard them say that their next cruise was going to be transatlantic. Well it was but for some reason they like the Noordam. Activities: This was my first cruise to the Mediterranean; I thought there could have been more but we had a port of call nearly every day. Some passengers were not happy with a port every day. Cabin: I had cabin 030 on the Navigation Deck giving me use of the Neptune Lounge, breakfast at the Pinnacle Grill and free laundry. Captain: Werner Timmers kept us updated with navigational highlights & was often seen around the ship on special events & for lunch at the Lido. He was the first Captain I have seen not wearing a jacket; fellow officer were the same. Maybe this is what you get with smaller ships. The Captain’s humor, wit & knowledge were well appreciated. The fact that we had nice weather throughout the cruise probably had some affect. Cell Phone: Best bet here is to contact your local cell phone carrier. I was told to have airplane mode on, data off & fetch new data off. When I received my bill later at home no additional charges had been incurred. Children’s Clubs: No experience here. Dining: There was plenty of food; and it was good but I am used to hospital food and my taste buds burned out years ago. This was the first time I had anytime dining & I loved it. You get to meet different people each evening. E Reader: There are various types, basically they are all the same. Either take a bunch of books or put them on an E Reader and save space. In addition the E reader I took a Microsoft Surface tablet. Many fellow passengers had Ipads. Embarkation & Debarkation: Embarkation & Debarkation did not apply as I boarded in Athens & was going to Tampa. Entertainment: The Ryndam singers & dancers were terrific as were Concert Pianist Tomono Kawamura, Gen & The Halcats and Juggler Luke Burrage, Fitness & Recreation: Did not use Formal Nights: There were 2 formal nights; few wore tuxedos Gratuity and Tips: For me the gratuity was $12 per day; for most people it was $11.50. This is deducted automatically & charged to your account. Laundry: There were washers & dryers on decks 9, 6, & 5; washing was $2, dryers $1, soap was provided free. Navigational Sights & Scenery: Breathtaking. Perks: I was in a Neptune Suite so took advantage of the free laundry & Pinnacle Grill for breakfast, plus the Neptune Lounge. Public Rooms: DECK 11: Lido Restaurant: Here was breakfast, the advantage of eating here was it opened early. DECK 11: Fitness Center: Went here once at the beginning to the cruise to weigh myself. DECKS 8-7: Rotterdam Dining Room: This is where I took evening meals on Deck 7 & Deck 8 for hi-tea at 3PM. DECK 8: Explorer’s Lounge, Library, Internet, Puzzle’s & Game’s: I spent my time here while waiting for the dining room to open, using the internet, or just reading. DECK 8: Pinnacle Grill: I had breakfast here once, breakfast is reserved for Neptune Suite guest’s breakfast was served about 8am & I preferred to the Lido @ 6:30am. DECKS 8-7: Showroom at Sea: Where the shows are. DECK 8: Shops: Purchased a pair of shorts here. DECK 7: Wajang Theater: There were movies about 12 noon most every day. DECK 7: Front Office: Open 24/7 & I visited here a few times; Shore Excursions is beside it. DECK 3: Tenders: decks B or 5. Rates: Reasonable. Service: HAL is known for their service. Everyone was very helpful. Ship: The ship was relatively small with 2 banks of elevators 4 each or 8 in total; one bank forward & one aft. I found walking from bow to stern rather easy plus you really do not have any choice. Smoking: About the only place you notice this is in the Casino & here 1 side is reserved for smokers, the other side non-smoking. And that is wrong for this is a sign saying that smoking is allowed only at certain tables. Outside the ship smoking is allowed. At the Sea View Pool on Deck 10, smoking is allowed on the starboard side only. Stewards: My stewards were Ari & Putu who were responsible for 17 Neptune Suite cabins. Tours – Private: For independent tours check reviews on Cruise Critic and Tripadvistor. Independent Tours are less expensive than ship’s tours. Taking a ships tour means that the ship will not leave without you; you lack that advantage with independent tours. Palermo: available taxi tours, HoHo bus, tour around the city, horse drawn wagon. Olbia, Sardinia, Italy: There is a HoHo bus for $10Euro + 5Euro for earphones. Florence / Pisa (Livorno), Italy; tours available at the pier Wi-Fi: Palermo: Wi-Fi at various restaurants, coffee shops, pubs. Olbia, Sardinia, Italy: Did not notice any but there are probably some in Cafes. Florence / Pisa (Livorno), Italy: Wi-Fi at various restaurants, coffee shops, pubs Value for Money: Very good. Overall: I was very satisfied as I did not take this cruise for activities, but for the ports of call. It was an interesting cruise & one I hope to repeat. PORTS: Palermo, Italy: Next visit I would like to spend more time but this was my first visit & people kept bothering for tours. It also was a Sunday so most places were closed plus we were the only ship in port. Olbia, Italy: Several cruisers were upset with the HoHo bus; 10Euro for the bus, 5Euro for the earpiece. Tours are available. I took the HoHo bus. Livorno, Italy: Here a group of us took an independent tour to Pisa & Lucca with Rudy’s Touring Service; Donny was our driver. Monte Carlo, Monaco: This was beautiful. Hills overlooking the bay, beautiful high rise buildings, & expensive too. Marseille, France: From the pier there was a $14 bus to the center of town. Private tours are available as well as ships tours. Dairy: Saturday Oct 26: Cititavecchia (Rome), Italy – leave 4:38pm; 72, sunny, calm, Smart Casual In port with Norwegian Jade, W Spirit, Lirica, Mein Schiff. I stayed on the ship today, went to the Mariners luncheon then read. After the drill I met Kris who went to Rome, got back at 3:30pm on the dot, just made the drill, then we went to supper. Tonight’s entertainment was “Listen to the Music” with the entertainment staff of the Ryndam. Sunday Oct. 27: Palermo, Sicily, Italy – 10am-5:35pm: 82F, clear, calm winds, Smart Casual. Calm seas from Rome to Palermo. Only Ryndam in port. Went off the ship & was bothered by people selling HoHo bus tours, tours of the city, horse drawn wagon tours, etc. Had they left us alone we would have enjoyed the city more. But we were the only ship in port & it was a Sunday. Tonight’s entertainment was “Aces High” with the Ryndam Singers & Dancers. Monday Oct. 28: At Sea, mostly cloudy, 68F, Formal Kris stopped by & showed me how to use Power-point & gave me a few pointers on Word. I decided to have my underwear, socks & pants laundered by the ship to if there would be any shrinkage. Tonight’s entertainment was Concert Pianist Tomono Kawamura; the audience gave her a standing ovation, the best entertainment we’ve had since Athens. Tuesday Oct. 29: Olbia, Sardinia, Italy – 8am-5pm, mostly sunny, 79F, calm winds, Smart Casual, Calm seas from Palermo to Olbia. In port with Ryndam only. There was shuttle service provided free of charge by the City of Olbia from the pier to the center of town from there I caught the HoHo bus. The price was 10Euro plus 5Euro for earphones. When the rep told me the price I thought that you could not go wrong with 10Euro. But the price for the earphones was exorbitant; I have never paid for earphones; this plus they did not work on the first level of the bus, & the second level was not better. After returning I went back to the ship, had lunch, read, and then went to the movie “Now You See Me”. At 3pm I went to hi-tea meeting some interesting people. Read again then dressed for supper. The laundry I sent out yesterday came back, there was no shrinkage so the ship’s laundry will be used. Tonight’s entertainment was Gen & the Halcats. Wednesday Oct. 30: Florence / Pisa (Livorno), Italy – 7am-6:58pm: 74F, sunny, Smart Casual. Calm seas from Olbia to Florence. In port with Carnival Sunshine, Quest for Adventure. Ursula from our cruise critic board set up a tour of 7 people by Rudy’s Touring Service with driver Donny. He mentioned that Livorno was known as Little Venice. The first stop was Pisa followed by Lucca a beautiful walled city. He said Oct-Nov is best time to travel to Italy. We stopped for a nice Italian lunch of various hors d’oeuvres & homemade ravioli with wine & the cost of the entire meal was less than 30 Euros each; later we stopped for gelato. Lastly he took us to a supermarket for some inexpensive wine, chocolate & soda. Tonight’s entertainment International Entertainer & Juggler “Luke Burrage”. Thursday Oct. 31: Monte Carlo, Monaco – 7am-6:10pm: sunny to p/c, 72F, sunny to p/c, calm. Calm seas from Florence to Monte Carlo. Only Ryndam in port. A tour that included a panoramic drive on the Great Corniche Road with a marvelous panorama of the Italian coast, Cap Ferrat, Eze, & the principality of Monaco. We stopped at the quaint village of Eze, visited Nice & walked along the boardwalk / beach. Tonight’s entertainment “Classique” with the Ryndam singers & dancers. Friday Nov. 1: Marseille, France – 7am-4pm: mostly sunny, 67F. Calm seas from Monte Carlo to Marseille. In port with Costa Luminosa & Wind Spirit. Took a ships tour with a panoramic drive through Le Vieux Port continuing to Vallon des Auffe with several photo stops at Notre Dame de la Garde Basilica. Entertainment tonight was “Dancing with the Stars at Sea” starring some of our fellow guests who won various dancing contests during the preceding week. Saturday Nov. 2: Barcelona, Spain – arrive 7am: mostly sunny, 70F. In port with Costa Med, Wind Spirit & Europa, calm seas from Marseille to Barcelona Captain: Werner Timmers Chief Engineer: Pieter Engels Hotel Director: Kees Van Santen Staff Captain: Paul Adams Environmental Officer: Derek Williams Culinary Operations Manager: Ruben Kooiman Purser: Moesa Djoemena Cruise Director: Michael Langley Guest Relations Manager: Christine Lubaton Security Officer: Mark Miranda Dining Room Manager: Pulung Baskoro Executive Housekeeper: Rita Lynch Executive Chef: Antonia Tudla Event Manager: Kristy Berlin   Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
MS Ryndam Holland America Line 23 September 2013 Cruise Stateroom dirty, on arrival hair in the bath & sink and surrounding areas had not been cleaned in sometime we ended up having to clean before we departed. The toilet was blocked ... Read More
MS Ryndam Holland America Line 23 September 2013 Cruise Stateroom dirty, on arrival hair in the bath & sink and surrounding areas had not been cleaned in sometime we ended up having to clean before we departed. The toilet was blocked for 4 days (out of 7), we had to wait 5 hours one day for a maintenance person to arrive, rest of the days it was between 2-4 hours. The food choice is extremely limited and looks like its been sitting for days they close the stations 30-45mins before official time - service is generally very, very poor and no one appears to be prepared to listen and/or address the situation. We embrace different nationalities as I believe this brings great insight to other cultures etc, however, given the 'spoken' language of the ship is English/Dutch, it is not unreasonable to expect the front office (if you can get through, typically the line just rings out) to be able to converse in English (our native tongue), it is almost impossible to be understood, unless you speak with one of the Dutch crew, and then you have to wait for a call back (which typically doesn’t happen and you have to chase, again and again. We asked for an action to be undertaken by the front office (after being unable to reach them by telephone - again, just rings out - we had to visit the desk) that blatantly was not done and when I asked why it had not been done it was implied I was lying, as there was no record of my request. Even though I had the name of the person I spoke with and the date/time of the request. The dining room is chaos and orders are delivered in the wrong order and/or delayed and your dinner companion ends up eating at a different times. The Breakfast and Lunchtime Lido 'Restaurant' serves (if you can get served) same food (looks like slop) everyday, the staff look bored and are disinterested when you ask for assistance. We have been on 20 cruises and have never experienced anything like this. The Ship’s CAPTAIN (who I hold ultimately responsible) and the Senior Staff should be fired and replaced with a crew that wishes to address these issues and ensure patrons have an enjoyable cruise. This ship is a DISGRACE AVOID AT ALL COSTS We will post photographs and a full blog when we return on 6 October 2013.   Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
This is a too lengthy review of only a short (seven-day) cruise, but it reflects our enjoyment and satisfaction from it. It was a cruise in the Ionian and Aegean Seas, round-trip Piraeus, the seaport of Athens, Greece. ACCOMMODATION We ... Read More
This is a too lengthy review of only a short (seven-day) cruise, but it reflects our enjoyment and satisfaction from it. It was a cruise in the Ionian and Aegean Seas, round-trip Piraeus, the seaport of Athens, Greece. ACCOMMODATION We boarded the ship at 11:00 a.m. and the cabin was already ready. Ryndam belongs to the Statendam-class of ships, noted for its exceptionally well-designed cabins. Our outside cabin, actually more a hotel room than a cabin, was indeed one of the most spacious, airy and bright that we have ever been in and its bay-window one of the widest ones. Storage space was ample, with many drawers, and the closets had folding shelves for even more storing capacity. The beds had adequate space under them to store a medium size luggage. The mattress was out of this world and accordingly we had a heavenly sleep (I remember they used to sell it -‘Mariner’s Dream’- for $900 plus transportation costs, but I don’t know if they continue). The sofa in the sitting area was not the more common 140cm, but a full 200cm, and so was the vanity, with a large mirror. The stateroom was perfectly outfitted with flat TV with DVD player, magnifying mirror and of course the usual safe. Bathrobes were also provided. The spacious bathroom was equipped with a full bathtub (almost every outside cabin on the ship has one). The Elemis’ toiletries here surpassed those of more expensive cruise companies: Refreshing’ came spontaneously to mind whenever I made use of them. Although the cabin was near the staircase and elevators, it was very quiet. It was quite soundproof, too. Our stewards, Mingki and Ali, whose kindness and efficiency we can only praise, held the cabin in immaculate condition. FOOD We like traditional seating in the Main Dining Room, but this time we chose As You Wish Dining’ for a change (you can come to the restaurant and dine whenever you wish and with your preferred company). We were not disappointed. Contrary to what we had heard about long queues, we were able to enjoy every night a table for two (so difficult to obtain in other companies) as soon as we entered the restaurant; only once we had to wait ten minutes before one could be found. Perhaps this was because we prefer to dine late. The variety in the Main Dining Room was one of the amplest we have encountered and the presentation and taste were excellent. Actually the taste had improved than on our last HAL cruise, a few years ago. Portions were similar (or larger) to more expensive companies. Service was as we remembered it, friendly and efficient. We were so happy with food and service there, that we did not eat at any alternative restaurant, although many fellow passengers spoke enthusiastically about Pinnacle Grill. We had both breakfast and lunch in the Lido Restaurant, satisfied again by the variety and taste. Of special notice were the Asian food and the desserts. The tables were cleaned quickly for the next passenger to sit. Pizza also and Mexican food in the Terrace Grill were very satisfying when coming back late from the ports. We ordered room service once, a full lunch with appetizer, soup and dessert, and it was delivered without delay. Room service is free 24 hours a day (unlike some other cruise companies) and offers a wide variety of choice. A nice treat was also the Indonesian Tea held in the Main dining room. SERVICE Kindness, friendliness and effectiveness characterized the crew everywhere. I have heard that Holland America has a training school in Indonesia, and this could be true, as they were certainly well trained. It was a welcome surprise to be called unexpectedly by name or have your preferences remembered. I think it is well noting that the Ryndam was honoured with the 2013 5-stars Diamond Award of the American Academy of Hospitality Sciences. PUBLIC SPACES Being of a medium-size (56,000 tons) and currying just 1,260 people the ship had an air of intimacy and never felt crowded. She was built in the 1990s, so perhaps a bit old now, but it was impressive how well-maintained and clean she was; we have been in newer ships that looked older than her. Being especially sensitive of the visual environment, I was suspicious of what to expect, but the interiors of Holland America is a rare instance where photography does not do justice. They were especially atmospheric during the night due to the right lighting, used frequently mix-and-match and good-quality textiles, and had evident attention to detail. According to Dutch tradition flowers were everywhere with impressive floral syntheses here and there. What was admirable were the numerous works of art, from the 3-deck high sculpture in the Atrium to 17th century paintings or 18th century consoles. We were told that works of art aboard a Holland America ship could reach a $2,000,000 total value. It was a pity that the dress code was not more formal (something like Cunard’s for example) to complement such elegance. Of special notice was the Explorations, a spacious combination of a nice library and internet café, ideal to sit and handle your business in the PC or relax with a book. The theatre also was designed partly as a night club, which added to its atmosphere. ENTERTAINMENT Usually we do not watch many shows in the theatre in other companies, as we prefer late seating and after it we are not in the appropriate mood, preferring the bars or dancing. However, As you wish dining’ enabled us to watch fairly many shows earlier in the theatre, all well-taken care of, and we were particularly impressed by the talented singers and dancers. Ryndam is one of the relatively few ships offering separate theatre and cinema, and my DP was impressed with the popcorn provided in the latter. ITINERARY Congratulations go to the employee who designed the itinerary, as he/she managed to incorporate much of the essence of Greece in a short package (‘Homeric Quest’ was the name of the cruise). As far as I have noticed, itineraries are a strong point of Holland America. Our previous cruise on ms Rotterdam involved a detailed circle of Western Europe, including famous capitals, historic sites, beautiful sceneries and shopping opportunities, absolutely the best itinerary we have ever had in any cruise. Now we felt we savoured a carefully designed taste of cosmopolitan Greece - ancient and modern. Corfu and Rhodes do not need any recommendation. Both have been extensively held under European occupation, Corfu mainly under British, Rhodes under Italian domination, and this has arguably helped them to become well known to international tourism. Strolling in the old towns of these ports is a must and shopping opportunities abound, prices being even more attractive due to the current financial situation. Kusadasi (the island of the bird’) owes its importance to nearby Ephesus. Interestingly, Efesus is presented as a Roman city, based on its ruins from this period, but ask any student of Ancient History in an American or a British University and they will tell you that Ephesus was built by Greeks and was already flourishing centuries before the might of Rome entered the historical stage here; it scorned the Latin language and retained thoroughly its Greek character. So its inclusion in this particular quintessentially Greek cruise itinerary (‘Homeric Quest’) was perfectly justified. Of special interest also is the house where, according to the Catholic religion, Virgin Mary lived and died. Contrary to the other ports, bargaining in Kusadasi was absolutely required when shopping. An officer of the ship jokingly forewarned us in a friendly talk: when a local asks $10, you must counter-propose him $1, and the bargain starts from this point! Katakolon is the port to ancient Olympia, a must-see as the birthplace of the Olympic Games, more than seven centuries before Jesus was born. Katakolon itself is a surprisingly picturesque little port, where you can have a meal or a drink just two or three feet from the sea - at low prices. However, the highlight of the cruise for us was Santorini, acclaimed the most beautiful island in the world by Travel+Leisure’. Here history meets a unique landscape in a dramatic way. Birthplace of the Cycladic civilization, the first European one along with the Minoan in Crete, the island was torn to pieces by the eruption of its volcano 1,650 years B.C.. The result is that, after climbing to the top of the steep coast by means of a cable car or a donkey, you can have lunch or drink enjoying a tremendous panoramic view of the sea-flooded caldera. Back in Piraeus, a smooth disembarkation ended a great cruise. CONCLUSION Overall, from all aspects it was an excellent cruise and a great value for money. Accommodation, food, service, entertainment, itinerary, all were exemplary. Holland America is one of the rare instances in the market where we found a motto coming true: A signature of Excellence’ indeed. We would fully recommend them and we are looking forward to return.   Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
I could keep it short: Best cruise ever on a REAL ship. But why REAL in capital letters? In Kusadasi there was NAVIGATOR OF THE SEAS at the same time in town. I posted the pictures of NAVIGATOR OF THE SEAS on RCI's Facebook chronicle ... Read More
I could keep it short: Best cruise ever on a REAL ship. But why REAL in capital letters? In Kusadasi there was NAVIGATOR OF THE SEAS at the same time in town. I posted the pictures of NAVIGATOR OF THE SEAS on RCI's Facebook chronicle and somebody answered that I should come over to NAVIGATOR OF THE SEAS because it is a REAL ship. Well - I had no need anymore to see NAVIGATOR OF THE SEAS nor RCI. RYNDAM is a total feel-well-ship. The right size - you never had long walks. Of course you did not have ice-skating, wall-climbing, Royal Promenade etc. But it was large enough to have great shows, you had wonderful variety of lounges with differenty kind of music played (incl. classical). The ship is of 1994 and in a great condition. They were working everywhere to maintain the ship. There were minor spots which attracted our attention like the lock of our balcony door or our bathroom door. But nothing which really impacted the pleasure to be on board. The crew was as usual - outstanding with a professional distance. But I appreciated since I have a difficult realtionship to the Hotel Director that I got a personal letter and invited to contact the Hotel Director for any problem I had. Our cabin stewards were wonderful. The concierges (Vincent and Rose) true treasures. And the team in the Pinnacle Grill under the management of Roger worked with the precision of a Swiss watch. There were so many to mention but best would be to see my blog: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1927024 Here you can see in details how we experienced the ship and the whole itinerary. Captain Werner Timmers did really a great job - I have never felt more welcome but on this HAL ships (I know EURODAM, WESTERDAM, ZAANDAM - in total 5 of 60 cruises with HAL). The Neptune Suite: Due to a great TA and mulitiple Upsell-Offers we landed for peanuts in a Neptune Suite. As you have free laundry, access to the Concierge, Neptune Lounge, Breakfast in the Pinnacle Grill it was worth the money. The food: as usual the problem with HAL: high grade qualitity but sometimes seasoning... but it was always good but one night. And that is the general problem of HAL: What they are doing good they are doing really good. But if there is a minor problem (like we did not like something) they cannot handle it in a proper way and it always ends in a disaster. But we had luck as it was only 1 1/2 times it happened and as all other things went extremely well we can ignore it in the aftermath - but we have not forgotten it and we are sure it will happen on the next cruise again. HAL makes addict. The shows just wonderful. Normally things I do no like (like Bollywood Music) I started to learn to honor it. Wonderful voices. You can say that we had the best time of any of our 60 cruises so far. Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
I booked the seven night fjord cruise as a 65th birthday present for my partner so we were really looking forward to it. We arrived at over about an hour before we set sail as I got the boarding time wrong. We were checked in and luggage ... Read More
I booked the seven night fjord cruise as a 65th birthday present for my partner so we were really looking forward to it. We arrived at over about an hour before we set sail as I got the boarding time wrong. We were checked in and luggage sorted very quickly, shown to our cabin and the cases arrived about five minutes later. Had the safety talk and then set sail. We had the most beautiful evening to leave Dover. Our cabin was spacious with everything we needed, it was clean and it was in a quiet area with not many noisy people going past. WE explored the ship and found that there was enough to keep us going for our days at sea. The ship is one of Holland America's older ones but it was clean and well equipped. We had opted for open dining which meant we could eat when (and we thought) where we liked. We therefore booked a restaurant for the first evening. We duly arrived, had a lovely meal with wine and thoroughly enjoyed the evening. We were therefore surprised to receive a $25 each, supplement on our bill. We queried this and were told that we had to pay a supplement every time we ate outside the main dining room, we had not come across this before and were a bit annoyed because there wasn't anything to tell us about this in any of our literature or booking information. Anyway we got over that and continued to enjoy all the dining experiences on the ship. We organised out own excursions in the ports as we thought the ship prices were really expensive e.g. a bus tour around Oslo cost us about £28 whereas the ship price was about £190. This was a smaller ship than we had been on before but we found it extremely pleasant, good food and excellent entertainment. I would try and get a cruise stating in Scotland next time as we had to drive from Edinburgh to Dover, we did get free parking though. Read Less
Sail Date August 2013
If you have not made the voyage to the midnight sun before, make sure you add it to your bucket list. Our flight from New Jersey to London was late in departing so we arrived in London late. Fortunately, we had booked a HAL transfer to ... Read More
If you have not made the voyage to the midnight sun before, make sure you add it to your bucket list. Our flight from New Jersey to London was late in departing so we arrived in London late. Fortunately, we had booked a HAL transfer to Dover. The transfer took forever. We waited in Heathrow for about an hour until HAL got everyone together and then started the bus ride to Dover. About 20 minutes from Dover, the driver informed us that he had to rest for 30 minutes before he could proceed on. We arrived at the ship in time for the safety briefing. The transfer was the only low point in this entire cruise. The sail away from Dover is beautiful as you can see how white the white cliffs of Dover really are. The opening introduction show in the theater that night was very enjoyable and an indication as to how great the overall entertainment would be on the cruise. Our first day out was a sea day, and we had arranged a meet and greet get together for cruise critic people in the crows nest. We had about 70 CC'rs attend as well as the Captain, The Hotel Manager, The Beverage Manager, the On Board Coordinator and the Cruise Director. HAL set us up a wonderful table with juices, cookies, coffee, fruit, etc. It was really great to meet people who had been only screen names before and now were real live people and new friends. The cruise prior to ours had nothing but rain,cold and poor visibility. Ours had sunshine, beautiful temperatures and fantastic visibility. In all the days, we had only one which had some rain. Our first port was Stavanger and we went on a pre arranged tour to Pulpit Rock with other CC'rs from the roll call. It was our first trip up into the Fjords and it was filled with great sights. The second port was Flam and once again we had a tour set up by another CC'r on the Flam railroad. A must tour if you are in Flam. The waterfalls and scenery are not to be believed. On to Stavanger, a quaint little town reached by tender. We did not venture out of the town area on this day, but many people did hike and tour the country side. On our next sea day, we crossed the line into Artic Ocean and of course there was a ceremony for those joining the Polar Bear club for the first time. Our next port was Tromso where we took the local #26 bus to the cable car station and bought 2 senior tickets for 200 NOK for the ride to the top of the mountain. FYI, there are about 60 steps from where you get off the cable car to the top of the cable car station. Once again a beautiful sight over the entire city and surrounding area. As we head north, the days are getting longer and the sun is never setting below the horizon. Our most northern port of the cruise is our stop in Honningsvag. Once again a CC'r tour arranged thru the roll call to the monument at the top, as well as some fishing villages and other senic places. A most interesting place, 71 degrees north. The most northern point in Europe. Native people called "Sammi" inhabit the area and there are about 5000 reindeer walking all over the place. I did NOT see any with red noses though. When we returned to the ship, we met our table mates and walked over to the "Ice Bar". A truly worthwhile experience,where you go into a room that is all ice. An ice bar, and ice table, and ice igloo, an ice seating area, Don't miss it. On to Hammerfest, where, unfortunately all the shops and stores were closed as it was Sunday. HAL did provide a shuttle bus into town. The only place open was the Polar Bear Society Museum which was quite interesting. After another sea day, it was on to Trondheim where we used the hop on hop off bus for sightseeing. The weather was great and after returning to the ship we lounged by the pool. On our next port day, Molde, we awoke to the first day of inclement weather that we had. We had a HAL tour set up to go to Haholmen Island in an open Viking boat. It was a bad idea to do it in the rain, but it was already booked, so off we went, and soaked we got, but it was an experience. Our final port in Bergen was next. We woke to cloudy sky's but the sun did break thru and it turned into a beautiful day to walk around the port and the market place and shops. In general, the cruise was fantastic. the ports beautiful, the scenery not to be believed. The ocean was smooth and the shipped sailed well. We did find that Norway is an expensive country. How expensive you ask? I saw a sign for a restaurant, a club sandwich was $28 USD. Some people had 2 beers in a town. Cost $40 USD. We as well as many other passengers found the ships tours to be over priced in relation to being able to do the tours on your own. Internet coverage on the ship is very slow. You pay by the minute and you use up many minutes just waiting for things to happen. In general - a wonderful cruise on an old but elegant ship. Go to the land of the midnight sun, you will not be disappointed. Read Less
Sail Date July 2013
I really enjoy cruises as one of three main types of holiday that my partner and I take. To us, a cruise is a great way to 'sample' countries and destinations and to be made to feel special. We have taken a number of cruises ... Read More
I really enjoy cruises as one of three main types of holiday that my partner and I take. To us, a cruise is a great way to 'sample' countries and destinations and to be made to feel special. We have taken a number of cruises and with various cruise lines. We'd not cruised with Holland America Lines (HAL) before - but had sailed with other brands that are part of the Carnival holding group. We live in London and took the National Express coach down to Dover. We arrived about an hour before final embarkation and that worked well, no queues, straight on to the ship and to our cabin. We had a Large Oceanview stateroom on Deck 4  quite spacious with plenty of storage space and  first time ever for us  a small bathtub with a shower over it (previously only had showers in our cabin). It was supplied with Elemis products: shower gel, shampoo and conditioner in dispensers mounted by the shower / bath and rather nice lemony soap. Surprisingly, no fridge / minibar. Ryandam is a smaller ship, taking around 1300 passengers. We enjoy the smaller ships and the fact that HAL give you a choice of fixed or open dining (without demanding prepaid gratuities if you want open dining) was another plus. The Ryandam has a retractable roof over the Lido / pool area  Ive not come across this before. It was excellent, allowing sun when the weather was good but still meaning the deck space could be fully utilised if the weather was cold, rainy or too windy for comfort when the roof was then closed. For a ship that is 19 years old it was well maintained with very regular deep cleans and carpet shampooing. The ship was well laid out with bars split up so that music from one would not impinge on activities in another location. On Deck 8 Ryandam has HALs Explorations Cafe, a lovely reading room and well stocked library with travel guides relevant to the voyage kept behind the librarians desk so everybody had access to them  this seemed a good idea. There was plenty of variety of food and presentation was good, both in the Lido caf and the Rotterdam main dining room. However, we encountered a number of issues that might indicate poor management in the food and beverage (F & B) department: Asked three times (of three different staff) for a further juice at breakfast that never arrived. It seemed that once the server with that particular item had gone past your table it was difficult to get them back The server for one breakfast was having a really bad day  mixed up and missed lots of orders, then bought three lots of one omelette and managed to give two raw eggs to a guest who asked for soft boiled eggs! (fortunately she cut the eggs open over a bowl) Salad dressings at the salad bar in the Lido caf were often unlabelled so you had to guess what it was  I highlighted this to one of the F & B managers and it was still unresolved days later. Insufficient staff at the Lido caf: Salad bar was not monitored well and often ran out of items Needed more staff on cooked to order sections like omelettes and waffles Tables not cleared and wiped promptly and crumbs swept onto the floor instead of into a cloth One day we were eating dinner in the Lido caf and maintenance ripped up the floor covering on both entrances to the tables instead of directing passengers to tables on the other side of the venue and then starting work when their side was clear of guests. The cruise director (Kieron Buffery) and his team provided a wide selection of entertainment. I enjoyed some of the culinary arts presentations, we saw some recent films in the onboard cinema. We also attended some of the Techspert sessions in the Digital Workshop  these were informative. Ive already mentioned about service in the F & B area. Generally service was good  our stewards kept our stateroom clean and as we always put out the Make up my cabin sign this was generally done by the time we returned from breakfast. However my personal experience with guest services / front office was that they were unhelpful and rather than wanting to resolve issues it seemed all about being curt and blocking reasonable enquiries. The Ryandam production shows were great and we enjoyed most of the other shows  naturally not every show will appeal to all passengers. Our ports were Stavanger, Flam, Geiranger, Tromso, Honnigsvag, Hammerfest, Trondheim, Molde and Bergen. The captain was very considerate. Fog meant we had to take the long route round to Tromso and arrived three hours late. He arranged to leave two hours later than scheduled to still have a decent amount of time in port. Sailing into Honningsvag, he took us close to the North Cape and even swung the ship through 360 degrees to ensure all outside cabins got a great view. In Trondheim, he also arranged a two hour extension as the next port was not that far to travel. We did not take any ships excursions and thought they were rather expensive. The port specialist Sabine was very helpful and generally managed to have local maps to hand out at the gangway  a great help if you wanted to do your own thing in port. Disembarkation went smoothly and although we were all off the ship by 9.15am you could still enjoy a full, leisurely breakfast in the main dining room. In summary, we really enjoyed our first HAL cruise with just a few irritations (and were already booked on Prinsendam for later in the year). It will be interesting to see how that compares, as it is an even smaller ship. As Norway is such an expensive country, this type of cruise has got to be the best way to experience Norway.   Read Less
Sail Date July 2013
we were really looking forward to both the fjords and Holland America. embarkation at dover was very good, excellent porters, they could teach Southampton porters a thing or 2. our cabins were not immediately ready but no problem we went ... Read More
we were really looking forward to both the fjords and Holland America. embarkation at dover was very good, excellent porters, they could teach Southampton porters a thing or 2. our cabins were not immediately ready but no problem we went for a late lunch. after royal Caribbean it was a limited selection but ok. we went to our cabins and I have to say it was disappointing. the large ocean view window was old and tatty and every time I looked out of it well it seemed to be even tattier. in fact the ryndam is the oldest ship in Holland America fleet and although very clean parts looked a bit worse for wear. the ryndam was built in 1996 and compared to more modern ships you can tell. first evening dining, they were not as keen as rci on hand washing and if you wished to dodge the hand wash station you could very easily and a great number of people did. the food the first night was average at best, I've had better soup out of a tin, we heard later on that a group of americans had made an official complaint about the food. the second evening the food was a lot better but not as good as I had been told by previous ryndam cruisers. over the week the food was good, some dishes were excellent, most were good and some were rather poor. service is something that Holland America pride themselves and do have an excellent reputation. on the ryndam the service varied from excellent to bizarre. I was in a queue of 4 people for soup, the gentleman at the front asked for 2 soups, he given one and then the server walked off into the kitchen never to be seen again. the problem was that there were not enough staff serving food in the buffet restaurant and some staff were excellent and others in need of training as we learnt later on that there was a lot of new staff on board. the excursions looked expensive and proved to be very poor value. ports of call, oslo great place walk, off the ship and get on to a hop on hop off bus, 24 hour ticket, it is best to take Norwegian krone, you can pay in other currencies but the exchange rates are very poor, I think the bus ticket worked out at around £10 in krone but £15 in pounds, a lot cheaper than Holland America version. kristianstand is a nice place but not very big, it takes about 10 minutes to stroll into town, not a lot to see, the marina is very pleasant, a couple of hours and you have seen everything. Stavanger - the town is quite small and you can see most things in a couple of hours, the main trip is to the pulpit rock which costs around £90 with Holland America but if you walk 10 minutes round the harbour and take the tour boat there it will cost around 60 euros nearly half price the advantage of doing the pulpit rock trip yourself is firstly it is a lot cheaper and secondly if the weather is bad you don't do it and save your money. the entertainment was ok but once again not up to rci. Holland America is usually rated a star or half a star above rci but not on my ryndam experience, rci is at least one star better. overall I found the cruise slightly disappointing, the ryndam is an old ship with an inexperience crew and falls short of what i'm use to on rci more modern ships   Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
In June 2013 we went to Norway with Holland America on the Ryndam. We had been to Norway before, so this cruise was booked intentionally with Holland America, because we wanted to try them out. We paid to upgrade from an outside cabin to a ... Read More
In June 2013 we went to Norway with Holland America on the Ryndam. We had been to Norway before, so this cruise was booked intentionally with Holland America, because we wanted to try them out. We paid to upgrade from an outside cabin to a Vista Suite, which gave us a balcony but was not (in our opinion) really a suite. First of all, we should say that we very much enjoyed the cruise. Some of the best factors for us were the formality (two formal nights in a week, to which passengers responded splendidly), the quality of the food (plenty of choices on the menu, not all perfect, but you could always find excellence if you looked carefully), and the feeling of friendliness (from the Captain and the Cruise Director downwards we always found good humour and a genuine welcome). We thought that particularly good features were the embarkation process (best of all that we have experienced so far) and the sliding glass roof on the Lido deck, which could be closed in inclement weather, meaning not only that the Lido deck could continue to be used but also that the inside bars and lounges remained reasonably quiet and empty. Also we appreciated how many comfortable bars and lounges there were, when you wanted to sit quietly during the day. If you are looking for Wow Factor, then the lifts, stairs and atrium may disappoint. Everything is comfortably decorated, with interesting touches, but there are limits to what you can do with make-overs to a ship that was built in 1996. So don't expect Ryndam's atrium to provide staircases to heaven and glass-fronted lifts. In particular we felt that the Lido Restaurant (buffet restaurant) was less well decorated and less well organised than other ships. We heard that on our cruise there were a lot of new staff being trained, so maybe that explains some of the service issues we met. Other disappointments were the price of Shore Excursions (for most of the ports on our cruise you could do much better by just going ashore and making your own arrangements, but in Ulvik we closed our eyes and bit the bullet) and the price of premium dining (we thought that the Italian Restaurant, just a partitioned area of the Lido Restaurant, was a non-event - and we felt that a premium of $25 per head was too much for the Pinnacle Grill - the right price would have been $15 - I know that's not a lot of difference in the overall scheme of things, but it seemed a lot different at the time). We have captured many of these thoughts in a video review, available on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pYb0Yk94VPo I don't think this website enables you to just click on a link, so you may have to copy and paste the link into the address bar of your browser. If you like our video and find it useful, then please give us a thumbs-up, or even better, send us a comment so that we can have some discussion. Finally, we have made some negative comments, but overall we enjoyed cruising with Holland America and we think that you will do too.   Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
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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