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46 Ryndam (Retired) Cruise Reviews

We have cruised many times before and are also used to the North Sea because we live close by. As we left Harwich the Captain advised that the crossing to Norway was going to be rough - it turned out to be one of the worst journeys we ... Read More
We have cruised many times before and are also used to the North Sea because we live close by. As we left Harwich the Captain advised that the crossing to Norway was going to be rough - it turned out to be one of the worst journeys we have had although we have travelled in much bigger seas. We understand this was exacerbated by the lack of stabilisers on this older ship. The ship is old and in need of attention. The toilets in the Lido are ( for example) in very poor condition. Our balcony cabin on deck 10 was spacious and appeared clean. The bathroom includes a bath. We returned to the cabin one day to find the bath contained a few inches of dirty water containing lots of gunge due to the drains backing up. Eventually plumbers sorted this but we had to ask for the bath to be cleaned. Later that evening water flushing the toilet and coming from tap was discoloured. Food was mediocre although waiting staff were very good. Entertainment was ok but on sea days we didn't think there was enough to do. The shops own singers and dancers were very good but guest entertainers were dire. Ports were excellent although HAL does not provide any port information for guests. Usually when we have travelled on American ships in Europe it is possible for parents to give permission for under 21's to drink alcohol. This was apparently not available for my son who is 2 months away from his 21st birthday and lives independently. Crazy! Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
Our 7 night cruise to the Fjords was blessed with superb weather, not a single drop of rain for a good cruise. It was a shame that the Lido deck became essentially a no-go zone due to unruly children with little or no control by HAL and ... Read More
Our 7 night cruise to the Fjords was blessed with superb weather, not a single drop of rain for a good cruise. It was a shame that the Lido deck became essentially a no-go zone due to unruly children with little or no control by HAL and the smoker's at the aft area. We were glad of the lower promenade deck for some peace, quiet and clear air - thankfully only 2 seadays. The maintenance staff have done a remakeable job in keeping the ship in such good shape, definitely doesn't look 21 years old, although they can be over zealous with their toxic paint fumes. Our cabin was excellent and kept in good order by our cabin stewards. Although some cruises were plagued with GI sickness ours was trouble free, some people were coughing and spluttering, fortunately we avoided any sickness. We avoid food in the Lido, too many hands and enjoyed breakfast in the MDR every morning. Evening meals were predominately taken in the Pinnacle Grill which really has suffered from HAL's cost cutting, menus very limited with haphazard service - can't really recommend and definitely not worthy of their $29/pp charge. We enjoyed the cruise but will not be repeating our HAL experience any time in the near future but will return to enjoy the slicker more professional Celebrity experience. The Solistice class ships do rule the waves, HAL need to look over their shoulders for some guidance, they were a great cruiseline, not anymore. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
This is an old ship and looks it. There is a desperate need for repairs, paint, new carpeting, new furniture and various other fittings. The ship was commissioned in 1994. I found out that Ryndam will be transferred to P&O Cruises ... Read More
This is an old ship and looks it. There is a desperate need for repairs, paint, new carpeting, new furniture and various other fittings. The ship was commissioned in 1994. I found out that Ryndam will be transferred to P&O Cruises Australia in 2015 and renamed 'Pacific Aria'. Having said that, the crew is really terrific and does its best to clean and make the ship as attractive as possible. Everyone on the staff is friendly and helpful, which is unusual in an age of curt, surly service personnel (as I experienced on another cruise line). Among those that should be mentioned for particularly positive service efforts are Warman & Muh the cabin steward (cabin 801, A deck); and Sabina, the excursion lecturer. The food is of uneven quality. Some selections were mediocre (or worse): overcooked, dry tuna; tasteless and barely edible bratwurst; foie gras that had been ruined by baking; saltines to accompany a dessert cheese plate (!); average (but no better than average) lunches; the supposedly upscale Canaletto Italian restaurant; etc. A few dishes were excellent: crusted veal (on gala night); minute steaks that were tasty (the only really good lunch); yogurt parfaits with granola; salmon; a few others. I usually fixed a salad for lunch after early disappointments. Do not travel on Ryndam for gourmet food: you will be disappointed. Incidentally, do not eat on the Lido deck starboard side unless you enjoy hearing basketballs bouncing on your head. The excursions were well designed and delivered. I’ve been on other cruises where the excursions were certainly not worth the cost; on Ryndam, they provide value for the money both for the sights and the convenience. Unfortunately, some were cancelled due to a lack of participation by guests. All of the local guides were good, although our guide in Bergen was flustered by the long wait for the funicular. The fjords and towns we visited were amazing and well worth the trip. The internet connections were slow and expensive. There should be some intellectual content, such as lectures on current events, history or science. Overall, I’d give the ship 3 (of 5) stars, mostly for the efforts of the crew in attempting to overcome the ship’s own deficiencies. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
We had to move cabins after being woken several times during the night by crew working, the second cabin was also noisy day and night but not as bad. Heard many people complaining about noise overnight. Three cabins near ours were flooded ... Read More
We had to move cabins after being woken several times during the night by crew working, the second cabin was also noisy day and night but not as bad. Heard many people complaining about noise overnight. Three cabins near ours were flooded from kitchens above on different nights during the voyage. Most food in the non waiter service restaurant (The Lido) is served by staff and this must help with hygiene and cross contamination. However there is no queuing system it’s whoever shouts loudest gets served, there are barriers to define sections but for example at breakfast if you want toast, poached eggs and bacon you would have to queue at three different places. The four times we saw roast leg of pork on the menu in the Lido it was very rare with blood flowing out of it when carved. The Rotterdam restaurant was superb, we were however on a table for eight people one night and it took nearly three hours before all the food had been served. It seemed the more people at the table the longer the service took. After that we asked for a table for two or if this was not available a table for four and service was very slick. Food overall was superb. Staff in general were wonderful (we found that reception staff seemed to be there to apologize for things but never did anything about them). Entertainment was going on somewhere most days on the ship, the shows were good and several entertainers came on to do their one man/woman shows as well as the ships theatre company. We have found that excursions on cruise ships are very expensive, this was no different. At most ports there were hop on hop off busses, local busses that went to sights (information is available from tourist information offices that are usually on the dockside or nearby), taxis etc that were much cheaper. The ship rarely felt overcrowded although it was almost full, there was nearly always somewhere to sit whichever part of the ship you were in. This cruise to Norway was cold on deck so very few if any people sat outside most days, that made it more surprising that the ship felt uncrowded. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
I'd like to start with the positive. The hotel staff on board are really amazing: kind, discreet, and friendly. Also, the most excellent Captain Mark made some hard but much appreciated safety decisions regarding missing ports and ... Read More
I'd like to start with the positive. The hotel staff on board are really amazing: kind, discreet, and friendly. Also, the most excellent Captain Mark made some hard but much appreciated safety decisions regarding missing ports and changing port times when we encountered a bad storm. There was not a minute I didn't feel that I was in the hands of a capable, alert crew. The childcare staff (well, two out of three) were friendly, energetic, and flexible. One clearly wanted to go home, and, she rarely smiled. Now the negatives: First, I NEVER would have booked this cruise had I known that the ship has already been sold to P and O. There is obviously no investment whatsoever being put into the upkeep of the boat beyond getting her creaking afloat to the buyer in October. There was rust in many toilets and other areas. You just had to look into every corner. The toilet mysteriously overflowed during the night on three different occasions, none connected in anyway with our usage, nor with flushing. In general, to say the ship shows her age is an understatement. Purposeful segway to the guests now. . .we were told once onboard that the median age on that particular cruise was 68. At many times the public rooms resembled retirement homes. My husband joked that the lines for food at the breakfast buffet were like scenes from The Walking Dead! On three occasions, guests were literally screaming down the cabin hallways at each other, presumably due to hearing issues rather than rudeness! HAL is not for any below 70s demographic. I know we cruised out of school vacation times, but what about other couples and singles without children? They are conspicuously absent. We would have prefered a more mixed social group. Perhaps the key to that is also to choose a 7 day, rather than a longer cruise, one that working adults can more easily make time for. Some lessons learned! The food: The menus were a delight to read. But somehow, the dishes that appeared never quite lived up to the billing. Cunard this is not. However, the dining room staff were wonderfully hospitable. We stayed in the main dining room rather than using the specialty restaurants. First seating for dinner is a bad idea on HAL. It seems that any evening fun happens while the first diners eat. By 9:30 PM , most people had gone to bed. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
We are long time cruisers, having been on anything from Carnival to Oceania. This was our first and probably our last with Holland America. We were attracted to the Ryndam because it is a smaller ship as well as its departure port ... Read More
We are long time cruisers, having been on anything from Carnival to Oceania. This was our first and probably our last with Holland America. We were attracted to the Ryndam because it is a smaller ship as well as its departure port (Tampa). I had worried when I read before that HAL attracted an older clientele and had shared that with my husband prior to booking. We aren't spring chickens but we are active adults. We decided to give it a try. Our room was excellent and the layout of the ship is great. The food was tasty, albeit limited choices (we attributed that to the smaller ship). Entertainment was excellent. However, here are some issues that really made the trip less than enjoyable: No attention paid to passenger sanitization. On NCL, there is usually an individual standing at the entrance to the cafe and the entrance when returning from a stop, monitoring hand sanitization. We never saw one person ever pay attention at any stop or venue. Just as an experiment, we sat in the cafe at a busy lunchtime and counted the next 40 people who entered the Lido Cafe. 6 out of 40 applied hand sanitizer. That is 15%! Long waits in the dining room for table service. When seated in the dining room, if you are the first couple placed at a table (they seem to frown on couples dining alone) you have to wait until another couple is seated with you before any beverages (including water) is served. Not sure if they are short staffed, but definitely slower than NCL or Royal Caribbean. The menu was not as varied as NCL or Royal Caribbean. The staff (high Indonesian percentage) really struggles with English. They are polite, but do not communicate well. The salad bar in the Lido Cafe was not up to par. Two days found no onions. Never saw crumbled egg or croutons. Often the containers were empty (crock type containers that have assorted toppings). Ice water and iced tea are pre-poured by staff and the trays are left in front of the coffee machines. Passengers regularly reached over the trays to get coffee or grab something. Very unsanitary, IMHO. The fitness center equipment needs attention. The touch pads were on their last leg, several attached TVs didn't even work. Two of our four stops were Trujillo (Honduras) and Santo Tomas de Castilla (Guatemala). They are relatively primitive stops and really need improvement to compete with Roatan or Costa Maya, etc. Finally and this is not HAL fault: this ship attracts an elderly crowd. As we would leave the dining room at the end of our meal, it was not unusual to see 6-8 assorted wheelchairs, walkers and scooters. While I applaud the bravery of those with challenges traveling, we found it depressing. Again this was not Holland America's fault. Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
This was our second cruise, after previously doing a cruise aboard Celebrity Reflection last year which I would rate as a 5 star experience. My review title pretty much sums up our experience, a good cruise, providing a solid 3 star ... Read More
This was our second cruise, after previously doing a cruise aboard Celebrity Reflection last year which I would rate as a 5 star experience. My review title pretty much sums up our experience, a good cruise, providing a solid 3 star service. It was marketed as 5-star but the reality falls short due to a few material short-comings, but let's start with the positives. WHAT WE LIKED Entertainment in the bars; choice of classical musicians, or the piano man (singing pop classics), plus a few others musical choices meant you could pick a bar according to your how you mood takes you any particular evening. Swimming pools: don't think they were heated, which for me was a plus as it meant they weren't overly crowded - and cold water is better for burning calories. Bar staff: very quick service, will take orders from your table/lounger and return with said drinks quickly. Casino/Bingo: Good fun Cinema: We liked watching the new releases with the complimentary pop corn (some days it's a documentary / old filem though which we didn't like) Library: Nice vibe to it Food: Nice chips / chicken / steak / desserts Cabin: We had a suite with a balcony - the room was good size and had bath/shower. It was kept clean by the staff. Some of the ports: We liked most of the ports (Bergen,Gerainger, Eidford). Alesund was pretty boring, the only interesting thing we found there was the antique shop - don't bother with the Art Noveau museum unless your the type that can look at a blank wall and consider it of profound importance. WHAT DISSAPOINTED US: Service in retsurants at PEAK TIMES was slow, whether we were eating in the Lido (informal dining area), or the Rottredam (seated dining). We worked out best way to get around this was to book a table at off-peak time (e.g. 5:30) if going to the Rotterdam, however, we couldn't find a similar solution to eating at the Lido (informal dining area) as it was nearly always busy. We gave up trying to get an omlette. No trays in Lido restaurant (unless you nick a staff tray) means you make multiple tips between the counter and table as it's not possible to carry everything in just two hands. I wonder if this is done on purpose to reduce food consumption? Having to book a table. We were on open-dining which theoretically meant we could turn up anytime and be seated in the Rotterdam restaurant. The reality is you will have to book a table for a specific time the day before if you want your own table - which is recommended if you don't want to wait for everyone else to be served before beginning a course (the one time we sat on a shared table, we were there for 2 hrs 40 minutes and the food/drink only took us 25 minutes to eat/drink, so we were waiting for 2 hours 15 mintes). Book a table, go at an off-peak time (e.g. 5:30) and you can do the same 3 courses in under 45 muntes. Food variety: Could have done with greater lunch/dinner variety in the Lido (informal dining area). Not much if anything in the way of Indian or Asian food. Water bottle replacement in cabins: On the whole the cabin service was very good but let down by non replacement of water bottles. I had to order room service for more and was told they may or may not be able to provide us with water as the bar had closed 10 minutes ago (luckily they did). WHAT WAS OK BUT NOTHING TO WRITE HOME ABOUT The shows: Neither great nor awful Friendliness of staff: They were friendly but it felt a bit false on some occassions. I wouldn't be surprised if there's a rule that they have to ask 'how are you?' while simultaneasouly smiling on pain of dismissal. Free Coffeee: I've had better Spa: Great massage ruined by a unwelcome and prolonged product push at the end. SUMMARY We enjoyed our cruise and many aspects of the ship and crew. Had our expectation been set on a solid 3-star (on some occassions 4 star) service then we would have been very pleased. As our expectations were a bit higher, while still enjoying the holiday, we would think carefully about the price vs. service balance before booking again. If the price was very competitive we might book as I'd feel it was a fair price for the service we would likely recieve. Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
This was my first ever cruise but a friend recommended it and I went along. I had a big cabin with balcony by myself and it was very nice and comfortable but for two people I find it too small. The cabin boy was excellent, his first ... Read More
This was my first ever cruise but a friend recommended it and I went along. I had a big cabin with balcony by myself and it was very nice and comfortable but for two people I find it too small. The cabin boy was excellent, his first cruise, his name Wiso. I found the food in the Lido so bad that I stuck to salads. My friend and I ate most nights in the jRotterdam which was o.k. but the food in the Italian restaurant was excellent as well as in the restaurant where one pays an extra 29,95. Good atmosphere and food. I went to the gym every day it had plenty of machines for everybody but I liked the conditioning class which was daily and pilates which was offered twice on the cruise with an additional charge for $15 which is high for just 40 minutes. Swimming was impossible since there were 300 kids on board. When I returned by 4:00 pm from the cruise I felt like a dip but kids would jump from all the sides and I fled. There should have been one hour in the afternoon where adults could swim but nobody interfered so I stayed away after 3 tries. The excursions were dull and without much to see, for example to Kristiansand past and present. We went by bus to an old church from the 1700, white and wooden but could only trample through the cemetery to get a photo from the outside, the church was locked. Then we went through a little village with houses and flours very pretty but nothing special and then an old former farm village which was nice but $60 for that. The worst was the excursion which took 5 1/2 hours mostly driving. I had expected going on a small ship through the fjords but we went to an information centre and saw a 20 minutes movie which was interesting flying over the fjords this hamlet had three or 4 houses a restaurant and nothing and we had a whole hour to sit and wait for the bus to take us to a water fall quite nice but that was it the restaurant with gift shop and we had another hour to sit around. The trip left the ship at 08:20 and we were there at 10:00 but only got back around 3:00 to the ship. The cost was $200. So I had paid in advance $339 for the three excursions and could not get out of them but I was told by my agent to sign up because they would be filled fast. This is not true most people did not take any although the last one had two busses because people expected more of the fjords to see. I would never take an excursion again in a country where almost everybody speaks good English but would find out what it entails before taking an excursion again. It is only good for people with a handicap but for somebody who likes to walk and get around it is a waste of money. The entertainment was offered every night but I went once and found it second rate so I returned to my cabin and read my book instead. I would have liked to go to a movie but most of the time they started at 6:00 which was too early with coming back from excursions an exercise classes from 5-6 nearly and my friend wanted to eat dinner at 8:00 and we had to be on time especially at the Rotterdam restaurant where we sat with 4 other people and you had to be there. Disembarkation ran smoothly and the organization was very good. I had problems with my cabin card three times on a day of excursion they told me my card had a fault and I had to get back to the front desk so after three times running back and forth I had enough and I told the desk if I did not get another card I would scream and I finally got one always having to queue up it was very frustrating, I wanted to buy a robe as a souvenir but the one they brought was too big so they told me they would try to get me a smaller one. I never heard from them again. I wanted to have a questionnaire because my friend got one right away after returning so wrote on the e-mail address she had if I could have one also. I did not get an answer so I contacted my agent in Hamburg and they said that it was not sent to people outside of the U.K. or the U.S.A. There were several other nationalities on board. On my statement it said it would be sent but nothing!!!!! Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
The Ryndam is still in good shape considering her age, although the policy of using only Indonesians and Philippine staff has its limitations. Holland America would be better served with an international staff. The ports were all ... Read More
The Ryndam is still in good shape considering her age, although the policy of using only Indonesians and Philippine staff has its limitations. Holland America would be better served with an international staff. The ports were all interesting enough, with the exception of Aarhus (we should have gone to Visby instead). Copenhagen was the least interesting, and the dirtiest, but Stockholm and St. Petersburg both deserved the two days each they got, and were well worth it. The food and service on board the Ryndam were both excellent, and when we complained that our room was below the kitchen (and thus very noisy late at night and early in the morning), we were moved to another room without hesitation. Although I would chose my cabin more carefully next time, I would not hesitate to sail on the Ryndam again. The entertainment was on the level of a high school production, but that is to be expected on a ship of this size. We have had much better entertainment, but always on much larger ships. We never had a problem with lines or waiting. Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
This was our fourth HAL cruise. We decided to take this cruise because of the pricing and itinerary. We were surprised by the condition of the ship! We were last on the Ryndam for the 2012 New Years holiday. In such a short time, there ... Read More
This was our fourth HAL cruise. We decided to take this cruise because of the pricing and itinerary. We were surprised by the condition of the ship! We were last on the Ryndam for the 2012 New Years holiday. In such a short time, there were dramatic changes--none for the good. Until we were actually aboard, we had no idea that this was the last cruise prior to a scheduled two-week rehab. This ship certainly needs rehabing, but two weeks isn't enough time to take care of its appearance. The last day of this particular cruise was at sea. Upon arrival in the aft pool area, some of the gangways were closed off because they had varnished the rails while we were cruising. The morning of disembarktion crew members were vacumming the carpets outside the various elevator banks while passengers were congregated waiting for their "color" to be called. I have never been an a cruise (we have cruised approximately 15 times) where you were hustled from your cabins as early as this time. The first disembarkation announcement was at 7 am. The crew on the Ryndam, especially those working the Lido Restaurant and Pool Bar, was extremely cordial and accommodating. They helped to bring some much needed lighter moments. Their sunny and personable personalities brightened this cruise for us. Activites on this cruise were anemic at best. We did enjoy eating in the speciality restaurants and the Lido Restaurant. One evening we did eat in the main dining room, but found the choices lacking. There were many more choices in other restaurants. All in all it was an ok cruise, but we have decided that choosing HAL again is not in the cards! Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
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
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
Perhaps the American connection lets things down but everything was about money and HAL's determination to relieve passengers of as much as the filthy lucre as they could. Pure greed! London West end prices for drinks on board even ... Read More
Perhaps the American connection lets things down but everything was about money and HAL's determination to relieve passengers of as much as the filthy lucre as they could. Pure greed! London West end prices for drinks on board even when in international waters, despite the fact that all supplies are probably purchased ex-bond and duty free. Although comparatively old, the ship was clean and well maintained, and the chief officer should be complemented on the state of the ship. My partner and I were not too interested in the evening entertainment, with the exception of the classical violin and piano combo in the Crow's-nest bar who played really well. We found the standard of food to be very good and always pleasing. The itinerary was good - Dover , Oslo, Christiansand, Stavanger, Ulvic, Dover - and enjoyable The mainly far eastern restaurant and hospitality crew were very good and friendly but you could be forgiven the feeling that any crew member making a single mistake would be flogged or, at the very least, never re-hired. I'm not saying that they were ill-treated but there was an atmosphere that I found unacceptable. Consequently, it may be a long time before I sail with HAL again. Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
The facilities at Tampa port are not up-to-date. It took quite a while until a porter showed up to collect the luggage. The waiting area plus luggage facilities before entering the cruise terminal in Tampa are way too small. The ship ... Read More
The facilities at Tampa port are not up-to-date. It took quite a while until a porter showed up to collect the luggage. The waiting area plus luggage facilities before entering the cruise terminal in Tampa are way too small. The ship itself is of a nice interior, partly quite stylish (e.g. Mix Bar). But the overall cleanliness of ship is quite a desaster. The Lido is really filthy. We were quite shocked to see that the waiters would just drop leftover food on the floor instead of wiping it onto a tray or something. So for sure following guests stepped on the food on the floor and everything was quite bad. The curtains in the Lido were full of stains - it nearly looked like a design but it was dirt and it wasn't dirt from only a couple of days. Dropped food in front of the Lido food stalls remained there for hours before they were removed. You really weren't sure if all this was due to lack of crew (is HAL cutting down on personnel?) or is it pure carelessness of the responsible crew working in the Lido? The supervisors in the Lido were present but they did not seem to care. One day we even saw on of the supervisors in the Lido inspecting his chest through his shirt and the pressing out a pimple - really disgusting when next to it you sit and eat!!! The supervisor only once was really attentive. That was when a three-striped officer came to visit the Lido and there the supervisor told the cooks (and we stood next to him and heard it): "Big boss is coming - put out more food". We looked at each other and thought 'ah, this is how it works'. Because the food in the Lido is pretty meager. Very little desserts and little to choose from. The newest thing is to put desserts on small plates so you only choose little. HAL does not offer large plates or trays in the Lido to pick for yourself. So our impression was that only offering small plates leaves passengers with little portions. But this for the passenger is really annyoing as you have to get different plates which means more ways until you finally have your breakfast together. And the you have to walk back to get your coffee. Speaking of meal times. Don't even try to sleep in. HAL decides for you when to eat. Breakfast is only until 1000 am, a "continental breakfast" until 1030 am. But the continental breakfast has little options to choose from. Funnily enough on port days breakfast is until 1030 am and continental breakfast until 1100 am. Where is the logic in that? Breakfast is offered longer when everyone is off board? So if you decide to sleep until 1000 am and get ready there is no food for you until lunch starts at 1130 am. Really nice that you get up and don't get breakfast and then the only choice to eat is pasta or mongolian beef. Here HAL can learn from Princess cruises how proper meal times work. Meal quality is ok in the Lido but better in the dining room. But at dinner the appetizer are so incredibly small that you think they must have made a joke. Really tiny. Let me get back to hygiene on board. All of a sudden right after leaving Tampa there was a dove/pidgeon on deck. As all of us know doves/pidgeons are heavy bacteria transmitters. So my thought was that the crew must get rid of the dove/pidgeon right away as the Ryndam has a bad history of Noro virus outbreak on board. No - they didn't do a thing. Deck 11 (Lido) as well as deck 10 were full of dove/pidgeon faeces (poo). Very disgusting. Some times the dove would even walk in the Lido were the crew grabbed it und carried it out back on deck. Then back in the Lido working with food. I finally complained because you really had to look on deck where you could walk not to step in the poo. You know what they said? "it won't leave the ship". The captain adressed it in his daily announcement and even gave him a name. He laughed about it. And the deck got dirtier and dirtier. I finally told them that I would inform the CDC in Atlanta about it as is really was so disgusting. The port of Ponta Delgada/Acores is nice. Pretty small town Portugal. Easy and cosy. Cadiz/Spain is always nice and a train ride to Seville is done with complications on your own. Motril/Spain is another story. The ship docks way out of town. You have to take a shuttle bus for USD 10 p.p. This was supposed to leave at 9 am. It just wouldn't. We asked when the bus would leave and they said "when the bus is full" which is ridiculous for a shuttle service. The shuttle was accompanied by a very rude Romanian girl who did not care at all about the passengers. We speak Spanish so we heard her talk about bad about the passengers to the bus driver (e.g. "stupid old people" and things like that). The shuttle then stops somewhere in the utterly uninteresting city of Motril. If you choose to go to Granada on your own you then were forced to walk up a hill for some 20 minutes to get to the bus station. So if you are in Motril and want to go to Granada on your own you better take a taxi from the ship which is cheaper than USD 10 p.p. anyway. Palma de Mallorca is ok but quite full with tourists anyhow so the place gets packed when a cruise ship is in. Plus: lots of pick-pockets! Watch out. Departure in Barcelona was easy - there you see the advantage of a smaller ship. All in all: an average experience - next time definetly again Princess cruises! Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
First, we had a GREAT cabin and wonderful location. There it stopped. When we got on board we tried to find where to review and buy a wine package for dinner. We were sent around and back again. Seems none of their employees, INCLUDING ... Read More
First, we had a GREAT cabin and wonderful location. There it stopped. When we got on board we tried to find where to review and buy a wine package for dinner. We were sent around and back again. Seems none of their employees, INCLUDING the front desk , could answer this simple question. Also, we always eat at the late seating and large tables. The dinning room food was quite a disappointment and far below previous HAL meals. Due to slow service, it took forever to finish a dinner. It seems they have reduced the number of servers. Some people changed dining reservations as they were missing the late night entertainment. Why they wanted to go see the crew sing and perform is beyond me.. Very poor entertainment on all levels.. Next we bought the Night at Le Cirque. While the food was excellent, the service was poor, very poor. If Le Cirque knew the level of service they are providing, they might withdraw their name... The ship was not decorated (Christmas cruise) as in the past.. We used the valet parking at the HAL terminal and when we arrived they only had two people trying to serve 1,200+ people, a lot who chose valet parking. The other on-board activities that we WOULD recommend are the wine tastings. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
I never thought I would be writing a review like this but here it goes.First of all we took this cruise to get our points to be a four star mariner,because we wanted to do the forty two day cruise to the med. We are not sure that we want ... Read More
I never thought I would be writing a review like this but here it goes.First of all we took this cruise to get our points to be a four star mariner,because we wanted to do the forty two day cruise to the med. We are not sure that we want to do it now.The service on the liddo was very bad.They were always running out of food and very unorganized.I don't blame the workers for that,but the head of the food service.You never seem him checking on his people.The head of the boys that cleaned the tables was out there with them all the time and working right along with them. I don't know why they have a cruise director he doesn't do anything and his assistances don't either.The pool is dead there is no activity around it.Our room steward where the high light of my day.They were wonderful. Now for the ports the first seven days the second port was terrible.Than we went to the other ports which was ok.We went to Curacao and the docked way out in the industrial area.It was like a mile and a half into town which was very hot to walk.They did have a ferry to take you but when it was time to come back it wasn 't working so you had to walk anyway.The ports that was fun to see they didn't stay long enough. After this cruise Iam sad to say that we don't know if we will sail with Holland again. They need to improve their management on the ships. Oh I almost forgot some friend of our didn't have A/c for four days and one of them their toilet had a delayed flush.Over all very very dissatisfied. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
This was our first cruise with Holland America and was chosen because the itinerary and dates fitted well with a vacation already planned in SW Florida. Our travel agent and others had suggested Holland America was comparable to ... Read More
This was our first cruise with Holland America and was chosen because the itinerary and dates fitted well with a vacation already planned in SW Florida. Our travel agent and others had suggested Holland America was comparable to Celebrity, with whom we have cruised most often. On the basis of this 1 trip on Ryndam, it certainly was not. Embarkation was reasonably satisfactory, although significantly delayed by a US Coastguard inspection of the ship.. We had a Verandah Cabin, 107, and this was fine as regards size, layout and general facilities. Although showing signs of wear and tear, as is the whole ship, it was kept clean by the cabin stewards. We were unhappy however that the towels were often badly worn and discoloured, and sheets and pillowcases sometimes stained. Previously we have only encountered similar standards in modest hotels in India. Dining was variable. On the whole the "self-service" restaurant was good for breakfast and lunch, although there were often longish waits, even for simple things like coffee. The lack of trays means you have to make several trips between the serving area and your table to have a meal. The formal restaurant, Rotterdam, was worse. Service was poor, and at times so was the food. It was often difficult to reconcile what arrived on your plate with the description on the menu! It is also the first time I have been told that there was no point in asking for any specific cheeses from the list, because the kitchen would just send out whatever they had at the time. We did not have wine or drinks with every meal, but when we did want them this was a slow and difficult process as one wine waiter appeared to be covering about 40 tables. Consistently, it was the standard of service that let this cruise down. Everywhere there seemed to be too few people for the amount of work, and this was made much worse by the fact that many of the staff, although friendly, were clearly hopelessly unskilled and inefficient. (Worryingly, this was all too apparent at the emergency boat drill - I have never seen such a shambles.) On the plus side, the library was good and the computing/photography classes were excellent. Entertainment was on the whole pretty good for a ship of this size. Finally, it was clear that there was a remarkably high number of old and infirm passengers. I am not sure if this is just a consequence of starting in Florida, or if HAL routinely attracts a more geriatric clientele. Read Less
Sail Date November 2012
Living in Florida, we cruise a lot. And mostly on the mass market lines. For this cruise, we decided to return to Holland America after a number of years. We've always appreciated their low key atmosphere, gracious service and ... Read More
Living in Florida, we cruise a lot. And mostly on the mass market lines. For this cruise, we decided to return to Holland America after a number of years. We've always appreciated their low key atmosphere, gracious service and better cuisine. Based on our expectations, we were disappointed with this cruise. EMBARKATION The ship was coming off of one week in the yard. When we arrived at the terminal, we were given notice that embarkation would not begin until 2 PM. The notice said we were told about this in an e-mail over a month prior to sailing. This was news to us. Having several hours to kill, and living nearby, we went home. I went on the web and looked. What we had received was a notice of unspecified change referencing a web link. Going to the web link, one had to look long and hard to find the reference to delayed embarkation. To me, better customer service would have been to send a simple e-mail - and a reminder closer to sailing. STATEROOM We were booked in a Spa Verandah Suite. It was nice in size and layout, but it was tired. The furnishings were beat up. The only places you could tell that there was a pattern to the carpeting was around the edges of the cabin. The TV remote control was filthy. One of the features of a Spa stateroom, according to HAL, was a "countertop water feature in-room." Suffering from tinnitus, I was looking forward to utilizing this to aid sleeping. It wasn't there, and when I inquired about it from the cabin steward, he had no knowledge of such a thing. If you are going to market it, you had better fulfill it. DINING We had signed up for open seating. The first evening when we arrived at the dining room, it was a mob scene. Total chaos. The computer system was down and the Maitre D's were unable to manage the situation. They kept apologizing, but no one was being seated. There were about 35 parties ahead of us waiting to be seated. We gave up and went to the Lido. The next night, the computers were operating, but the situation was not much better. We went to Canaletto. Good food; poor service. When we finally made it to the dining room, the service was spotty at best. One should not have to ask for water; one should not have to ask for a basket of rolls. In short, the dining room was very poorly managed. Worse, there was a sanitation embargo for the first 48 hours of the cruise. What this meant was that you could not help yourself in any of the buffets. You had to be served. You had to be given silverware. The results were unnecessary lines of people waiting to be served, waiting for water, waiting for coffees, etc. There were no salt and pepper shakers; you had to request and then were given paper packets. This was extremely inconvenient and frustrating. I get the point, but there are so many other thousands of places that germs can be spread on a ship(i.e., library, casino, etc.), that the exercise was pointless. This needless drill took up the first 30% of the cruise. There were other problems, but, net, we were disappointed with this cruise. The service and ambiance were far below the standards we had come to expect from Holland America. Read Less
Sail Date November 2012
Room lacks (all rooms in this category) : small refrigerator. In the washroom sink: the drain connection was rusted and very sharp - took 3 days to fix it. Bedding - bed sheets, pillows and pillow cases, blankets, towels are very old ... Read More
Room lacks (all rooms in this category) : small refrigerator. In the washroom sink: the drain connection was rusted and very sharp - took 3 days to fix it. Bedding - bed sheets, pillows and pillow cases, blankets, towels are very old are and in need of replacement. Our first impression was "laundry is not doing proper work since we found some of the above listed items quite dirty when we entered the room". We had to request a replacement of all these items as well as washing of all pillows (they had a smell of "previous" users, perfumes etc.). This has improved later. The state room stewards are doing a great job considering the substandard quality of supplies - this has to be addressed with HOLLAND AMERICA top management. FOOD quality: this had been a serious issue and concern for us. Based on our past experience with 5 Star resorts and other cruise ships, quality of food can only be compared with Cuba i.e. a reasonably good selection of food is available, however, it is prepared by cooks who cannot cook European quality food. They cook based on receipts and pictures prepared by chefs elsewhere, but in order to make these foods properly this is not enough - they need to know how this food is supposed to taste (not only how it is supposed to look). LIDO, CANALETTO, ROTTERDAM. Most food for lunch and dinner is stir fried, and either heavily salted or sweetened with sugar. Have never eaten before red cabbage with so much sugar, or sweet sauerkraut. LIDO furniture - in particular chairs: seat covers on most chairs had definitely seen better times (some are seriously damaged) and require replacement. Service staff in all restaurants are doing their best, they are very courteous and go out of their way to make you comfortable (as much as possible, considering the overall low quality of food - specific comments below) : Breakfast: cold cuts - poor selection = sometimes two, sometimes three type of cold cuts, the same goes for "yellow" cheese - all relatively low end products. Long lines of people waiting for individual items , sometimes it takes 3 to 4 minutes to get a piece of bread, another few minutes to get some cold cut, not to mention items like sausage, fried bacon etc. - it can take more time to collect all individual pieces of food from various "food" stations, than to eat it. The way food is served at LIDO creates a lot of chaos and confusion, not to mention dis-satisfaction. LUNCH - same comment as above re chaos. In terms of food quality - majority of food served is very unhealthy - stir fry, plenty of oil, sugar and fat. Selection of fresh salads and fruits is quite limited and most products are from the bottom shelf. We used to supplement our diet by buying fresh fruits (yellow delicious apples, plums, peaches etc.) and bio-yogurts at fruit / vegetable markers @shore . DINNER @ ROTTERDAM. Dinner is served on good quality Rosenthal china; however the same does not apply to quality and taste of food. Most food had a South Asian twist (stir fry, sugary taste) and is hardly commensurate with the menu description. It was quite and experience to eat "german -saurbratten " dish which had only some remote visual resemblance to the real stuff. In most cases we ended up eating white rice and green lettuce. Dinner room service staff was doing their best and deserves recognition, but they were unable to make the food any better. A lot of other passengers were also quite unsatisfied with the quality of food, however most they were not voicing their dissatisfaction with the management (just talking at the tables). MS RYNDAM is quite an old ship and it needs URGENT refurbishment (not repairs during cruises ,as we experienced, to inconvenience passengers) but at a dry dock. Examples below: LIDO - for 4 or 5 days there was a leaking pipe in the floor, part of the floor was very slippery and covered with towels to absorb leaking water. Some people were actually loosing balance and tripping on the slippery floor. Port side access door to LIDO was closed for the last 8 days of the cruise, due to a major repair work on the wall (removal of the old tiles and application of new ones). On the last day (Monte Carlo) during breakfast (about 8 AM) there was a strong smell of industrial paint solvents -- service staff was painting the recently fixed wall. Utility shaft for with fresh water / drain pipes and other services across from our state room -- some pipes were leaking and had to be replaced - this work took about 3 days to complete (with not the most attractive smell emanating from that area). Early in the trip elevator number 9, door failed to open at level 3; it took 25 minutes to free the trapped passengers (passengers from state room 581). It also happened to us and 4 other people in the same elevator on the last day at approx. 8:30 AM (at Monte Carlo) fortunately it took only about 5 minutes before the service staff freed us. Overall rating: at best 3 stars for a 5 star price. In summary our vacation experience of 18 days on Ryndam cannot be described as pleasant. WE WILL NEVER take HOLLAND AMERICA again. Advise to potential cruise customers -- AVOID MS Ryndam, you will not get value for your money. On a positive note we visited a lot of interesting places. Read Less
Sail Date September 2012
I booked this cruise line, as I was expecting a 5 star experience, and thought I was paying for just that. We have cruised with many of the better cruise companies, and really expected Holland America to compare favourably. How wrong we ... Read More
I booked this cruise line, as I was expecting a 5 star experience, and thought I was paying for just that. We have cruised with many of the better cruise companies, and really expected Holland America to compare favourably. How wrong we were. On entering the ship, It immediately looked shoddy and tired. Our cabin was good, but even that looked in need of a re vamp. The Rotterdam restaurant had no wow factor like other cruise lines, and the staff what there were of them, were dressed more like cleaners than waiters, in cargo trousers, big heavy boots and a tunic. Even on formal nights they looked no better. We had just one waiter, and a wine waiter who were really rushed off their feet. The show consisted of two dancers and a few singers, who had absolutely no continuity, and didn't know how to put a show together. We shared a table with four other people who were 3 star Mariners, and always cruised with Holland America, and they were also disappointed at the service they had received. After two days most of the wines on the Navigator package were unavailable, the Grolsh beer ran out after one day. The food was lukewarm when it was served. I could go on and on, having been used to travelling with Princess, Celebrity and RCL, I was shocked at the standard of this cruise line. There is no way I would wish to cruise with Holland America again, and certainly would never recommend them. Read Less
Sail Date May 2012
Although mnay aspects of this fjord cruise were very good -especially food in the Rotterdam restaurant, there were aspects which were much less satisfactory. The itinerary was changed at short notice and we visited Molde which was very ... Read More
Although mnay aspects of this fjord cruise were very good -especially food in the Rotterdam restaurant, there were aspects which were much less satisfactory. The itinerary was changed at short notice and we visited Molde which was very disappointing. Many passengers were particularly disappointed that, although we had booked a fjord cruise, we only visited one - the Sognafjord going to Flam which we actually travelled to and from during the night! Our most serious complaint was the cost of the excursions which was outrageous and did not reflect the actual cost as we found when we booked both the Flam railway and the 4 hour fjord cruise and discovered that we had spent only £160 against the £370 charged by Holland-America for these same excursions.. At Molde, there was an excursion to the open-air village museum which cost $84.95. We walked there (less than one mile from the ship)and found out that because it did not open officially until June, entry was free. The only cost therefore to Holland-America was a single bus fare for a mile - $84.95 per person made this an extremely expensive bus journey! Our other complaint was the fact that, having booked early (last August), in discussions with fellow passengers, we realised that many had paid about a third of our cost. We were refused any stateroom upgrade although there must have been superior staterooms vacant. No other compensatory benefits such as a drinks allowance or on board spending money was given. This simply meant that we were heavily 'penalised' for booking early, and as a result will never sail with Holland-America again. Read Less
Sail Date May 2012
Failure to dock at Keywest, FL because of mechanical problems was a disappointment since part of the reason we took this cruise was to see Keywest. Holland America gave each passenger $50 shipboard credit for bypassing Keywest. The ... Read More
Failure to dock at Keywest, FL because of mechanical problems was a disappointment since part of the reason we took this cruise was to see Keywest. Holland America gave each passenger $50 shipboard credit for bypassing Keywest. The choices and preparation of the food served in the Lido Restaurant was excellent. However, the food served in the Ryndam Dinning Room was not up to the standards expected for a nice restaurant. One evening we had crab legs that were not worth trying to eat. Another evening we had the Surf & Turf. Both the steak and lobster tail were very tough. Steak on another evening was too tough to chew. I will say the deserts were all good. Entertainment in the showroom was outstanding. The cruise director, musicians, singers, and comedian were all very professional. The music in the Ocean Bar was something else. It left a lot to be desired if you wanted to dance. Take a cushion with you if you go to the Showroom at Sea Balcony. It's like setting on a flat board tilted forward. The crew including the stewards and busboys were all very good at their assignments. They always interacted nicely with the passengers were willing to help you with all your needs. We took the Wild Life River Raft tour at Belize. I would not recommend this tour. The tour guide was very knowledgeable and tried hard to find something for us to see but it didn't happen. The Dolphin Encounter tour at Roatan was expensive but was the highlight of our cruise. Well worth the cost as far as we were concerned. Unfortunately, after returning home we found out malaria is a problem in Roatan and you cannot donate blood for one year after you have been there. As far as we know there was no mention of this anywhere by Holland America. Boarding and getting off the ship was a snap. We walked out of our room on deck 4 at 7:30 and was in our car and ready to head for the interstate at 8:05 Overall this was not the best cruise we have ever been on. In fact it is probably close to the bottom of our list. Read Less
Sail Date February 2012
Ryndam Dec 4-11, 2011 THE GOOD: Ryndam has been refurbished; very clean ship. Great crew-friendly and efficient for the most part. Embarkation and debarkation very easy. Good entertainment. Salmon was great. HAL has the best wine ... Read More
Ryndam Dec 4-11, 2011 THE GOOD: Ryndam has been refurbished; very clean ship. Great crew-friendly and efficient for the most part. Embarkation and debarkation very easy. Good entertainment. Salmon was great. HAL has the best wine policy--at embarkation, you can bring as much wine on board as you like; no booze, but all the wine you can drink. THE BAD: Toughest beef I have ever had anywhere; cooked correctly but almost impossible to chew. No trays in the Lido meant a separate trip for everything you wanted. I suppose they save money by not having to wash trays, but it was a major pain to make so many trips. THE UGLY: We both got sick; don't know if it was food poisoning or a virus, but it was not fun. Now for more details: We booked the cruise through cruisecompete.com--by far the best method I have found to get competitive rates on cruises. HAL generally attracts an older group of people, and this cruise was no exception. Our guess is that the average age was 60-65. Very few kids on board--we probably saw less than 10, which was fine with us since that was one of the reasons we chose this particular date and ship. The youth director told us that there would be over 100 kids on board the following week, and over 150 Christmas week so we definitely chose the correct week. We had a "spa" cabin on Verandah deck port forward. The extra for the spa cabin was not worth it. What you get are very nice towels (almost like bath sheets), an Ipod docking station (which we did not use), and a small fountain (which was broken). We put the docking station and the fountain in the bottom of the closet because they took up so much room on the desktop. We also put the overpriced sodas in the closet; be sure to tell your cabin attendant you are doing this so he won't think you drank them. We chose "anytime" dining as we have done on the past 4 or 5 cruises; you can eat anytime between 5:15 and 9 pm. They now allow you to reserve a specific table, but you have to give the a specific time. Since we are early diners anyway, that worked out well for us. Sunday, Dec. 4: Since we live in Tampa, we took a taxi to pier 6 at Tampa about11 am; it was cheaper to take a taxi both ways than pay $15/day to park at the pier. Check in was a snap; HAL had lots of check-in agents so checking in was a breeze. Each agent has a computer-wired digital camera, so they take your picture for your ship's card when you check in. This sure beats having to get in another line to do this. Great job HAL! We had to wait until 11:30 to board, and then went directly on board and to our cabin. The was the first cruise we have been on in the last several years where our cabin was available when we boarded. We dropped our carry-on luggage in the cabin and then went to the Mariner's luncheon in the dining room. A nice touch but it was sooooooo slow. The salad and shrimp cocktail were served quickly, but then we had to wait another 30 minutes to get the salmon entree. In retrospect, we would have been much better off eating in the Lido. After lunch we just toured the ship and got our walk on the Promenade deck--it is 1/4 mile around, so easy to know how far you have walked. The lifeboat drill was at 4 pm; they no longer make you get your life jackets and then go to your muster station; you just go to your muster station. We know how to put on life jackets, but a lot of folks do not. Can't believe the Coast Guard allows this, but they evidently do. Since most cabins do not have refrigerators, we had ordered one through our travel agent for a cost of $2/day. Most new ships have the frig but older ones like the Ryndam do not. The frig was not in our cabin when we arrived, so I told the front desk about the problem, and they said they would correct it. Two hours later--still no frig. So another trip to the front desk with no action. After complaining 4 times, we finally got the frig after dinner about 7:30 pm. Very bad service on HAL's part. HAL should have put refrigerators in the cabins when they refurbished the ship. We chose to eat dinner at the going-away party by the inside pool; big mistake; they cooked the steaks right there and they were cooked correctly but tougher than a dog's rawhide bone. The grilled salmon was very good, however. Next we went to the liquor tasting by the shops--a funny guy was pouring the liquor in thimble sized cups, so we did get to taste a variety of booze. The booze on board was only a little cheaper than the prices in Tampa, so we opted not to buy any. We did buy a $50 beverage card; HAL's sign said that you pay $50 for a $50 card, but when I got the receipt, I was charged $45 for a $50 card (this is the way it was last year on the Westerdam). Suppose they had not changed it in their computer system. We listened to music at the Ocean Bar before we went to the show in the main lounge; great entertainment all week in the main showroom and the lounges. Caren and the HALcats did a great job. They also have a classical group who were great. Monday, Dec 5: We had breakfast and lunch in the Lido; good selection of food, but no trays. We arrived in Key West about 1 pm, and immediately got off and walked 100 yards or so to the Conch Train. We had bought the tickets online for $23.40 each (since we are seniors); this is a much better price than HAL charges ($39 each). This tour took 1.5 hours and was very good. We highly recommend it if you have never been to Key West before. After the tour, we just hit a couple of the famous bars on Duval street. We did not get to see the famous sunsets at Key West because it was cloudy on the horizon. The show in the Showtime lounge was great. Tuesday, Dec 6. This was our first full day at sea; lots to do onboard. I went to the art auction for a brief time; mostly overpriced art, and they were tight with the champagne--you were lucky if you got one glass. You can do much better buying art online from a gallery or from Ebay. A lady named Shirley had arranged a "meet & greet" Cruise Critic gathering Tue morning. About 35 people attended. HAL furnished cookies, tea, and coffee, and the cruise director met with us for 10 minutes or so. It turns out he tries to read what we have to say on cruisecritic.com, especially about the Ryndam. Well, Glenn, hope you read this one!! And great job Shirley; thanks for arranging this. HAL and Microsoft have teamed up to put on a lot of computer seminars, and the ones I attended were very well done, and informative. I have been using computers for 30 years, and I still learn a lot of new stuff. Wish I could have attended more, but there is always more to do on a cruise ship than you have time because of conflicting things. Wed, Dec 7 We arrived in Falmouth, Jamaica about 11 am. Since we not in any hurry, we had lunch in the Lido and got off the ship about12:30pm. The pier at Falmouth is new, and only can handle 2 ships. They have built a bunch of shops on the pier--mostly high priced ones that give kick-backs to the ship. They do have one "duty-free" store that sells liquor, but the prices were higher than the ships on the items I compared. Walk about 100 yards or so, and you go through a gate that leads into the town. We did that, but would not do it again because the merchants hassle you to come into their stand. Guess you can't blame them, but I do not like the hassle. We stayed about 10 minutes and then walked back to the ship. HAL does offer tours, but we had been to Jamaica many times before, so opted not to tour. Dinner Wed night in the dining room; they had NY strip steak, which we both love, but it was a disaster. It was cooked medium rare, like we requested, but it was so tough that we could not eat it. Ordered salmon then and it was good, but slightly overcooked (which was unusual). We attended the Julie Barr comedy show in the Showroom; she was great. Following the main show, Caren and the Halcats had a sing-a-long; a few passengers sang, and for the most part were very good. Thur, Dec 8: The harbor at Georgetown, Grand Cayman is so shallow that all ships have to anchor, and you are taken ashore by one of the lifeboats. Although we waited an hour or so before we tried to go ashore, the process still took forever. Their procedure is to go to the Ocean Bar, and get a tender ticket, and when they call your number, you may go down to deck 3 and get on a tender. This was a very slow process; we had to wait over 30 minutes after we got our tickets. The seas were fairly rough (2 foot or so), and it was difficult for a lot of people to get on the tender. I felt sorry for the people on walkers, but they managed. We did not take any tours since we have done all that before; just walked into some of the shops then went back to the ship. That afternoon we attended the afternoon tea in the dining room, which was OK, but nearly as good as the one on the Westerdam last year. This was the second of the two formal nights. They had surf and turf (filet and lobster); once again the filet was cooked correctly but tough to cut and chew. That was the last time I ordered steak; HAL must have bought some really tough meat. This was in total contrast to the steaks that we got on the Veendam several years ago--that would melt in your mouth. Fri, Dec 9: The captain had a difficult time getting into the port of Cozumel because of the high seas and wind. He made one attempt and decided it was too rough to dock, so we turned around and headed back to sea. A short time later the winds and seas calmed down, so he turned around and docked about an hour late, which was no problem for us. We docked at Carnival's dock about 2 miles from town. They have built a lot of high priced shops on the pier leading to the dock. We walked past these and went into the little shopping area and went into some of the shops. The last time were in Cozumel, we took a taxi to town, but we did not want the hassle of doing this again. Silver jewelry used to be a deal in Mexico, but no longer. Sat, Dec 10 At sea day; not great weather with some rain, and high winds, but the ship was fairly smooth. Did a little gambling and played in a blackjack tourny, but did not win; did make the final table and got a free hat (not exactly free, since it cost $20 to enter the tourny!!) Dinner was good in the dining room; the waiters put on a little show. We went to the debarkation talk by the cruise director; he tried to be funny, but left out some critical information about customs---like how much alcohol and cigarettes you could bring back to the US without paying duty. Also he did not tell you which deck you disembark from (was deck 5); he said everything you needed to know was in the handout--turned out there was no mention of the deck or the alcohol allowance in the handout. Sun, Dec 11 Home at last; the ship docked about 6:45 am. Debarkation was the easiest we have ever done. We opted to carry our luggage off the ship and since we have spinner wheeled luggage, that was pretty easy. We went down to deck 5 about 7: 20. We were about 15th in line to get off, and they opened the door at 7:40 am, and we were in a taxi before 8 am. Other comments: The captain and the cruise director did a great job in keeping the guests informed about what was happening. The Crows Nest offers the best view forward and to the sides, and is a nice lounge. Unfortunately a lot of the reclining lounge chairs are broken--you either sit up or way back, but the adjustment mechanism was broken on all the ones I tried. Ship photographers are everywhere, but if you say no thanks, they move on. We only had room service one evening, and it was very good. We had a pretty good room steward, but he had a hard time remembering to fill up the ice bucket. After I found out where the ice machine was, I got my own. He also never made us a towel animal--guess he did not know how. In the Lido restaurant, the crew dishes out everything for the first 48 hours. They claim this helps prevent spreading of disease, and it probably does. After 48 hours, you can dish out your own salads, desserts, etc, but they still serve the hot food. They have a huge selection of sweets and breads, and a good selection for breakfast. Fortunately we experienced very few smokers on board--a few in the casino and a few aft of the Lido restaurant on the open deck. We saw no smokers in any of the lounges; we did not see any ashtrays either, which is a good sign. Most ships have a Captain's party before one of the formal nights, and they give you free booze and snacks; not so on the Ryndam (nor on the Westerdam we went on last year). They have a special luncheon for past guests (Mariners) and they give you a glass of champagne--big deal. Besides you had to dress up at lunch and not wear shorts, so we decided that was too much of a pain, so we opted not to go. Would we go on the Ryndam again---probably not--primarily because it is such a small ship, and only goes to the western Caribbean (to which we have been many times before). However, if you like small ships, then this is the ship for you. Probably had the friendliest staff we have seen since we went on the Veendam 6 years ago. Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
As mentioned by another poster - this was the 17 day Transatlantic cruise with the Norovirus. I traveled with a friend on this cruise (my husband stayed home because he had work commitments). My friend and I spent 3 wonderful days in ... Read More
As mentioned by another poster - this was the 17 day Transatlantic cruise with the Norovirus. I traveled with a friend on this cruise (my husband stayed home because he had work commitments). My friend and I spent 3 wonderful days in Barcelona before the cruise. I absolutely loved Barcelona and plan to return next year. Boarding the ship was very low stress. Our baggage was taken from our taxi and immediately loaded onto the ship. I was very impressed at this point. However, my great first impression was not to last. Holland America's policy is to have all meals served for the first 48 hours to guard against g.i. viruses. There was plenty of hand sanitizer at the restaurants and the crew was required to dish up your food and/or pour all drinks in the Lido. It was a little bothersome to have to communicate your food choices to the workers given the noise and language difficulties, but it was no big deal because it would only be for 48 hours...or so I thought. Anyway, things went from bad to worse. By the 3rd day we still were unable to dish up our own meals in the Lido Buffet and the captain started making polite announcements letting us know the virus had spread and that we would still be unable to serve our own food, that we should use hand sanitizer (or preferably wash our hands frequently), cover your mouth when you cough and/or sneeze, etc. End result was that this went on for the entire cruise. The virus was never gotten under control, in spite of the efforts of the staff. The poor staff was so overworked that as the cruise went on I began to see some of them almost sleeping standing up. They were required to work their regular shift (which is long enough) but then they were also required to stay up until mid-night, or later, sanitizing the ship. This went on for the entire length of the cruise. The sanitizing seemed to consist of spraying on some kind of chemical that was left on all the surfaces resulting in ugly, dirty, streaked looking surfaces everywhere - all the brass, the "clear" plexiglass windows in the entertainment venue, etc. The endless announcements by the captain (or cruise director) reminding us to cover our mouths, use hand sanitizer, etc. became irritating. You would be squirted with sanitizer when you walked in one door of a room and they'd be waiting to squirt you again when you walked out the other side! It got to be ridiculous. The crew also sprayed some kind of noxious chemical in the staterooms where someone had been sick. You could smell the chemical when you walked down the hallways and it actually gave me a headache. All library books and games were locked up. You had to check out a book by looking through the grilled gate-like fence that covered them. Then you had to ask the librarian to hand them to you. If you looked at the book and decided not to check it out, it was immediately taken out of circulation. There were no art auctions, they closed the self-serve launderetts, the hot tubs were closed, drinking fountains were turned off, all food was handed to you (not even any bread baskets), taco bar, etc. at the pool was closed, no chocolate buffet, no samples at cooking classes, no galley tours, you had to ask a crew member for the newspaper if you weren't in the Lido Buffet when they were handed out, spa services that weren't offered, and on and on. The food on the Ryndam was mediocre (I heard many other people express this same opinion). I actually lost weight on this cruise! I did not try the Pinnacle Grill so can't comment on it. I head good things from other people about it. The entertainment was, for the most part, so bland I would leave before it was over. There were a couple of exceptions (two opera singers, the ship band - I think they were called the Hellcats, or something like that, and a classical music trio, but basically it was not very good(compared to the other cruise I was on). The "lectures" were awful. I heard many people joking about them. The cooking demos were okay but would have been MUCH better if the "party planner" would not have talked through them with her useless comments and "tips". I enjoyed the walking track and logged about 3-4 miles a day. I enjoyed the "Hit the Deck for the Cure" walk on the last day at sea. The internet connection is a total joke. .75 per minute with the slowest speed I've ever seen. You could buy a package to lower the price per minute a little bit, but it was still a total rip-off. My Droid phone would not work with their wi-fi but I was told by other passengers that I-Phones worked. The crew member with the thankless job of answering people's questions about the crappy wi-fi service tried to blame my Droid, but when I pointed out that I had used my phone in places with wi-fi in Barcelona and Amsterdam he had no more excuses to offer. The ship is very small with a very poor shopping area (plus, we had to wear little plastic gloves to touch anything). Everything in the ship looked dirty because of the sanitizer residue all over everything. Some days it was hard to find a place to sit and read or whatever. The ship seemed kind of crowded. The ports were great. I personally didn't think the Canary Islands were that interesting, but that is just a personal observation. Barcelona, Cadiz and Malaga were all wonderful. Madiera was very pretty and interesting too. We only had 1/2 day at Holland America's "private" island in the Bahamas (Half Moon Key). I thought it was totally lame. Too many people for such a small beach. Also, people from the Ryndam were not allowed to go in the shops. As a matter of fact, they closed the shops until the Ryndam pulled out of port, then they opened them for the people from the other ship(s). Talk about being made to feel like a leper. Ryndam people also had to get our food in a separate line from the people from the other ship(s). The food was, again, mediocre - nothing great. When I cruised on Celebrity we stayed at their private island for the whole day with excellent food and lots of activities. On this cruise you couldn't really do anything because it was only 1/2 day. Bottom line - I would never sail on Holland America again based on my experience on the Ryndam. I previously sailed on Celebrity and thought it was far superior (the food, entertainment, activities, etc). I feel that I got about 1/2 of a cruise for a full cruise price. In spite of all the inconveniences, Holland America did not comp us ANYTHING, not even a bottle of water. We still had to pay for those. (The only water available was in little tiny glasses in the restaurants - which you had to stand in line to get). Shame on Holland America for not offering at least SOMETHING for all the inconveniences. After returning home and doing some research it appears this is not the first time this ship has had novovirus problems. I wish I would have researched this before I booked my cruise. I suppose if I cruised all the time this experience wouldn't be as big of a deal, but I don't. Cruising is a special treat for me and to have spent as much money as this cruise cost and gotten so little is disappointing to say the least. I'll stick to Celebrity in the future. Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
Spent 3 nights in Barcelona before the cruise. A great city, easy to walk around. Wonderful sights. The Sagrada Familia is amazing. Took a cab from our hotel to the port about noon. Once there, our bags were whisked away and it took no ... Read More
Spent 3 nights in Barcelona before the cruise. A great city, easy to walk around. Wonderful sights. The Sagrada Familia is amazing. Took a cab from our hotel to the port about noon. Once there, our bags were whisked away and it took no time to get checked in and on our way to our rooms on board. We were on the Lower Promenade deck with the teak deck right outside our room. I was surprised how big our room was. The bathroom was twice as big as our last cruise on the Carib Princess. The bathroom had a deep tub and was well lit. The towels were fluffy and the shampoo, conditioner and gel were in plastic dispensers in the tub enclosure. We went up to the Lido for lunch and was impressed by the amount of food choices. We had no problem at all with the food on the Ryndam at all. The ports we visited were mostly walkable. In two we made arrangements with the local taxis to take us around the city. In Casablanca we paid 40 euros for four hours. We went to the Hassan II mosque and the marketplaces. The mosque holds up to 25000 people on the floor to pray. It was built in 1989 and it a wonderful experience to see. Pay the admission and see the wonderful interior. The entertainment on the ship is quite good. The crew of course is amazing. If you have any problem, they go out of their way to help. The Problem - Our room was on the Lower Promenade,right under the galley. We were upgraded to a C cabin guarantee. Cabin 366. The noise was non stop. We complained and even had staff come to our cabin. They finally said we were underneath the galley space where they do the baking. Even in the afternoon, it was really loud. They gave us earplugs. Why should I were earplugs on a vacation. The ship is fine but do not get a cabin on the lower promenade in rooms C366 to C384. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
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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