Sail Date: January 2008
First I would like to say my husband and I love to cruise. We've been on 8 other cruises. We've been on Carnival, Princess and RCCL. We tried HAL because it's one of the few that leaves from NY in the winter months. I'm ... Read More
First I would like to say my husband and I love to cruise. We've been on 8 other cruises. We've been on Carnival, Princess and RCCL. We tried HAL because it's one of the few that leaves from NY in the winter months. I'm sorry to say we should have stayed home! HAL was so bad all around that I wanted to be a stow away on another cruise ship in one of the ports! EMBARKATION; This went smoothly after the cruise before came in late because of a storm. This was not HAL's fault. Once we started boarding it went quickly. When we had to do our safety drill that was the first encounter with VERY SARCASTIC crew members. Quite a few of them had given nasty answers to simple questions. Activities; They had your usual pool games and I was told that were lucky because this ship had quite a few younger people to play these games! I'd say maybe 20% of the people were under 60 yrs. old. They had Bingo and really not much else. The shops were small, the casino was small, The pool area was also small. There was only 2 pools. SHORE EXCURSIONS; They had a selection of things to do but we found everything a little pricey. We just went our own way. Before I write any more I would like to say after 2 days we started noticing things were being put away. No salt & pepper shakers on the tables, the shops were roped off except for 1 way in and 1 way out. Purell being put in more places. After another day or so the Captain finally came on to tell us that about 21 people have a GI virus and they are trying to contain it so it doesn't spread any further. Next we were not allowed to touch anything in the Lido. We were handed our silverware, our trays, our food. We could not even make our own coffee.Everything was saranwraped off so we could not get to anything. WE totally understand and did not want to get sick but after a while it was frustrating. All the crew was helping out all over the ship so the dishes piled up on the Lido deck and also after Dinner in the restaurant. After another 2 days the Captain let us know that about 40 people and a few crew members were sick. Never once did he say it was the NORO Virus. We were not kept well informed. WE were actually told not to use the public restrooms and to go back to our cabins! Not always convenient. SERVICE:  Giving that most of the staff was helping to serve food and follow people with purell, the service was not so great. You really couldn't even find a bartender at the pool! The dishes piled up on tables and it just wasn't cleaned as other cruises we've been on. I do have to say our cabin steward was great. Our cabin was very clean everyday he even kept the balcony clean. DINING:  This was the worst food I've ever eaten on a cruise. They tried to be too fancy and ended up with food that had no taste except salt. I do not eat meat and there wasn't a big choice for me. At least they had salmon on the menu everyday. My husband does eat meat and sometimes had no choice but to eat a steak because there was nothing that even sounded good. I was very happy on lobster night finally, so I ordered 2 tails because it's really surf & turf and I could not believe 1 tail was black. I called the waiter over and was told that's no good don't eat it and it took him about 16 minutes to bring me another one. We tried the Pinnacle Grill one night at $30. pp you would think It would be great, another disappointment. My scallops were not fully cooked and neither was my husbands steak. He sent it back to cook and by the time it came back everything else was cold. The waitress also insulted my sister in law who ordered a porterhouse. The waitress said low that no women ever order that large of a steak. But we heard her!! We complained again and them we were called to the Restaurant Mgr. office. His name was Darrin Lewis. The rudest man I've ever met. After an interrogation we were finally refunded our money. Also My husband drinks Coors Lite and every can was out of date. The Lido, on quite a few occasions ran out of cheese for the pizza, they ran out of coffee cups & teaspoons for breakfast! ENTERTAINMENT; This was poor. It would have been better to watch a kindergarten class. The usual newlywed game was funny and one comedian, Don Ware, was very funny. The only reason he even was on this ship was because of the writers strike. He should have been on every night. All and all you had to entertain your self! DISEMBARKMENT; This was nice because we were allowed to stay in our cabins and wait. This was a great idea and ran very smooth. SUMMARY; We finally found out that well over 100 people and crew members were sick and the CDC finally called it the NORO Virus. I called HAL when we got home to complain and was told if I had a lot of complaints I should E-Mail. I did. 2 times. No response. I tried to call ,was told to leave a message someone would get back to me. No one did. Finally I got someone on the phone and was told they are 3 to 4 weeks behind. That tells me I'm not the only one out there that will not sail HAL ever again!!! Read Less
Sail Date: March 2007
Embarkation- The embarkation in New York was very smooth. The previous cruise got in late to New York due to bad weather and we still were able to board before 1:00. Overall Experience- I am writing the review as a warning to others with ... Read More
Embarkation- The embarkation in New York was very smooth. The previous cruise got in late to New York due to bad weather and we still were able to board before 1:00. Overall Experience- I am writing the review as a warning to others with children thinking of booking a Holland America Cruise - I would seriously reconsider. We were booked on a Easter Holiday cruise, where 450 kids were expected on board. The kids club was less then adequate for this number. They have a policy that children over 8 must be allowed to sign themselves out or they must be with the 5 -7 year olds. This allows for children to roam all over the ship while their parents think they are at the kids club. The ship was completely out of control, especially for the several at sea days. Our cruise experienced vandalism, fire alarms being pulled and general misbehavior of kids everywhere. My son is 11 and has been on 8 cruises and would not go to the kids club, due to the age inappropriate activities. They group ages 8-12 together and the activities are geared for 8 year olds. Families were thrown off the ship at ports after kids were caught misbehaving. The balance of the guests were seniors who have no patience for kids and were annoyed that they were on the ship. This causes additional issues. They sit and complain about the children everywhere and you feel very unwelcome. Our cruise also experienced 1 senior who needed to be helicoptered off the ship. This delayed up by 8 hours and caused us to miss the first port. They of course needed to do this, but they did not compensate in any way for this to the other passengers. We were given 1 hour extra in St Thomas, but all this did was delay us the next day and cause further problems. Dining- The food was good, but the service was horrible. We were shocked since we expected service similar to Celebrity, but it would barely match a Carnival experience. Waiters were not friendly, helpful or attentive. This could be the result of the overbooking, but certainly not an excuse. They did not make us feel welcome or go out of the way ever. Pinnacle Grill was ok, we went twice. Menu is a bit odd. Filet is good, Rib Steak is terrible and had to be sent back. Service was very good. Dress code was not enforced this week for some reason and shorts were allowed at dinner and lunch. You could tell the staff just did not care anymore since this trip was a disaster. Lido Buffet was good, however breakfast lines can be very long due to egg stations in the middle of the buffet lines. Drinks - Holland America does not offer an unlimited soda card as other cruise lines do. The card is 20.00 for 20 sodas. It is annoying and if you lose them as kids do, they do not replace. The drinks are filled with ice and each refill is another punch on the card. They do not offer punch or other drinks that kids would like with dinner or other meals. We brought our own soda on from some of the islands and this helped Front Desk Staff- They were less then knowledgeable about Islands or any issues that you went to them with. Excursion Desk - The excursion desk is run by a group of idiots. They do not know the excursions. They are completely un helpful and give out mis information. We arrived in Dominica late and had to chase our excursions. They did not wait as other cruise lines do for the group. My husbands Scuba diving boat left without him and another guest. They did not call ahead to tell Dive company that we were running 1 hour or so late. Sheldon excursion manager was nasty, and completely unhelpful. He said that he did not speak english when he clearly did to others. I would seriously recommend skipping most excursions and sticking with cabs, cheaper and better in all cases. Pool - Getting a lounge chair by the family pool was impossible. People got up at 6:30 a.m. and put hats on all chairs and then did not show up until later in the day. They do not enforce the policy of not saving chairs. It was incredibly frustrating since we had 4 days at sea going down, due to a passenger getting ill and needing to be helicoptered off. The chair situation was just as awful going back to NY. The pool had no activities for families and the band rarely played. It was more like a nursing home experience then a cruise. Entertainment - The entertainment was very good. They had magic, comedians and a juggler. All were very good . I would not recommend this cruise to anyone under the age of 60. This is an old folks cruiseline and they want to keep it that way. They do not respect families and their are much better options out there. Save your money and your sanity and book Disney, Royal Caribbean or Princess. Your kids will have fun, and you will relax and not need to worry about them as much. Read Less
Noordam Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 0.0
Dining 4.0 0.0
Entertainment 4.0 0.0
Public Rooms 4.0 0.0
Fitness Recreation 3.0 0.0
Family 2.0 0.0
Shore Excursion 3.0 0.0
Enrichment 4.0 0.0
Service 4.0 0.0
Value For Money 3.0 0.0
Rates 4.0 0.0

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