19 Holland America Amsterdam Cruise Reviews

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
Far too much chipping of paint and painting and varnishing around the ship. We were awoken in Sitka, Ak. to the banging of hammers on our window. We were both ill with coughs and colds. We planned to stay in our cabin for the day but ... Read More
Far too much chipping of paint and painting and varnishing around the ship. We were awoken in Sitka, Ak. to the banging of hammers on our window. We were both ill with coughs and colds. We planned to stay in our cabin for the day but couldn't stand the noise and had to leave our cabin for the better part of the day. To any cruiser this is totally unacceptable. For this reason alone Holland has lost at least 2 customers. The Dive in burger and taco bar continually running out of food. Straws almost nonexistent, never any straws in 14 days at the Dive in, throughout and so short they barely came up to the rim of your glass. It was funny watching folks at shows digging around their $9.00 drinks trying to find their straws. It was so bad one day there were 3 restaurant managers, a chef and an officer trying to fix the problem. Food in the Lido Cafe fair to poor. This Cafe seemed to be closed far more than it was open. Again totally unacceptable. We did the same cruise in 2016 on the Maasdam and it was a very nice cruise. Main dining room food and service excellent. Some shows excellent, some poor. Itinerary great. The reason we did it again. this was our 31st cruise. There were more short comings but I'm out of time. Think twice before cruising Holland. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
When shopping for an Alaska cruise Holland America was highly recommended by the travel agent as a great cruise line. But I was very disappointed from the start. First was the "suite". I had never had a suite before and ... Read More
When shopping for an Alaska cruise Holland America was highly recommended by the travel agent as a great cruise line. But I was very disappointed from the start. First was the "suite". I had never had a suite before and thought I would treat myself. This was only to find out that Holland America calls all balcony cabins suites. So what every other cruise line calls a balcony Holland America calls a suite. So I felt I paid extra for a suite and got a balcony. However everything on the cruise was mediocre. We went to the welcome aboard presentation where the cruise director went on and on about this being a 5 star cruise. It certainly wasn't in my mind. We were missed for turn down service the first night. The restaurant was hit or miss. One lunch was a dry Reuben with potato chips (are you kidding me? 5 star?) To add insult to injury they asked if we would share a table (which I don't mind) but they sat us with a couple half way through their main course. They were eating desert when we finally got our food. Again there is no excuse for this in a 5 star operation. One day we went to the poolside snack bar for a quick lunch and were told it would be 30 minutes for a hamburger and hot dog. Are you kidding me? When I finally got my hot dog with sauerkraut it was dry. I've had much better food at McDonald's. And you don;t wait 30 minutes for food at McDonald's. The Lido restaurant (buffet) had food served instead of self-service. This resulted in slow service rather than just pick your own and portions were always too much or too little. Finding a table with silverware was also challenging as busing the tables was slow. We usually just cleared areas and then scavenged for silverware. Entertainment was also mediocre. The first night ventriloquist was so-so. You would expect this entertainment on Fremont Street in Las Vegas. They constantly picked on the audience and called multiple people losers. The singers and dancers were OK but we noticed the "show band" didn't play for half of the numbers and they used canned music. When we heard a horn and saw no horns on the band we knew something was fishy. Most disturbing in the entertainment was the truth or dare show the cruise staff put on. First you were stuck seeing that show because it was right before the main show and you have to go early for a good seat. The women on the cruise staff used toilet humor recanting how she farted three times at a dinner with her boyfriends parents on the first meeting. Frankly I thought this was in poor taste. Play this in a lounge NOT the main show lounge. The pianist following the toilet humor though was excellent and this time the band actually played with him. My trip to the gym was also a disappointment. The national conventions were on TV and only 3 of the TVs on the treadmills worked. On the plus side they had a tech program on computers which we went to and this was very good. We went to the spa and it was immaculate. If you get a really good deal and don't mind mediocre service I guess the Amsterdam is OK but 5 star it is no in my opinion, Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
Food was too salty and the Lido Buffet had virtually the same thing everyday. The ship is in need of remodeling, dirty doors, threadbare cushions in the Crow's Nest. The three switches for lights in the cabin are directly behind your ... Read More
Food was too salty and the Lido Buffet had virtually the same thing everyday. The ship is in need of remodeling, dirty doors, threadbare cushions in the Crow's Nest. The three switches for lights in the cabin are directly behind your pillow. If you're sitting up in bed and the pillow hits the switch, you can either accidentally turn on lights/turn off lights. There is a light above the head of the bed that cabin stewards left on after tidying up the room for the evening; this light gets very hot and touches curtains and pillows. This is a fire hazard. You cannot hear announcements in the cabin. This makes it difficult to hear what deck you will disembark on. While watching the ship approach Hubbard Glacier in the Crow's Nest, waiters did not come around for drink orders, you had to go and wait in line. Using a cane, it was not convenient to have to go to the bar for a drink. The activities on days at sea were a joke. Learn Windows 10 on vacation, multiple trivia contests and learn about Tanzanite, art, etc. - they were just trying to tell you something. Want to watch TV? Four channels of Holland America propaganda, and Alaska programs. If you're lucky you can catch a movie. Errors on bill were corrected overnight; though I had purchased a beverage card and presented it to staff, my key card account was charged. I traveled with a terminally ill friend and the difference in temperatures in various (indoor) parts of the ship was quite noticeable.If you did any excursions you had little free time to explore the city. Only in Sitka did we have time to explore a bit.Staff was friendly except for one guy manning the screening machine when you came on deck. Patty at the Seattle Terminal was outstanding. A walker was reserved for my friend and I was told to pick it up at the kiosk in the terminal. After seeing no kiosk on the first floor and going through security I saw a handicapped area on the second floor. Alas, no walker. The "kiosk" SNG had was actually a white tent outside of the terminal. Patty took me through the lines, escorting me to the tent and back. She also helped me look for my friend who has significant short term memory loss and was not sitting in the area she said she was going to be sitting. My friend decided to change two excursions and this was handled promptly by the excursion desk. The places to shop onboard are a joke - a jewelry store, a liquor store with Tylenol and seasickness patches and a general shop with t-shirts, fridge magnets, etc. A poolside sale was held one day from 9am to 2pm. After lunch my friend went to the spa and I was going to look at the sale. I was surprised to find that at 1:30pm they were packing stuff away. On non-formal nights the dress code was smart casual. Some people looked like they had just finished changing their oil. Sloppiness ruled for a large number of people. We shared a table but were never seated at the same table. Their idea of a tea is a buffet of desserts from the Lido and a few savory items. The Queen Mary and old Queen Elizabeth II knew how to throw a tea! Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
We are over 62 it's for older people, our first cruise and will never go on holland again... I got sick early tue. Morning, the night before i had prime rib...it was cold and the milk was warm .i had a temp. Of 101.1 and diarrhea for ... Read More
We are over 62 it's for older people, our first cruise and will never go on holland again... I got sick early tue. Morning, the night before i had prime rib...it was cold and the milk was warm .i had a temp. Of 101.1 and diarrhea for 2 days, did not see what i went for, missed the highlight if the trip, and missed sitka..............we stayed in 8081 great state room out standing...i was not going too eat any thing i did not see cooked....i went to the head chef ... 2 days later the milk was warm no changes.....late disembarkment in b.c. Pissed me off real bad i had a enough by then.. the excursions was over price for got be careful when purchase them. I feel that after they got money they did not care. Service was so so but joe and mohomad where great they help me feel some better. Hope you have abetter trip then i had p.s also 8 other people got sick and one was sick so bad the person was made to stay in the room. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
We wanted an Alaskan experience via the cruise. We booked Holland America liner ,Amsterdam. We were boarding from Seatle .We reached the port ealier than the scheduled boarding time and was quite good the boarding process started ... Read More
We wanted an Alaskan experience via the cruise. We booked Holland America liner ,Amsterdam. We were boarding from Seatle .We reached the port ealier than the scheduled boarding time and was quite good the boarding process started early. Boarding was a smooth process the announcement of boarding was adequately announced. It could have been better managed as people sitting to be boarded sat scattered in the waiting area. The ship was very big so it was easy to find your way around. It is an old ship than the one I had travelled in the caribean in Carnival ships. The complimentary upgrading to the outside cabin was not big enough to accommodate our 1 large suitcase so we had to put it on the sofa.There was only space in the cupboards to keep our2 carryon luggage.The was clean and the bed was very cocomfortable. The window was large .Bathroom was clean and soap and shampoo dispensers.There was bath tub. The food was very disappointing. Indian food which was served everyday on the Carnival cruises was not available. They gave Indian dinner one day but that was only tandoori chicken and not the anything else.When we asked to cook us prawn curry they refused . Though one day they had cooked excellent array of Indian starters,mains and desserts which we heartily enjoyed. One good thing is this ship allows anytime dinner in sittings in the dining room. The choice of food on the buffet was limited. The main drawback on this ship was there was no 24hr. Meals available as we had on the Carnival ships not even sandwhich,pizza or burgers.They close very early the burger and chips bar.They also closed icecream dispensers early at night. They had long lines at the burger bars.They set Mexican food outside which went cold in no time and when the items ranout they were not replenished. There were not enough outdoor games eg golf etc. The photographs they took were very expensive, $20 a piece. The shows were OK NOT BRILLIANT. Disembarkation and embarkation at the ports of call were smooth. The staff were fine but rarely talked or smiled. We expected to see whales and snow on the land did not see any.I realised later that one has to book the cruise which takes further up to see these things so if want see those places and a dog slegedind in the snow etc and see s ow capped mountains in the proximity than this cruise which took us to Junea,Katchikan,Sitka and Victoria in Canada is not for you. Perhaps I will book another cruise with a different liner fo that. Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
My mother and I sailed on the Amsterdam as an early birthday present to her. We got a great last-minute deal, 9 days out, which was so good that we were able to get solo cabins for ourselves. This was our first time on Holland America (I ... Read More
My mother and I sailed on the Amsterdam as an early birthday present to her. We got a great last-minute deal, 9 days out, which was so good that we were able to get solo cabins for ourselves. This was our first time on Holland America (I prefer Royal Caribbean while she prefers Celebrity). The ship is small, 1300 passengers, but it rarely felt crowded. There are enough public spaces so the passengers can spread out and do their own thing. The ship had just come out of drydock a few weeks before. Being a new HAL cruiser, I couldn't tell you what the differences were, but for the most part the ship was clean and shiny. There were some plumbing issues that we could see being repaired and there was always grease on the floor of the entrance to the MDR which I always seemed to almost slip on as I was leaving. We found the buffet to be disappointing. Sometimes both sides were open, sometimes only certain stations on one side were open, and often one side was reserved for crew only. There was little variety as most of the food was the same on both sides. We ate all but one of our dinners in the MDR and the food there was much better, as was the service. The main problem we had was with the customer service at the front desk. My mother and I each had guarantee cabins and, despite being told her cabin number a few days before sailing, it was never officially assigned until we got to the port and they couldn't find her key. For the next 2 or 3 days they didn't deliver her excursion tickets or apply the OBC from our TA because she wasn't showing up in the computer. It took several sessions of back-and-forth between me, the front desk, the Seattle office, and my TA for her OBC to be applied and even then it didn't hit until day 5 of our 7-day cruise. We both had issues with our cards not working anymore (I got 3 cards; she got 4) and each time they blamed us for demagnetizing them. My mom carries no electronic devices and had her card on a lanyard around her neck yet the staff chided her for keeping it next to her phone. She got conflicting information from the security guards when leaving the ship about whether she needed to show ID when coming back aboard, something no one else seemed to need but they told her she did. The biggest customer service failure was when the maintenance people decided to varnish the railing and paint the floor of her balcony when we were about to enter Tracy Arm Fjord. It made the balcony and cabin fill with fumes and we couldn't use the balcony for the one thing we wanted to use it for. I talked to 3 different people at the front desk who just shrugged off my complaints. They said it was our fault for not telling them that we didn't want maintenance done that day. It wasn't until I posted a picture of the balcony with a "wet varnish" sign to HAL's Facebook page that anyone made an effort to apologize, and even then they still said it was our fault for not telling them that we wanted to use our balcony. To make up for it we each got a glass of wine at dinner. Pfft. We signed up for Luggage Direct which, in concept, is a very good idea. We were exempt from paying the airline baggage fees but HAL charged us anyway, even though I put on the form that we were exempt. So there I was at 6:00 am on debarkation day trying to get the charge taken off. It wasn't until I demanded to talk to the crew member's supervisor (who was probably asleep but I didn't care) and threatened to put the entire charge for the cruise into dispute that they removed the fraudulent charge. That being said, our luggage did arrive at our destination airport. These customer service failures are the reason why we will not be sailing on HAL again. Everything was great about the cruise except for the women behind the desk who were constantly unhelpful and blamed us when they did something wrong. They need to be immediately replaced with people who are properly trained. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
What a disappointing cruise ship. This was our 12th cruise and our second with Holland. It is also our last with Holland. Starting from the beginning, the embarkation was good. Once on the ship the accommodations were great, love the way ... Read More
What a disappointing cruise ship. This was our 12th cruise and our second with Holland. It is also our last with Holland. Starting from the beginning, the embarkation was good. Once on the ship the accommodations were great, love the way the rooms are set up. Nice storage and a full tub/shower. However the service was really poor. I tried to book a reservation in The Pinnacle Grill before we ever set sail and it was already booked for the entire week. We later found out that they had 600 giftcards that had to be served before anyone else could eat there. There was no spark or enthusiasm with the wait staff and there was not enough wait staff in the eating areas or specialty area. Specifically, the Explorer Cafe had only 1 barista regardless of time of day. They even forgot to open the last morning of the cruise. The food was a disappointment as well with the exception of the Salmon Bake they did around the pool one day. That was great and the salmon was wonderful. In the Lido Cafe we had to get our own drinks most of the time. I have no problem doing that but in comparing to other cruise lines who really spoil you, this was definitely not the case. I also noticed that there was no particular push regarding hand sanitation when entering the eateries. There seemed to be an Art Auction every time you turned around which was overkill, especially when you see the same art on every ship that you cruise with. The size of the ship was nice as it was a bit smaller than many of the others and getting to go to Sitka was great. What a fun little town. The entertainment was average except for the comedian who was too funny. The Cruise Director was great. I wanted to go up to him and tell him he needed to go work for another cruise line. We usually travel with Princess and will return to this company. What surprises me is that both are part of the same corporation so you would think the standards would be the same, but not so at all. One good thing was in the disembarkation, they offered a program that would check you all the way through to your home destination with regard to luggage. There was a slight fee, but it was so worth it. We signed up for this and a packet was delivered to our room with airline luggage tags and our airline boarding passes. When they picked our luggage up the night before we disembarked we were done. The next time we saw it was when we got off the plane at home. Also we no longer had to check in at the airport, just had to go through security and hop on the plane. Great offer, especially for passengers who want to explore for the day in the final port but also for those of us who don't want the hassle of finding our luggage and hauling through the airport, etc. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
We sailed on the 14 day holiday cruise from Ft. Lauderdale. While the ship is well designed, built using high-quality materials, roomy, and well maintained the continued cost cutting really shows. First the ship is woefully understaffed, ... Read More
We sailed on the 14 day holiday cruise from Ft. Lauderdale. While the ship is well designed, built using high-quality materials, roomy, and well maintained the continued cost cutting really shows. First the ship is woefully understaffed, especially in the dining room. Gone are wine stewards, busboys, and dining room area managers. All the work these people did now falls to the waiters, who, while trying their best, simply can not keep up. Everything is hurried. The waiter does not have time to discuss the menu or stop for even a minute. Hurry up, take your order, hurry up delivery the food, hurry up clean the table. This ruins the atmosphere and the meal. Now of course the venues that HAL charges extra for are fully staffed. No problem getting service at the bar, or shops. Secondly HAL has reduced the quality of the ingredients used for meals and it shows. Food is jut OK and many things that were once a HAL trademark (fresh pies, fresh juice, plentiful seafood are gone. Thirdly HAL has gone the Carnival route - trying to sell you everything they can. Alternate restaurants that were free now cost extra, mandatory drink add-on charge, tips added to your bill automatically, art auctions, etc., etc, etc. This is not your father's HAL anymore and that's too bad. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
We don't know why so many people are enthousiastic about this ship? We did already several other cruises with other company's, but the "Amsterdam" is really bad compared with the other ships we had. But positive thing ... Read More
We don't know why so many people are enthousiastic about this ship? We did already several other cruises with other company's, but the "Amsterdam" is really bad compared with the other ships we had. But positive thing and most important: the Alaska-cruise was beautiful! About the ship: - embarkation in Seattle was perfect. In a couple of minutes we were already on the boat - first impression of the ship was small, but we knew that already. And of course, a lot of older people!! And we mean with a lot, more than 80%! So be aware that you have to wait a lot of time as there are many "slow movers" on the ship! Sometimes it is frustrating in the Lido Buffet, but it is holiday....so don't frustrate!!! Interior of the ship is beuatiful with a lot of Dutch Artworks and other unique items. We liked it! - we were in stateroom (oceanroom) 2685. A nice room, not too small and nice bed to sleep. But as we were together we were littlebit disappointed that there was 1 towel in the room when we entered the room. Why? No checkings? And this is a trip to Alaska, middle of the summer. You have to close the window in the evening with a simple curtain. A lot of light is still in the room, even it is 12am....so why no curtains to make it more dark in the room? And did anyone inspect the door inside of the room on cleaning? This was really dirty! Fingertips, old dirt was vissible...jaiks!!! Bathroom is ok, but still with an old-fashioned curtain. And be aware that the floor upstairs is the walk-promenade, so around 7am you can hear already the first people walking! - restaurants: * La Fontaine. Beautiful restaurant to see and also to eat. We liked the food, but the food was not what we expected from the HAL. We travelled last year with the Princess and this food was more variated and same quality or even better. Our thoughts were that the HAL had the best quality of diners? But this isn't unfortunately. Our most negative point was the wine-serving. The first night we could wait till now I am writing. No one was coming. After already asked we asked this again when we had already the main-menu! And finally someone was coming. This was happening again after some days. But the wine-server "Antonio" is really good, he is hard working! But is someone inspecting the clothes of the servers? Every evening we were surprised about the dirty clothes of the servers? Never seen this on other cruiseships! And why did we had 2 days old flowers in the restaurant and other parts of the ship? And is someone inspecting the forks, knives before someone is dining? Almost every evening something was missing on the table! And did someone test the coffee? This is the worst coffee we ever drunk! * Lido buffet. Good variety of food. We had only breakfast and lunch here. The quality of food is good/very good. But one big negative thing. The coffee-machine is more not working than working. Very frustrating every time. And a lot people were complaining about this! And we didn't like the server behind the "sandwich"-buffet. He was always sulky. He never laughed or make a chat. Can this server removed of the ship? Last thing about the Lido. Many servers were more talking together than working. We never seen this on other ships * Pinnacle. In one word: EXCELLENT! This is the quality what you expect on a HAL-ship! Very good food, service, atmosphere. One thing...happy hour....this is normal one buy, one free.... on this ship it is, one buy, other for one dollar. But....why do we have to pay this with 2 cards???? It was not possible if you was alone and order a drink with the happy hour...very strange... - Service of HAL "Amsterdam". We were negative surprised about the service of this ship. The first days looked liked that the people working on this ship didnt like to work. Almost everybody was negative. We heard same of many other cruise-passengers. Something happened on this ship before we entered this ship, this must be for sure! We wrote a small survey on first days of the trip. This was treated very good by the HAL. We received some chocolates for our survey and also excuses. But after this most of our comments were not solved in the rest of the trip....unfortunately... I was really disappointed in the employees of the reception. I visited the reception as 2 of the 4 dryers on the third floor were not working again. As it was very crowdy in this wash-room (already at 7.30 am!) this was giving a big delay. Every time when I visited the washroom some dryers were "out of order". So I asked the reception when the dryers will be fixed. What was the answer of the employee? I had to go to the other wash-room on the 6th floor! Pardon????? The dryers have to work and to be fixed!!!! This is not the answer what I expect from the HAL. I was very frustrated about this On the last evening we received a letter that the bill of the trip would be delivered before 6am last morning on the ship. Well even this very easy thing to do was giving problems for this ship. As we had to leave the ship 7.15 hours and we didn't had the bill at 6.45 we went to the reception. But we saw our cleaner in the corridor preparing the bills. We asked if he had our bill. And yes, he had! But why so late?? Only half our before leaving you could inspect your bill.... This is no service!! About the photographers on this ship. It is so funny to see that they didn't want to make pictures. THey were more talking together than making pictures. But no problem, no pictures, no money for this ship! Hahaha... - Tours/places to stay: tours organized by HAL were very good! Well organized and value for money. We liked most the floatplane in Ketchikan, wale-tour in Ice Strait Point and the raft in Sitka. Places to stay: we don't understand why this ship is stopping in Homer. There isn't nothing to do! Don't stop anymore in this place and stay for longer for example in Sitka or Victoria. The best places to stay! Our overall impression of the Amsterdam is unfortunately negative. But fortunately we had a very good holiday as we liked Alaska! But next time with other company!! Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
My family (9 of us - 4 seniors, 2 adults, 3 kids) went on the 7-night Alaska Inside Passage Cruise on HAL Amsterdam in early September. The Southeast Alaska scenery was breath-taking and the weather was quite pleasant. However, the ... Read More
My family (9 of us - 4 seniors, 2 adults, 3 kids) went on the 7-night Alaska Inside Passage Cruise on HAL Amsterdam in early September. The Southeast Alaska scenery was breath-taking and the weather was quite pleasant. However, the experience with HAL Amsterdam was just so so. Pre-cruise: We stayed a couple of nights in Vancouver (Richmond area) prior to the cruise. Before cruise, we were worried how we would transport a large group like us in Vancouver. It turns out the Vancouver public transportation was adequate. We used Skytrain & Bus and found those to be quite good. The Skytrain is especially helpful since it stops at or around all major city sites tourists need to access, including the airport, Vancouver downtown, Richmond area, etc. We went to Stanley Park the day prior to cruise - it takes a bus ride from near Waterfront Station so not too hard. Once in the park, it's actually quite difficult to get around the park since it is so big. We walked around the park and spent sometime on the seawall which is very nice. The hotel we stayed in is in Richmond and close to a lot of Asian shops and restaurants, so very convenient. Vancouver / Richmond has outstanding Chinese / Japanese food! Boarding: we boarded the ship from Canada Place Terminal around 12pm. Boarding was relatively smooth - apparently we were early so the line was short. The only thing was that I forgot to print out paper copies of the cruise documents. That caused some delay but overall not too bad. Overall it took us about an hour to get on the ship. The rooms were ready and the luggage delivered shortly after. We ate at the buffet (not impressed, more on this later) and the drill went smoothly. Room: We had 4 ocean view rooms. 2 of them were connected and used by my wife and myself, plus the kids (3). In the past cruises the 5 of us tried to stay in one large family room. It was hard to find but we thought it would be a better arrangement than 2 connected rooms. We found that wasn't the case! The 2 connected rooms worked out really well for us - giving us some privacy and allow my youngest kid to take afternoon nap in one room while two older ones hang out with us in the other. The rooms are sufficiently sized for 2 or 3 people. Room was cleaned at least twice a day. No complaint there. Food: We heard HAL food was good. But our experience wasn't so positive. There were very limited choices onboard - the main dining room, the buffet, and two specialty restaurants (Canaletto the Italian and Pinnacle Grill the steak house). We had dinners mostly in the main dining room, except one night in Canaletto. For breakfasts / lunches, we dined mostly in the buffet, except one lunch at Pinnacle Grill. Also had a breakfast as room service - the quality was really not good. Main dining room: The food in the main dining room was just OK, comparable with Royal Carribean / Norwegian main dining rooms. Service was a little on the slow side. Our waiter was friendly but not very talkative (also due to him being busy all the time). Buffet: The buffet was very disappointing. Amsterdam is not a large ship, with under 1,400 guests. However, the Buffet was always busy with long lines, and it was really hard to find tables. Being a smaller ship, the buffet station area is quite small, and there was not much variety. The other factor is because HAL insists on having the crew serving the food instead of allowing the guests to pick up what they want. This seriously slow down the whole operation and the serving crew was seriously stressed. I understand the reasons are probably hygienic as well as HAL cruises have high portion of senior guests, but the slowness really hurt the dining experience. The food variety was very little and doesn't change from day to day much. I'd say this is perhaps the biggest low light of the ship. The buffets on the much larger Royal Caribbean Liberty of the Sea and Norwegian Epic was much superior on quality and serving speed. Canaletto: This specialty restaurant is located in a corner-offed area in the buffet. It really doesn't feel very special. The food was decent, but nothing to rave about. Pinnacle Grill: This restaurant is nicely decorated. We had just lunch there, and found that to be a good value ($10 per person vs. $25 per person for dinner). The food was decent, but not any better than the high-end specialty restaurants on RC / Norwegian ships. Overall the food experience was just so so. I feel HAL needs to do a better job to catch up with other cruise lines. Ship: The ship is fairly small, hosting ~1,400 guests (compared to ~4,000 for RC / Norwegian ships we cruised on previously). The atmosphere does feel more relaxed due to the smaller size, and overall the ship doesn't feel crowded (except at the buffet and the day at the Glacier Bay - everybody was at the bow!). The activities on ship were most geared towards seniors so we didn't go to that many. With the nice weather / view, we spent a lot of time on the Lower Promenade and the Sports decks - these decks have outdoor loops. With a large party like ours and no way to communicate (should have brought walkie talkie!), we also spent a lot of time walking up and down stairs just to find people. The elevators are very fast, but difficult to get on (again due to the large senior crowd). The ship is small so stairs are generally adequate. Most activities are located between 3rd & 8th floors (3rd floor - outdoor loop, 4th/5th floors - auditorium, library, theater, shops, etc, 8th floor - the buffet and pool). The ship does feel a bit old but generally clean. The library area is very nice - quite spacious and equipped with many books and nice chairs. It's much nicer than the libraries found on the larger RC / Norwegian ships. Again probably a reflection of the focus on the senior guests. One thing that HAL needs to be commended on is that their casino is relatively small and smoking is not allowed there - this is very refreshing as the casino smoke was a major nuisance on RC / Norwegian ships. Kids Program: Surprisingly this is the highlight of the cruise. We cruised in early September, so many schools have already begun so there were very few kids onboard. With the few days there, we probably saw less than 30 kids total! As a result, the kid's clubs are sparsely populated, and all of my kids reported that they enjoyed the clubs very much, and said the kids program here beats the ones on RC & Norwegian. What a surprise! A very commendable job done by the kids staff on Amsterdam! Ports and Excursions: We didn't book any excursion through HAL. Instead we booked those directly with the on-shore vendors. In Skagway we booked the Skagway Van Tour with Matt - an outstanding experience and highly recommended! In Juneau we booked the Harv and Marv's whale watching and Mendenhall Glacier trip - the boat was really nice but overall not very impressive experience (feels rushed and commercial). In Ketchikan we just hopped on a bus to the Totem Bight State Park - a small but beautiful park to kill a couple of hours. Other than that we shopped and sampled various salmon products. Overall all three ports are lovely, small and tourist-friendly. The Alaskan port shops are actually quite nice with a good variety compared to Caribbean port shops. Disembarkation: Getting off the ship was quite smooth. HAL did a pretty good job there. Overall it was a memorable trip. I do feel HAL needs to try harder to catch up with other cruise lines in a number of areas, however. Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
Hello Friends at Cruise Critic, We were passengers on board the Holland America Amsterdam Pacific Northwest cruise. The cruise departed from Vancouver Tuesday May 21, 2013. Ports of call Port Alberni May 22, 2013 and Seattle May 23, ... Read More
Hello Friends at Cruise Critic, We were passengers on board the Holland America Amsterdam Pacific Northwest cruise. The cruise departed from Vancouver Tuesday May 21, 2013. Ports of call Port Alberni May 22, 2013 and Seattle May 23, 2013.My husband and I are in our late 30's we do not drink alcohol. We have taken dancing lessons and enjoy dancing.Tuesday May 21, 2013 there were many activities to keep passengers busy until 11:00 pm, after 11:00 pm there was very little to occupy your time. It was nice that there were DVD's to watch in the cabin.Wednesday May 22, 2013 the town of Port Alberni really tried to entertain the passengers by having a farmers market and there were signs welcoming the cruise. The cruise was very rocky Wednesday night we decided to order room service for dinner. Beware there is no menu for room service, the person on the phone said they were between menus. Very poor service and makes it hard to order room service. Wednesday evening we did not take part in any evening activities again there were limited options after 11:00 pm.Thursday May 23, 2013 the Seattle was beautiful as usually, we decided to walk to the city centre from the port it took about 45 minutes.We took advantage of the shopping and enjoyed the day. We boarded the ship around 2:30 pm attended the afternoon tea at 3:00pm.The table we were seated at 4 other passengers who told us that the tea on May 22, 2013 had over 150 people who showed up, the staff were not prepared and were throwing scones at people and most passengers did not get tea. We did not experience any service issues at the tea there were only about 40 passengers whom attended.After tea there was a power outage that lasted about 5 hours we went to the disembarkment meeting and the cruise director advised that the power outage was due to mechanical issues and that he was committed to keeping us updated about when the power was restored. There were announcements every 1/2 - 45 minutes until 6:30 pm then there was no communication at all around 10:00 pm the cruise pulled out of port with no announcement.A lot of the passengers were quite upset an elderly man went to the buffet at closing 8:00 pm, the curtains had just come down and the staff just started clearing away the food the passenger moved back the curtain and advised he was late and wanted dinner the crew member told he was going to call security and the spectacle became very loud both the crew members and passenger became very loud. I personally thought this could have been handled very differently. I think the crew member should have either advised the passenger where he could go and get something to eat or offer to make him a plate of food with what was left over.A lot of the passengers were very upset about the power outage and little customer service failures became major issues. There were limited activities Thursday evening and the stores did not open at all.When we left port it would have been nice to have had the stores open for a few hours. When we left port it would have been nice to have had the sail off party. Instead of having all of the activities cancelled for Thursday evening it would have been nice to have them postponed.Friday May 24, 2013 disembarkment was smooth.We were home a few days and were talking about our cruise with friends and it came up that it would have been nice to have received an apology from Holland America about the power outage either on their website or on Facebook or by email.If the power outage would have been caused by weather or something else uncontrollable I would not expect an apology.I sent a message to Holland America on their Facebook page.Advising it would have been nice to have had an apology for the power outage 23May13.I received some negative feedback and a call from Walter who is in Holland America's guest relations department.Walter told me from a management stand point they do not believe a 5 hour power outage justifies an apology.There are many options in the cruise industry. I think that if a cruise ship has a 5 hour power outage due to mechanical issues or a controllable irregular operation there should be a public apology or an emailed apology. I do not recommend Holland America. Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
We were on the December 5, 2012 Panama Canal cruise.I booked the a category FF for this cruise through HAL last summer. When the price dropped, I asked for and received a price adjustment. Two days after I made the final payment, the price ... Read More
We were on the December 5, 2012 Panama Canal cruise.I booked the a category FF for this cruise through HAL last summer. When the price dropped, I asked for and received a price adjustment. Two days after I made the final payment, the price dropped on higher-category cabins to $300 pp below what I had paid. When I called and requested an adjustment or shipboard credit, I was offered a Veranda for an additional $599 pp as the only option. After much discussion, they offered me an full ocean view guaranteed cabin for an upgrade - I took it. Just before we sailed, we were assigned a C category cabin, which is on the Promenade deck, with views of the lower part of the lifeboats, ship's railings, deck chairs and other passengers - not exactly a full ocean view. After much arguing and two calls, we were given a D category with a true full ocean view. We were notified before going to the dock that boarding would be delayed due to the Norovirus and special cleaning of the ship. When we arrived at the dock, we were given a letter offering us the chance to cancel the cruise if we so desired. We were committed to sail and looking forward to the cruise, so we declined the offer. Our cabin was very nice, but wasn't fully stocked with items until day 7. Our bon voyage gifts did not all arrive until day 2. We had to ask our cabin attendant for our bathrobes, replacement soap, replacement bath gel, washcloths, and ice. The only way to contact him was by dialing 90, which was rarely answered. We got his card with his name on it on day 10. The self-service laundries were closed until day 15. When we inquired about the ship's laundry, we were told to use the bag in our cabin, which was not there, so they gave us one and told us it would be $20/bag. After much arguing, we got it down to $5/bag, but found out later that if we had argued longer than that, it would have been free (per some fellow cruisers). Smoking rules were not enforced; not were the rules about no non-toilet trained children in the swimming pools. We were in a "Code Red" and babies who could not even walk yet were taken into the Seaview pool by their parents for several days without even swim diapers on (which were also banned from being in the pools). There were also two children on board who were totally out of control and their behavior ignored by their parents. They ran through the formal dining room shrieking many nights; climbed in the windows of the dining room; ran around the tables eating with their hands, and pretty much disturbed anyone unfortunate enough to be seated near them. That was us one night, and I had to ask to be moved in the middle of our meal due to the noise from those kids. They also appeared at almost every 10pm show in the theater, again running throughout the theater and shrieking. I never saw one crew member or maitre d' say anything to that family. When we were at the Atlantis hotel in Reno, there were some children acting similarly in the buffet - in no time, the manager was there telling the parents to control their kids or leave the restaurant. HAL has published rules about what will not be tolerated on their ships - smoking outside of designated areas, babies in pools, and disruptive guests, to name a few - they need to either enforce them or revise them to lower the expectations of their passengers. I have never been on a ship that ran out of food. The Amsterdam did. In the buffet with 1 1/2 hours left to serve, they ran out of potato chips, tomatoes and olives, and were unable/unwilling to replenish the supply. Oh the last formal night, they ran out of the featured Surf and Turf, and it took us 2 1/2 hours to have dinner. At least that got us out at 10:30pm, too late to attend the 10pm show and have to listen to the screaming kids. With Room Service, we rarely got all the items we ordered, and once got 2 carafes of coffee, but only one cup. They had the same five groups of musicians for the 17 night cruise, playing the same music every night. On other cruise lines, we usually get a variety of musicians cycled in. The "Sail-Away" parties on the aft deck were a joke. The single guitar player played riffs and improvised pieces at every Sail-Away - the music in no way reflected either the cruise or the port we had just left. It was not conducive to a party atmosphere. Very few drinks were offered or ordered. Actually, that was true most days on the aft pool deck - not many waiters available for drinks or people asking for them. People were going into the buffet and bringing out their own water or iced tea, unfortunately in real glass, so there was a bit of breakage out by the pool with all those bare feet around. The entertainment in the theater was marginal. One performer, a pianist, brought out a blow-up doll to dance with while he jiggled her buttocks and bounced her breasts-pretty cheesy. Another performer balanced a flower on his chin. And they each performed more than one night! Anyway, you get the picture, not really first-rate entertainment. The Art auction emcee gave an informative talk early in the cruise to explain the different styles of art available, to give us a brief history of his life, to introduce us to his assistant, and also to let us know that he was sleeping with her - too much information! Overall, the food in the dining room was good, nothing special. The first week the food in the buffet was not very warm and the pork and chicken was dry and tough. Some of the beef in the dining room was very tough, but seemed to improve later in the cruise (maybe they took on a new supply?). I think the Code Red for so many days really put an extra stress on the crew and prevented them from performing as they would have liked. If extra crew were not brought on board, perhaps they should have been. A cabin steward on our deck told me that he was responsible for 30 cabins, which seemed a little high to me, but I don't know what the average is industry-wide. Also, if you sail into Port Everglades, Fort Lauderdale, be prepared for incredibly long waits at the taxi stand. We waited 1 3/4 hours for a cab, and we started out #4 in line!! By the time we left, there were maybe 150+ people in line. Everglades needs to fix their transportation issues when 7-8 ships come in at once. Our cabbie said that this is a common occurrence. They did call for larger shuttles to take people to the airport - that took the pressure off the taxis, but we still had a long wait to get to our hotel. Anyway, we love NCL and Princess, and only booked HAL because of the ports they visited on this cruise (and the ports were lovely!) and because some of my cruising friends raved over HAL. I guess either different strokes OR we just hit an unbelievably poor coming together of many problems on the Amsterdam. Good Luck if you decide to sail with her. I hope your experience proves to be better than ours. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
My wife and I had done the Alaska cruise twice before and decided to take a fourteen day cruise to relax and enjoy both Alaska and Holland America. What a disappointing experience. First of all the weather was not good. We realize this ... Read More
My wife and I had done the Alaska cruise twice before and decided to take a fourteen day cruise to relax and enjoy both Alaska and Holland America. What a disappointing experience. First of all the weather was not good. We realize this is not HAL's fault but future cruisers should realize that late August and September are not the best dates to go to Alaska, cool wet weather. We have sailed on HAL twice before, once to the Med. and once to Alaska. This experience on HAL was eye opening and we will have to reconsider if we want to go with HAL again. The service and service people (Wait staff, room service staff and crew wonderful as usual). The ship is showing its age, worn, dirty, old and smelly. They worked on the ship at sea and during every port stop, smelly paint, poor air quality, blocked stairs, very inconvenient. False alarm fire, very rough cruise, ship seemed to always rolling. This had never happened before on any ship, even the small Azamara ships. Food servie during fixed seating in main dining room was great. Breakfast in Lido was fine. Lunch and dinner in Lido was terrible. Food preparation, good selection, food quality was just poor in Lido for lunch and dinner. Ship had a gastro intestinal problem that took over a week to clear up. Very difficult for both passengers and crew. I am sure that food prep and presentation during lunch and dinner in Lido contributed to this problem. Food off of the line was not hot enough, held and served at low tempertures which can lead to gastro problems. This was pointed out to the crew with no response. Cleaning was a problem, checked into our cabin and found a 'pill' on the floor. Gave it to the desk and was assured this would never happen. How can you clean and leave a pill on the middle of the floor. Air quality throughout the ship was poor. Our cabin had no ventilation, no fresh air. Lead to both headaches and nasal problems. Complained to the desk with no results. Noise level in cabin was very high. Joggers on third deck every morning at five was wonderful. Complained to front desk with no results. Smoking on board is a problem. Could not use Crows Nest, smoke smell everywhere. Went to Lido aft, lots of smoke. Smoking is allowed on all open decks. Very few smokers but inconvenienced everyone. Can't HAL limit smoking. Ships entertainment, singers and dancers just very amateur, saw two shows, not worth the effort. In general it seems HAL is beginning to fail in its promise of high quality cruising. Comparing HAL to previous cruises and to other cruise lines, they are going down hill and we will have a high level of hesitation before we book on HAL again. The Filipino crew and Indonesian crew are great, they are the only thing that makes cruising HAL worthwhile. Read Less
Sail Date August 2012
If we have just experienced Holland America's Signature of Excellence, then I am unable to understand their Banner Statement as they did not live up to this reputation. This was our first cruise with this line after being repeat ... Read More
If we have just experienced Holland America's Signature of Excellence, then I am unable to understand their Banner Statement as they did not live up to this reputation. This was our first cruise with this line after being repeat customers of NCL and Celebrity. The boarding process was very easy, the cabin and the early arrival of our luggage was very good. We were very glad to see the unobtrusive measures the crew went to in keeping the dreaded food born virus at bay, including not letting anybody serve themselves at the buffet for the first 48 hours, that was forward thinking. From that point on, however, everything else was a disappointment. We learned that this was the final leg of a "Round The World Cruise" and the ship was going into dry dock immediately following this leg of the journey. We also learned from the people who had remained on the ship that many of the crew including the galley chefs had left in San Diego and it showed. For the first few days, the chefs in the kitchen and servers in the restaurant appeared to be learning their craft and food always arrived cold at the table and with extremely long wait times. The servers would come and apologize for the slow service, and report that they had gone again to the galley to collect our food. The food left a lot to be desired, quality and quantity were not acceptable. The main problem was that the Menu did not exactly explain what you were going to get. For instance, one main evening meal for me, a small portion of appetizer, less than a quarter cup on a decorated plate, a green salad, followed by the main entrEe, which was a quarter cup of couscous, two large shrimp and some julienne carrots. This would have been acceptable but after watching the show, at nine o'clock, there was nowhere else on the ship to get a small snack or ice cream because everything was being cleaned and closed down. The quality and quantity of the meals were suspect, several at our table complained that their steak never arrived as requested and had to be returned, a couple stated that they asked for steak well done and it was almost raw when it arrived. For example I have never had Pacific Cod before that was so tough, my first thought was that it was uncooked, as the fish didn't flake. Also food was called something on the menu which it wasn't, one example of the misnaming of food was the Black Forrest Gateaux, it didn't have any chocolate cake layers, the only resemblance was the chocolate chips on the top. In fact, the descriptions were so bad, it was part of the evening's entertainment at our table to guess what we were going to eat. The ship was excessively cold the first few days and one day while waiting in line at the front desk I was approached by a lady who asked that I complain about the temperature as she hadn't been able to get anybody to do anything. In fact, it was so cold, the evening we went to watch a movie in the Wajang theater, the Canadians on board all sat there in their cold weather jackets. Whilst talking to her, I saw a crew man walking by who appeared to be an engineer and approached him direct. He stated that he was the one in charge of the air conditioning and had not be informed about any complaints. He immediately took care of the problem. We also had a problem with our air conditioning, every time we arrived or left port, our cabin was filled with an exhaust smell, hope they are going to clean the air ducts or fix the leak during their dry dock. I think that we could overlook the above problems as we all turned it into joke and used it part of our cruise conversations. This was not to be so, one final problem was in store on the last sea day when we went to check our bill. There were a half a dozen items charged for that we didn't recognize including one for $32 that turned out to be a carton of cigarettes. We were assured that we purchased this item as it couldn't have been on our account if our Cabin Card had not been swiped and we had signed the receipt. I had purchased items in the shop previously and you did have to use your card and also give your room number to make the purchase. We were then informed that we had to go to the shop and get the receipt, of course, nobody could do anything as the right person was never around. After supper, we went back to the shop and was told that there had been a mistake and it had been taken care of. Well, I wanted proof and was told to go to see Ileana in the jewelery store. There was never any apology from the Staff about the error and in fact, when the final bill arrived at our cabin on disembarkation day, there were four more charges in addition to the ones that were still on the bill. We had been charged again in error for a bottle of wine, and drinks in a couple of the bars. So we had to line up at the front desk and explain that their system had malfunctioned again. Thankfully, we had taken care of the cigarette problem the day before as by then, all the shops were closed and there would have been no way we could have gotten the receipt and credit taken care of that overcharge. The Cruise Director, apart from his morning review over the loudspeaker system, was absent, this was probably part of the "Round the World" aspect to the cruise where people had already set their daily routine and didn't need the personal contact that usually comes from a Cruise Director. I would like to add that our cabin staff and dining servers, once up to speed, were very personable and gave us great service. The gym was pretty small and weight machines were limited and there never was enough space to stretch after working out. The library and other areas were good, but there is a problem in the Queens lounge. There are two types of chairs to watch a show, some low couches and some high chairs on a pretty flat surface. Unfortunately, the high chairs were placed in front of the couches and it made for poor viewing of the shows. Hopefully, during their dry dock this problem and the theater's poor dEcor will be changed. After all, they did start pulling down the curtains in the Lido on the last day while we were still eating breakfast. Read Less
Sail Date December 2010
Four of the seven days on board our May 23rd HAL cruise on the Ms Amsterdam, we had ZERO toilet facilities because they were experiencing huge problems with the sewage system so ours either OVERFLOWED or DIDN'T WORK. It was really no ... Read More
Four of the seven days on board our May 23rd HAL cruise on the Ms Amsterdam, we had ZERO toilet facilities because they were experiencing huge problems with the sewage system so ours either OVERFLOWED or DIDN'T WORK. It was really no surprise when a lot of people(reported 78) came down with gastro-intestinal illness onboard resulting in a code red from Thursday thru Saturday. Weather resulted in us not being able to get off in Victoria so being on board with limited toilet facilities and a lot of sick people was not fun in any way shape or form. Of course coming down with the cooties from Saturday night thru yesterday(Monday) made the trip all the more horrible for me. The front desk and guest relations were not terribly concerned or responsive, we were given a bottle of wine after my husbands keys ceased to work to comp us for the technical difficulties however lack of toilet facilities didn't result in anything other than a pat, "we are aware of the problem and are working on it" or my least favorite, "people flush things down the toilet they shouldn't so it's not really a surprise yours is broken." Presumably, I am those people? At one point 50 plus staterooms, crew cabins etc. were affected by a faulty sewage tank on a day at sea from early morning until 6:30 pm. Service in the dining room for our table #55 was abysmal on our first night(we never returned), our wine steward never showed, food came at different times or not at all. The people we were traveling with complained and got re-assigned to table #43 and a superb waiter named Reo who was indeed  excellent. Our room stewards were great and our room was topically clean at least. Disturbingly I never smelled bleach or any other agent that would leave me to believe our room was bacteria free nor was our room/bathroom cleaned with hazmat gear meaning that our raw sewage was presumably tracked thru our cabin, down the hallway and any other room the repair people and or stewards visited. The singing barista, Leo, was a joy, Andi in the gym and a few of the Lido staff but otherwise the service was rather unremarkable. I have ten years in the hospitality industry and choose my land bound accommodations based on value versus service. Sadly HAL didn't even come close to breaking even in this regards.   Read Less
Sail Date May 2009
Please enter your review. We just returned from a 7 day Inside passage cruise. It was the cruise from hell!! 1st of all, we never got any announcements from the bridge as for sea life sightings. For example, luckily we were in the crows ... Read More
Please enter your review. We just returned from a 7 day Inside passage cruise. It was the cruise from hell!! 1st of all, we never got any announcements from the bridge as for sea life sightings. For example, luckily we were in the crows nest when we went thru a pod of Orca's. We were in them about 15 minutes and never once was a announcement from the crew about the outside activity. The Captain was never visible. During our Mariners luncheon he came and made his required speech then left. During the meet the captain nite he was on stage to introduce the crew, we made a toast then he left again. Of course we didn't get to hear all of that because we were late getting there. (See below) Also, our wait staff was terrible. Our head waiter would come and fill a couple of glasses of water then walk away leaving the other 4 empty. Also we notified him every night that we were going to the entertainment after dinner and only 1 time did we make it before the show actually started. The wine steward never could get our wine right even tho we purchased the package during boarding. Sometimes we would not even get it until dinner was served. As far as the activity director again the only time we heard him was during the performances, and the departure briefing. Never once did he come on and announce the daily activities or anything else. On the shore excursions we felt we were abandon at the gangplank. All of our tours were "meet at the bottom of the gangplank. Could not the activity director given us a little help there as to what we should be looking for instead of us have to ask everyone at the bottom of the gangplank? The dress code was never enforced. There would be people in the Lido deck at 10 AM in their bathrobes. This is not home folks!!! There was one night during the entertainment that the performer even chastised one of the guys about the way he was dressed. It happened to be "Barnaby" the comedian but he was not kidding. The guy had on shorts, t-shirt and tennis shoes with a ball cap. Another time a lady was in line for the late seating with her son. She had on a pair of jeans (not designer) and a t-shirt and her son had on "camo" with a t-shirt not either t-shirt even tucked in. This is smart casual??? I have to say that during our mariners luncheon the lunch and service was as to be expected. Very professional, courteous, food was hot and glasses never empty. That is the way all of the dinners should have been. We sailed Holland America on the Volendam thru the Panama Canal Feb 2006 on a 17 day cruise and the crew was wonderful. The wait staff was there to help us get seated and with the napkins, the wine steward was there within minutes of us being seated, they knew we wanted cappuccino coffee after dinner by the 3rd day without having to ask, and we were always to the shows on time. There was never anyone running around the ship in bathrobes. And the activities director was always updating us on the daily activities. Also she would have us meet in the theater before going ashore to brief us on what to do and where to meet our shore activity guide. The crew was always informing us of any whales, or crocs and telling us ship information such as depth of the ocean, sea and air temp etc. We were even recognized by one of the Lido buffet waiters on this cruise from a previous cruise. On the Panama Cruise the Captain was always visible and pleasant to answer questions. The meet the Captains nite he was there for pictures and to dance in the Crows nest later. We thought that is the way cruising is supposed to be and what we expected. I'm not sure we will sail with Holland America again! Read Less
Sail Date September 2008
I just returned from a 7 day Alaska cruise onboard the Amsterdam. I would like to share some of my experience with my fellow cruise critic members. Embarkation in Seattle: Very organized, fast and efficient. Plenty of porters to take ... Read More
I just returned from a 7 day Alaska cruise onboard the Amsterdam. I would like to share some of my experience with my fellow cruise critic members. Embarkation in Seattle: Very organized, fast and efficient. Plenty of porters to take your luggage. Check-in was a breeze and in no time we were onboard the ship. Lunch buffet served in the Lido Buffet while the cabins were being cleaned. Cabin: We were in a verandah suite on deck 6. The cabin size was very good. The large couch and sitting area made a difference. The size of our verandah was also very good. That's where the positive stops. The cabin was filthy dirty. Piles of dust behind the flat screen tv, dust on the couch, a beat up refrigerator ( I mean you could have dropped it from the side of the ship and let it spend a month at sea and bring it back on board, that's what it looked like). Rust and scratches. Bathtub had rust lines that leaked down the wall every time we took a shower. I was absolutely shocked. I had heard all the wonderful things about Holland America Line and found this to be outrageous. I'm wondering if this is what they mean by "Signature of Excellence". Cabin was not made until 2 or 3 p.m. Ship: The Amsterdam looks like a floating retirement home. The carpets are worn out and dirty, the decor is drab and old. I have never seen such a fashion emergency on a cruise ship as on this one. It's in desperate need of time in dry-dock and a good update of it's fabrics,carpets, curtains and soft goods. Chairs in the lounges are beat up. Windows are dirty. Power lines are taped to the floor. Refrigerator cord goes over the edge of the vanity before being plugged to the wall. Service: The crew tries very hard. They are personable and friendly, but that's where it all ends. The service is confused and lacks focus. The ship is understaffed. There aren't enough bar waiters, cabin stewards and staff to make this work. This ship is in desperate need of a good Hotel Manager. Food: Someone here made the right statement about the food onboard: "It sounds good, It looks good, and it tastes of nothing". Horrific food in the dining room. Food is always served lukewarm. The only meal I had the entire week served at the proper temperature was the escargot. Even the famed Pinnacle Grill left lots to be desired. They had an iron, I kid you not, plugged and sitting on the top of the main vanity in the Pinnacle Grill dining room, which they use to take the creases off the tablecloths in view of all guests! Plates were picked up before all guests in the table finished each course. We asked to start with choice A just to have choice B brought to our table. This happened over and over, at different tables in the dining room and during our evening in the Pinnacle Grill. Food in the Lido Buffet is actually good. The Asian choices are particularly good. Room service is also very good. Front Desk and Shore Excursion Office Staff: FANTASTIC! These are well trained and efficient employees who really make a difference on board. Entertainment: The production show I attended was very good. The dancers and singers were actually very capable, it has been a long time since I have felt a show on a cruise ship didn't feel like a high school production, and on this Holland America exceeds. Ports of Call: All Alaska ports of call were wonderful and disembarkation and optional tours worked out great at each port. I am particularly fond of the optional tour in Ketchikan where you take one of the fishing boats which took place in the Discovery Channel's "Deadliest Catch" show. We went out with the Aleutian Ballad for four hours on what I call the highlight of our trip to Alaska. The crew is fantastic, the ship, which was converted to a tour boat is impeccable, and the experience is as authentic and original as one can come to in Alaska. We spent four hours with the wonderful crew learning and seeing first hand how crab fishing is done in Alaska. This is a brand new tour. I can't thank them enough for the great job they did. Disembarkation: Amazing! very organized and fast. We didn't have to stand in line for Customs or Immigration. We handed in our customs forms to a Holland America employee and we got on a taxi within 15 minutes. Overall: I'm afraid to say this was not a positive experience with Holland America Line. I have no doubt they have the knowledge, the employees, and the resources, but for some odd reason this rates as one of the worst cruises I have ever taken. I would like to see them live up to their slogan of "Signature of Excellence". I hear great things about other Holland America ships, but I must tell you the MS Amsterdam which is only 7 years old, looks like a 50 year old ship. What they do well: The Lido Buffet, the beautiful place settings in the dining rooms and the Pinnacle Grill, the fresh orange juice machines, the linens and silverware in the buffet, the fresh towels in the public bathrooms, the quality of the bedding in the cabin, including nice linens and pillows, the fresh pastries and breads which are amazing, the quality of the Asian choices in the buffet, the outdoor decks and nice chairs in the promenade deck, the nice outdoor pool, the large bathroom in the cabin. Read Less
Sail Date September 2007
Background: We have just returned yesterday from a week long trip to Alaska. We had traveled with the Windstar (then part of Holland America) on our last trip and had loved it, this was nothing like it (which is a great advert for Windstar ... Read More
Background: We have just returned yesterday from a week long trip to Alaska. We had traveled with the Windstar (then part of Holland America) on our last trip and had loved it, this was nothing like it (which is a great advert for Windstar I suppose!). We were traveling with my 77 year old father and wanted a ship that wasn't too big, but had a good reputation and offered good accommodation, access to tours etc. We worked with our local travel company and they suggested this one. Hotel: We self booked and stayed the Westin in Seattle, well recommended, it is a $30 cab ride to the pier though, as it is on the other side of town, but was worth being in the middle of things the night before we left on the cruise. Ship Info: We pre registered, I highly recommend it, we sped thru the on boarding process. People started turning up at 12, the earliest they were letting you on board (we were there at 1). There were lots of people to help, beware of the offer to load your cases and carry them thru for you, it is only a 40 feet max trip before they get dropped off for x-ray and you don't see them again till you are in your state room. Look your best, the photo opportunities (and trust me there are many!) started before you even get on the ship. The ship is well signed, three sets of elevators and stairs with maps in each elevator lobby you can't get lost too easily. But be careful not all floors are accessible by taking any elevator and expecting to be able to walk forwards and backwards. If you are assigned lower Fontine restaurant (main) seating, which is on the 4th floor, you have to go up or down stairs midships and then walk towards the back (aft) then go up / down to get to your floor (the kitchens are on the 4th). Activities: Not many and childish in the main. Bingo (be prepared to spend $20 - $30 for your cards), Casino while at sea, the usual art auction of stuff they haven't been able to sell before. A few 'hole in one' competitions on the pool deck (they cover the pool, so it is swimmable if you want and there is a spa). Unending sales promotions for jewelry, how to shop in your next port talks (and funnily enough they seem to be happy to guarantee your purchases if you buy them from particular stores....). They had few activities for active people (towards the end basketball and ping pong) and the cruise director comes across as talking to 5 year olds all the time, false smiley voice sort of stuff. They did have a cooking demo a couple of days and they did have blackjack and Texas Hold'em comps on several days, they fill up quickly and yes of course it costs to join them. Did the kitchen tour, worth seeing behind the scenes. Service: Excellent, the staff were all willing to go the extra mile, from the people in the dining room who ran upstairs to get some sugar free ice cream for my diabetic father to the cabin steward who left surprises in our rooms most nights for us. The people on the ship were excellent, I have no complaints there only praise, they all seem to care. Shore Excursions: Again we booked ahead of time and was glad we had. We got the trips we wanted and the ship left an envelope in our room with all our excursion tickets in it, so we knew exactly what we were doing and when. We had been worried about booking a trip too close to the arrival of the ship at port, but there was no need to worry. They give you priority and if your trip is delayed getting back (and it is one you booked thru the ship) they will wait for you - they won't if you just wondered off to explore on your own! We choose to go Whale Watching, we went out to the Otter Sanctuary, we went on a float plane trip over a glacier and also choose to visit a rain forest. Only the rain forest one was not a good choice. Both the Whale watching and the Otter one's are MUST do's, they were awesome. Bring layers of clothes, including a light rain jacket, it can get wet there on the top deck. All the boat tours supply binoculars, so one less thing for you to carry. The guides were knowledgeable, young and just as excited at the things we saw as we were - we did get to see 5 whales bubble net feeding, several times - the true highlight of the whole trip. Staterooms: We booked a suite for ourselves and a standard double room for my dad. We were able to link him to ours so we could disembark together on the one day we had to tender ashore. If you can afford it, I highly recommend it, there was plenty of room and a decent sized balcony. We also got binoculars as part of the room, complimentary laundry, champers from the captain, free DVD and book rental and access to the Neptune Lounge, where they have good coffee/tea and juices as well as no added sugar snacks, fruit and cookies, chocolate etc. The concierge in that room was great, anything you needed could be sourced by her, including last minute trips, reservations etc. The double is tiny, not a room you want to spend much time in, cramped sitting area at the end of the bed and a functional bathroom. We were ticked, they charged my dad 200% single occupancy for being on his own. They can arrange the beds as one king or 2 doubles, I suggest in order to be able to see out of the window behind the bed, that you consider asking in advance for them to separate the beds. The beds are comfy, good pillows and the suite has a large sofa that converts into a queen if you did want to put someone else in there too. Plenty of hanging room for clothes and drawers etc. A fridge in every room which was useful. Dining: 5 choices: pool side: (burgers, hot dogs, little salad bar)no frills cooked to order Lido: average buffet stuff, with up to 10 people in front of you for the omelette in the morning and just 1 chef making them. The food was plentiful and when they say they close at xx.xx then they really are shut by then, so don't wait till the last moment. Tea and coffee available all day there, check your daily sheet for their times and specials, including the ice cream offerings (including sugar and fat free) and the changing late night buffet. Don't expect too much, it is far more like Denny's does buffet instead of the Ritz!! If you are looking for seafood coming out of the yazoo, you are going to be very disappointed. Pinnacle Grill: $30 per person charge and the portions are not big. If you go there, make sure you don't bank on sharing any side dish, order one each, they are all included in the price, order as many as you want the rice is good, worth a try, but you only get one soup spoon size of it, so don't be polite or you'll end up in the lido afterwards! If you order wine there and don't finish it, they will have it delivered to the main dining room for you the next night. The menu doesn't change there. If you do go, order the baked alaska, they turn off the lights and make it into real theater - very enjoyable. Avoid the lamb chops, ours were tough! Main dining room: set seating, excellent service, food sounds wonderful, looks good, tastes of nothing! Very ambitious menus, not executed well, you won't leave hungry, expect to spend up to 1.5 to 2 hours there, it is just a pity that the food lets the staff down! In room dining: 24 hour (providing they are not serving dinner, in which case you wait till the 2nd sitting is done!), they have a limited 24 hour menu, but they also offer the main dining room menu at night while the dining room is open (you can order it, they just deliver it a little later, bizarre). No french fries available unless you visit the lido, so if all you want is burger and fries be prepared to have chips or potato salad instead. My husband is a 'fussy eater' just plain food, no sauces etc. they did have (on all but one night)an alternative menu so he could have his steak or salmon. Read the menu all the way thru, they offer soups in 4 different places on it!! TIP: Be there a couple of minutes AFTER the restaurant opens, they don't open the doors till your set time and the crowds are bad as everyone just huddles together blocking the elevator doors, standing on the stairs etc.. 2 formal nights on board, they do rent tuxes and dresses if you really want to be pretentious and uncomfortable. Most people just wore pants and a jacket, but they do look for a tie for the men and a lot of the women either wore a nice dress or smart pants and a nice top. My husband refuses to dress to suit other people just decided to wear a collared shirt and smart pants without the tie or jacket - they did approach him as he entered the dining room to tell him it was formal night but he told them he was eating there and wasn't prepared to dress to impress others and they immediately backed off. The restaurant manager had already told us plenty of others do it too and it was fine! Entertainment: Is that what they called it? Oh boy. Amateur night for the main part. A piano singer that can not sing in the piano bar, and wana'be's, never were's and won't ever be's in the main show room. The crew show was good, at least you felt it was genuine. The young musical based entertainers on the first night were ok for a high school production (lots of energy and false smiles), the rest were hit and miss at best. The captain: Avoid the captain and his toasts, unless you really need that glass of cheap champaign. He is dour and on all the time there we never saw him smile. They even ask you not to shake his hand in case your germs infect him!! He was so rude that while the cruise director was introducing the department heads on to the stage he just kept talking to the person beside him instead of paying attention. You really got the impression that he'd rather be pulling his toe nails off with a pliers than being there with his guests on the 3 occasions we were at the same functions as him. Points of particular noteworthy: They bombard you with 5 or 6 pieces of info every morning which they then add to as the day goes on. The daily broad sheet tells you very little but the bottom section tears off and is worth carrying with you. It tells you events for the day and the meal times and choices. They do supply a recycle can in your room, we filled it every day with useless shopping info on board and on shore, I really wish there was a way to opt out of the advertising paperwork, we could have saved half a rain forest!!! Buy, buy buy: The seemingly non stop activities to get you to part with your money was very annoying. From the soft drinks card (yep, they aren't free) to the photo opportunities to the withdraw up to $1000 a day at the casino and we'll charge it to your card for just 3% commission is irritating. From the bling laden jewelry stores, to the over priced coffee shop (Starbucks eat your heart out, almost $7 for a frozen coffee drink) to the 'sign up for another cruise' talks, invitations for one on ones with the future cruise guy etc.. What they needed was 'here is our next port', this is what the town has to offer, this is what they are famous for, here are the names of some of the restaurants there, these are the sort of excursions we still have space for, instead of 'here is how to shop at our favorite stores there' (they even admit they get paid to advertise for them on board). The whole trip seemed like a way to part you with as much money as you could instead of a pleasurable, expensive, vacation for you. Bitter? yes we are, the over commercialized feel and lack of real substance of activities and quality of entertainment for the almost $8,500 we spent is criminal and we will be avoiding this line again. The Windstar line really is 180 degrees from the norm, and now we know why! Read Less
Sail Date July 2007
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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