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183 Ryndam (Retired) Cruise Reviews

Having always previously enjoyed cruising but earlier this year been on a Royal Caribbean Cruise earlier this year which we found most underwhelming at times, we approached this cruise with a little trepidation having never sailed Holland ... Read More
Having always previously enjoyed cruising but earlier this year been on a Royal Caribbean Cruise earlier this year which we found most underwhelming at times, we approached this cruise with a little trepidation having never sailed Holland America before and also finding out that the ship was moving on to pastures new. However we found this cruise a thoroughly enjoying experience from beginning to end. Embarkation at Harwich was quick and easy, once aboard the cabins were already ready and we didn't have to wait long for our luggage to arrive. We found the food in both the Main Dining Room and the Lido restaurant very good. Excellent entertainment, we especially enjoyed The Neptunes. It was a pleasure following our last cruise to find lounges and bars where you could always get a seat and excellent service in all the bars, with drinks reasonably priced. Ports of call all enjoyable, we did our own thing rather than excursions, which was no problem in these ports. Disembarkation went very smoothly. I would definitely cruise with Holland America again and its a shame the Ryndam is moving on. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
We`d not been with Holland America before and hearing that they had already sold the Ryndam to P&O Australia with this being it`s (and Holland America`s) last cruise out of Harwich we wondered if we`d done the right thing in booking. ... Read More
We`d not been with Holland America before and hearing that they had already sold the Ryndam to P&O Australia with this being it`s (and Holland America`s) last cruise out of Harwich we wondered if we`d done the right thing in booking. Add to that the questionnable weather in the fjords in September and....We need not have worried. The ship and weather was amazing. Staff could not do enough for you with lots of little extra touches. The food in all sections was fabulous. I ask you - 6 types of Eggs Benedict in the Lido buffet breakfast bar! Every port was a joy to behold and the onboard entertainment was way better than I expected. Roomy cabin with great servicing, lovely small ship layout and so much more attractive than the huge blocks of flats they are putting out to see now. Wonderful experience - thank you Holland and America. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
Although this is my first review on Cruise Critic, we have cruised with other lines in the past and made use of the site in order to assist us in our planning. On this occasion, I have decided to try and leave information for other ... Read More
Although this is my first review on Cruise Critic, we have cruised with other lines in the past and made use of the site in order to assist us in our planning. On this occasion, I have decided to try and leave information for other travellers and would add it is our first cruise with Holland America Line. It is a great pity that the Ryndam is being transferred to the P&O Southern Fleet very soon now and is likely to be renamed. All the above being said, I will now commence my review. We live within one hour's travel of the port of Liverpool and had hoped to book a cruise from this location. However, an excellent deal became available to cruise on the Ryndam from Harwich to the Norwegian Fjords and we could not say no to it. We arranged car parking with the port over the telephone and they were very helpful. After a 7 hour drive, we arrived at the port on the day of our departure and I must say that I was very impressed by the smooth operation of bag drop, parking and bus transfer to check-in- compliments to Harwich International Port. Hal check-in proved to be just as good and, in our experience, is the best we have had, being very smooth and well organised. We were soon able to drop the small amount of hand luggage in our cabin and make our way to the Lido for some lunch. On our return from lunch, our main cases had been placed in our cabin, so we spent some time unpacking before we attended the welcome meeting. The Cruise Director gave an outline of the activities, meetings and events that would be on offer during the week and drew our attention to the information sheets that would be left in the cabin on a daily bases, plus the other material available also in the cabin. All this information was supplemented by a daily update by both the Captain and the Cruise Director over the ship's PA system. I think at this point rather than sound too pompous, plus go on too much ,I will sum up with some final points and, if anyone would like further information, please contact me and I will try to help. The ship is in excellent condition for its age and is well maintained, all the crew appeared to take pride in their work and the condition of the ship. After the disappointing first night on open dinning (due to waiting for staff to show you to your table), we changed to a fixed time and experienced no problems for the rest of the cruise. Our table was for just the two of us and we did not experience the slow service described by others in the same position. Note that Hal provide a free cabin service-- we did not use this, but noted that a number of fellow cruisers did. We decided to use the main dining room for all our dinners- however, please note that the food on offer in the more relaxed area of the ship is just the same and, whilst I note some people seem disappointed with the menu, we found the standard, type, variation and service all to be excellent. I also note that some people had problems with Wine Waiter service and Dinner service and, again, all I can add is that we did not encounter any of these problems. As a final note, I need to add that we did not experience any "norovirus" problems- however, a fellow cruiser's comment "I do not need to use the gel as I washed my hands before I left my cabin" I think they may have forgotten about the door handle, lift button or stair rail/banister they may have used on the way to the restaurant! We found wine charged by the glass to be reasonable and had already purchased a 'Soda Card' prior to boarding, which proved to be great value. In addition, the Sip and Savour events held throughout the cruise were very informative and reasonably priced. There was no forced spending in any areas and I again wonder if we were on the same cruise as some others, but activities were available if you wanted to use them, including a Captain's talk about the ship, explaining that he had used the "Stabilisers" when he know we were going into a slight swell. Entertainment-wise, we felt that this was of a high standard and varied throughout the week. We were particularly impressed by the musicians located in the various bars throughout the ship. Our only criticism on this topic would be that the Showroom-at-Sea is not big enough to take all guests from both dinner settings, which happens twice during the week on board. Therefore, guests on the later sitting are at a disadvantage when it comes to finding an empty seat in there! As far as the scenery is concerned, it is simply breathtaking and not to be missed. All ports of call are well worth a visit and the Norwegian people that we encountered were warm and friendly. They are very proud of their country and rightly so! However, we found the prices for shore excursions organised by HAL to be grossly inflated and would strongly recommend investigating alternative tour providers, as we did. My penultimate point- the ship's Photographers were excellent. I take a poor picture and even managed to mess up some of our wedding photographs, but they managed to position us in such a way that we now have some very nice photographs (not sure his camera is still ok,though!) Final point- I hope that HAL will sail again form a UK port in the future and, even if they do not, I hope that we are able to sail with them again soon. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
We read so many bad reviews we were not quite sure what we were getting into. However, we all had a great week cruising to Norway and would not have missed it for anything. This was our 2nd cruise with HAL and was much better than the ... Read More
We read so many bad reviews we were not quite sure what we were getting into. However, we all had a great week cruising to Norway and would not have missed it for anything. This was our 2nd cruise with HAL and was much better than the first one. I was traveling with my husband and my brother and we were all very pleased with it. We picked up the HAL bus at Heathrow and arrived at the ship about noon. Embarkation was smooth and we were on the ship in time for lunch. About a week before the cruise we were offered an upgrade to the Navigation suites for a very low price and it was well worth it. The cabin was beautiful, very spacious, especially for 3 people, and we all loved it. We also had a huge verandah which was nice, but it was a little chilly to sit out. We also had access to the Neptune Lounge and we used that a lot. It's a nice room with Wi-Fi and snacks and newspapers and we had some fun coffee breaks with other passengers there. The two ladies who were concierges in there were very friendly and could not do enough to help us with anything. We found the staff, mostly Indonesians, were very friendly and genuinely interested in helping us with anything. Truthfully, I could not say enough about the staff, they were wonderful. The food was delicious, especially their bread and baked goods. We had breakfast in The Pinnacle a few times which was very nice. Never had a bad meal. We went to 3 shows which were OK, entertaining anyway. We saw no signs of the norovirus and were very particular about using the sanitizers which were everywhere. In Bergen and Alesund we did the hop-off-on bus and enjoyed it very much. Geiranger was just beautiful on a clear sunny day and we took a local tour bus to the top of the mountains, something not to be missed. I really can't find very much to complain about this cruise. The only things I can think of are the bathtub, which is very high and would be hard for seniors to get in and out of. Also, the Wi-Fi was expensive and very spotty at times, but I realize that was out of their control and was because of the mountains all around. All in all, a good cruise and we would have no hesitation in using HAL again. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
This was our first cruise, so we had nothing to compare it to. It was a slick operation from start to finish, well organised, pleasant & efficient staff. The ship was well presented, clean & a very nice place to spend a week. We ... Read More
This was our first cruise, so we had nothing to compare it to. It was a slick operation from start to finish, well organised, pleasant & efficient staff. The ship was well presented, clean & a very nice place to spend a week. We were reluctant to cruise as we're not keen on the glitzy dinners, casino, art auctions etc. however, there is no pressure to take part n any of that if you don't want to. The casual dining room was fine & the menu seemed the same, it was just self service. We didn't spend any time by the Lido pool as this seemed to cater for families. They had music playing most of the time & the children seemed to be having a great time, but not for us, thanks. Our cabin on deck 5, was bigger than expected & a real treat to have a bath, albeit a small one. We paid extra for the spa, which we loved & was worth the extra cost of $149. It was a great way to relax after a day's walking & exploring. Geirangerfjord is beautiful & this is the only trip we did. We took the coach to the top of Dalsnibba mountain for a truly spectacular view. The weather was kind to us & we enjoyed a week with sun & light cloud. We used the hop on hop off buses in Bergen & Alesund. They both worked well & made it easy to explore on our own. The staff worked their socks off throughout the trip & it was sad to see so many Brits at the reception desk reducing their gratuities to £0. Really? Would like to know on what grounds people thought the staff deserved nothing. Hey, each to their own. We loved the trip & would book again, but sad to see this small ship leaving the fleet. We aren't so keen on the floating blocks of flats. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
As Ryndam is going out of service, I will confine my comments to generalisations which could apply across the line. Boarding and reception at Harwich excellent: pity they will not be using the port any more. Parking easy, and luggage ... Read More
As Ryndam is going out of service, I will confine my comments to generalisations which could apply across the line. Boarding and reception at Harwich excellent: pity they will not be using the port any more. Parking easy, and luggage (lots of it) taken out of our hands. Facilities in the Harwich Cruise port fairly basic, but you could get a coffee and a snack, but as you will get fed almost immediately after boarding, does not matter. Boarding very efficient, and was on board 90 minutes ahead of schedule. For an old ship that had been sold on, the ship was in very good condition and could not fault the state of repair. Staff extremely helpful. We had a cabin on the lower promenade deck where the walking circuit is. Thus you need to be aware that people will be walking in circuits past your window from very early in the morning. I can only assume that there are people who are very early risers, and even at 0600, the circuit is live. Cabins very good size with sitting area and enough room to hang clothes and draw space. No problem for a two week jaunt. Nothing much provided in bathroom except wall mounted shower gel, conditioner and shampoo, but Elemis brand. This is quite typical of the low to mid range boats and I always bring my own stuff now. Cabins cleaned and tidied to an excellent standard, and cabin steward excellent. Cabin mostly made up by the time we had returned from breakfast (they clock who is moving around on any deck). Compares favourably with other cruise liners, and we had bought the cheapest cabin available. Passengers mixed, but mostly over 50. Some young couples and family groups. Avoid school holidays if you do not want to travel with other peoples' children, as the ships in the line are geared up to younger passengers. Obviously Americans are dominant which is good news and bad news. Higher general standards, but some of them are reluctant to embrace anything that smacks of foreign-ness. Some peculiar clothes - in fact the ship seemed to have given up on dress code but they did exclude someone who turned up to the main evening restaurant in shorts. Food is excellent, but the open seating dining needs careful thought. Despite what HAL might say, the restaurant will try to shoehorn you in to their convenience. So if you want to dine as a pair, or not to their notional sittings you have to work hard at it. It was achieved after written representation indicating that sitting with diners not of our choice was distressing to us, as was having to wait an unreasonably long length of time. This works, and I would commend others to ensure they get what they want. A moaning minnie at the table is not what you want. Restaurant staff were very friendly and helpful and it is true that you can have pretty much what you want off the menu, so if you want 5 or 6 courses, that is no problem. Like with so many things in life, if you make yourself clear in a pleasant manner, it ensure you get what you want (within reason). Buffet restaurants like a miniature version of what happens on Royal Caribbean. Huge choice at lunch. Seating can be a problem, and food temperature from any buffet is never going to be good. The crew of the ship kept a very low profile, and the captain was only wheeled out for big occasions. No handshaking for fear of contamination. No captains party/reception. In fact the presentation by the captain told me a lot about the business model: everything that happens on the ships is done to show a return on investment. Entertainments very much geared for an American audience, and shows of Las Vegas style, which pleased many. Could not fault the effort put into the entertainment at nights, but not to everyones taste. Beware of Park West Galleries art auctions. I cannot believe that anyone buys their merchandise after reading the terms and conditions and hearing what they say, but what do I know? Excursions were very expensive, so we mostly made our own way, knowing some of the places. Everything is pretty expensive including the restaurant wines, drinks packages, wifi, telephone connections and merchandise. As with many cruise lines, there are special merchandising offers said to be tax and duty free. Caveat Emptor. All in all, it was a good cruise at a fair price, very good hospitality, and I would travel with the line again, but do certain things e.g. dining differently. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
Our twelth cruise, our second with Holland America on the Ryndam. We sailed on Ryndam in 2014 and loved it so much we booked again for 2015, almost identical itinerary (only one port difference). Would certianly recommend Ryndam (such ... Read More
Our twelth cruise, our second with Holland America on the Ryndam. We sailed on Ryndam in 2014 and loved it so much we booked again for 2015, almost identical itinerary (only one port difference). Would certianly recommend Ryndam (such a shame it's being sold in October to P&O Australia) and would recommend Holland America. We travelled as a family of 6 occupying 2 cabins. 3 adults and 3 children. We travelled from North East of England to Harwich (6 hour drive) Embarkation and disembarkation were fast and smooth. We were on board the ship by 12.15, just in time for lunch ! Disembarkation was smooth and you could stay in your cabin until it was your time slot. My favourite public room was the library - so spacious. Lots of comfortable seats, fanastic views from the full length windows. Entertainment was okay. Shore excursions were a rip-off. It didn't detract from the cruise though as I'd researched all the ports prior to sailing and we did our own thing in every port. On all previous cruises we have dined on first sitting (5.45 pm on Ryndam). For the first time we chose open seating. We loved it. Loved the flexibility. We generally ate around 7.15 pm and there was never a queue for the restaurant. Will be choosing open seating on all future cruises. Shame Holland America is not sailing from UK in the near future. Flights x 6 people + 1 cruise or sail from UK and have 2 cruises. I always choose the latter. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
Our ninth cruise on HAL, our first on Ryndam, we were a couple from Holland, both in our early fifties. Although she will leave the fleet later this year, she is still being taken care of, with a great and enthusiastic crew. Earlier ... Read More
Our ninth cruise on HAL, our first on Ryndam, we were a couple from Holland, both in our early fifties. Although she will leave the fleet later this year, she is still being taken care of, with a great and enthusiastic crew. Earlier reports mentioned the missing tender, this is still the same, I think it is not because of the tender, but due to a defective launching equipment (do not know the proper English term). Since there are plenty of lifeboats, not an issue, although a bit of a nuisance during tendering, which was slightly longer than normal in some cases, but handled very wel, circumstances considering (relocation of anchoring position due to changing winds in Heamaey). Travelled to Harwich by ferry, arriving just before Ryndam did, a small hop-over. Noro precautions were vigorous, also during the embarkation process, but this did not delay to process in a way it was inconvenient. Excellent entertainment, especially by the talented singers and dancers of the Ryndam. The service was friendly and good, no complaints there. During the first 2 days we had some plumbing issues, but they were dealt with efficiently and accompanied by apologies for the inconvenience. We were upgraded from our partial ocean view, to an unobstructed view, slightly before embarkation, a nice cabin on deck 5, no complaints there. Dining, staff and food in the MDR (early, fixed seating) was excellent, wide varied choice. Excellent line up of beautiful ports, where we did a mix of HAL and private excursions. Lerwick, a tender port, was a bit of grey and rainy, but in all a nice little town. Torshavn, here we did a nice HAL excursion to the Vestmanna Seacliffs, weather was reasonable friendly, beautiful surroundings and lots of birds. Eskifjordur was a bit of a rainy port unfortunately, but still managed to have a reasonable excursion to see the history of WWII in Iceland. Heimaey island gave us beautiful weather on a very nice island. Here we did a great tour to the Westmann islands, home to large colonies of Puffins, which we spotted a couple of. Reykjavik, Isafjordur and Akureyri we did private tours, to the highlighted waterfalls, geysirs and nature baths, travelling through beautiful rough volcanic scenery that Iceland is famous for. A great country, with proud and well informed guides throughout. After Iceland, we made our way to Norway, where Alesund, Bergen and Eidfjord were our last ports. Some mixed weather, Bergen is not for a reason one of the wettest places there is, but our final port was a sunny and warm Eidfjord. In all a great cruise, fantastic crew and sorry to see the Ryndam go to P&O Australia, they will get a beautiful ship.! Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
Ryndam Review Norwegian Fjords 18/07/15 to 25/07/15 We've cruised numerous lines including Cunard, Princess, NCL, P&O and Celebrity so I thought I would share our thoughts on our first ever HAL experience. Embarkation ... Read More
Ryndam Review Norwegian Fjords 18/07/15 to 25/07/15 We've cruised numerous lines including Cunard, Princess, NCL, P&O and Celebrity so I thought I would share our thoughts on our first ever HAL experience. Embarkation We picked this cruise for one crucial reason only! Ryndam was departing from Harwich, UK which is an approx. 10 minute drive from home. Now we've only ever left from Southampton so this was a massive bonus. Left home at 1120hrs and was checked in and on board by 1215hrs. Amazing start to our cruise. Everything went very smoothly at the terminal and no traffic unlike our usual drive into Southampton. Seems a real shame that the 2016 cruise season from Harwich as been very much cut back with no HAL, Celebrity or Royal Caribbean. Somebody please come back soon. Ryndam Now whilst we have not cruised with HAL before we did have the opportunity of a ship visit to Ryndam last year in Dover and knew exactly what we would be getting. I would best describe her as a well preserved charming old lady. Ryndam is now 20 years old and is being passed onto P&O Australia in October 2015. Significant parts of the ship have been upgraded but in other areas such as the lifts and hallways she is showing her age. Despite that she is generally very well preserved and other than some soft furnishings in Explorers which have seen better days the crew were continually carrying out maintenance. This is not a ship that has a particular 'wow' factor. No massive atrium, no waverider and no dodgems but what she has is plenty of small ship charm. Nothing is to far from any where else. A trip back to the cabin is not a two day hike and she is very easy to navigate. At 55,000 tonnes she is the smallest ship we have cruised on but certainly there is something to be said for the smaller ship experience and one that I would not hesitate to use again. If given the choice I would likely choose a Celebrity 'Solstice' class ship but for a 7 day trip to the fjords Ryndam was a perfect size and we were able to access places that i not previously visited such as Eidfjord. Cabin We picked up an outside GTY for the price of an inside and only discovered our exact cabin about 3 days before the cruise. An email pinged up and I discovered we had been allocated 569 on deck 5. Good location mid ships and not to far from the forward lift. This would be considered an upgrade on our GTY ‘H’ grade. Extremely impressed with the cabin which felt huge compared to similar cabins on other lines. Mini tub and powerful shower was to be found in the generous bathroom. It was lovely to have a decent size sofa and with the large picture window we enjoyed several cabin breakfasts which we would not normally do. Other than a ‘Aqua Class’ that we experienced on Eclipse this was probably the most spacious and stylish cabin we have experienced. She may be long in the tooth but Ryndam definitely scores on the cabin front. Our Steward was fantastic and the cabin was refreshed and made up with minimal disruption. Food As part of our booking deal we received a meal in Cannaletto which is the Italian speciality onboard restaurant and another meal in the Pinnacle Grill. These were to be allocated upon boarding. I also treated us to a meal in Le Cirque mid cruise which was my birthday. This was paid for prior to boarding at $49 dollars each. The rest of the time we were to use the MDR. We always avoid the buffet simply because I dislike the scrum and it helps avoid ant dreaded bugs. Our first meal on board was a burger at ‘Dine In’ the burger bar situated on the Lido deck. All food taken to order and you are paged when it is ready. Simply the best burger I have ever experienced on board a cruise ship! Chips were equally delicious and you are also able to enjoy hotdogs and the adjacent taco bar. Fantastic. The first night we enjoyed our free Canaletto meal which is created from the buffet area. Lovely meal for what would be normally $10 dollar cover charge. Probably our least enjoyable meal onboard but only because the menu was not totally to my taste but everything was beautifully cooked and presented. Other than breakfast in Cabin, we always use MDR for breakfast and the omelette did not disappoint. I just much prefer to be served and we chatted with several fellow quests when sharing a table. MDR was used for 4 evening meals and I was extremely impressed with the food quality. The bakery department did a superb job with the rolls and all our food was very tasty and hot. We had anytime dining and varied eating times from 1900hrs to as late as 2100hrs. Waiters all very polite and nothing was to much trouble. I can happily say this was some of the best MDR dining food I have ever experienced on this out 9th cruise. I had read some poor Ryndam food reviews but have nothing but praise for all the food we sampled onboard. Simply delicious. Le Cirque was an amazing experience where I sampled a Caesar Salad Cirque style and Chateaubriand steak cooked to perfection. Best kept secret onboard is a Pinnacle Grill lunch at only $10 dollars. The crab cakes with Orange rice were amazing! My favourite meal was probably our evening in the Pinnacle Grill where we both enjoyed the Lamb Chops. I starved myself all day as was feeling rather full and so was really ready to enjoy dinner when it came. I especially enjoyed the soup and Fries with garlic mayo. Desert was rather fabulous as well. I really can’t praise the food high enough. I had a sneaky hope that it would be rather fabulous and if anything was to draw me back to HAL again it would be the food. This is really the most important part of the cruise experience for me and it was amazing. All on board bar service was very good and the only real complaint I have about anything food or beverage related was the quality of coffee in Explores which is the onboard speciality coffee venue. Disgusting is one way to describe it. Expresso from an automatic machine and served in paper cup. Had better from a Motorway Service Station! No waiter service. I tried several times to get to the bottom of the coffee nightmare but other than other staff agreeing it was not good including fellow passengers we gave up. MDR coffee seemed to be fresh brewed and just about saved the day. Les and I are really non drinkers and always enjoy the onboard Speciality Coffee. Les was left very disappointed . Thankfully the superb quality of food just about made up for the coffee. I just don’t understand how a line as polished as HAL could get this so wrong. I have covered this on the customer survey and also emailed. Hopefully some answers may be forthcoming? Spa We loved the little spa and brought a week long pass for the Thermal Spa as well as enjoying several treatments. I was smothered in seaweed, dunked in a vat of hot water and massaged within an inch of my life. Felt very relaxed after. Many hours was spent relaxing on the ceramic hot chairs and the mineral bath. Our pass meant we could come and go as we pleased and at $149 per couple I felt was good value for money. Pools Two pools can be found onboard. The Lido pool is for families and can be covered. The adult only is rather lovely and can be found at the stern on deck ten. With were heated and I enjoyed both. Lido could become rather noisy so my fav was adult pool on stern. Entertainment The main showroom lacks some of the high tech facilities of a more modern ship but I was left feeling extremely impressed with the quality of the singers and dancers. This was their last cruise onboard and the 3 full production shows featured some of the best singing and dancing I have had the pleasure to enjoy on any cruise ship. A small group of very talented individuals. Elsewhere the ship was covered with various other musical performers who were all of a very high quality. David in Mix was brilliant along with the guitar chap. Sydney and the Halcats were great and we also had two chaps onboard called the ‘Piano Brothers’ All performed to the highest standards. The last evening featured Dancing with the Stars which was really good fun. I did not watch any onboard films in the cinema or really use the culinary centre other than one very quick demo. I felt this was a little underused and more could be done with the space. I know the Culinary Art Centre is a real HAL show case but it felt a bit flat! The Cruise Director was great and plenty of other activities took place throughout the day. Again the small ship spirit shone through. All entertainment staff and crew were so approachable that it felt like one big family onboard. Norway As ever Norway is a stunning place to visit and so easy to reach and enjoy via a 7 day cruise from UK. We went to Bergen, Gerainger, Alesund and Eidfjord. The cruise also had two sea days. We booked no excursions via HAL as very expensive as are all other cruise line excursions. The scenery is really what its all about and you are able to enjoy this so easily from the ship that there is no real need to spend most of a port day on a coach. It was raining in Bergen so we stayed onboard as we had visited before. Elsewhere we popped ashore for a decent coffee. Norway is incredibly expensive so be warned. Eat on board! We took one local trip in Eidfjord to a huge waterfall which meant we were only away from Ryndam for 2 hours. I really adore Norway and what it has to offer the cruise passenger. Stunning views, fresh air and scenery. This was my second Norway cruise and I would go again in a heartbeat. Only downside was the weather was so/so. Disembarkation We filled a form in mid week and were given Yellow 1 which was due to get off at 0830hrs. Luggage collected night before and everything went very smoothly with a last MDR breakfast at 0700hrs. We were home by 0915hrs. Cruising from Harwich is great!! Conclusion We had a wonderful week with an extremely spacious cabin and some of the best food we have experienced onboard a cruise ship. Coffee was terrible but this did not spoil the week. I loved the small ship experience and would certainly try a small ship again. Its sad that HAL are parting company with Ryndam although she is now at the point of needing a great deal of money spent if she is to keep up with the rest of the fleet. Anyone travelling on her prior to her departure in October is in for a treat. I was so impressed. Yes she does not have that big ship ‘wow’ factor but she provided the ideal home for a short Norway cruise. Lets hope HAL don’t abandon the small ship vibe! We had a full complement of passengers which included 200 kids. She never felt crowded and everything worked smoothly. The dreaded bug had been onboard prior to our sailing but other than constant reminders about hygiene we saw no real signs that anything was amiss. The Captain did mention small outbreak but we were not effected. Its a real shame no HAL ship will be based in UK during 2016. They have built a good following in recent years but we are left with no choice but to fly next year which I don’t like to do. Come back to the UK or risk losing fans! Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
We are seasoned cruisers and, although Holland America is not our favorite cruise line, we like the smaller size of their ships and often take their cruises. Having traveled from Heathrow to Harwich in a hired car (247 Airport Transfer) ... Read More
We are seasoned cruisers and, although Holland America is not our favorite cruise line, we like the smaller size of their ships and often take their cruises. Having traveled from Heathrow to Harwich in a hired car (247 Airport Transfer) with some wonderful new Cruise Critic friends, our stay at the immaculate Premier Inn the night before the cruise was pleasant. Although there is not much to the town, the restaurant at the hotel had a friendly atmosphere. Several of the us Cruise Critic people staying at the Inn tried to meet in the lobby of the Inn but there wasn't much of a lobby and we were so tired from traveling, we decided to meet again at the Meet and Greet on the ship. This being our 24th cruise, we were worried about the noro virus we heard was rampant on the Ryndam. HA even brought the previous cruise back a day early to sanitize the ship and our cruise left later than usual. Holland America compensated us $50/passenger for the delay which I thought was very nice. Embarkation was a very slow process. We followed HA's request and arrived later so they could finish sanitizing the ship. The crew worked very hard finishing the cleaning. Hence, they were not available for the embarkation so it took a long time to get on the ship. As far as we knew, no one got the noro virus although for the first 3 days of the cruise, many precautions were taken. For example, there was no salt or pepper on the tables, you were served in the buffet, you could not get your own drinks at the service bars in the buffet, and we couldn't even exchange papers during the Trivia games. Yes, it was inconvenient but getting the virus would have been more inconvenient. My husband and I are grateful to HA for their efforts. After 3 days everything returned to the usual. Our Meet and Greet was the next day which was a sea day. I was surprised that no one from HA attended but, then again, the precautions against the noro virus kept many doing duties they were normally not responsible for. Our ocean view cabin was well located on the Main deck and always immaculate except for the dirty outside window. There was plenty of storage, the bed was quite comfortable, and our cabin stewards were so willing to please. The food in the main dining room was a bit of a disappointment for the few 2 days as my husband and I found the beef was stringy and a little tough but after ordering other entrees, I found that food excellent. Our waiter, Toto seemed to prefer always serving his other tables first rather than ours. We started off with 3 people at our scenic window table then grew to 5 people but none of us were 5 stars. Could that be why? The food in the Lido (buffet) was always varied and delicious. We celebrated our 45th wedding anniversary in the Pinnacle and our steaks were cooked to perfection. A group of us decided to eat in the Canaletto specialty restaurant one night and all 11 of us were disappointed in the quality and choices. My husband and I have eaten in the Canaletto on other HA ships and enjoyed it. The entertainment was fabulous, in my opinion. My favorite is always the singers and dancers and they were the best we have seen in our 24 cruises. The other entertainment was varied and well chosen. The cruise director did a fabulous job. My husband and I did take several computer classes offered on sea days. Mike, the computer tech had such patience with me for which I am grateful, not being computer savvy with Windows 8.1. As for the ports, almost all of our excursions were private through cruisingexcursions.com. We have used them before and find their excursions to be cheaper, smaller groups, and cover most of the sights in a port. Our first port was Alesund, Norway. We had been to Alesund last year on a cruise, so this was a repeat for us. I wish we had last year's weather though. This time it was rainy and very foggy. We did the same excursion as last year (Introduction to Alesund Highlights) although this year we couldn't quite see Alesund from the viewpoint because of the fog and the rain. Be sure to look for the decorative drain covers in the street as you walk along the narrow streets of this turret and spired medieval town. Next was Trondheim. We didn't plan any excursions here and decided to walk around town on our own. We walked to the Gothic-style Nidaros Cathedral which is the largest church in Northern Europe and to the Old Town Bridge. We had a pleasant walk through the shops and outdoor markets. When we arrived in Tromso, our next port, my husband and I raced to take bus #26 to the cable car to avoid the long lines. We were grateful for the free shuttle into town. Yes, we arrived at the Fjellhelsens around 8:45 just to learn they did not open until 10 A.M! So we waited. It was definitely worth it. The view was spectacular. Tromso is the largest city north of the Arctic Circle. After the cable car ride down, we walked to the Arctic Cathedral which has the largest stained-glass window in Europe. Unfortunately, by the time we got there, they were closed for a funeral so we couldn't go inside. In my research for this cruise, someone suggested taking the Arctic train. Don't bother it was a disappointment. It's a little sight-seeing train that takes you around town. Because we were only in Tromso until 3 P.M., we missed going to Polaria, the Polar Museum and the Arctic-Alpine Garden. Next time........ Honningsvag is a tiny town but everyone goes there to go to North Cape which is the northernmost point in Europe. So that is what we did. Cruisingexcursions.com cancelled our excursion a month before the cruise because they couldn't get enough people. Thanks to a recommendation by another CC person, we booked with bookfinnmark.com for the same exact excursion and it was cheaper! Unfortunately, they couldn't control the fog. The bus ride took about an hour just to see nothing but fog. Luckily the Visitors' Center is quite well done with a large cinema with an audio-visual show, a church, an art gallery, and a Thai temple along with a coffee shop, bar, and a gift shop. After our return to town, we went to a primitive Ice Bar which I highly recommend. After you put on these insulated ponchos, you enter a room to experience what it would be like in the winter time there. Your admission (about $18) includes 2 non-alcoholic drinks from shot glasses made of ice. There are ice tables, walls, benches, and an igloo filled with reindeer skins. It was awesome. When the ship left port that night, it circled around to North Cape which, by that time, was as clear as could be. From the deck of our ship, we could see the tourists up around the huge globe and outside the Visitor Center. Oh, boy! Were they lucky there was no fog for them! After another sea day we arrived in Molde. Our excursion, "Sightseeing and Scenic Drive to Atlantic Road" did not start off well. The bus driver couldn't be found. So we were given an impromptu walking tour while we waited for another driver. Molde was having Europe's biggest jazz festival so there were tents and stalls and people all over and a very festive atmosphere. Finally the bus arrived and we were off to the Atlantic Road which was a bit of a disappointment until I watched a video about the road after we returned from the cruise. We only traveled part of the road from island to island. We didn't ride to where the mainland ends and the ocean begins. In the video the ocean was washing up onto the road and over the cars. The ocean was calm when we were there so our excursion did not turn into a thrill ride. Afterward, we walked around Molde. We looked forward to arriving in Geiranger again although last summer we got to use the sea wall but this time, we were tendered. We repeated the "Eagle Road, Flydalsjuvet Viewpoint and Mount Dalsnibba" excursion but the fog stopped us again from looking down from the viewpoint atop Mt. Dalsnibba. The other viewpoints were under he fog so they were much better. We were surprised at how much snow still remained. Last year we have pictures of a beautiful blue/green lake as we climbed the mountain. This time it was all snow. After the excursion we did make another stop at the chocolate shop (Geiranger Sjokolade) and then walked around town choosing not to climb to Geiranger's 1842 octagonal wooden church. The highlight of Geiranger is the sail in and out of the fjord. Absolutely gorgeous and so picturesque. Our next to last port was Flam. I had organized a ride on the Flamsbana train (visitflam.com) for 22 CC people. We booked and paid in advance and had our seats saved (Cruise Critic signs were in the windows). The train takes you roundtrip from Flam to Myrdal and back to Flam, up the valley with incredible scenery and a stop at a fantastic waterfall for photographs. We waited for the music and watched the fairies dressed in red dance around for a few minutes. After the train ride we walked around town and took the little tourist train into the tiny town of Flam. Our final port was Bergen, Norway's largest port and our final excursion was "Bergen Panoramic Tour." It was informative. After that we were determined to ride the funicular. Not discouraged by the long line, it only took us about 45 minutes from the time we got on the line until we entered the funicular for our ride to the top of Mt. Floein. The view was breathtaking. Besides the view there is shopping and a restaurant. After the ride down, we walked through Old Bergen and Bergen's fish market. With 5 ships in port that day, Bergen was very crowded so we headed back to our ship. Our arrival back to Harwich and the end of our cruise would have been sad but we were being picked up by our good British friends whom we met on a cruise several years ago and spending the day with them. Disembarkation was right on schedule. We requested to be off the ship between 8:15 and 8:45. We were off by 8:25. Thank you HA for a great cruise. Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
By the time my review is posted there will be numerous reviews from fellow passengers regarding the outbreak of NoroVirus on this trip and the subsequent impact whilst on board and eventual early curtailment of the cruise. The first ... Read More
By the time my review is posted there will be numerous reviews from fellow passengers regarding the outbreak of NoroVirus on this trip and the subsequent impact whilst on board and eventual early curtailment of the cruise. The first thing to say is “Did this spoil our holiday?” I can categorically say “No” My review may be biased as neither my husband nor I were affected by the virus. We kept to our own cabin bathroom and were meticulous around hand washing and sanitising as instructed. It did of course impact on our holiday as it was a bit painful to have to queue for coffee in the Lido and it was a shame that some of the touches that do make the cruise special to Holland and America (flowers on the tables, chocolates on the pillows) had to be withdrawn. The photo gallery, Library & Card room were all closed and the shops were tightly supervised to prevent contamination. The pools were closed for the first week or so but did reopen during the cruise. I must say that the staff were all tremendous throughout. We had the entertainment department regularly helping serve in the Lido along with the cadet engineers and they all provided a friendly service and greeted us with a smile. I realise that these extra shifts must have taken a toll on all concerned but I never saw one staff member lose their smile or let their personal service slip. I suspect it’s not ideal serving ice cream when you are a casino staff member, but they all chipped in and helped ensure that the trip continued. I have never seen so much sanitation taking place on a cruise – the shuttle buses were done on every return trip, decks and deckchairs were hosed with liquid frequently during the day and every piece of gym equipment was washed down with soapy fluid every 20 minutes. In my opinion, it was clear the staff were doing absolutely all they could to prevent the spread. There was extra pressure on room service and the cleaning teams (especially for the ill guests) but again, we did not see any deterioration in the service we received from our cabin attendants. This cruise did attract a high number of elderly guests who frequently and I am sure, unconsciously, touch the rails, shelves, podiums etc around the ship to help steady themselves, especially if the seas are a little rough and it must be difficult to keep on top of this from a sanitation perspective. In HALs position, they really did try to minimise the spread, kept us well informed and unfortunately had to make a difficult decision to end the trip one day early to deep clean the ship. This meant missing out the last fjord stop in Norway. We had planned a Kayaking trip there so that was a disappointment for us but we have visited the Norwegian fjords before so this was not such a blow to us as to other passengers. We also missed one earlier stop in Iceland, Heimay due to poor weather conditions and the captain wanted to avoid an area of Low pressure. This meant we had an extra overnight stop in Reykjavik. It was a beautiful sunny evening and we enjoyed 3 hours ashore there that evening plus the whole of the following day. I hope that the passengers who are on a back to back trip are honest and declare if they have any symptoms before rejoining the ship. Many guests had travelled a long way and instead of being honest and isolating themselves, they were out and about as they did not want to miss their trip. We witnessed one guest being ill in the Lido one evening and the next day he was on a shuttle bus. Our waiters Yudi, Kaka and Jeremy (on wine) were all superb throughout. Nothing was too much trouble if we wanted roast potatoes instead of rice or extra bread and butter or ice cream as an “extra” They remembered how we liked our meat cooking and how we took our tea and coffee. They were a great trio and we were treated very well every night. If they did not have our wine choice, Jeremy provided alternative options that were often a couple of dollars cheaper. Whilst some of the guest entertainers were also taken ill, we still had an enjoyable show every night and shows were rescheduled. I think there was only one lady jazz pianist and one late night comedy show that did not go ahead as planned but other shows were put on instead. My only slight grumble is that the theatre was very cold at night (some guests had coats on) and I remember it was the same on the old Amsterdam ship when we cruised to Alaska. I suspect the older ships in cold climates are tricky to insulate and moderate. I would recommend taking a wrap or jacket to wear at night. The ship is transferring to P&O Australia in September. Whilst other reviewers have mentioned its age, it is true it is an older ship. Our cabin was very clean, lots of storage space and the bathroom had been modernised recently. The bath did not drain very quickly and could not cope with the new power showers volume of water. If you take the plug out completely problem solved. We had a cabin on deck 5 (outside) and we did hear the trolley taking the deckchairs out on deck each morning (between 6.30-7.00am) it trundles along the deck so you can hear it. We are early risers so this did not impact us and it was the only noise we heard from the promenade deck above us. If you are visiting Iceland in the summer I would also recommend an eye mask as it daylight all night long and it can disturb your sleep. I took an airline one that I had kept and it did the job very well. The worst noise was when a guest played basketball. The court is directly above the Lido and the sound resonates loudly throughout the Lido. Due to our destination and age mix we only noticed this couple of times at lunchtime. The ship is small by comparison to others we have used but there was ample space and it did not feel cramped. There was plenty to do with a cinema, digital workshops and all the usual talks. The restaurant and Lido always had spare seats. There was one morning where a high number of trips were all going at around 7.15am and the Lido opened at 6.30 so it was chaotic. We chose to eat breakfast in the dining room for the latter part of the trip to save having to queue for juice and coffee and it did not take too much more time. We still enjoyed our holiday, had beautiful food, enjoyed the entertainment and seen some fabulous scenery in Iceland in pretty good weather for that part of the world. To top it off, we have been compensated beyond what I would have reasonably expected and have a cruise credit for a future trip. They had made all the necessary arrangements for transfers and accommodation for all guests and even offered to put us up in Harwich for the night if that helped our onward plans. We had our car there so we just came home a day early but had we pre -booked rail tickets we could have stayed and travelled back as planned on Saturday. They did not wait for guests to complain but were on the front foot in their plans. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
Embarkation: We arrived at the port at 1:00 pm, and were on the ship by 1:15. We were able to go to our suite immediately to drop off our carry on and then on to Lido for lunch. Luggage arrived by the time we were done with lunch. We ... Read More
Embarkation: We arrived at the port at 1:00 pm, and were on the ship by 1:15. We were able to go to our suite immediately to drop off our carry on and then on to Lido for lunch. Luggage arrived by the time we were done with lunch. We found the public areas nicely decorated and liked the size of the ship. Decided we prefer a smaller ship to the mega ships. Staff was fabulous, always treated us well, and often spoken to by name. Quite impressed. This was a very scenic cruise, had dinner one night on our balcony. Not the best meal. But, the scenery made up for it. We went to three shows, and they were entertaining. Ate at the Pinnacle once and Canaletto twice. These were probably our best meals. Although, one night they had roast beef in the main dining room, and it was delicious. We ordered breakfast in our cabin most mornings, and the veggie cheese omelette was wonderful. Food always came hot. Played in the casino a bit. It's very small. Didn't payout hardly at all. Ports were enjoyable. Mostly scenery, we took several hikes and took lots of pictures. We didn't take any of the HAL excursions, as they were overpriced. There was a visitor information booth in each port, with tour options listed. We booked here. Prior to sailing we were concerned about the fact the Ryndam was being sold to P & O. Thought that it may be in poor condition, and possibly the service not up to HAL standards. That was NOT the case. The ship was in good condition, the public areas nicely decorated. I would sail on the Ryndam again, without hesitation. Sorry to see it leaving the fleet. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
We sailed from Harwich on the MS Ryndam to Cherbourg France, unfortunately there was as strom so we were delayed by 24 hours but you cant fight mother nature so nothing to moan about. We were told that due to the delay we would have to ... Read More
We sailed from Harwich on the MS Ryndam to Cherbourg France, unfortunately there was as strom so we were delayed by 24 hours but you cant fight mother nature so nothing to moan about. We were told that due to the delay we would have to miss out a port in Porto Portugal which was disappointing as were looking forward to that port. We sailed direct to Acoruna then onto Gibraltar, we hired a private taxis to take us on the tour of the island at £15 each much cheaper than on an excursion and we werent disappointed. Cadiz Spain our next port then onto Lisbon which instead of a 24 hour layover we got there early and left at 11.30pm due to the storm headed towards the English channel so we then sailed on the an added port of Zeebrugge to make up for the one missed out earlier. We didnt book any excursion from the ship as i have a mobility scooter and there seemed to be a problem with them so we did our own thing in every port. We even went on the open top bus in tow ports which is a great way of seeing somewhere and really cheap as well. Lisbon was 19 euros each return ticket all over the city. The ship itself is amazing and so much to see and do, i was worried that as an American ship it would be all Jazz hands and have a nice day but most of the staff are from the Phillipines or there abouts and very pleasant. We didnt book sittings for dinner we went to the Lido and had very nice meals every meal once you got used the opening times. Some parts were open when some were closed but always able to get cups of tea and cold drinks at no charge. We went to the casino but found it to be rather uncomfortable with all the staff watching your every move, not being able to have the cards to close to you or show your partner your hand if you werent sure whether to play or not. All things we were used to doing on previous cruises with other companies so we dint go there as much as other cruises. We did find the Crows nest bar and spent most nights there and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, we didnt go the shows its not our sort of thing. Embarkation and disembarkation was smooth everyone was very helpful even when we were given wrong tickets for our luggage, no complaints whatsover. The service was eexceptional in every way even when i had forgotten to put our stateroom number on the luggage they still managed to find us. The only thing we didnt like was being charged 15% on top of every drink we had, the port fees added at the last minute and the price of the excursions wasnt cheap. As much as we enjoyed ourselves we wont be sailing with an American company again we prefer to pay one price and all gratuities are included. You can opt out of the gratuities on the last day of your cruise by going to the reception and filling out a form, so we paid one lot and my partner paid the staff we dealt with most some money directly. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
This was our fourth cruise on Holland America which has become our favorite cruise line. Embarkation was a breeze. The ms Ryndam is well maintained and very clean. Food was okay, not best, have had better. The band Brittany and the ... Read More
This was our fourth cruise on Holland America which has become our favorite cruise line. Embarkation was a breeze. The ms Ryndam is well maintained and very clean. Food was okay, not best, have had better. The band Brittany and the HAL Cats..could of done without the singer. She was terrible! The cruise went to Key West – Mahogany Bay, Roatan, Costa Maya. Mexico- Santo Thomas, Guatemala. Key West - no tours have been there numerous times already. Just wandered around the town Mahogany Bay, Roatan - didn't take any tours. Walked down to the beach a very pleasant walk instead of using the "Magical" flying chair. Took the nature walk back to the pier. Very nice. Santo Thomas, Guatemala - I did the Quirigua Archaeological Ruins - You will not find the usual Mayan temples here. Quirigua is one of the major testimonies to the Mayan civilization. The monuments, called stelae, contain hieroglyphic texts describing significant calendar dates, celestial events such as eclipses, passages of Maya mythology and political events, as well as important social and historic events to the development of the city. At the far end of the plaza you will find steps leading up. On the other side of these steps are the ruins of the acropolis ( did not go up) My husband did the Tikal, Maya City of Voices and absolutely loved it. Was a plane ride out and back. Costa Maya, Mexico - We decided to take the Chacchoben Mayan Ruins excursion - The Chacchoben Mayan Ruins are a fairly newly discovered set of ruins. Our guide Sergio was very helpful in explaining the life of the Mayans. Paths are uneven so watch where you are walking. There is another section of the ruins which I did not climb up to see. If you decide to climb these steps (which my husband did) you will see some pyramids and other structures. You will also see as you walk farther on what was considered to be the general living quarters. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
Two friends and I embarked on the Ryndam 21 years after our first cruise together on the SS Norway. Embarkation was very smooth and fast. We were able to immediately go to our cabin, an OV, to drop carryon bags. The cabin worked well ... Read More
Two friends and I embarked on the Ryndam 21 years after our first cruise together on the SS Norway. Embarkation was very smooth and fast. We were able to immediately go to our cabin, an OV, to drop carryon bags. The cabin worked well for the three of us and was very near the forward elevators. I had my eye on this itinerary for a couple years due to the different ports. We did two HAL excursions; Las Escobas in Guatemala, more strenuous than expected, but we did it with great guides for a memorable trek. On Roatan, we took the tour to the West Side to see the island and just to get away from the made-for-cruise ships port. Having been to Costa Maya 11 years ago, I knew to take the $3 cab to Majahual for a beach day. I was glad to repeat the 45 minutes for $20 massage on the beach. We had lounge chairs for tip only and a couple $4 beers. No need for an excursion or an all inclusive here! Key West was a shopping and a couple beers day. It was nice to be docked at Mallory Square. Disembarking was efficient. I would recommend this cruise for when the Veendam takes over next year. As always, the crew was superb. Dancing With the Stars was fun and nicely done. Dinner in the dining room was quite slow, 2 hours, a couple nights. Pre-made breakfast items were mostly lukewarm. Get an omelet or something made-to-order instead! Overall a good time was had by all! Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
This will be a short review as we have sailed with Holland America many times and I've written a few reviews. My husband and I stayed overnight at the Grand Hyatt. Beautiful hotel. The next morning we were on the bus at 10:30 and on ... Read More
This will be a short review as we have sailed with Holland America many times and I've written a few reviews. My husband and I stayed overnight at the Grand Hyatt. Beautiful hotel. The next morning we were on the bus at 10:30 and on our way at 11:00. Embarkation went smoothly and we were in our room at 12:15. Went to the Lido, had lunch and walked around the ship. Our luggage arrived at 2:30 and we unpacked and relaxed in our room until the drill. Came back to our room to freshen up and it was time for dinner. We prefer the early seating. We also purchased beverage cards this time and had no difficulty ordering alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. At the end of the cruise we has some money left on our cards and this was shown as a credit on our final statement. We had no difficulty with disembarkation. We went to three shows and enjoyed them. We have enjoyed every cruise with Holland America and we will be cruising with friends this August to Alaska and my husband and I booked a Mediterranean cruise for April 2016. We did this on the Ryndam and received quite a discount on the Signature Suite. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
Before we decided on this cruise, we had looked at several other scenarios’ taking the cruises from central Florida instead of driving all the way to Ft. Lauderdale to get on a cruise. We looked at RCI out of Tampa and then driving over ... Read More
Before we decided on this cruise, we had looked at several other scenarios’ taking the cruises from central Florida instead of driving all the way to Ft. Lauderdale to get on a cruise. We looked at RCI out of Tampa and then driving over to Port Canaveral and getting another RCI. However, the cost for 2 weeks with 2 hotel stays would be almost as much as 3 weeks on the HAL out of Tampa. The main problem with this scenario was that we had been on the Ryndam for 36 days the previous fall and the entertainment would be the same; however, we elected for the 3 weeks on HAL. We drove from our home and stayed at the Holiday Inn Westshore using their stay, park and cruise package. This was fantastic because it included a free shuttle to and from the cruise port, 3 weeks free parking and it's a great hotel! The first 7 days were considered one cruise, returning to Tampa, and the last 14 days were considered another cruise, so there was a repeat of the musical production shows. When we went back to Tampa we had to disembark and go through passport control after everyone else who had cleaned customs. The process took less than an hour and I did have a chance for free wifi before going back on board. The cruise in general: 1. Embarkation was excellent. 2. Dining in the Lido- We ate in the Lido for breakfast and lunch every day with the exception of the Mariner’s luncheon. Breakfast has many options and I especially enjoy the different kinds of eggs that HAL does such as the Egg Florentine or Egg Benedict. Of course there is the omelet and all other sorts of eggs to order, smoked salmon and herring, assorted cheeses and meats, waffles with fruit, pancakes, French toast, yogurt and fruits. The selections are endless. Lunch has a wonderful salad bar, sandwiches to order, various meats, fish and vegetables, cooked to order pasta and Asian food. The deserts are beautifully displayed and numerous, including sugar-free selections. Another bonus of HAL is the ice cream bar featuring real ice cream, not just soft serve. I especially like their coconut and look for it every day. The “Dive-In” has made to order hamburgers and hotdogs and a wonderful grilled portabella mushroom sandwich with cheese and avocado. We had open dining in the Rotterdam dining room every night. The service is good and the menu selection is good, but not excellent. However, the food and presentation is very good. I was not disappointed with any of the food. The entertainment is good, but we had seen almost every entertainer and musical show previously and we don't cruise that much. The Ryndam singers and dancers are very talented and the performances are top notch. We also enjoy Adagio (classical piano and strings) is like icing on the cake, as we love classical music. The fitness facility is excellent for this size cruise ship and Penny, the fitness guru is the best I've seen in all of my cruising. The Microsoft computer classes are another bonus and I'm so glad that HAL was smart enough to see this need! Some of the reasons we continue to cruise HAL: 1. Adagio is so wonderful and is like icing on the cake. 2. Cloth towels in the rest rooms. This is just a nice touch. 3. Entertainment that is clean. Many of the other cruise lines think they have to have raunchy entertainment and scantily clad women in order to please the cruisers, but this would discourage me from cruising. 4. Interesting itineraries. The Caribbean is ok for getting away from cold weather, but the islands don’t hold much interest after several Caribbean cruises. We prefer more interesting destinations. 5. The library is a great bonus as it has lots of books and is a great place to read and relax. Thank you HAL for providing this bonuses! Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
This Western Caribbean cruise to Key West, Santo Tomas (Guatemala) , Banana Coast (Honduras) and Costa Maya (Mexico) was just he relaxing holiday escape that we were looking for. Tampa is an easy port in terms of finding the Port of Tampa ... Read More
This Western Caribbean cruise to Key West, Santo Tomas (Guatemala) , Banana Coast (Honduras) and Costa Maya (Mexico) was just he relaxing holiday escape that we were looking for. Tampa is an easy port in terms of finding the Port of Tampa (excellent signage from Route 618 Leroy Selman Expressway), parking (Park4Cruise.com lot is a one minute ride and 40% less than Port parking lots) , embarkation and disembarkation. But the real story was onboard the Ryndam. We (my wife, 11 year old son and I) greatly enjoyed the food selections in the Rotterdam Dining Room (main dining room). Some dishes appear nightly - caesar salad, french onion soup, roasted chicken, salmon and NY strip steak. Other items vary by the day but there are always excellent seafood and poultry selections. On New Year's Eve my wife and son had four lobster tails each. Another night,they offered a Land and Sea option of a steak and jumbo shrimp. Those with Open Seating, should make a reservation on the first day for every night of the cruise to accommodate the dining preferences of their family. We enjoyed Rota, our waiter, so much that we requested the same table in his section every night of the cruise. Rota speaks English perfectly and has a superior understanding of each item on the menu. Every one of his recommendations worked. He also knows what changes can be made to side dishes as well as other items on the menu. Rota and his assistant were excellent and contributed greatly to our enjoyment of the trip. The casual Lido restaurant is good for breakfast but we did not o there for lunch or din er after trying their evening snacks (10:30 pm- 11:30 pm) and feeling disappointed with the quality and variety of the food. For breakfast, a good option is room service which doubles as a wake up call. The room service menu is excellent for the rest of the day but we did not use it. The Dive-pIn burger and hot dog snack place on the Lido Deck is excellent but closes at 5:00 pm daily. The entertainment aboard the hip varies greatly. The stage production shows are outstanding with strong singing and dancing. The comedian was very funny and has appeared on many comedy television shows but the magic show with a dog seemed far less enjoyable to he there of us. There was no crew show, instead they offered Dancing With the Stars at Sea (we did not attend). In the lounges, the HAL Kat band had good musicians but a weak lead singer (far weaker than the stage sings). The pianist was good but offered too much commentary to accompany the songs. The Neptunes were excellent, as was the violinist and a guitarist in two separate acts. Overall, Holland America musical selections stopped in the 1970's - apparently, they know not of Lady Gaga or Adele or U-2. The exception to this was the steel drum player Ravon who played anything requested. Excursions : we walked Key West on our own visiting the Butterfly Conservatory at the far end of Duval Street and are glad we packed pinches from Walmart to seal with a surprise shower. . In Santo Tomas de Castillo, we opted for the Quirigua Mayan Ruins and were not disappointed. Our guide, Galileo Galilee, was the best guide we have had on 10 cruises and far more excursions. Knowledgeable, great English skills and a commitment to guest enjoyment - Galileo made the day all the more special. We learned a lot about Guatemala and were welcomed by him on several occasions. Nice gift shop and clean facilities. The roads in Guatemala were paved and in great condition. Bring bug spray. In the Bananas Coast of Honduras (Trujillo) we enjoyed Campo del Mar which has a great beach with new facilities and an excellent buffet lunch of fresh snapper or chicken, rice with beans and several other side dishes like plantain and bananas. iced tea and water were also included. The beach has a large water trampoline which all of the kids and several adults loved. The roads around Honduras are dirt roads with many bumps and dips along the way. Do not walk around on your own. In Costa Maya, we chose the Checcoben Mayan Ruins excursion with Letitia as our guide. She knew a lot and handed out several artifacts for us to handle abroad the bus en route to the ruins. Again, bring bug spray for the jungle bugs/fleas. very clean facilities and helpful staff. Club HAL for kids was good but it all depends on which kids are there at any particular time. Lots of kids on a holiday week but only three for the next 14 day sailing. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
We are a retired married couple and have done 15 cruises (including this one) on 8 different cruise lines. We usually drive down to FL, so no restrictions on what we take. We just have to remember that we do the self-disembarkation and ... Read More
We are a retired married couple and have done 15 cruises (including this one) on 8 different cruise lines. We usually drive down to FL, so no restrictions on what we take. We just have to remember that we do the self-disembarkation and have to lug it all off by ourselves! Stayed at the Hampton Inn Westshore in Tampa through stay123. T Free on-site parking for 7 days, free breakfast, free WI-fi, free shuttle to & from the cruise port, plus a shuttle during your stay within a 3 mile radius. Within that radius is the International Mall with tons of retail stores and several eclectic restaurants. We had a large OV room on deck 5. Ship will be retired soon, so there is some wear, but generally in fairly good condition. The two rumors we heard - it was sold to either Singapore or Australia and would be used as a wine & dine venue. POSITIVES: Embarkation & disembarkation were very smooth. Our room felt spacious with plenty of storage. Personnel very engaging. Ship never felt crowded - good flow of passengers. Food quality was excellent - portions sized perfectly. Strong coffee & iced tea - just the way we like it! Buffet had servers handling most of the food items. Foods were generally under seasoned - which is good for those watching their sodium intake. Constantly saw HAL employees cleaning tables, glass doors railings, public bathrooms, etc. Music was not intrusive. Raven, the Steel Drum player was excellent! Loved the cooking shows at the Culinary Arts Center with Barbara. Happy hour at two bars most nights - Buy one drink - get second for $1.00. Room stewards did not have large cleaning carts in the hallway. NEGATIVES: Some of our towels were off-colored. Tub wall was very tall & hard to get into - prefer a walk-in shower with a door. Several night the service was glacial. Once seated at 5:15 and entree came at 6:30. Older clientele, thus dancing venue should be earlier. Most people were going to bed right after the show. The Ryndam will no longer be in the HAL line. The Ryndam's final farewell voyage is a 30 day cruise from Seattle, WA to Singapore on September, 21, 2015. I did review on 3 of our stops, but there was not a choice of picking: Santo Tomas de Castilla, Guatemala. So this is my GUATEMALA review: We usually do independent tours. However in Guatemala, due to safety reasons, we booked the tour of the Archaeological Ruins of Quirigua, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site, through the Holland American Ryndam ship. The tour was $89.95 per adult (which included the $10 per person entrance fee) and was scheduled for 4.5 hours. They noted that there would be no stops for food and to bring a snack. It was also noted that water would be provided, we were offered 1 bottle of non-chilled water. We left at 7:30 AM and did not get back until 1:10 PM. It was a 1.5 hour ride each way on a fairly smooth main road to get to the archaeological site. The bus was an air-conditioned Mercedes-Benz with cushioned seats and a compact bathroom at the rear of the bus. We arrived at the site and we toured the museum (none of the signs were in English) and then the Jade museum. Our guide Alfredo Juarez noted that we could stay with him or we could venture off by ourselves. He was very much into the fine details of each stalae, and after a few minutes, I decided to go off to take photos. I was able to climb the steps up to the Courtyard, which the rest of our tour group did not get to see. The ground was very muddy, as it had rained for the past several days. Fortunately, it was not raining while we were there. Primitive & buggy bathroom facilities with a large roll of toilet paper outside at the entrance. So, be sure to get your toilet paper before you enter a stall. There was a 15 minute stop to see a banana plantation. My problem was I found this 3rd world country to be very depressing. I saw many citizens with cell phone and the tour guide even mentioned that Facebook is very popular. Yet, the houses had no doors or windows and it appears that everyone just throws there garbage out the opened windows into the side yard. I loved the Mayan ruins, but if I am ever on another cruise to Guatemala, I will choose to stay on the ship!   Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
This was my first time on Holland America. I chose the Ryndam for the itinerary -- Key West, Trujillo, Santo Tomas Castillo, and Costa Maya. The ship is mid sized, and she is just gorgeous. The decor is not glitzy, but very elegant ... Read More
This was my first time on Holland America. I chose the Ryndam for the itinerary -- Key West, Trujillo, Santo Tomas Castillo, and Costa Maya. The ship is mid sized, and she is just gorgeous. The decor is not glitzy, but very elegant focusing on old world nautical decor. It's easy to navigate as well. I had a Vista Spa Suite, and it was huge with all the amenities which made the cruise even more pleasant. The bedding was fantastic. The food and service on board was first rate. Room service was also first rate and beautifully presented (prompt too). The entertainment was great. Many cruise lines have cut back on entertainment, but it seems that Holland America has not made any cutbacks. I loved the different afternoon teas and they all had a different theme. Embarkation and debarkation was a breeze. Believe me when I tell you that Holland America is a first class operation. They really know what they are doing and they do it so well. Age group was a good amount of seniors, but middle age and young as well. I felt there was something for everyone to enjoy while on board. I have been on almost 60 cruises, and I believe this expereince was among the best for me. I felt it far exceeded Celebrity as Celebrity has cut back a lot and it's very noticeable to its guests. The ports were great. Unfortunately, there was a lot of rain in Honduras, and many passengers were stuck on a bus (including myself) for several hours because the bus could not initially cross a river. Holland America made good on the bad experience, and refunded our money for this shore excursion. I believe they will do further research about this port because the roads are primitive, and the transportation cannot safely transport cruise guests. However, Trujillo is a beautiful place, and the locals were trying in every way to make us happy. Areas of improvement. Holland America needs to have a string quartet or some sort of music during dinner in the main dining room. Homemade ice cream would also be a plus. Overall, this was a very organized cruise and an extremely pleasant experience for me. I would definitely sail with Holland again before even considering other cruise lines. Truly, I felt as if Holland America still continues with providing guests with a classy cruise experience of years gone by, which many cruise lines don't provide these days. Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
We are relatively experienced cruisers, with about 15 cruises--more than 10 with Holland America. We fit the Holland America demographic and enjoy the smaller ships. We embarked on this cruise in Istanbul, after a three day stint exploring ... Read More
We are relatively experienced cruisers, with about 15 cruises--more than 10 with Holland America. We fit the Holland America demographic and enjoy the smaller ships. We embarked on this cruise in Istanbul, after a three day stint exploring the city. As the "sail away" from Istanbul was not until 11:00 pm, we had elected to board in the late afternoon. There was absolutely no line, so baggage drop off and embarkation processing was super smooth. It was less than 10 minutes from the time we arrived at the port until we were walking across the gangway to the ship. With a late afternoon boarding, our cabin was ready upon boarding and our luggage was delivered within 30 minutes. Can't beat that. This is our third cruise aboard the Ryndam. The ship is showing its age, with layers of paint, and corrosion apparent on the exterior decks. However, the public spaces, including the Lido deck and cabins are all well maintained and pleasant. We are very familiar with the layout of the Ryndam and that makes shore to ship transition easy. We are always big fans of the libraries on Holland America ships, and this cruise was no exception. With this cruise (a "collector voyage" of two cruises combined) including a transatlantic crossing, the library was under higher than normal pressure and the selection of available books declined as the sea days added up. Often a cruise is dramatically effected by the weather. On this cruise, it was uniformly awesome, with partly cloudy skies, moderate temperatures, and very mild seas nearly every day. We had one evening/night with about six foot seas--other than that, as calm as we have ever seen. This weather made the cruising and the port calls memorable. The activities on board were typical of Holland America and we are not big participants. We do attend events in the Culinary center and Barbara, the culinary center manager for this cruise was truly exceptional...what a personality. She hosted the daily "Sip and Savor" with a wine tasting and hors d'oeuvre prepared in the Pinnacle grill. It was a "sold out" event each day. We also enjoyed the Cellar Master Dinners...a gourmet food and wine pairing hosted by the cellar master in the Pinnacle Dining Room (at extra charge). Some passengers complained that the daily events became "routine" and there was no variety. The cruise director was not one of the most enthusiastic nor one of the more personable that we have encountered...which may have led to these opinions. Both my wife and I commented several times throughout the cruise that we felt this was the highest quality food we have had on any of our 15 or so cruises--across the board from the Lido buffet, the main dining room, and the Pinnacle Grill. We attributed this to the executive chef and his managing chefs--who were literally everywhere--leading by example. They would assist with the most mundane of tasks and were intent on teaching the entire staff the best way to accomplish each task. The results distinctly noticeable...great food. The service by the dining stewards and deck crews (food and beverage) was very good, with essentially no lapses...a difficult feat given the hours they work. The cabin service was about average for our experience, but phenomenal given the number of cabins each steward team is required to service. Our cabin was on the Lower Promenade (Deck 6), the "walking deck"--which is our preferred location. We had no issues with our cabin and found it to be comfortable and with enough storage for all our stuff. The shower and bath worked flawlessly and the water was extremely hot--a nice thing to have. We usually select "any time" dining, as we prefer to have the opportunity to meet as many new friends on the cruise as we can. This tends to bounce you around the dining room, so you do not get as strong an attachment to a particular steward crew. Our experiences were very good. As mentioned earlier--the quality of the food in the main dining room was exceptional on this cruise--kudos to the executive chef, his managing chefs, and the galley staff. The entertainment on this cruise was underwhelming. The cabaret singers and dancers had individual talent, but the programs somehow missed the mark for this demographic. One high note was a group name Ukebox, who joined the cruise in Madeira and played two ("sold out") shows. Armed with electric ukuleles (even a bass version), they translated their youthful energy and excellent musical talent into the most entertaining show we have ever seen on a cruise ship. Bravo. We selected this cruise because of the various ports of call, and we were not disappointed. We cannot say enough about Istanbul (but we had three days to see it). Other favorites were Ephesus, Turkey; Katakolon, Greece (Olympia), Naples, Italy (Pompeii), Barcelona, Malaga (Granada/Alhambra), Cadiz (Seville), and Madeira (not a scheduled port...but a fortuitous change). We elected to book private tours (for only two individuals or very small groups) in almost every port, so we did not use the ships shore excursions. We were a little nervous about the number of sea days in the Atlantic crossing (scheduled for eight and ended up being nine)...suspecting that we might get terminally bored. That did not happen. We had activities on board (both ship provided and individually arranged) that kept us engaged everyday and we never felt bored nor like we could not wait for the cruise to end. Good lesson for us, as these "transition" cruises can be a very good cruising value. Disembarkation did end up being a little bit rocky. We arrived in the port of Tampa at about 6:00 am. "Non-U.S. Passport Holders" had to clear immigration processing on board the ship prior to any passengers disembarking. As is always the case, there were a number of this group (as there are in any group) that felt the rules did not apply to them...so they did not show up. Finally the list was whittled down to about five couples and then, eventually, down to one couple who could not be located. However...this took over an hour. Frustrations were building rapidly, as many travelers had airline flight reservations that initially seemed to offer plenty of time to get to the airport...but after the extensive delays, were becoming tight. This is the first time we have experienced any delay of this type disembarking and it seemed that much of the delay may have been preventable by better procedures or by more effective actions once roadblocks were identified. Still...this was one of our best cruises ever and just whetted our appetite to begin thinking about our next itinerary. Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
This was our first experience with Holland America, having cruised before on Royal Caribbean.  What can I say....we LOVED this amazing, beautiful ship and her exceptional crew. Embarkation was very smooth, with our cases delivered ... Read More
This was our first experience with Holland America, having cruised before on Royal Caribbean.  What can I say....we LOVED this amazing, beautiful ship and her exceptional crew. Embarkation was very smooth, with our cases delivered promptly. One thing that really stood out to us was the feeling of space on this ship - there were never crowds or queues anywhere!! I think the explanation is that there are so many different areas to go on the ship - it took us our whole cruise to find all the different places you could sit/lounge!! Ryndam is such an elegant ship - beautifully kept and maintained. However, the really special feature of the ship is it's AMAZING crew. So friendly - nothing is a bother and they can't do enough to make your holiday feel so special. The entertainment was also much better than we had expected. Loved that there were different bands, musicians and shows you could visit .... and you could just 'drop in' to them - no tedious booking required. Our fellow passengers - much to our relief- were a good mix of ages, though I have to say that we were shocked at how incredibly rude a small minority of them were to the crew (the crew took it all with a smile, but really, no-one goes to work to be spoken to in that manner). Only 2 things we weren't so keen on - formal night was much less "formal" than on Royal Caribbean and I felt a little out of place in my floor length dress which had fitted in perfectly with Royal Caribbean's formal evenings. Come on folks - its fun to get dressed up once in a while...isn't it?! :) Secondly, we had a trip to the spa and there was an extremely hard sell with one of the therapists (the other one was fine) which made me feel quite uncomfortable. The food was fab - a real step up from Royal Caribbean. I would say that HAL are less "in your face" and less "glitz and glamour" than Royal Caribbean, but we adored the chilled out, relaxed feel on Ryndam. Massive thank you to all the crew who made this trip our best ever holiday!!! We will definitely cruise HAL in the future. Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
My wife gets motion sick so we held off going on a cruise. She never got ill on this cruise it was mostly smooth, only one windy day precluding a stop at Mykonos for safety reasons. The staff were very helpful and friendly. As a first ... Read More
My wife gets motion sick so we held off going on a cruise. She never got ill on this cruise it was mostly smooth, only one windy day precluding a stop at Mykonos for safety reasons. The staff were very helpful and friendly. As a first cruise we went in a standard State room which was kind of crowded for the three of us. Hindsight I would have spent the extra $900p/p for a Suite on deck 10, still we enjoyed the trip. Internet was very slow and I advise those that have teenagers spend the $275 for 1000 minutes, as our incremental purchases put us well over that. For 14 days we would have come under 1000 minutes of internet, oh well, next time. I would have indulged in the alcohol package, I think that was several hundred dollars, but the lifestyle on board is more relaxed and the odd tipple is hard to knock back. We did get the Admiral Package of 7 quality wines for $320. Oh yeah, all my dollar references are in AUD which was about 91c USD at the time. Plan your trips ashore, if you are slack you must attend the daily briefings help on the ship about the next stops activities. You can do it more cheaply by researching, chatting to other Cruise Critic users, but be warned: if the tour is late the ship goes unless it is a tour organised by the ship. I found this trip an excellent way of exploring for future holidays, loved Venice, Santorini and Istanbul and have them on my future holiday list. The Karaoke was too short as were most shows, but remember this trip catered to older clientele so 45 minutes was good for them. The ship staff at Karaoke, particularly Henry and Alvin, were very talented singers and very funny also. From Australia I would not go by Emerites again, as even booking QANTAS meant delays in Dubai (ex Brisbane). The Captain has a second career as a Stand Up Comedian. Food was second to none, even the Lido Restaurant held it one. In all we will plan more cruising holidays - thanks Ryndam. Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
This was our 21st cruise and first with HAL. We were very pleased even with some minor problems. We arrived 3 days early to Barcelona and stayed at the Hotel Jazz, which we would recommend. The room was a little on the noisy side from ... Read More
This was our 21st cruise and first with HAL. We were very pleased even with some minor problems. We arrived 3 days early to Barcelona and stayed at the Hotel Jazz, which we would recommend. The room was a little on the noisy side from street traffic but not terrible. It was a great location not far from Las Ramblas and near the Metro. We left for the port at 11:30 the taxi was 20 EU and check in was quick and luggage was delivered promptly to our room. Lifeboat drill was outside on the promenade and was a little longer and slightly disorganized. It was uncomfortable staying outside in the heat and having to wait to hear your room number. ROOM: was on 6th floor with the promenade deck right outside our window. As we usually take a balcony we were a little concerned but it was very convenient and we loved the promenade. We did have some noise issues from the Kitchen above the room but guest relations did there best to minimize it late at night. Entertainment: surprisingly good for a small ship. We liked the comedian and the magician FOOD: WAS very good, especially in the dining room. Did not love the buffet as it was crowded and getting beverages and food at the same time was inconvenient. We ate lunch in Pinnacle Grill the last day ($10 pp)as only the buffet was available. It was very good. We also liked the set up they had for the grill by the pool as you ordered your burger and the pager rang when it was ready. Excursions: only booked 2 with HAL and they were just fair. I will say there wasn't alot to do on seadays. My husband did take 3 digital camera workshops which he liked. The gym was ok, and we also bought passes to use the thermal suite. The hot tub there was just mediocre and the steam room did not have steam. It was not worthwhile and even at $150 for 2. It was definitely one of our best cruises. All the staff were very pleasant. Yes it is an older ship but it had a lot of charm.   Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
This was our second cruise onboard the ryndam and the standards were still excellent. Perfect stateroom (vista 192 on deck 9) service was second to none as were the ports of call and wonderful weather. I would highly recommend a cruise ... Read More
This was our second cruise onboard the ryndam and the standards were still excellent. Perfect stateroom (vista 192 on deck 9) service was second to none as were the ports of call and wonderful weather. I would highly recommend a cruise through the Norwegian fjords as the scenery is stunning and it truly allows for relaxation. We visited Oslo, Kristiansand, Stavanger and Ulvik. All ports were great and with the exception of Oslo the weather was fantastic. Don't be put off by the fact that Oslo is a rainy city, we have been twice and it has rained on both occasions but it has never stopped our explorations (independently) of this beautiful place. Definitely do a trip if you go to Ulvik for hardangerfjord or anywhere in that area because the views around Osa are amazing. Having travelled with royal Caribbean, Costa, cunard and cruise and maritime as well as HAL I can honestly recommend cruises with HAL for the high level of service provided by every member of staff. The quality of the food in the Rotterdam restaurant was exceptional every night and I am shocked at the reviews that have not supported this because neither my husband or I had any criticism of any meal served, the selection was great and we tried some things that were new ( I thoroughly enjoyed my escargots, which were nothing like the rubbery things I had eaten as a child). My only criticism would be that I would have liked an indication of calories or even something that specified healthy option on the menu because as much as I thought I was guessing the best option my scales don't seem to agree but that is just another confirmation of how good the food was. All shows were good and the production, Droom, was probably the best show we had seen at sea, amazing costumes and one not to be missed. Ryndam is an old lady but she has worn well and as long as you are not expecting a brand new super liner like some of the newer ships you will not be disappointed, especially for couples wanting charm, relaxation and to be made to feel special every day. We can't wait for our next trip with them next year and as ever we will have a nightly visit to the crows nest to reflect on another lovely day.   Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
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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