396 Holland America Amsterdam Cruise Reviews

This was our 9th cruise, first time on HAL, first time to Alaska. Excellent cruise all around. We spent a day in Seattle the day prior to boarding, Having seen the wine prices listed on HAL online, we decided to bring a case of wine ... Read More
This was our 9th cruise, first time on HAL, first time to Alaska. Excellent cruise all around. We spent a day in Seattle the day prior to boarding, Having seen the wine prices listed on HAL online, we decided to bring a case of wine onboard and pay the $18 per bottle corkage fee. We found a nice selection of wines for under $20, 15% discount on a case, at Pike’s Place Market wine store (Pike and Western Wine Shop, 1934 Pike Place). We used Lyft from the airport to our hotel (Homewood Suites Downtown – pretty good), from Pike’s Place to the hotel, from the hotel to the port and from the port to the airport. Very easy. If you are a new customer, look for a Lyft discount code displayed at baggage carousel when you land. Embarkation was super easy. No lines to wait in at noon, and so many smiling faces. One of our party forgot his passport – we were directed to a lovely woman who assured us that the colored copy we had was sufficient! I have carried copies of our passports for years, and this is the first time I had to use it. Disaster averted. Before we went to check in, we were directed to a table where corkage fee was charged to our room and stickers were put on the bottles, assuring that we could drink it anywhere on the boat. We were told at check in that our rooms were ready! So nice to go right to the room and be rid of carry-ons and wine. We were in rooms 6102 (ocean view – front of ship) and 6116 (port side verandah). Good location for ease in getting around ship. Each room had 2 robes, 2 pair slippers, 2 wool throw blankets. The verandah room had binoculars. 6102 had a tub, 6116 had a shower stall. 6102 had a sloped ceiling, which made the room seem smaller, and reduced the closet space somewhat. Both rooms had wonderful views. We really felt the ship movement the first night from Seattle towards Juneau. Other times, we felt movement/vibrations, probably due to the smallness of the ship and the Pacific Ocean. Not a major issue – did not see any seasick people. Room 6102 was above the theater and on some late nights the noise was annoying. The combo of movement, noise, and sloped ceilings would keep me from booking this room again. Weather was mostly cloudy, with highs in the 50’s and 60’s. We did not have any pelting rain while on shore. In Sitka, the sun even came out! For excursions/walking outside decks, layers were key. Two of our party wore long underwear. I wore a long sleeved wicking shirt, then a polartec fleece hooded sweatshirt, a lightweight down jacket and covered it all with a raincoat. Combined with a hat and light gloves, that took care of the coldest day – at the Hubbard Glacier. Low hiking boots were perfect for everywhere. On our kayaking excursion and our jeep/canoe excursion, raincoats/waterproof pants were offered. The interior of the ship was very warm. We were fine in short sleeves, and never needed sweaters or shawls at dinner. The Amsterdam is a lovely ship, with great service from everyone. There is a huge library, lots of public spaces with expansive views, and a card room with playing cards, chess sets, mahjong and many games and puzzles. The staff is very low key – you won’t be pestered to buy anything, or pose for photos. We really appreciated that aspect. The clientele does skew older. There were some children onboard, but mostly as part of large family groups. Our mid-twenties kids were perfectly happy with available activities. The food was very good in the dining room and the Lido. I am a vegetarian and each night at dinner, I was offered both the menu for the next day and the special vegetarian menu so I could choose the next night’s meal. We had second seating but were able to switch to first seating on our last night so we could visit Victoria at the 6 pm docking. We enjoyed the America Test Kitchen demonstrations – it was standing room only most of the time, so arrive early. I booked two of our excursions (Glacier View Kayaking in Juneau and Canoe and Jeep Adventure in Ketchikan) through Costco and the Sitka Marine Adventure directly at their website (sitkawildlifetours.com). We were joined by people from our ship who had booked directly from HAL, and there was no issue about getting back to the ship on time was not an issue. Liked all the excursions, highly recommend the Sitka Marine Adventure! Debarkation was painless and quick. We managed our own bags, and exited about 8 a.m. We made it from the stateroom to the airport in under an hour. Sea-Tac was very busy, with long lines for checking baggage and TSA screening. We had no trouble making our 11:20 a.m. flights. Definitely planning to cruise with HAL again. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
My Mother bought us a family cruise for all of us for our Birthdays. We were very excited. The whole trip was a disaster on the Ansterdam. 1st day they gave my brother’s in laws a 2 bed bedroom and my other brother and his daughter a ... Read More
My Mother bought us a family cruise for all of us for our Birthdays. We were very excited. The whole trip was a disaster on the Ansterdam. 1st day they gave my brother’s in laws a 2 bed bedroom and my other brother and his daughter a one bed bedroom. They would of switched rooms but my brother’s room had no hot water the whole 7 days of the trip. They wouldn’t switch the room for him or the in laws. So he and my niece had too shower in my Moms room and they would only give her a $200 credit. The toilets did work for a couple of hours 3 times and we didn’t have water from 12 midnight till 5 am and it still didn’t really fix the problem. The DVD player in my room didn’t work, TV was fuzzy the safe locked me out. The movie they played in the so called movie theater was the same movies they played on the 2 TV movie channels. Their nature experts couldn’t answer simple question like does Alaska have Racoons. She said they didn’t but we asked a excursion guide and he said of course we do. The food was not soso the service was poor. I could go on and on. My brother summed it up the cruise was a floating Motel 6 with Denny’s food. Alaska was beautiful! It was just a awful ship. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
Really enjoyed this cruise. Things were very organized and flowed well. Management were responsive to feedback. I had been worried I'd be bored, but there really were enough different activities, presentations, shows, etc., that I ... Read More
Really enjoyed this cruise. Things were very organized and flowed well. Management were responsive to feedback. I had been worried I'd be bored, but there really were enough different activities, presentations, shows, etc., that I didn't experience this. I had loaded a bunch of books onto my Kindle just in case but barely spent any extra time reading. The Hubbard Glacier was definitely the highlight of the voyage. Just an incredible sight and cool to hear and see the calving. I was really surprised at just how close the ship got to it. Saw plenty of whales and porpoises. It's quite enjoyable sitting there eating a meal while watching whales. The Rudi's Sel de Mer night was exquisite dining! Can't recommend it highly enough. Lido food often was more flavorful than the main dining room. Although the Asian tastes offerings were fairly sad. Didn't matter if it was called Vietnamese, Malaysian, Singaporean, etc., it all tasted the same. But it isn't as comfortable as the main dining room, and service can be hit or miss. It can also get pretty dawn busy in there. We really enjoyed eating breakfast in the main dining room. Much more relaxed, much less crowded, and great offerings. The food experience in the MDR improved during the cruise, though. Pinnacle Grill was also great and holds really well to the steakhouse theme. Go hungry, though. Portions are very good-sized. The biggest disappointment was in-room dining. The first day we ordered breakfast and were told it would take 45 mins. It took over an hour, and they left things off. Our 2nd try was much improved. We did in-room breakfast on the final day, and it was missing stuff, too, but at least they showed up on time. Getting sodas at meals can be quite the challenge. Only the bar servers/wine stewards can get you a soda. During the first gala night, it took 3 requests and about an hour to get a single can of soda for my daughter. It wasn't rare for it to take about 20 mins regardless of which public dining room you were in. If you're at the Lido pool, though, it goes more quickly since the bar is right there. Happy hour in the Crow's Nest was enjoyable. They served pretty good appetizers along with the drinks, and service was great. It's such a great view. My teen really enjoyed it. The teen club wasn't as organized as it could be. Often she would shop up for a scheduled activity, and they wouldn't be there, or they'd announce they're closing 5 mins after she got there (for the scheduled activity). They did have some fun activities, though. Our room only had one outlet which I thought was odd. They had an adapter plugged in which gave you 3 plugs to use, but you had to be careful changing or adjusting one of them as it would turn the cabin lights on and off. Even though they knew I was bringing on a CPAP machine, I still had to go to guest services to get an extension cord since the outlet is nowhere near the beds. No biggie, but so you know. Adagio was one of my favorite musical performers. The violinist is superb. I listened to them almost every night. Lots of lounges, and each one has its own look and feel which is quite nice. Gives you some great variety. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
I just submitted my review for our recent cruise. I rated it 5 stars out of 5: This is a quick and concise review compared to most of my previous ones. We have been to Alaska several times so I will not share the port reviews. The ... Read More
I just submitted my review for our recent cruise. I rated it 5 stars out of 5: This is a quick and concise review compared to most of my previous ones. We have been to Alaska several times so I will not share the port reviews. The Wife and I were looking for a relaxing getaway and we chose this Alaskan Cruise based on timing and price. 4th of July fell on a Wednesday this year and business-wise, it made a lot of sense for us to take this cruise during a very slow work week. When we shopped around for cruises during this time period, several months ago, we noticed that the Alaska Cruises were quite a bit pricier than past Alaskan seasons. Good economy? Lots of demand? Who knows. But Travelocity seemed to have quite a good deal and gave us $200 On-board Credit. Our Cruise price was a real bargain in comparison.. We chose an outside cabin in the front of the ship on the lower deck. Stateroom 1805 is designed for handicapped people but is about twice as big as a regular OV (DW is disabled) The stateroom was excellent in our opinion. Odd shape but well over 300 square feet. Plenty of storage space. Excellent room! We had an excellent stateroom attendant (Yusaf) and his assistant. They did a great job. As an example, we needed the beds rearranged and told them before the Muster Drill. We get back from the Muster Drill and the room is totally made up! We are earlyy diners and without telling Yusaf, he knew and made our rooms up quickly every night. Spotlessly! They both deserved the extra tips we gave them at the end of the cruise. Food and service was excellent. We stuck primarily to the Lido Buffet. There was fresh Salmon every day. They are also serving little Tapas style plates for dinner that were great...couscous salad, marinated vegetables, prawn salad and the like. Pinnacle Lunch is a great secret. Do not miss it. I'm telling you. Apparently the Rudy's Special Meal for $49pp for only one night is also a winner. We unfortunately did not get a chance to try it though. Amsterdam was spotless. Service was outstanding. Approx 1350 passengers are easier to manage than the massive megaships that abound. Our last Cruise was Emerald Princess over Thanksgiving with over 3500 pax and 700 children. Enough said on the comparison to this cruise! Tip: Do not try using the ship's internet while in port. For some reason it slows to a crawl. Works better out at sea. DW was on for 10 minutes in Ketchikan and could not even get into her e-mail account. It was that slow. We brought it up to the front desk who immediately re-credited her 10 minute session. No questions asked! Satellite works fine while we are not in port. Tip for you all! Embarkation and Disembarkation were a breeze. All in all, a great cruise and we got what we wanted. Relaxation and a reboot before going back to work the a day after disembarkation. Let me know if you have any questions. -Curtis Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
because of the hype for the "Tweens" program....OMG so mistrepresented, our fault one week in summer, cruise afficeienados beware the portions are mnisule, the food more scooped than served the best is the hilarity of their ... Read More
because of the hype for the "Tweens" program....OMG so mistrepresented, our fault one week in summer, cruise afficeienados beware the portions are mnisule, the food more scooped than served the best is the hilarity of their sandwiches one inch strip of meat warm and soggy on a one inch piece of lettuce even warmer Worst entertainment ever, and bar service worst ever, a cafeteria line in a jail could have done better, how about we have no maraschino sherries maybe try another bar, how about we're out of blue cheese here walk to the other side maybe they have some..etc etc etc Lemon twists sews only have whole lemons no twists, it became comical horrible bar service and they could sell more more and more but they don't care my dog has a better command of the english language, this is not a trainee trip its a family vacation, they need help badly but remember its only a one week cruise so compromise p-revails Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
I'm tired of all the mega ships, lack of service and employees with attitude. I've always considered Holland America a step above and they didn't disappoint. Accommodations were good and food was very good in the dining ... Read More
I'm tired of all the mega ships, lack of service and employees with attitude. I've always considered Holland America a step above and they didn't disappoint. Accommodations were good and food was very good in the dining room although I did visit the Pinacle Grill. I was really pleased with the entertainment for a smaller ship. The staff was very accommodating and seemed to genuinely enjoy their work. I appreciated the lack of long lines on and off the ship. The trip to Hubbard Glacier was amazing. Being a smaller ship we were able to get very close with much calving of the glacier. The entertainment was very good with entertainers who could actually sing! I've been very disappointed of late at the quality on the mega ships . Getting on and off the ship were a breeze. I loved the service of having my luggage tagged all the way to my home airport once it was placed in the hallway. I always heard Holland was for old people but found many single, families and middle aged couples. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
Definitely would use Holland America again. Wanted to go to Alaska with 2 friends who had it on their bucket list. Needed wheelchair and they were so accommodating, helping me lift w/c when it was hard for me. We did bring our own fold up ... Read More
Definitely would use Holland America again. Wanted to go to Alaska with 2 friends who had it on their bucket list. Needed wheelchair and they were so accommodating, helping me lift w/c when it was hard for me. We did bring our own fold up wheelchair. Room staff very helpful for our situation. Everyone who worked on the ship really seemed to like their jobs. Very happy people. Plenty of hand sanitizers everywhere they put the ship which to me said they cared about keeping us healthy. The cruise food was a10/10 especially the two dining areas but even the food on top level was very good. The dog sledding on land was interesting, the timberland thing was a bit quirky-silly fun. Weather was great. Victoria is so beautiful should have longer time there. Can’t thank them enough for the wonderful trip we had. Booked with AAA. Thank you Holland America Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
This was my third Holland cruise, and 3rd Alaska cruise. Alaska is all about thhe scenary and is a must do. This was a roundtrip out of Seattle and did 2 stops we had not done befioire. Sitka & Hubbard Glacier. Overall a nice ... Read More
This was my third Holland cruise, and 3rd Alaska cruise. Alaska is all about thhe scenary and is a must do. This was a roundtrip out of Seattle and did 2 stops we had not done befioire. Sitka & Hubbard Glacier. Overall a nice trip. We had 18 in the group ranging from 1.5 years old to 80 years old. The Amsterdam was only 3 weeks out of refurbishment and some little details still needed polishing. Dinging folks at 1st did not have our 3 tables together, but after my mothher talked with them the 3 tables were then next to each other. Pinnacle Grill was so-so service, 1st time in many years (and in 14 cruises) I ever had to send a steak back for being under done. We had 4 Neptune suites (deck 7), and 4 balconies (deck 6). I lucked into an SB cabin toward the rear of the ship and it was great. We enjoyed dinners at Canelletto & Pinnacle Grill. Everyone went their own way in ports, while meeting for dinner & echange of stories. We (the group of 18) had great luck on drawings, winnning a spa certificate, 3 raffles, 1 bingo, and the slot tournament. Neptune service cannnot be beat. Juneau - whale research vessell tour, got whae tail photos, and really nejoyed thhe hermit crabs. Sitka - disappointed in my 1/2 day fish excursion, not 1 single salmon caught, captian said season was running late & admitted taking us to same spot he had been day before with no bites? A waste of my money. Hubbard Glacier - best day, great photos, and calving photos. ship gets real close, and turns for viewinf on both sides. Ketchikan - just walked aroound, no tour, visited a stone gallery and they will bargain with you. Got some carvings for 30-50% off, which are being mailed to us. Small afternoon rain shower. If I ever get back to Alaska it will be for land tour that includes Denali. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
Boarding the ship with a wheelchair was easy and accommodating. The first day into the cruise was filled with underwhelming food. It seemed like the ship did not have any stabilizers and I got very seasick. Not only was there nobody in the ... Read More
Boarding the ship with a wheelchair was easy and accommodating. The first day into the cruise was filled with underwhelming food. It seemed like the ship did not have any stabilizers and I got very seasick. Not only was there nobody in the infirmary to answer the phone, but there was also nobody in the infirmary that could give me seasick medicine. I eventually was helped by someone in guest services. With the medicine I was given, I needed to take it with food. However bring it was late in the night, the only thing open was room service. I could not get ahold of room services for the entire day and still had my tray from lunch in my room. I also used the complimentary movie service. However I did not get to watch a movie because the DVD got stuck in the player. I called to ask for help in working the machine, was told someone would be to the cabin shortly- nobody ever came. The only thing that made my trip with Holland America bearable were the excursions. The excursion company was very good and helpful. The staff were very rude when boarding the ship and were rushing passengers through security. I understand the need to have a swift departure, but they were rude with even elderly passengers. The best food on the ship was the ice cream- which was running low (the popular vanilla and chocolate flavors were nonexistent) by the second to last stop on the cruise. The buffet was lacking in variety and flavor- lunch and dinner time consisted of the exact same things. By day four of the cruise, I was sick of the food. I enjoyed the decor of the ship but ultimately felt it was not a wise use of money and the longest week of my life. I understand that situations are out of control of the hands of the crew- like the rough seas- however, there was nothing extremely good to overshadow the rough beginning in which lots of things the crew could have done better went wrong. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
Our 21 Day Cruise aboard HAL's Amsterdam from Singapore to Cape Town was our best cruise ever. We have cruised many times on multiple cruise lines and have Elite Status on multiple cruise lines - so this is a significant statement. ... Read More
Our 21 Day Cruise aboard HAL's Amsterdam from Singapore to Cape Town was our best cruise ever. We have cruised many times on multiple cruise lines and have Elite Status on multiple cruise lines - so this is a significant statement. We knew prior to the beginning of our cruise that the Amsterdam would be going into dry dock in May, 2018 so we were very afraid that the condition of the ship would be poor. To our great surprise, the Amsterdam was quite the opposite. The Hotel Director, Henk Mensink (Dutch) is the best Hotel Director I have ever seen and takes great pride in his efforts to have his Team keep the Amsterdam in pristine condition at all times - even just before going into dry dock. Most of the ships we have sailed on which were about to go into dry dock had declined in condition - with several ships having very horrible conditions such as sewer problems, flooding problems, ratty carpeting, etc. This is why we were so pleased with the great condition of the Amsterdam. We were also favorably impressed with the Captain: Jonathan Mercer (British). The food on this cruise was excellent every day - as was the service, especially in the Lido. The quality of the entrees and desserts was great. Many options were available and never long wait lines in the Lido. The ship décor is classic and quite impressive. We are looking at more cruising opportunities aboard the Amsterdam and highly recommend this ship. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
The American Holland, New Amsterdam Cruise was excellent. Starting with arrival and checking was a great experience for anyone looking for a great time.The variety of the food and the picnic at half moon cay was amazing. We did not use ... Read More
The American Holland, New Amsterdam Cruise was excellent. Starting with arrival and checking was a great experience for anyone looking for a great time.The variety of the food and the picnic at half moon cay was amazing. We did not use the cruse excursions but others and they were very good. Everything, was quiet impressive but Arsana services and care was my highlight, The guys that took care of the cabin were amazing, I ask for ice for my back one day and for that point on Arsana had ice for me every day. Arsana and Konang were absolutely above and be on expectations taking care of us. Enrike in the dining room was exceptional as well, all service areas were impressive.The cruise was excellent, almost everything, I though that all entertainment was targeting one age group but other than everything else was amazing. I highly recommend this cruise for everyone. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
Actually it was a little less than 19 miles an hour, 18.9 mph or 16.4 knots as I reckon it. Nineteen miles an hour seems like a leisurely pace to circle the planet. But on a human scale it’s really pretty hectic. To put 19 miles an ... Read More
Actually it was a little less than 19 miles an hour, 18.9 mph or 16.4 knots as I reckon it. Nineteen miles an hour seems like a leisurely pace to circle the planet. But on a human scale it’s really pretty hectic. To put 19 miles an hour into perspective, the average speed of a runner in the Boston Marathon is 8.8 mph, an average human walks at about 3.1 mph, an average horse’s walk is 4 mph. If you were on a sailing ship on a good day you could travel at 8 knots or 9.2 miles per hour. At times we felt that hectic pace. We are we wanted to see as much as possible at each port. When there’s a port call on the very next day details of the first port get lost. Sea days are a time to reflect, write and sort pictures while memories were still fresh. Many of my cruise mates said things like “I really enjoyed Napier, or was it Dunedin; I can never keep them straight.” Or “I think we were here on a past cruise, but I can’t remember.” That could easily have happened to me so I pondered, sorted and wrote. Many evenings I skipped the entertainment to process my experiences. You would think that on a long cruise I’d get a lot of reading done. I read fewer than half the number of books that I usually read in 4 months. On sea days I tried to spend an hour sitting in a deck chair on the promenade deck “reading.” I didn’t get through many pages. Reading time became thinking time while looking out at the ocean. Other important times for processing were walks around the promenade deck and my daily swim. People ask “What was your favorite port?” Difficult to answer but here is an attempt. I loved each of the New Zealand ports but Mt. Maunganui was the happiest place we visited. I had not heard of it before the trip. It’s the small port for bigger attractions just a short bus ride away. We never got on that bus. We walked off the ship with no expectations, and wandered with no agenda. We enjoyed the beach, the bay and the Saturday crafts market with its booths, music and conversation. Hobart, Tasmania was the highlight of the “The lucky country” (Australia) because of an encounter with the owner of an art gallery who curated aboriginal art. He brought out a bottle of good wine and we had an enjoyable evening of conversation laced with laughter. The “Wow” moment came at Namibia’s sand dunes. The surreal moment was the tourist convoy in Luanda, Angola which included mini buses, police motorcycle outriders, a pilot car, a police SUV filled with armed guards and an ambulance. The guide assured us he would make sure we didn’t get arrested for taking pictures. The romantic highlight was Hong Kong where Suzi and I had spent time 30 years ago. We wandered around looking at what had changed and what was timeless. Who would have thought this hectic city could become our romantic touchpoint? The “experience” that rises to the top is snorkeling and with sharks and sting rays in Bora Bora. Cape Town is where I want to return to explore further. And Cape Verde was my unexpected love affair. I thought it would be kind of a throwaway port, nothing planned, a place to stop in the Atlantic between Africa and America. I loved it. There was only one stop that I really didn’t like, Georgetown, Grand Cayman. I can only take so many t-shirt shops, Jimmy Buffett songs touting margaritas. In his final talk Captain Mercer said a trip like this changes anyone who takes it. It’s too soon to tell how this trip will change me. We traveled far and wide but not deep. How can you when you are in a place for between 8 and 58 hours? Holland America did their best to add depth with lectures, foods from the countries we visited and cultural shows. In the past we have traveled deep, living abroad for almost two decades. Traveling far and wide does not give you that type of experience, but it does paint a panorama that allows me to see relationships between different parts of the world. On board lectures on Indian Ocean trade or Pacific migrations while we were sailing those waters helped me better understand (and look for) similarities in culture, language and religion in very diverse parts of the globe. We learned how trade and fisheries enabled the exchange of not only goods, but of religion culture and genes. Out of this came some intriguing hybrid cultures. I loved the Cape Verde Islands because of the mix of Africa, Brazil and Europe touched with a little bit of Yankee whaler. I spoke with a “Cape Colored” man in South Africa of Malay -- Moslem – German -- Ashkenazi heritage named Rosenberg, educated Lutheran, who is raising his children Catholic. Place names in New Zealand, Australia, Alaska and Canada are the same; Cook, Vancouver, Bligh, Malaspina, and Turnagin. Perhaps the epiphany of this trip will be greater understanding of the interrelationship of peoples and lands. Or perhaps the life changer from this cruise will be the friends we made. I was surprised by the folks who take world cruises. They are not necessarily members of the upper classes, not necessarily bankers or lawyers (although some are.) Many are teachers, nurses, social workers, librarians, production line workers or retired military. Perhaps the epiphany of this trip is that we live in a “lucky time.” a fleeting “golden age” for the middle class when teachers, nurses, social workers, librarians and production line workers are affluent enough to take this type of vacation. Will the next generation of teachers, librarians, nurses, social workers and production line workers be able to do this as trade and professional unions wane in influence and wealth concentrates at the top? My cruise mates were engaged, hard-working and committed people. Will their children, our children, be able follow their parents and enjoy an experience like this? By the numbers: • We sailed 34,128 Nautical Miles, 39,274 statute miles or 63,205 KM • The Cruise lasted 113 days • We visited 39 ports in 26 countries or territories • We missed one port due to weather and substituted one port because of the bubonic plague. • We used 18 currencies (20 if you count the Panamanian Balboa which is the same as a dollar and the Namibian dollar, which is the same as the South African rand.) • I took 16,916 pictures and posted 3,504 on either my blog or Facebook (not counting this post.) • We broke three cameras. • This cruise blog has 143 posts including this one. I didn’t count words. • I lost about 5 pounds. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
We selected this cruise because of the itinerary. We have taken over 25 cruises with all different lines and often select based on where the ship is going.This cruise went through the Panama Canal and stopped at some pretty neat ports. ... Read More
We selected this cruise because of the itinerary. We have taken over 25 cruises with all different lines and often select based on where the ship is going.This cruise went through the Panama Canal and stopped at some pretty neat ports. The ship is in very good shape, small but elegant (we always find the HAL ships to be very pretty ships). The food was the best that we have had in a very long time. The Lido had a lot or variety and the Dining Room was really good as well. We loved our waiters, they were a lot of fun. Service was very good and professional. Our cabin was adequate for the 3 of us (our college age daughter traveled with us) and had lots of storage. We used the fitness center each day and found it to be very adequate. The entertainment was not very good at all. There was nothing to really do in the evening (trivia was big and very competitive probably so because of lack of activities). There was a speaker (Ian) who was very good and entertaining. Other than that, we were bored. Our daughter spent many nights doing puzzles in the library since there was nothing for her to do with her age group.We knew that this was a possibility but were hoping that since it was a holiday sailing that more would be going on. Ports of Call - Guatemala -Did a ship tour for the highlights of the area. Very well done. Puntarenas, Costa Rica - We did our own thing here since our daughter actually lived here with host family, so we went to see them. You had to take transport from the port area (worth it) to get into the city.It is a tourist area for the Ticos, so lots of locals. Beach area is nice and people are friendly. Nicaragua - We did a private tour. They picked us up and brought us into the city. Again, our daughter had been here before so she acted as tour guide. Cabo San Lucas - Did a whale watch here - lots of fun. Cartagena - We have been here before so grabbed a taxi and walked around the old area of town. Puerto Vallerta - Walked around and shopped. Half Moon Cay - Nice beach - went off for a little bit to swim We love to cruise and would recommend this itinerary. HAL does a good job but we feel that it caters to much older people (we are in our 50's) so it will be some time before we cruise them again. For now, we will stick to Royal Caribbean and Celebrity (we like the perks that come with cruising them a lot). Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
Great Wall in China was wonderful . Must make it a two day trip as forbidden city is a long walking tour. Be prepared for the massive crowds of people at the temples & cities. It was a special religious holiday & schools were on ... Read More
Great Wall in China was wonderful . Must make it a two day trip as forbidden city is a long walking tour. Be prepared for the massive crowds of people at the temples & cities. It was a special religious holiday & schools were on summer breaks. Most ports had free bus service to local area of interest & Starbucks for wifi. Be prepared for no Facebook or phone service in China & Japan. T mobile seamed to be a better service. My Verizon was not good. Several local groups were brought on ship for shows, crafts, dancing & exercise classes. Ports where crew families lived everyone had signs on cabins "no service" enjoy your family's. Pretty special. I packed way to many summer clothes. Much cooler then expected & of course air conditioning very cold in dining,show rooms, & movie theater. In Australia we used water taxis to vist fishing villages & guess what free wifi on dock & excellent fish lunch. Hop on buses were ok but expensive. Local buses were a fun experience if you had time. Polynesian islands easy to book trips on shore. A must to swim with sharks & huge sea rays. Most evenings we had late dining at a table for 8 (53) & our Waite staff was excellent. The decorations & themes according to the country we were visiting were grand every night. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
When I first started talking to my friends about taking my first ever cruise, they all said the same thing: Holland America would be a great fit for me. They also said that to get the best cruise experience, I should go for at least 7 ... Read More
When I first started talking to my friends about taking my first ever cruise, they all said the same thing: Holland America would be a great fit for me. They also said that to get the best cruise experience, I should go for at least 7 days, longer if possible. And they all suggested finding an Alaska itinerary since Holland America pretty much wrote the book on cruising Alaska, and I live about halfway between Seattle and Vancouver, the two ports used by most Holland America Alaska cruises. I found the 14-day Great Alaska Explorer, and contacted Holland America via their website. That put me in touch with my fabulous Personal Cruise Consultant, Crystal. And so, in Mar 2017, I booked my first ever cruise: September 11-25, on the Amsterdam, 14 days cruising Alaska. I'm writing this now, two weeks after returning from my cruise. First -- my friends were absolutely right: Holland America is a perfect match for me! The ship size couldn't have been better: I have some limited mobility issues (mostly breathing related), and I was still able to get around with minimal problems. I liked the fact that there were entertainment options available, but it wasn't necessarily the primary objective. I attended a couple -- and they were very good -- but I'm not really an "entertainment" person -- I live and travel alone, so I'm kind of used to entertaining myself, and that's easy to do onboard. Second, the accommodations: I had a Neptune Suite -- I have a slight tendency for claustrophobia and I didn't want to risk that having an impact on my initial impression of cruise travel. The room was even better than I expected. I loved having the extra room to move around, and the room stewards couldn't have been more gracious and accommodating. The towel critters that appeared each night were a hoot! They kept me stocked with grapes, too -- they soon figured out that I never eat bananas or apples, but LOVED grapes and pears -- so they started augmenting my daily fruit dish with more grapes and pears. I didn't have to say anything (never dawned on me to ask anyway). Those little touches were greatly appreciated, and I think speaks well for HAL's service level. The food: a-m-a-z-i-n-g!!!! Honestly, the Main Dining Room served some fabulous meals, beautifully presented by staff who were committed to providing a great experience. I had requested "anytime" dining/willing to share, and that worked out well -- never had to wait at all. I tend to eat earlier (between 5:00pm and 5:30pm), and over the 14 days I found familiar faces at the table many meals since we all tended to eat at the same time. I liked eating with a different mix of folks each meal -- made things interesting! The only downside was having different servers nearly every night, since seating was sort of random in different areas of the room. It's a trade-off between having a dedicated server for the trip or having a variety of personalities, but always providing the highest quality. I did have the same sommelier for all but 2 evenings that I ate in the MDR, and he was fantastic. I had purchased a wine package, so was able to select from the list with his assistance. Super experience! I ate two meals in Canaletto and was super impressed with it as well. Service was outstanding -- I was a "single," so had a table to myself, and was never made to feel "out of place" in a restaurant that includes as a concept the idea of sharing plates. The food was simply fabulous. Every dish was perfection on a plate. Would gladly eat there many more times. I didn't do many shore excursions as I wasn't sure how easy/difficult getting on and off the should would be until I got into port, and by then it was too late to book an excursion onboard. Although quite a few excursions were rated "easy," it doesn't help if getting off the ship requires a 1/4-mile walk or lots of stairs or ramps. I'll have a better idea next time what to look for in terms of challenges. I wanted this trip to focus mostly on getting around onboard, and I was able to accomplish everything I wanted to do. We did have some rough seas between Hoonah (Icy Strait Point) and Anchorage -- I was fine, no hint of seasickness at all, but moving around was a tad treacherous until things calmed down. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed my first cruise, enough that I've already booked three more cruises over the next 18 months! Two will be with Holland America (a 38-day North Atlantic roundtrip from Boston, and a 28-day Hawaii-Tahiti-Marquesas) and one with Oceania (an 18-day cruise from San Francisco to Miami via the Panama Canal). And eventually, I want to take this cruise again. There's so much to see in Alaska! Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
This is the only cruise line that has the itinerary we were looking for. We wanted that itinerary and to be able to be quite. The weather was great with some light rain and some overcast days. Smooth sailing and a lot of sunshine. ... Read More
This is the only cruise line that has the itinerary we were looking for. We wanted that itinerary and to be able to be quite. The weather was great with some light rain and some overcast days. Smooth sailing and a lot of sunshine. On cruise critic someone mentioned that the Cpt. Had a blog one should look at it because it was very interesting. They were right he had many interesting things to say. The cruise before ours was really rough, so we were very lucky that ours was beautiful. At most ports there was a shuttle to take you into town that was free and where there'was a long walk off the pier there was golf carts to help. So if you have a handicap that should not stop you from going. We found that from our room steward to our waiters to anyone we came in contact with were very friendly and helpful. We didn't use a lot of the options on board that was our choice and I am sure it was good. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
Since I don't like to fly, I chose this cruise over a land, sea cruise. I liked that we went to ports that most people don't get to see. The weather was not the greatest at times, but they have no control over that. I ... Read More
Since I don't like to fly, I chose this cruise over a land, sea cruise. I liked that we went to ports that most people don't get to see. The weather was not the greatest at times, but they have no control over that. I thought the entertainment was terrific, except for the so-called comedian the first night of the cruise. The steward was great. Our waiter was phenomenal. I gained 10 lbs., so the food must have been great. Overall, I was very happy with the cruise and have no complaints. I was traveling with 2 friends, so being in one room together was kind of challenging, but we made it work. The bathroom was very nice and quite roomy. There was way more closet space than I had expected. We took turns sleeping on the sofa, and it was quite comfortable. No complaints. I would definitely cruise Holland America again. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
This was an offer we couldn't refuse! Have been to Alaska before and It's been a long time since traveling on HAL but we got an incredible offer. Usually travel with NCL and have been on all the major lines.. But this was ... Read More
This was an offer we couldn't refuse! Have been to Alaska before and It's been a long time since traveling on HAL but we got an incredible offer. Usually travel with NCL and have been on all the major lines.. But this was a great trip. I saw complaints that ship was old, but it was actually very nice. Ship was clean! Restrooms were always clean! Cabin was spotless! Eating areas were clean! Food in dining room was very good, even lobster and king crab which you don't get on NCL any more. And, if you wanted more, just ask. Buffet was like any buffet, a buffet is a buffet is a buffett. Did enjoy hamburger eatery on pool deck. Made fresh while you wait. And wait was maybe 3 mins. No upselling constantly like on many ships which was nice. No constant barmen trying to push drinks. Shows were just OK in my opinion, but they were crowded every nite. Small casino with friendly personnel. Boarding and debarkation smooth, no hassle, but only 1400 guests. Havent been on a ship that small in a long time so it was a pleasure. Had room Neptune Suite 7010 which was perfect. Hosts were wonderful. Always ready to help. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
Review of Amsterdam Alaska cruise from August 28 to September 11, 2017 We took this trip out of Seattle pier 91. The trip to and from the ship was by Link to/from Westlake Center and then Uber to/from the ship. This system works ... Read More
Review of Amsterdam Alaska cruise from August 28 to September 11, 2017 We took this trip out of Seattle pier 91. The trip to and from the ship was by Link to/from Westlake Center and then Uber to/from the ship. This system works pretty well and saves enough money to make the hassle worthwhile. The food on HAL continues to be great, much better than RCL or CEL and the service by the staff is great as well. Except for two occasions the staff was helpful and friendly. The exceptions were somewhat major because they both happened on disembarkation day when my wife fainted while getting off the ship and the two staff members I asked for help walked off and never returned. Midwesterrn self-reliance got us home though. A significant number of passengers contracted some kind of cold, sore throat, vomiting sort of disease but the ship did nothing publicly to help. I purchased some Day Quil in the ship shop for $18 and when I returned home I priced this item at Target for $8. The ship charges a markup of over 100% above retail for medicine. Smokes and liquor seem cheaper on the ship but medicine to help passengers is a rip off and that’s just not right. Passengers who visited the medical office reported similar gouging, for example, using the O2 sensor on one’s finger cost $10 each. At Target a O2 sensing unit cost $34 to own. The mini size bottle of cough medicine they issued, smaller than Day Quil was $20. Purchasing cruise insurance, even through HAL was of no use because the medical unit won’t accept it. One must file a claim with Medicare (which will deny it), then submit the claim with the secondary carrier. The weather was bad, but this is September in Alaska so that is what to expect. Tons of rain and one evening when pulling into Anchorage the ship was hit by a rogue wind of 135 MPH that was unexpected and the ship acquired a 12 degree list for 10 to 15 minutes. Fortunately, the captain had ballasted the ship as a precaution because at 27 degrees the ship falls over. Glasses, plates, bottles all went flying but I didn’t see or hear of any passenger injuries. The captain made no announcement because he didn’t want to aggravate the situation, he said. There was no announcement regarding this issue by the captain until several days later during the usual Q and A when a passenger raised it The ship had to cancel the Kodiak stop because of bad weather too. All passengers got a free glass of sparkling water or a soda as compensation. That’s not much but that’s cruising for you. The floor in our bathroom and shower was in terrible condition because most of the grout was missing. This has permitted water to seep underneath the tile and it has bubbled up creating an uneven service. Also bits of grout continue to break off and stick to one’s feet. The port of Seattle has a great free service called Pier Valet which we used and it went surprisingly well. The way it works is that a passenger can complete the forms on board and the port will pick up your luggage on the last night of the cruise, just like the ship does. Pier Valet then delivers the luggage to the airline and one picks it up again at the destination airport. Really! The only snag was that the boarding pass issued and delivered to the cabin won’t scan at TSA security check. Please stop at your airline kiosk when arriving at SEA and get a new boarding pass first We will continue to cruise with HAL but not to Alaska for a while. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
Whilst not the best weather for Alaska scenery viewing, the warmth and friendliness of the crew on MS Amsterdam certainly made up for the weather. We had extremely wet weather, but as it is Alaska, and mostly a temperate rain forest, ... Read More
Whilst not the best weather for Alaska scenery viewing, the warmth and friendliness of the crew on MS Amsterdam certainly made up for the weather. We had extremely wet weather, but as it is Alaska, and mostly a temperate rain forest, what did I expect? Possibly cruise in an earlier month in future? However, we did manage to see lots of whales in Juneau, a Sitka black tailed deer, a brown bear and a red squirrel in Icy Straight Point, sea otters, seals, lots of salmon, and bald eagles in Ketchikan, so a success in our view! The ship is small but perfectly formed! It doesn't take long to get to where you need to be. There are 2 laundry rooms, at $2 including wash soap, conveniently situated on decks 3 and 6. There are several lounges which are nicely appointed and very comfortable. The Crow's Nest in particular has wonderful views, and great for a pre dinner drink! Amsterdam's best feature, however, the Lido Swimming pool area. It has a large retractable roof, which in the wet, ensures the warmth needed to take a dip in the very warm pool, or a pleasant drink at the bar! We had an inside cabin, which was very good. Aft position, and whilst it stated it could be noisy during the day, it was actually very quiet. Stewards were excellent. The evening entertainment wasn't to my liking, however the Amsterdam singers and dancers were excellent. We only did 2 ship's excursions - in Icy Straight and the Seattle tour transfer to airport. Both were good, if a little expensive. An excellent cruise! Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
Loved the ports. It rained every day except in Victoria but we didn't mind. Bought a rain coat.The ship is tired, furniture in Crows Nest frayed and faded, bathroom wall vinyl coming loose, grout peeling, sofa springs sprung. Most ... Read More
Loved the ports. It rained every day except in Victoria but we didn't mind. Bought a rain coat.The ship is tired, furniture in Crows Nest frayed and faded, bathroom wall vinyl coming loose, grout peeling, sofa springs sprung. Most shows overall were lame. Piano bar guy,Van, could really play the piano but couldn't sing worth a darn. The food was excellent. Loved the new salad bar on Lido. The crew was exceptional! We got laundry done on the unlimited plan and it was better than my home laundry. Breakfast in room delivered everyday on time. Someone mentioned banging and we noticed that too. Loud noises coming from the bottom of ship. I just think the Amsterdam needs a face lift. I enjoyed the cruise but the ship is definitely not up to HAL standards. Enjoy the "as you wish dining" and never had to wait for seating. The food was varied and excellent. Again, the staff was the best but the ship needs attention. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
I love Alaska and its beautiful scenery, people and wildlife. The more days cruising is a definite plus for me. A little different itinerary going to Icy Strait Point, Homer, and Kodiak. Unfortunately we did not get to Kodiak because of ... Read More
I love Alaska and its beautiful scenery, people and wildlife. The more days cruising is a definite plus for me. A little different itinerary going to Icy Strait Point, Homer, and Kodiak. Unfortunately we did not get to Kodiak because of weather. That was okay since I will just have to do the cruise again another time. The weather in Alaska is definitely not the norm, and you just have to go with the flow. The captain is the man who knows best. Captain Jonathan is the greatest! The weather did not stop us from going on tours or just going out on our own. The food in the dining room and lunch at the Pinnacle was great. Breakfast in the Lido was very good. Piano Man Van was entertaining and played to the crowd. The entertainment was good, especially Hyperion Wright, who was excellent. The comedian Paul Morrisey(??) was awful. Liked seeing the 6 dancers actually dancing. The cruise director, Jorge, was not very visible, and there were not many activities other than trivia a few times a day. Would love to have had music during the happy hours. Music was played after happy hours were over. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
Very good itinerary. We had awful weather and one port eliminated. Very little activity on ship. Minimal trivia and no games such as liars club. Only one show in the evening plus lounge acts. Lounge acts were not very good. When ... Read More
Very good itinerary. We had awful weather and one port eliminated. Very little activity on ship. Minimal trivia and no games such as liars club. Only one show in the evening plus lounge acts. Lounge acts were not very good. When asked if the ship would add a knitting group to activities, I was told it did "not fit the image of HAL". After a number of requests it was finally added, probably by the activities director, not cruise director. Had up to a dozen attend, at no cost to HAL. Pickle ball court. Best food we have had on a ship. Lots of places to sit during the day and read. A real smoke problem in the lounges near the casino. Very poor ventilation. The ship singers and dancers were some of the best we have seen on a cruise. 4 review shows. Show every night including the last night. A very old croud. Very few under 50, lots of walkers and scooters. Staff wonderful and helped get food for people who needed help in lido restaurant. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
I was just on the World Voyage with Holland. Things were different on the Alaskan cruise, subtle little things that were lacking. But Hollands staff is wonderful. Some of the passengers were annoyed that Captain Mercer made the decision ... Read More
I was just on the World Voyage with Holland. Things were different on the Alaskan cruise, subtle little things that were lacking. But Hollands staff is wonderful. Some of the passengers were annoyed that Captain Mercer made the decision to by pass Kodiak due to the storm, but it was a GREAT decision. Some things are to be considered UPGRADES during a GRAND VOYAGE. Cruises are the least expensive way to take a vacation. Have been cruising since I was a child in the 1950's so well understand that in today's market, with the number of Shipping Companies, and the number of ships, the prices are low. Although people who are new to cruising do not think so but it is true. Where else can one go visit different cities, receive entertainment, food, lodging and have fun at such a low price. Now with the hurricane damaged islands, it will be worse for the Cruise lines. I love cruising and Holland is one of my favorites. The Alaskan cruise is always a great one and the 14 day is exceptional. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
It was special offer to us. Enjoyed the whole trip. Would love to go again. Lots of ports. Plenty of excursions to choose from. We loved the gold panning excursion and the whale watching one. I loved the dog sled excursion. The indian ... Read More
It was special offer to us. Enjoyed the whole trip. Would love to go again. Lots of ports. Plenty of excursions to choose from. We loved the gold panning excursion and the whale watching one. I loved the dog sled excursion. The indian excursions were very interesting too.The entertainment was very good. Food was very good. The cabin was just right for us. The casino( husband 's favorite) was great. Had some no smoking in it. We had help when we needed it from all the workers. Loved the fact the capitain could get close to the glaciers for us to see too. The service was great.If we needed anything they got it for us. The ship was a good size. Not too big and not so many people. All in all best 2 weeks we've had. It is a good trip for older children too. Lots for them to see and learn. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
Amsterdam Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.4
Dining 4.0 4.1
Entertainment 4.0 3.8
Public Rooms 4.0 4.5
Fitness Recreation 4.0 4.0
Family 3.0 4.0
Shore Excursion 4.0 4.1
Enrichment 4.0 3.9
Service 4.0 4.5
Value For Money 4.0 4.2
Rates 4.0 4.2

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