Sail Date: March 2019
Heard so much about Holland America and had to try. Embarkation and Debarkation was perfect. Rooms were ready upon boarding. Cabin stewards were pleasant and accommodating. Dinner the first evening was less than optimal. We were seated at ... Read More
Heard so much about Holland America and had to try. Embarkation and Debarkation was perfect. Rooms were ready upon boarding. Cabin stewards were pleasant and accommodating. Dinner the first evening was less than optimal. We were seated at 7:30 and did not finish until 8:45. Two nights later we arrived at 6:00 and finished at 7:45. When we left the dining room people were complaining that they waited two hours to be seated. The rest of the evenings we ate at the Lido Market. This was very good for the most part. We ate all other meals there and had no complaints. Common bathrooms were not well attended. One had no soap for a few hours. Pool bath had no towels at one point. The bath on deck 5 was a huge problem one night. It was horrible. The staff all over the ship were great. They were efficient, pleasant and helpful. Barry the pianist was over the top awesome. Just not a musician, but a real entertainer. Very funny too. We were there every night. This was our favorite part of the cruise. Comedian/impressionist -great show. The modern jukebox group was the entertainment two of the evenings. Not a fan! Guest services staff was awesome. Every one of them were helpful. We booked a suite, thinking that it was something a bit special. It was actually a room with a balcony. That was a bit disappointing but we should have done more research. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
I found this ship lacking in many areas. Needs updating and some maintenance as well. The things I didn't care fore were as follows: Lido deck pool area was covered with a glass dome. Only one small panel was open. We are cruising ... Read More
I found this ship lacking in many areas. Needs updating and some maintenance as well. The things I didn't care fore were as follows: Lido deck pool area was covered with a glass dome. Only one small panel was open. We are cruising the Caribbean, not the arctic. I like to get some sun on my pasty white body while lounging by the pool on sea days. The aft-Lido deck pool was more a ditch - not a pool. It was barely 2 feet wide and about 30 feet long with maybe 6 inches of water in it. This is not a pool so why advertise it as such. Cabin entrance was very narrow with a bathroom door on the left and several closet doors on the right upon entering the cabin. You can't open both at the same time and if someone is standing near the closet doors when someone else comes out of the bathroom, someone will get hurt. The tub in the bathroom was also very deep and difficult to get in and oRust was visible here and there and other cosmetic things. The crew, for the most part. was great. Very responsive to customer needs. There were some servers in the buffet at breakfast who were a little cranky and this was also seen at the Sea View Bar a couple of times as well. Otherwise, all were very customer focused. The food was generally very good and Holland Am. has finally fixed their Pizza parlour :) They used to have some sort of odd cornmeal based crust but now have a nice thin crust model. It was very tasty and always made fresh for you. Oddly enough. I found the bed uncomfortable. Not sure why as it felt soft and plush but each morning when I woke up, I felt stiff and a little sore for awhile. The entertainment we saw was quit good. We enjoyed the comedian and the magician shows. Getting on and off the ship was efficient and quick. We didn't really take advantage of any excursions offered through the ship so I can comment on those. Overall, we had a great holiday. We always do but this ship was lacking in a number of areas. I understand it is going to Europe soon and I hope they do a little maintenance work before launching over there. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
We chose this cruise because it was the last but one out of Tampa. We had a Neptune suite which was a perfect size for 2 folks,which by the way had a massive Balcony. Neptune Lounge was a great spot to get snacks and drinks and the staff ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it was the last but one out of Tampa. We had a Neptune suite which was a perfect size for 2 folks,which by the way had a massive Balcony. Neptune Lounge was a great spot to get snacks and drinks and the staff were on the ball every day. We did not enjoy Formal night in the Dining Room because there where long lines if you did not have a reservation.Although we have been to all the stops several times we fulfilled our ambition to have a relaxing time.The ship in our minds is a well looked after vessel with some fantastic art and furniture. Lots of Quite areas to relax in, and loud ones if you like. The entertainment Staff 5 Stars, Food 5 Stars, entertainment 4 Stars.Cabin staff 5 Stars.All round a great little Cruise. Getting on board EASY getting off Easier. We will miss this shipping line because i don't like going to Miami to go Cruising or Cape Canaveral. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
Living close to Tampa, I enjoy being able to jump on a ship just to cruise. The Rotterdam reminded me of why I like HAL. It is a smaller ship with fewer people and more room to just sit and relax. During the day there was always a place ... Read More
Living close to Tampa, I enjoy being able to jump on a ship just to cruise. The Rotterdam reminded me of why I like HAL. It is a smaller ship with fewer people and more room to just sit and relax. During the day there was always a place I could go and sit to read my book. This ship has the old library setup, separate from the Crows Nest. I much prefer this, as it still has books you want to read. The staff has mingled the paperbacks that passengers donated with the hard backed books first set up by The New York Times. Although the Eames chairs are gone, there are six recliners. One was broken but if you got there early, you had a comfortable seat. Of course, games are set up here and it did get a bit noisy. It is spring break and we had lots of children, some rowdy. The Ocean Bar was another quiet place. The staff was exceptionally friendly and helpful. Every morning in the Lido, coffee and juice was brought to the table. Our room steward was very attentive and could not do enough for us. Dinners were good but you never knew what size/portion you would receive. The wiener schnitzel was huge but the scallop brioche was one scallop and two shrimp on rice. Too small! Of course you can always ask for more. The things I miss are shows with singers and dancers, more than just three or four flavors of ice cream on the Lido deck, ice sculptures, and eggs benedict with crab, etc. It seems like HAL is cutting back on the small extras and nice touches from past years. I am getting old, I remember Midnight Buffets! All in all, if you like smaller ships, the Rotterdam will meet your needs. I enjoyed my cruise but will not pay for the Spa's relaxation room again. There were just too many people booked. I could not get a heated lounger twice, and the room only has a small hot tub that is not jetted. I don't use the Steam Room so I don't feel it is worth the cost. I will miss HAL when it leaves Tampa at the end of this year. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
The reviews of HAL out here lately have been snarky. We had a lovely time some years back in Canada on the Veendam. For some reason we strayed – but we can’t remember why. I had one open week in March and searched on price and ... Read More
The reviews of HAL out here lately have been snarky. We had a lovely time some years back in Canada on the Veendam. For some reason we strayed – but we can’t remember why. I had one open week in March and searched on price and a few of my criteria. The Rotterdam was the cheapest for ocean view- and for Mariner members we got $100 off on HAL.COM. One thing to watch for on OV on some Holland ships- they are nice and big and have a couch- (and even a bathtub). But a top grade (HH) can be obstructed view literally on Lower Promenade. DH did not trust the one way glass tinting- as people could possibly see in as they walked by. We booked a specific porthole (1815) down on deck one “Dolphin” - and were amused to get three “urgent” upgrade offers back up to HH- starting at $69 pp and the last was $19 pp. We had one 110V outlet, one German (250V/50hz) outlet and 2x USB charging ports. Tampa is usually a low cost air destination for us. I saved a little and booked a connecting flight- why I asked myself after a four hour delay. Ubers are cheap and abundant. The cab from the airport asked for $26 not on the meter, six over Uber XL and DH rolled her eyes and tipped him poorly. The chain hotels were pricey the start of spring break. We tried the Tahitian. The reviews were mixed. The pool and grounds were good. It has a smallish main building with a 1970s motel out back. There is no one from chain headquarters to remind the owner he needs to write a check and fix stuff like beds, bubbling plaster and clock radios or lose his franchise. The little breakfast/lunch café inside was excellent- the Tampa Police eat there. There is a cute residential neighborhood out back. Embarkation at 11 AM was less than optimal. We were too early, yes, but Terminal Six has not enough chairs. So get there at 11:30 and you proceed to the gangway and not have to stand in line after your speedy check in. Actual boarding started at 11:40. The ship is lovely and being very aggressively maintained – new carpet, paint, piping etc. The crew was cheerful and the art is really top notch. Rooms were ready at 11:45 AM- who ever heard of that. We ate embarkation lunch in the MDR. The selections were just right. The Cajun items had un-spiced sausage but they did a good job on vegetables and soups. Dinners were also good- we had aft facing sharing tables for eight and the conversation was really great – four couples our age with 15+ cruises each. Note the average passenger age was up there. The wine prices were high to us- $9 is apparently the norm -but they had three IPAs. One was out of stock but they had a Florida one that was not bad. A few tap beers are available here and there. We were so excited to see the Oceans Quartet (sometimes or formerly called Neptunes) with four sets starting at 7PM or even 5PM. The dance floor is smallish (14 feet by 14 feet or so) but the band was very good- the guys are from Mexico and will be on the ship until May. Several couples were dancing. One of the dancers said they were playing all jazz the previous week but I went up and begged for some Latin – and it was amazing. A piano player was there in between sets. If you know the Foxtrot Box Step- it is handy on a small floor. Up the way there was a piano bar player- he was well regarded- Barry from Boston. The casino was packed and a bit smoky. There was no actual production show- this caused some grumbling– replaced by a movie. Others seemed OK with the movie. There was comedy a few nights. Both were good and one of the comedy shows had music (we won’t give it away). There was a musical show- Postmodern Jukebox that was only OK but way over hyped. If I was HAL I would being back a smallish production show. The reports on the Test Kitchen were positive. As I write this is it 5:45 AM in the lounge/coffee shop/library aka Explorations Cafe. There is no library on the deck plans but there are actual books, puzzles, board games and no piped in music. The coffee shop opens at 6:30. For a transatlantic or world cruise this is an excellent and large space- and very under-rated. We had our Cruise Critic unofficial meet and greet around a giant puzzle. They need a few electric outlets, and there is a wooden book sculpture that takes up a whole writing desk and needs to be recycled. I found a wireless laser printer which was good for boarding passes etc. The ship has an aft pool. These are nice and a good way to enjoy the sea views. Key West is a good port. On our third trip there we hunted for the free bus, which for us was like a unicorn and hard to find. Two important clues- it is called the Duval Loop and is a smallish city bus. There is a commercial trolley-bus and a wheeled train. The Duval Loop has red circular signs marking the stops. It was very full when we rode it and the commentary was safety vs tourist focused. The Southernmost Beach Café was again excellent and we found Turkish trivets and key lime jelly beans on Duval. The funny and interesting port talks downplayed Porto Tomas in Guatemala. The message was, over and over, buy a shore excursion or else you will be bored and disappointed. Some of us took the or else- many staying on the ship. There was hint you could walk out the gate of the container port by the craft market, go straight a block then right around the miniature naval station to some waterfront restaurants. At least one showed up on the online rating sites and can be seen from the ship. We dropped into Donde Pilo which seated us over the water on a thatched roof dock. They were sweet and friendly and recommending the large lobster seafood soup for $20. Some friends who arrived by power wheelchair had a huge fish. Divide all local currency prices by 7. We looked for and saw several crew. If they are trying to promote the port in the bigger picture I would humbly suggest to HAL and the Tourist Board to rent a few golf carts and shuttle guests over there. It is a similar look, feel and walk to Senior Frogs in Nassau. Pro tip- the local beer was $2. The craft market at the pier had pretty local crafts – I got two nice hand made belts for $20 each. Taxis to the actual town, a few miles away, were like $10pp round trip. Service in the MDR was cheerful but slow. Breakfast food was lovely – lots of choices- full English, waffles and even Asian. But they would take 45 minutes and ask for juice two or three times etc. We diagnosed the issue as “stay in your section” by the Head Waiters, vs “go and help the guests or supervise” – which is easy to fix and we dropped in a note to the Hotel Director. Dinner was slow but everybody was pitching in. MDR Lunch was efficient. They were not serving in the MDR on port days, so we tried “Dive In” by the covered pool – which has a taco bar also and a good chicken sandwhich. There were rumors of a shortage of limes aboard. I cornered a senior beverage person, who stated they have to use certified (food safety?) suppliers, such as those back in Tampa, so just racing off to buy a case of limes was just not possible. I complimented him on the wise decision to carry several IPAs. He hinted they would have more but there were issues with shelf stability. He did acknowledge the cost of them was also a factor, and that guests were “crazy for light beers.” The founder of our local (large) microbrewery at home, Summit, makes of big point of his decision to hire a chemist and build a lab to work on shelf stability as he tries to expand nationally. This may be a helpful clue as to why there not more craft beers on cruise ships. We were baffled by the real world dress code aboard. Yes the published one was easy to follow. Dress to Impress aka Formal Night was the big question. So, based on a sample size of say 100 people I noticed (this is valid sample size I think), the average for men was sport coat and tie. We saw a tux or two and quite a few business casual. Mahogany Bay is a dedicated cruise ship port. The Captain mentioned the entrance was narrow and challenging to back the ship into in high winds, but everything was just so. The grounds were manicured, the shops air conditioned and the beaches sandy. There were life guards and lots of security. We had a dip in the ocean. The online drawings and photos show the place as barren but the jungle has filled in and it quite pretty. There were lots of lounge chairs and shade available. We enjoyed the signs on some of the exotic (to us at least) trees and flowers. Costa Maya seemed the same and massively crowded. We stayed on the ship. The gentle rocking at the open sea pier made it like a sea day. We read books and went for several walks. MDR breakfast service settled in. I did some asking around – this is a happy ship- with high guest satisfaction ratings. I have noticed a correlation between happy ships and good ratings on places like Cruise Critic. You can tell if the crew is enjoying their (hard) work. We were impressed by the towel animals – Riston (covering the whole forward-odd side of Deck One up to about 1857) designed an amazing elephant, sleeping dog and monkey- the best we have even seen. They did not seem to use cleaning carts which can block the hallways. Getting off the ship could not have been easier. CBP had a lot officers on duty in Tampa, which helped. There were no lines at all at 8:40. Just before leaving we had a walk on the all-around promenade deck, then ordered eggs benedict and Belgian Waffles in the MDR. This was a good reminder of how well organized things are on the co-flagship of the line Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
Good value,beautiful ship, friendly and helpful staff . My room was cleaned twice a day. Dining room nicely decorated with fresh flowers. Need to improve: entertainment and activities on board.Food is delicious and nicely ... Read More
Good value,beautiful ship, friendly and helpful staff . My room was cleaned twice a day. Dining room nicely decorated with fresh flowers. Need to improve: entertainment and activities on board.Food is delicious and nicely presented. Excellent waiting staff. The newspaper excerpt (which is provided to guest every morning at the Lido deck ) is too leftist, I think if it is replaced by something more centrist,it will be better. As a Conservative, I do not need to read the news with criticism about the President every morning at breakfast ! Shore excursions are a little overpriced. We only book two tours but the one I was really excited about, Dolphin Encounter in Cayman Island was canceled because Cayman stop was canceled due to bad weather condition. At Ports of call, we mostly used taxi for sightseeing. On this cruise, we enjoyed mostly going to the beach and shopping, especially for exotic fashion. I think we will cruise with this company sometime in the future,when we get older. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2019
Overall, I have to say that my wife and I enjoyed the cruise very much. When booking the cruise, we ended up on the Rotterdam as it had the ports we wanted to see. The embarkation went very smoothly and the luggage was brought to our ... Read More
Overall, I have to say that my wife and I enjoyed the cruise very much. When booking the cruise, we ended up on the Rotterdam as it had the ports we wanted to see. The embarkation went very smoothly and the luggage was brought to our cabin promptly. Most of our evening meal was in the main dining room, and the food and wait staff were excellent. We were taking the trip with another couple, and one of them had special dietary needs. As soon as boarding, they talked to the chef in the lido cafe. He assisted with the lunch and also brought her a menu for the evening meal. She indicated what she wanted from the menu, and the chef got with the kitchen staff to make sure it was prepared properly. This was done daily for her. The cabin staff was also excellent, and anything we needed, it was taken care of immediately. I was a little disappointed in our stop at Key West, as we didn't dock until very late morning, so our time on the island was a little shorter that I had hoped for. We had excursions for our stops in Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico, which we enjoyed This is a small ship, about 1400 passengers, and it seems to cater to the senior citizen group, which is fine as my wife and I are both in our seventies. I was a little disappointed in the evening entertainment. This was our first cruise with Holland America, so I don't know if the entertainment was standard for all of the HAL ships or if it was just this ship. I will know shortly as we are taking an Alaska Cruise in a couple of months and will also be with Holland America. It will be interesting to do a comparison. We had a balcony on this ship and it was very comfortable. It is probably a little larger than balcony cabins on other ships, which we liked. We had plenty of storage space. This is an older ship and it is definitely showing signs of its age. I was aware of this when I booked the cruise, and in spite of its age, we both have to say we had a great experience. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
I was unsure of my choice of a Lanai stateroom, but it was great! Loved to people watch as people walked by the glass sliding doors, and they could not see into the room. We could see straight out to the water, as the railing was more ... Read More
I was unsure of my choice of a Lanai stateroom, but it was great! Loved to people watch as people walked by the glass sliding doors, and they could not see into the room. We could see straight out to the water, as the railing was more like a metal gate with intermittent uprights than a wall. Didn't miss any storage lost to the design of the room. Didn't miss the refrigerator full of drinks which would have cost money to use. The embarkation process was wonderful. We got to the port at around 11:45 and waltzed right on. Never did we encounter a line more than maybe 8 people deep. Debarkation was likewise easy. Enjoyed the dining room-food was great. Didn't go to a specialty restaurant. Too expensive. If there was Asian, we might have sprung for it. No problem getting a pool lounger (we go in the mid to late afternoon). Post Modern Jukebox was an entertainment highlight. All in all, definately worth it. Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
Just returned from our trip 3 -10 Feb 18. Before leaving we had a lot of issues wondering if we made a mistake booking this cruise as we heard/read that the vessel has a boat full of wheelchairs and walkers. During the cruise we maybe ... Read More
Just returned from our trip 3 -10 Feb 18. Before leaving we had a lot of issues wondering if we made a mistake booking this cruise as we heard/read that the vessel has a boat full of wheelchairs and walkers. During the cruise we maybe seen 3-4 children on board - from what we were told average age for our cruise was 57.3 - this maybe a little low as I would have bet the average is was around 60+. First - there were some individuals who had wheel chairs and walkers but they were very limited. My wife and I and the couple we were with are in our mid to lower 50s. Having sailed with Carnival/Royal/Norwegian we know that there is a lot of going ons on their vessels. On the Rotterdam not so much but having said that - the cruise caters to the retired and the majority of customers on board may not want all the noise/activity. The entertainment is very very good and sometimes different then what you would watch on other cruise lines - but as mentioned it was very good entertainment. The food on the cruise along with the service was exceptional. The staff cannot do enough for you. I enjoyed one aspect of this cruise - unlike some of the other cruise lines where you can just shovel in and take as much food as you want - Holland America picks up the portions for you. The do not scrimp and will give you what you ask for - but the best part of this as of I seen in the past - there is a lot less more waste. I seen on numerous cruise in the past customer taking huge portions of an item and then may not like and this ends up in the garbage - Bravo Zulu to Holland America. The ship as mentioned in subject is old in comparison to the new larger vessels being built now, but she is an old cadillac - she has been treated very well and still has her good looks and glamour - she is a very comfortable and a classy boat. She is clean and well maintained. Would we travel again on the Rotterdam - in a minute - only thing I would wish for myself is a maybe a Reggae band playing around the ship during the day and maybe early evening. Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
We chose this cruise for convenience of the port. My husband had a course in Orlando on January 12 and 13, so we quickly drove to Tampa when his class finished and boarded by 2:00. This is the smallest ship that we have been on, but it ... Read More
We chose this cruise for convenience of the port. My husband had a course in Orlando on January 12 and 13, so we quickly drove to Tampa when his class finished and boarded by 2:00. This is the smallest ship that we have been on, but it offered the delicious food that Holland America is known for and that we enjoy. Our ports were Key West, Puerto Rico, St Thomas, Antigua, St Lucia, Curacao, Aruba, and Grand Cayman. Our weather was fantastic and each port had something to offer. Food: On this ship, there is very little self-serve in the buffet. This cuts down on germ transfer, but you need to be quick and specific about portion sizes when you ask for food to help them be efficient. The sticky buns were delicious and I ate at least one every morning for breakfast in the Lido buffet! There were also the usual stations with made-to-order omelettes, pancakes, crepes, waffles, sausage, bacon, fruit, yogurt, etc.... There is a great tasting and fresh taco bar set up by the pool for lunch every day! Buffet lunch highlights included roasted pork belly (so delicious!!!) , fresh salad station, and pasta bar along with freshly made Holland America Bread Pudding and vanilla sauce. My husband enjoyed ice-cream almost every day as well, skillfully and cheerfully scooped by Romeo, the ice-cream man! Dining Room: We never ventured into the extra charge restaurants since our food was delicious in the main dining room or buffet. We found the fish tended to be a bit underdone and bland to our liking, but there were many other choices to be enjoyed over the two weeks. The menu was always different. Lobster could be purchased every night for $20, but it was offered complimentary on our last gala night ( three gala nights in total). Escargot, Caesar salad, french onion soup, shrimp cocktail, and crab cakes were some of the highlights. I appreciated that the food was served hot on hot plates! Desserts were my favorites, and the staff were gracious to let me try two of them when I couldn't decide between them! The lava cake with berry sauce was my favorite, and the creme brulee was also very good. When we didn't get to the dining room for dinner, we found that similar choices were offered in the buffet. Afternoon Tea: I would have loved to have gone for tea every day at 3, but I managed 4 out of 14 days. There was only so much eating that I could do!! Music: we enjoyed the Adagio string quartet which played almost every night at 7,8, and 9. The Ocean Trio, piano soloist, and piano bar entertainer performed almost every night as well. They were all very talented and a pleasure to listen to. Movies: A different movie was featured each day with a few showings either in the theater room (100 plus comfy seats with popcorn) or the Main stage, The theme was mostly recently released action movies, but there was the odd comedy or drama thrown in. Mama Mia 2 and Bohemian Rhapsody were also featured. Microsoft Classes: Desiree was a very knowledgeable and patient teacher and taught up to 17 classes on various topics. There were at least 15 individual computers for hands-on learning. America's test kitchen: On sea days we were able to observe cooking shows in the theater and go home with beautiful recipe cards. Entertainment: We did hear murmurings from other passengers that the entertainment was a bit odd, but we enjoyed the following shows: Magician, comedians, Postmodern Jukebox, Planet Earth in concert (BBC Earth movie with live music), Harmonica Virtuoso, Solo Pianist, Philippine crew talent show, and a few variety shows. The BBC Earth movies were very well done! It was a bit tricky to eat in the dining room and still get a seat for the early show, but we always managed to see what we wanted to see. Library/Games/Puzzle room: What a beautiful area!! Enough said! Check out the Explorations cafe in the afternoon for macarons and biscotti and the evening for truffles! Gym: we used the gym 12 of 14 days. We were always able to find a treadmill or elliptical machine, and the view through the front windows was fantastic. There were various weight machines, rowers, etc. Free stretch/ab classes were also provided. The NFL playoff games were enjoyed in lounges on large screen, and there were also various trivia games, board games, card games offered along with pickle ball and basketball. There is a lot of up-selling on the ship, and the shops and spa offer various sessions to learn about their products. Mass is offered every morning, along with Interdenominational and Jewish services weekly. Information sessions on the ports of call were also appreciated. The ship is older and is the second fastest in the world behind the Queen Mary, but it has been beautifully redone in old world charm. If you are interested in art, I asked for a listing of the on-board art at guest services and took it upon myself to locate as many items as possible. It took several hours, but I enjoyed the process...a personal scavenger hunt, if you will. The ship does not offer the Entertainment that Royal Caribbean would offer, but if you don't mind a casual cruise with an older crowd and better than average food, this may be the ship for you! Read Less
Rotterdam Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 0.0
Dining 3.0 0.0
Entertainment 3.0 0.0
Public Rooms 4.0 0.0
Fitness Recreation 4.0 0.0
Family 3.0 0.0
Shore Excursion 3.0 0.0
Enrichment 4.0 0.0
Service 4.0 0.0
Value For Money 4.0 0.0
Rates 4.0 0.0

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