493 Holland America Rotterdam Cruise Reviews

Staff on board were just fabulous. Food was very good. Nightly Shows not so great, but then again there are only about 1200 passengers, so one cannot expect the same as a show where there are 5000 passengers. The Lincoln Center quintet ... Read More
Staff on board were just fabulous. Food was very good. Nightly Shows not so great, but then again there are only about 1200 passengers, so one cannot expect the same as a show where there are 5000 passengers. The Lincoln Center quintet was an absolute treat. All polished professional musicians.And they had different themes -- Classics - movie tunes -- Pops et. I would go again in a heart beat. Holland America shut down 3 days after I disembarked. A Global citizen in passengers come first. The Covid 19 was only getting underway and they immediately ceased operations. Rotterdam has Lani suites on the Promenade deck. They have full length sliding glass doors and it seems that everyone on the ship goes by. The suites have reserved lounge chairs just outside the stateroom. I am not much into excursions but the ports had usual shops close to the docking area. Stateroom staff are absolutely there for the passengers. Friendly, helpful - say hello every day using your name. Dinning room staff were also excellent. Or, it could have been just my table -- but not likely. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
getting on and off the ship was well taken care of. overall service was wonderful. the food was surprisingly only very good, not up to our expectations. we ate in the main dr. every evening at an assigned table. the lido for ... Read More
getting on and off the ship was well taken care of. overall service was wonderful. the food was surprisingly only very good, not up to our expectations. we ate in the main dr. every evening at an assigned table. the lido for breakfast and lunch was just fine and more than adequate. there is no place on the ship to enjoy the sea and scenery at a quiet pace. the crows nest has evening 'entertainment' that is loud and boisterous. those people could be anyplace on the ship, in an enclosed space and they wouldn't care. their focus is on what's happening center stage, not outside. dancing is the same thing; just find a flat space somewhere else and sell lots of booze. if you don't have a balcony, good luck. the ship is old and a bit rusty, but still functional. everyone is OLD, AND I MEAN OLD. we are 73 and were in the younger crowd. i saw 5 kids on the ship. if you want to learn about computers, this is the place. if you want to learn about the places you're visiting not so much. very little info, unless you want to take a ship excursion. we took only one ship excursion and were sorry we did that one, the sting ray visit in the Bahamas was disturbing. the animals were stressed and seemed uncomfortable much of the time. too much handling. they seemed to keep a few under the steps to make them easy to access by the staff for the 'show'.. we arranged all our own excursion off the ship before we departed and had great times. used trip advisor and cruise critic. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
It was a nice cruise from a scenery and ports perspective. Entertainment quality was good and was to be expected. Food quality was good and stateroom stewards were excellent. Embarkation and disembarkation went smoothly. The issue my ... Read More
It was a nice cruise from a scenery and ports perspective. Entertainment quality was good and was to be expected. Food quality was good and stateroom stewards were excellent. Embarkation and disembarkation went smoothly. The issue my husband and I had was the crew/staff/officers did not seem very happy and were not intermingling with the passengers as they have on our other Holland Cruises. It was almost as if they looked straight through you and just did their job. We understand that is what they are their to do, but we have been on many cruises where It was very obvious that the crew and officers loved their jobs and loved getting to know their passengers to and share about home once in a while and this was something they enjoyed. If you asked for something, they brought it to you but even the simple things of being visible and the hello’s, how are you, were missing. Being in our 70’s and having been on almost every cruise line, this is something we really look forward to and was really missing on this ship. We thought maybe it was us but after talking with many passengers They all commented that staff was unfriendly or didn’t seem to be happy, so It wasn’t just us that felt that way. Hopefully, that will change as we are booked on her again in the summer. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
We chose this cruise because of the great price. Our cabin was D1842 on the lowest passenger deck and we were very happy with it. This is not a cruise for younger folks. There were two children on board and I had to wonder if they were ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the great price. Our cabin was D1842 on the lowest passenger deck and we were very happy with it. This is not a cruise for younger folks. There were two children on board and I had to wonder if they were bored to death. The room stewards were excellent, as were the bar waiters and all the staff in the Lido buffet. Unfortunately we had poor service in the MDR despite going there when they said they were less busy. One night after waiting 20 minutes for the waiter to take our order we gave up and left, never to return. The food in the Lido was excellent and varied. We loved having eggs benedict cooked to order for breakfast. We loved the Crow's Nest lounge up top, despite the noisy daily trivia. The art work was great. As it happens I love oriental art so I really appreciated the lifesize terracota warriors and horse and ancient Chinese artifacts. We enjoyed the Ocean Bar. There were always places to sit around the ship but the daytime music in all the lounges except the library annoyed us. The Explorations Cafe offered custom coffees and also served as the library, board game room, and internet cafe. This was the largest library I've seen at sea in years. It was a popular room but there was always a chair available. We appreciated the wraparound promenade deck for our daily walks. The art gallery and auction were, blessedly, low key. There were several recent, good movies in the Wajang Theater but it was hard to understand why there was just this smallish drop down screen instead of a real movie screen. If you sat at the sides of the theater it was hard to see the screen. It was nice to have a real movie theater onboard, though. The Billboard lounge features two grand pianos and two musicians playing and singing. A different decade of songs was featured each night. We thought the male singer was good but the female was not professional quality in our opinion and we also couldn't see the appeal of the place but it was very popular. Aside from the great price what we really like about this ship was the relaxed, uncrowded atmosphere. The passenger to space ratio is average so we're not sure how this happens but we never experienced lines or crowding, even at the elevators which always arrived promptly. The entertainment was good for the most part though we miss the production shows they no longer have. There was a German instrumentalist who played the marimba, sax, trumpet, drums, and pan pipes. He did a dueling drums thing with the ship's drummer that was fantastic. He did "Stairway to Heaven" on the pan pipes that was hauntingly beautiful. He was so good we went back to the second show to see him again. There were always seats available in the show room - no need to show up a half hour ahead for a seat like was the case on Princess. There were two cornhole tournaments we enjoyed and lots of trivia games. They had many performances of classical music in the Lincoln Stage that were very good, provided by a young, enthusiastic quintet. The port lectures and talks on Mexican history and culture were excellent. The passenger service desk and shore excursion desk staff were both efficient and courteous. Embarkation and disembarkation were efficient and painless. The hot dogs and hamburgers were made to order so they gave you a little buzzer for when your order was ready but when we used this a crew member passing by grabbed the buzzer, got, and delivered the order to where we were! Impressive and the hot dog was the best I've had on a ship. The main pool has a cover so it can function in any weather and this was a popular area. It also had two ping pong tables made of real, beautiful woods and unlike on many ships they were in a protected area so you could play without the wind ruining your shots. The pool behind the Lido buffet was also popular and there were nice tables and chairs out there that were a bit protected from wind and sun. One of our favorite things was the towel animals the room stewards left on our bed each night. And on one of the last days the crew decorated the entire pool area with towel animals. It was a great display much appreciated by many of us. This is a ship for us older folks who don't need non-stop entertainment and activities and like to spend time watching the ocean or reading or enjoying walks on deck. This is an older ship without the modern bells and whistles but it was perfect for us. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
Panama Canal transit in January, just the time to be out of the Northeast. Have been on Rotterdam multiple times. Enjoy the size of ship, the fact that it still has an Explorations Cafe and full Promenade deck, making it very comfortable, ... Read More
Panama Canal transit in January, just the time to be out of the Northeast. Have been on Rotterdam multiple times. Enjoy the size of ship, the fact that it still has an Explorations Cafe and full Promenade deck, making it very comfortable, especially on sea days. Needs some additional activities and entertainment, especially for sea days. The Billboard On Board was great, just not enough seating. Food is very good, although MDR menus seemed disjointed. If you don’t have fixed seating, it’s a long wait for open dining availability. We were lucky to be able to change after 2 nights. Lunch in Pinnacle excellent. Lido, MDR staff uniformly helpful and attentive. Lido items repetitive, but satisfying, although seemed to be short of fresh berries after first week. Ship is older, needing some cosmetic updating. Rust visible outside. Fire alarm sounded first evening, but small fire was contained without impact on guests. High winds and seas in Caribbean resulted in cancellation of Aruba port call. No much anyone can do about that. As always, ships excursions are expensive, but well organized. Felt more comfortable using them this trip due to unfamiliarity with ports in Guatemala and Nicaragua etc. Canal was a bucket list item, so glad we did this trip. If you’ve been on HAL ships of this class, you’ll know what to expect. Biggest recommendation...add more activities and showings. Often unable to attend shows due to lack of seats. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
We were excited about this Panama Canal Cruise from Fort Lauderdale to San Diego over the holidays. The cruise ports and itinerary were great! Absolutely no complaints here. Our excursions were a mix of HAL and Shore Ex. They were all ... Read More
We were excited about this Panama Canal Cruise from Fort Lauderdale to San Diego over the holidays. The cruise ports and itinerary were great! Absolutely no complaints here. Our excursions were a mix of HAL and Shore Ex. They were all well done and interesting. The food was just okay. More than once, I had to send my dish back in the main room. It was like cafeteria food and really, I’m not picky but the meat was inedible. The Lido was actually better and that’s not saying much. They ran out of Splenda, lemons, limes and chocolate ice cream halfway through the cruise. Our room thermostat didn’t work and apparently they are in the process of changing them out. Our room started out too warm so we asked to cool it down. They cooled it down but it turned into an icebox!! And they turned the fan speed up so that it sounded like a jet engine... (well, almost) It continued like this the entire cruise. Then the toilet didn’t flush... or did five minutes after it was pushed. We heard gurgling sounds constantly. There are hardly any electric outlets in the bedrooms. They provide plug strips but bring an extension cord or two. Especially if you have a cpap! There were no rooms left when we signed on in March so took a room that was over the Main Stage. It turns out there were rooms that opened later but we were never informed about them so we were stuck listening to any performance or rehearsal under our floor. We really liked the staff and they tried to do the best job they could but they really are understaffed and expectations are very high. We like Holland America but are going to seriously check ship reviews from now on before we book. We like the smaller ships but the Rotterdam needs to be retired. Rusty and too old to fix. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
I picked this cruise because a full transit of the Panama Canal really interested me. But I was less than wowed by the descriptions I had read of the ports we were to visit since several were industrial ports and a couple (Nicaragua and ... Read More
I picked this cruise because a full transit of the Panama Canal really interested me. But I was less than wowed by the descriptions I had read of the ports we were to visit since several were industrial ports and a couple (Nicaragua and Guatemala) were in countries that I was a little leery of visiting. Perhaps because of my low expectations of the ports to be visited, I was more than pleasantly surprised by what I actually encountered. But let's start with the ship itself. My first Holland America cruise was on the Rotterdam in 2005 and I fell in love with that ship then. She may be a little older, but she's still a beauty. I love the smaller ships and the ample public spaces on the ship (love, love, love the Explorations Cafe/Library!) really lent themselves to the extra sea days on this 16-day itinerary. The entertainment options have increased manifold since that earlier cruise with Billboard On Board and Lincoln Center being my favorites. The trio at the Ocean Bar was also fantastic, but we seemed to miss them a lot (as we did with several of the Main Stage shows) because of our dinner schedule. As always, the impeccable service and attention to detail by the ship's staff was amazing. From the cabin stewards to the dining room attendants to the wine stewards to the bar tenders and coffee baristas to those delivering our morning coffee, every need was anticipated. The only downside was the Lido. The food and selection was terrific, but it seemed to be understaffed and we often had to fetch our own coffee or water (a very minor complaint). We didn't participate in a ton of activities as we simply enjoyed spending our free time playing cards in the Explorations Cafe or walking the promenade before settling down to read in one of the amply numbered lounge chairs. But we did enjoy the trivia and the Happy Hours(!) and the Orange Party was a blast. As to the shore excursions ... Half Moon Cay, Bahamas Swimming with Stingrays!! This excursion was downright cheap and one of the highlights of our trip. It really set the tone for the rest of the trip. We also really enjoyed the beach with tons of chairs, bar service that came to you and lovely clear water to swim in. Oranjestad, Aruba I didn't do a shore excursion in Aruba because none of them really appealed to me but I enjoyed a couple of beers and an excellent lunch at Lucy's Retired Surfers Bar and Restaurant which is right on the main drag. We also took a cab to the Butterfly Farm (making sure to arrange for return transportation). It was a pleasant (although very hot) diversion and the Blue Morpho butterflies were stunning (but impossible to capture by photo). Panama Canal Transit The star of the show was the transit of the canal. Deck 6 (right below the bridge) was the best spot to watch (the crew opens up a lot of extra areas for viewing that day). Get there early to find a good leaning spot and bring sunscreen and a rain poncho or umbrella ... both were needed throughout the day. (Go to one of the talks in the days leading up to the transit to get the scoop on everything that you're seeing. It really helped one appreciate the engineering and the simplicity of function.) Take a break during the crossing of Gatun Lake to have lunch and then get back in place for the second set of locks. After a Happy Hour break, I was back on the Promenade getting pictures of the stunning views of Panama City. It was a long day, but really spectacular! Puerto Caldera (Puntarenas), Costa Rica We went to on the Coffee Plantation tour (not the Starbucks one) with a side trip to the Oxcart factory in Sarchi. It was a rainy day and I'm glad we did this instead of a zipline, aerial tram or river cruise. It was a pleasant, but unspectacular, day. The tourist shop at the Oxcart factory had some beautiful carved wooden items that would make for great souvenirs and gifts. Corinto, Nicaragua The Cortijo El Rosario Equestrian show was a definite highlight of the trip. These beautiful animals and their skillful riders put on an incredible show. It was also only about a 30 minute ride from the port, making it one of the easier excursions. The included lunch was very good as well. Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala We went to the Mayan ruins at Iximche, a normally 2-hour one way drive that stretched to 2-1/2 hours due to road construction (as the Guatemalans are still in the process of replacing roads destroyed by a June 2018 volcanic eruption). All of the tours seemed to have been impacted by the road work which really limited our time to shop at some of the great shops near the ship. The good news is that we got really good views of the volcano spewing smoke every few minutes (no worries, small releases are good and the volcano isn't expected to erupt again for several years) as we rose to almost 8000 feet. The Iximche site itself is a small one. If you've seen bigger sites, you may want to skip this tour, but if you have never been to a Mayan site, it is a good introduction. Huatulco, Mexico Another great highlight of the trip was the Sailing Adventure on the Luna Azul. Sign up for this one early as it is limited to 10 passengers (there were only 8 on board for us as there were 2 no-shows). The Luna Azul (with its wonderful crew) motors around to a lovely isolated cove for swimming. If you aren't a good swimmer, they keep a close eye on you and you're encouraged to use a noodle or wear a life vest until you make it to the beach. This is followed by raising the sails and heading to deep water for possible wildlife sightings. We saw Manta Rays jumping from the water and a sea turtle or two, but the best part was just watching the sun set under sail. They are generous with included beverages whether you want water, soda, beer, margaritas or even a shot of mezcal! Puerto Vallarta, Mexico In Puerto Vallarta, we did the Sea Lion Encounter and it was an experience that I will never forget. Jenny was like a big puppy dog and gentle as a lamb. I had no idea that you could get in the water with Sea Lions and hug on them and pet them (and get a kiss back!). Really a wonderful experience and a great included meal. The same facility has dolphin encounters and our fellow passengers who did that seemed to enjoy their experience fully as much as ours. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
We chose this cruise because we wanted to visit the Holy Lands and then we decided to add on the TA just this past October. First the good: —excellent crew from the Captain on down to our Cabin stewards. Everyone is friendly and ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we wanted to visit the Holy Lands and then we decided to add on the TA just this past October. First the good: —excellent crew from the Captain on down to our Cabin stewards. Everyone is friendly and helpful and see, to take great pride in their work. The captain did not hide up above but rather could be seen walking around the ship daily. —pretty good excursions —food in the main dining room was very good and glad to seem more different type of selections available —good amount of different activities and things to do —some good movies offered —our statement was nice. Really liked how we had 2 curtains so someone could sleep while someone could pull the curtain and read without disturbing the sleeper (we had a vista suite) — nice itinerary Con —cannot believe there is only 1 electrical plug in our stateroom, we had a Vista suite —entertainment was ok but I miss the dancers and singers groups. I don’t care for the Magicians and could quite frankly do without them —TVs definitely need updating, I have to say our computer monitor is bigger than our TV was —food up in the Lido, while a good variety most of the time the side dishes were lukewarm —air and heating through the main areas of the ship are in need of correcting. You were either freezing or getting way to much heat around the ship —wine selection, cannot believe they ran out of some of the more popular and better wines and to top it off, their new shipment never arrived. Just cannot believe HAL couldn’t get this kind of delivery to happen — on our sea days across the Atlantic, while the speaker information was very interesting his presentation wasn’t that well —cannot believe they are going to do away with America’s Test kitchen —find room for a BB King lounge — I agree with another reviewer there were some tours that people should of really read the details as they were extremely difficult for them to walk and participate I understand the Rotterdam is going in for some work after the 2020 season, sure hope they fix and do some serious updating. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
Chose this because of itinerary which included Israel and transatlantic back to the States. Also it was originally going to be on the lovable Prisendam. Excursions - I am one to seek out alternate excursions to what the ship offers ... Read More
Chose this because of itinerary which included Israel and transatlantic back to the States. Also it was originally going to be on the lovable Prisendam. Excursions - I am one to seek out alternate excursions to what the ship offers but those on this ship seemed reasonably priced and did not disappoint. We did an overnight in Jerusalem and enjoyed every aspect of this two day excursion. Olympus, Rhodes, and Santa Cruz were also especially good. Entertainment - We were so lucky to have Hyperion Knight join the ship for the crossing. His talent and style as a classical pianist is incredible. He was scheduled for one show but actually did four others on stage and in a lounge. He is also one fine trivia player. Otherwise, I enjoyed the Canadian and the British comics, however I heard over and over again that passengers really missed the singers and dancers who apparently have been eliminated from Holland America. The two singing groups of young men were top notch. Main Restaurant - our main waiter and his assistant were the best we have ever had. Harley made sure everything went well at each meal, there really is no reason to complain about an item on Holland America, one just needs to voice a concern (too cold, not cooked to order, etc) and it will be made right. Room Stewards - I marvel at just how good these people are at their jobs. Cruise Director/Assistant - did his job but duties seem to have been reduced. The lady that was coming on for the Panama Canal cruises seemed to be more genuine and down to earth. Minor complaints - there was no grape juice, Happy hour used to be buy one get one free, now it is buy one get a second for $2. This does not seem bad but as a non drinker, I used to take advantage of the happy hours to purchase a soft drink and get one free, $2.25 for two cans is not that bad but paying $2 for a second can, definitely not a deal. I just bring a few bottles of Coke Zero on the ship each cruise. If the daily movie was only offered at 7:30, it was not possible for 8:00 diners to see it. Other cruises showed the movie at 7:30 and 9:30. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
I chose this cruise because of its destination without really checking the specific shop. This was our 5th HAL cruise and was the most disappointing. The food quality on the Lido deck wasn't up to the usual HAL Standards. It seemed ... Read More
I chose this cruise because of its destination without really checking the specific shop. This was our 5th HAL cruise and was the most disappointing. The food quality on the Lido deck wasn't up to the usual HAL Standards. It seemed that by the time we got back to our seats, most of the hot food wasn't. We ate a lot of lukewarm to cold meals on Lido. The communication for excursion departure needs some improvement. On one of the first excursions, the announcement called for Group A. No one had ever mentioned a Group A so we incorrectly saw a large A on our ticket and thought it was us only to find out later that that A meant adult. We missed getting our excursion Dot and ended up boarding the wrong bus. My biggest complaint about excursions is the HAL staff did not prevent those with physical impairments from joining events that had been categorized as difficult from joining the group. The result is that we all slowed down and it took longer to complete. We skipped some planned stops to make up time. Extraordinarily unfair to the majority of the group. On balance with the complaints is the extraordinarily friendliness of the entire staff...officers, wait staff, cabin severs, and even workers passing in the hallways. The ship was spotless by the way. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We chose this cruise for the itinerary. It took us to places that we hadn't yet visited. There were many ports of call in a row, making it very busy. We treasured the rare sea day. The Atlantic crossing went smoothly, but we found ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the itinerary. It took us to places that we hadn't yet visited. There were many ports of call in a row, making it very busy. We treasured the rare sea day. The Atlantic crossing went smoothly, but we found it too long. We enjoyed the high level of service. From the shore excursions desk, to guest services, to our cabin stewards, and the people working in various capacities on the ship. the service was fabulous. We didn't purchase an internet package and had heard it was very slow on the ship. We were flying home the day of embarkation and wanted to at least check in for our flights home. The woman at the guest services counter was helpful and she want the extra mile. It was beyond our expectations. The entertainment was not what you'd find on a larger vessel. We've heard that this is the model Holland America will have from now on, even on larger ships. On our 32 day cruise, we enjoyed one comedian and a dance performance. Unfortunately the dancers couldn't return due to a technical difficulty to do with the ship and port of call that day. The food in the dining room was very good, and so was the service. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
Due to poor weather we missed four ports. I have to believe that HAL knew the weather would be difficult for tender ports before we left Amsterdam yet kept us guessing. Being that we had more overnights in a port because we could not go ... Read More
Due to poor weather we missed four ports. I have to believe that HAL knew the weather would be difficult for tender ports before we left Amsterdam yet kept us guessing. Being that we had more overnights in a port because we could not go to the next port, they did not plan things to do on the ship assuming all would get off the ship. That did not happen and you had many bored people. The only time they did plan was the last sea day which was supposed to be a tender port. Along with that many many people were sick and there was so much coughing and sneezing on the ship and on the bus tours. I also was sick and by the end of the cruise after talking to many passengers found that about 1/4 of the ship was sick. After traveling with HAL for many cruises this was my first experience with this kind of sickness, I have experienced the stomach problems but not this. The whole experience was sad as after you plan for a great experience you come home so disappointed and still sick. Since home have gone to the doctor and on antibiotics. I stgill wonder is many of the crew were sick and they still make them work or something is wrong on the ship. My worst experience on any of the 25 cruises I have been on. Have to say service was great Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Strongest recommendation to future cruisers: book the Rotterdam IMMEDIATELY if you’re looking for: —LOUSY FOOD (except for the specialty dining rooms, which HAL surely is up-selling by downgrading everything and everywhere else). ... Read More
Strongest recommendation to future cruisers: book the Rotterdam IMMEDIATELY if you’re looking for: —LOUSY FOOD (except for the specialty dining rooms, which HAL surely is up-selling by downgrading everything and everywhere else). Dining room flavorless food is suited to senior living; much-touted “Dive-In” burgers are dry and flavorless. —CREAKY SHIP which, in our case, included: 1) stinky sewage seeping into our suite from an adjoining pipe closet 2) leaking pipes above our verandah 3) a fire that resulted in an all-ship alarm awakening us in the middle of the night (reportedly TWO fires in the two weeks immediately preceding our trip.) LOW-BROW SERVICE from a Neptune Suite concierge, a benefit for which we paid handsomely after enjoying excellent service on a prior HAL voyage. For $16K, she: refused to reverse bar charges for a rum-and-coke that was delivered as a gin-and-coke or an honor bar soda that wasn’t drunk; “apologized” for raw sewage in our suite with a cheap bottle of wine and a short, typed apology; and, assured us we would LOVE the next port of call literally moments before we learned that the port would be skipped due to bad weather. All that, for $16K. Speaking of bad weather, I am not blaming HAL for skipping five ports and replacing them with two alternative stops and three addl nights at sea or in port. Safety, as the captain told us, is #1. On the other hand, going the extra mile to meet his passenger’s needs is, for the Rotterdam’s captain, priority #23. Addressing passenger‘s concerns about skipped ports of call and potential financial losses for missing independent tour arrangements, his advice? “You can buy one of our ship WiFi plans.” As if offering complimentary WiFi for a few hours would ruin his bottom line. Speaking of bottom lines, here’s mine: The Rotterdam is doddering. Its service philosophy (excluding the loyal stewards and dining staff who are doing their best) is subpar. (But the America’s Test Kitchen live shows are phenomenal. Those ought to be offered every day.) Something is rotten on the Rotterdam. And until someone does something about it, it’s Bon Voyage, Holland America! Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Holland America needs to do some serious updating to this ship. During the first half....the Baltic portion, there were 2 fires on the ship while we were at sea. The first one was a fire in the 4th deck galley and the 2nd one was an ... Read More
Holland America needs to do some serious updating to this ship. During the first half....the Baltic portion, there were 2 fires on the ship while we were at sea. The first one was a fire in the 4th deck galley and the 2nd one was an electrical fire in one of the common area bathrooms. Quite scary and disconcerting. We only did 1 ship excursion on this portion, which turned out to be a disaster. The bus we were on to go to Berlin broke down about 30 minutes after our 7 am departure. We didn't get back to the ship until 11 pm. Long day. To make a long story short....there were a series of other things that happened while waiting for transportation to Berlin. Holland America thought a good compensation was to not just drive by some of the major points of interest, but to stop and let us get out. They also thought that a less than par boxed lunch at 2:30 was compensation for the failed trip. NOT! As it was, the excursion we originally signed up for supposedly didn't get enough people so for $50 more pp we could go on this "ill fated" one. During the second half of the trip...the British and Irish Isles...we spent the entire time running from weather and trying to find a "safe port" to go to. Days for ports were changed, 5 ports (tender) were missed and replaced with 2 ports Torquay, England and Cobh, Ireland....nothing special. We missed Holyhead and Fishguard, Wales. Plymouth, Ilfracome, and St. Peter Port, England. It was kind of a catch 22 as our captain was cautious, but in some ways seemed extremely/overly cautious, but overall glad we finally made it back to Amsterdam safely. Since we didn't know most of the time which ports we were going to, where we weren't going and ports changed almost daily, everyone started calling it the "mystery" cruise. And before anyone says anything....yes, I had read other reviews about travel during this time to these areas, but honestly didn't think it would be as bad as it was. We also had 2 more electrical fires during this portion. One on the opposite side of our deck (glassware steamer/cleaner) and the other during the middle of the night (laundry room). Thankfully (?) they were both while we were in port and not in the middle of the ocean. Overall the food and entertainment were great. Our room steward was good also. I would NOT recommend going on this ship until it gets some much needed updating (1997 the age) and would NOT recommend doing a cruise to the Baltic's/British, Irish Isles during September and October. We pretty much had rain and cold weather (pea sized hail) in Copenhagen the entire trip....so much so that when the sun would peak out or we had a rare day of sunshine while we were in port....we were all so pleasantly surprised! Overall there seemed to be quite a bit of confusion and uncertainty about ports, how long we would be in a port, show changes and time changes for the shows during the second half. The above is just a "brief" summary of this 28 day cruise...trust me....there's more! Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
This was our 23rd cruise with HAL and as usual other than a few minor issues, we had a great cruise. In reading the reviews of others for this particular cruise, I find them to be a bit on the whining side. Yes the ship is old but it has ... Read More
This was our 23rd cruise with HAL and as usual other than a few minor issues, we had a great cruise. In reading the reviews of others for this particular cruise, I find them to be a bit on the whining side. Yes the ship is old but it has class that the modern overcrowded cattle cars of RCL don't have. We're in our early 60's so Rock Climbing, Wave Riders, Tube Slides,etc have no appeal. We cruise to go to places we haven't been and that's the case with this Cruise. We were not on the second 14 day leg that went to the British Isles so can't comment on that. The Baltic leg was great....yes it rained everyday for a bit but that didn't effect a lot of the excursions as many of them indoors anyway. Frankly, I'm surprised the weather was as good as it was given it's September in the Baltic. Really enjoyed all the stops, especially St Petersberg. Helsinki was are least favorite but that might of been because we had heavy rain most of the time. One side note, I mentioned we did have a few minor issues. I decided to e-mail HAL with my concerns/observations as an FYI. I received a personal response back thanking me for my thoughts and a $600 future cruise credit. Wow, I didn't ask for or expect that. Bottom line folks, your on vacation.....relax, life is too short to complain about minor stuff. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Not everything about this cruise was abjectly awful. The food and service in Pinnacle Grill was good. Annette, who led the America's Test Kitchen demos, was very good. The itinerary was fairly rare. But a lot of stuff went wrong. ... Read More
Not everything about this cruise was abjectly awful. The food and service in Pinnacle Grill was good. Annette, who led the America's Test Kitchen demos, was very good. The itinerary was fairly rare. But a lot of stuff went wrong. Aside from Pinnacle Grill, the food was fit for a King. As in "Here King! Here boy! Good boy!" Food is subjective but food temperature and consistency are not. And they couldn't get the basics right on temperature and consistency. In eight dining room appearances, my wife never got what she ordered on the first try once. The Lanai room was clean, but the good points stopped there. The Lanai door did not work and was propped open or closed with wood. We could not control the stateroom temperature. This could not be fixed. The toilet clogged frequently. Passenger internet was knocked out for a week in/around Spitsbergen. Some internet worked of course, as the daily mini-newspapers kept appearing, just not for pax. A $50 credit was belatedly offered...a decent deal for those who bought the cheaper packages, but cold comfort to those who bought the more expensive/multi-device ones. The itinerary was clumsy, with too little time in too many ports. Putting Heimaey on the list of ports was ridiculous: at the best of times, the ship cannot approach the shallow harbour so it's a 35-minute tender ride to shore. These were not the best of times: It was not safe to put the tenders out so we skipped it, burning a day we could have been elsewhere. This was supposed to be an EXC cruise and after reading about the biologists and geologists brought on for the Southerly cruises we expected a treat. Instead our "expert" was a drowsy Aussie who had never been to this part of the world. His "expertise" was reading us Wikipedia. Easy enough to skip his talks, but his mumblings were blared on the outside decks, likely scaring away what little wildlife there was. They ran out of 2/3 of the wines in our package (Cellar #2). Servers eager/kind but hopelessly overworked The thermal package bought pre cruise was a grimy hot tub, grimy sauna, and six heated loungers. Layout unsuitable for this wheelchair user. Guest Services to their credit cheerfully gave Day 1 refund. We would only travel HAL again if, factoring in price, it was still a good deal after factoring in the $39pp it costs to eat in Pinnacle Grill nightly in a full balcony with working balcony door. The auto-itinerary says we were on a 34 day cruise but it was 20 days only, disembarking Aug 4. Mostly Spitsbergen and Iceland, with a stop in Norway Proper and Scotland bookending. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
We chose this cruise because of its unique itinerary which went to Svalbard and then south to Iceland. We booked the original cruise which was to be on the Prinsendam, but this was changed to the Rotterdam. We were therefore on a cruise ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of its unique itinerary which went to Svalbard and then south to Iceland. We booked the original cruise which was to be on the Prinsendam, but this was changed to the Rotterdam. We were therefore on a cruise that was designed for a smaller ship and I think that detracted from the experience as we did not seem to get as close to the glaciers and polar ice cap as the smaller ship would. As a result we saw very little wildlife compared to the same cruise in previous years. The crew were good and the outside cabin was roomy, But I may as well have had an inside cabin because the windows were really dirty. In fact, for a cruise that 'featured' so much scenic cruising the windows were disgustingly dirty - particularly in the main dining room and lounge areas. At least some attention there would make it look like someone cared. The food in the MDR was good to very good and the wait staff were very attentive and helpful. We ate at one of the speciality restaurants and whilst this was very good, would not be value for money other than for the occasional treat. The entertainment was very hit and miss. Enjoyed the female singer and the modern dance troupe, but the rest of it was just strange. An Australian singer/guitarist playing old American country music in a fake American accent was weird. Post Modern Jukebox band and singers were great, but some modern music is really good and shouldn't be retro'd into big band music. The holographic dancer and video segways to the franchise owner made it just look cheap. The entertainment timing was also odd. The movies clashed with the stage shows and it was really difficult to get to dinner, movie and show in one night. The day time entertainment usually consisted of someone trying to sell you something. A matinee movie would have been great. And talking of movies - they were repeating them on a 20 day cruise! Again, very cheap. Would have thought they may have packed some more. The American Test Kitchen was great. Annette was an excellent presenter and I really enjoyed her sessions. We paid a lot of money for this cruise because we booked early to get a place on this unique itinerary on a small ship. It was therefore a bit galling to hear about how cheaply this cruise was discounted after the change of ship. I feel pretty ripped off that having paid this money we still couldn't look out a clean window. This was our first cruise on HAL. Can't imagine coming back to it unless things improve. The feature was the itinerary, but the ship just met (average) expectations. It was OK but certainly no wow factor, and not enough to make me recommend it to my friends. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
In the end we got more than we paid for. They slashed the rates because they sold the Prinsendam and replaced her with the bigger Rotterdam at unbelievable rates for this great itinerary covering the north coast of Svlbard (and btw. about ... Read More
In the end we got more than we paid for. They slashed the rates because they sold the Prinsendam and replaced her with the bigger Rotterdam at unbelievable rates for this great itinerary covering the north coast of Svlbard (and btw. about 10K km). So this was great. What was not great was that the Rotterdam continued her bad reputation für port changes / cancellations. Even before we sailed, they cancelled Edinburgh for Invergordon. "Port reasons" - no compensation not even the port charges. Then they cancelled Haemey - a discussable decision - but you do not want to discuss this with the captain after having read the reviews here and the threat of applying maritime law. Captain was on the tough side - he left 3 ladies in Reykjavik because they were 30mins late - not to announce two days later on short notice (in the morning) in Invergordon that we would leave 30 mins earlier…. But quod liced Jovi, non licet bovi.... Food average. Excellent cheese and cold cuts, very good salads with fresh broiled tuna in the Lido. Pool grill run out of the good HAL fries after a week. Hot dogs good, hamburgers not. Pizza ok. MDR not so good, excellent front desk, but arrogant sommeliers, other service good, food average - surf and turf for Gala night - badly overcooked. No fresh juices on board. Mocktails removed from menu, but still available. Great experience in the Explorations Cafe - thank you so much for coffee & brownies! Entertainment partly disgusting (Michelle Montouri and her bad, bad vulgar "jokes"), the piano player Patrick singing about mouth and hand jobs with a kid sitting around his piano (she was 12 years or younger, because she had to wear her security bracelet) - unbelievable.) The EXC guide was a bad joke - just reciting Wikipedia word by word and other websites word by word. Putting draaaaamaaaa iiiin everyyyything heee saaaaid iiin aaa deeeeep voice. Aaaaanddd nature alwayyyyss winns. Much better the nice Australian singer and the saxophone player from Holland and the PMJ. And all the nice Dutch onboard - we loved dutch trivia!! Very (!!!) nice crowd in general. Would definitively cruise with all of you again :-) Excursions overpriced, EXC-Team acting like local police in Ny-Alesund - but you did not want to mess with them - you know the captain…. Ship in general not well maintained. Cracked windows in the MDR. So no five star experience as promised - but we never expected that from a mainstream cruise line - for a very nice rate. So: the value for money - still excellent. And: dresscodes have been lifted finally. Formal night: slacks and collared shirt (no jacket, no tie required for men) matched the actual code (so we dressed accordingly) - but even T-shirts and jeans and - that was our favourite - : a tracksuit with polo shirt and sneakers (he) and a t-shirt and very tight and very short shorts (she, showing her lower back tattoo) was admitted - and sat next to a table in black tie… We loved this - as we are on holidays - Live and let live. Baseline: for this price we would come back. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
I chose this cruise to go to Svalbard, pure and simple. Was not disappointed. Been to Iceland a couple of times before but still found things to see. Ship board life was fine by me. Did a few shore excursions organized by Holland, all OK ... Read More
I chose this cruise to go to Svalbard, pure and simple. Was not disappointed. Been to Iceland a couple of times before but still found things to see. Ship board life was fine by me. Did a few shore excursions organized by Holland, all OK but a tad expensive I thought. I deliberately sail on smaller ships where I can and Rotterdam is about as large as I want to go. Still had a feeling of smallness about it, and able to meet others passengers several times, creating a more intimate feel. My biggest upset, while not Hollands fault but something I will try and check on in any future sailings, was the arrival of a behemoth carrying 4500 passengers in the same small ports as us. 3 times. Imagine our 1400 passengers and 4500 off the other ship arriving in a port with a population of about 2000 people. Most unpleasant for me who lives in a small town with a total population less than the mob on the Preziosa. I like to feel a ship move and it took a storm with wild seas to make this happen. It appears a very stable ship. Cant have been too bad as we have just booked a cruise on a sister ship, this time to go to the bottom of the world. The review here by cancruise2 indicates to me he/she would be better of staying at home. One small complaint. I paid extra to have an ocean view. It is pointless to do this if you cant see through the dirty window. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
This was a 10-day cruise that they stretched into 20 days. They lure you in with pictures of polar bears and puffins and whales. Not one single person on the ship saw any of those animals. Fortunately, most of the excursions were already ... Read More
This was a 10-day cruise that they stretched into 20 days. They lure you in with pictures of polar bears and puffins and whales. Not one single person on the ship saw any of those animals. Fortunately, most of the excursions were already booked by the time I got on board so I missed out on paying $180 and $200 for excursions to NOT see polar bears and puffins and whales. There were many, many sea days with absolutely nothing to do.... except hit the casino. I mean, they had the usual trivia and bingo and towel folding demos, but no lectures to tell us about the different places we were to visit, except talks about the excursions. It was a long, long trip. There were four stops in Iceland. There are not four things to see in all of Iceland, but they managed to find four ports where people could get off and not see puffins or whales. The stop at Inverness, Scotland was wonderful. Grass and flowers and trees with leaves on them. And as a bonus there were deep-water oil platforms parked in the harbor right outside our cabin. Having been an engineer in a previous life I think those platforms are the most beautiful man-made thing on the face of the earth. They were there to be disassembled, but they were still fully intact and beautiful at night all light up. This was my 23rd cruise and my room (3366) is the best room I've ever had. It was a lanai room (not a balcony) and so convenient. I could walk right out the sliding glass doors on to the promenade deck and walk all around the ship. From now on any cruise I take I will look for these lanai rooms. I've always said I've never had a bad meal on a ship, but this time some of the entrees were a little dry. As if they had been sitting under a heat lamp for too long. Bonus: The performances in the Lincoln Center Stage room were worth the price of the cruise. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
The cruise was chosen because of the itinerary. This was our third Holland America Cruise. It was a Baltic Sea cruise with an itinerary that included 9-10 ports in 7 countries in 14 days. We didn't believe the food in the ... Read More
The cruise was chosen because of the itinerary. This was our third Holland America Cruise. It was a Baltic Sea cruise with an itinerary that included 9-10 ports in 7 countries in 14 days. We didn't believe the food in the Pinnacle Grill (with an upcharge of $39 per person) was any better than the food in the main dining room (where there was generally a better selection, too). The entertainment in the main show room was okay, some evenings better than other. None of it was spectacular. The comedian was fresh and funny. Entertainment at the piano bar was okay. The pianist had a good repertoire and played well, but didn't have a voice to match. I have more comments in the cabin review. Ports seemed to be well chosen and excursions were generally good. We had an issue in St. Petersburg, Russia, where arrangements to visit the Hermitage were not well handled. After waiting for an hour to gain entrance, and about time for the museum to close, the tour operator rushed us through a single exhibit (spent maybe 20 minutes) rather than canceling and refunding. Traffic conditions that day were atrocious, and we were delivered back to the ship an hour after it should have sailed. Fortunately, since the excursion was sold by the cruise line, the ship waited for us. We all received an apology from HAL and a 25% rebate on the cost of the excursion. We took an optional excursion via bullet train to Moscow from St. Petersburg (offered by HAL), and believe it was an exceptional experience that anyone with an opportunity should try. Spent a day in Red Square and the Kremlin. The ride was itself a neat experience. The only poor experience we had on any other excursion was a weather-related disaster in Arhus, Denmark, where we thought it would be neat to attend a July 4 celebration. The weather that day was cold and wet and windy. Since most will not have an opportunity to be in Arhus, Denmark, on July 4, it is not likely that this note will matter to many of who read it. We returned to Denmark about a week later (Copenhagen), and the weather and the excursion (mostly in Tivoli Gardens) was wonderful. We thought the best part of the time in Stockholm was actually on the ship as we sailed past great vistas of large and small islands, some with a single home, some with several, some with none. Where there was a home, there was a boat that was necessary to get off the island. We spent a some time in the old town of Talinn in Estonia. Old town means really old. There is a pharmacy that is and claims to have been in business since 1492. Yes, 1492. These are some of the highlights. With as many as two excursions each day and 10 ports, it is impossible to review all of them, but I will be happy to answer any questions directed my way. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
HAL delivered again with a very nice cruise, great food, super service, friendly staff and gracious public spaces. Great room on Dolphin deck with hardly and rock and roll and a big room with window (1903).Not a fan of the tv/dvd ... Read More
HAL delivered again with a very nice cruise, great food, super service, friendly staff and gracious public spaces. Great room on Dolphin deck with hardly and rock and roll and a big room with window (1903).Not a fan of the tv/dvd combo...hopefully they will upgrade that. Elevators around the corner zip up to Lido and MDR. Food was excellent. Banana bread French toast was a fav in MDR for breakfast. Creme Brûlée, prime rib, French onion soup, any dessert all good. Pork roast was like Sunday dinner as a kid. Liked the trivia games and the happy hour in the Crows Nest. Lincoln centre stage was excellent. Gift shop was so-so... to many high end things and low end was gaudy. Embarkation and disembarkation was the smoothest I have experienced. The staff were the real stand outs. Always friendly , helpful, smiling and keeping things clean. They work so hard! Great ports mix of large and small. 24 hour sun was something to see! Did not do any shore excursions with HAL(to expensive)all were booked ahead of time online. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
Note, this May 25, 2019 HA Rotterdam sailing (May 25 to June 8, 2019), was a 14 day Norway cruise, not 21 days. We booked this to see the fjords, scenery, certain tours, and go beyond the Arctic Circle to the most northerly point in ... Read More
Note, this May 25, 2019 HA Rotterdam sailing (May 25 to June 8, 2019), was a 14 day Norway cruise, not 21 days. We booked this to see the fjords, scenery, certain tours, and go beyond the Arctic Circle to the most northerly point in Europe. There were two key port downgrades due to tender maintenance issues...completely within HA control, and either an example of poor maintenance or an inadequate PM (Preventative Maintenance) Program. Neither of the substitute ports (Skjolden or Hellesylt) offered anything like the originally planned excursions that Flam and Geiranger offered. Flam and Geiranger were prime ports due to their excursions, and losing these ports was a major disappointment, all within HA control. There was very poor communications issues with port changes. Nothing when checking in, nothing from the room steward when handed the excursion tickets, about the missing ports / excursions. We had to call Guest Services as to why we were missing excursion tickets, and the communication was matter of fact that due to tender issues, had to change the two ports...lack of empathy or apology. The Captain's approach to dealing with the issue was very negative. I met with the Captain on behalf of a group of 25 Cruise Critics members re the port changes, expressing disappointment and asking for fare reduction, and instead of empathy, the Captain said that he would not tolerate any potential growing unrest, and that if the Cruise Critic group met again, that under Maritime Law I would be put off the ship at the next port. The Cruise Critic group was taking no unrest actions. The Captain's approach was an unbelievably negative experience. Other ship issues: Safety concerns associated with the drill and lifeboat changes / positions. When everyone was lined up at their life boat position, there was only about a metre of space to the railing, with people trying to walk by. If everyone was wearing their bulky life jackets, there would have been no space. We view that the life boat drill without wearing life jackets is not realistic and is an inadequate drill. Frequent toilet not flushing issues. Frequent Sat TV not working. General ship condition - rust, some cracked windows. No laundry room, with excuse of 'hygiene'. If that is real, then every laundry mat in the world should close. We suspect that the real reason is that the washers and dryers break and need regular maintenance. Food and food service was very good. Room steward service was very good. We outlined these issues to the HA President, and requested certain financial consideration. While HA indicated that they would follow-up on the issues that we raised, HA only offered a dinner at the Pinnacle Grill, on a next cruise...wholly inadequate. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
We picked this cruise for the itinerary because it went above the Arctic circle along with Flam and Geiranger. Soon after we boarded the ship on May 25th we were informed via a piece of paper stuffed in the “welcome package” that our ... Read More
We picked this cruise for the itinerary because it went above the Arctic circle along with Flam and Geiranger. Soon after we boarded the ship on May 25th we were informed via a piece of paper stuffed in the “welcome package” that our itinerary had changed. We were no longer going to Flam or Geiranger due to tenders not working. Ship Condition - showing major wear. Windows in dining room were cracked. A lot of rust around door frames in bathroom, bath tub, and out on balcony. Outdated decor. Food - overall we liked the food. We enjoyed the Dive in grill, pizza place, lido salad bar, and dining room(breakfast and dinners). Service - the crew is wonderful both in dining room and cabin stewards. Officers were aloof and not friendly. The Captain, guest relations, and Seattle office have made it very clear that HA is well within its rights to change ports at anytime. Absolutely no compensation not even a small gesture has been offered after numerous people have complained. Room - sadly we booked a guarantee and were placed over the Ocean Bar. So every night we heard music until 11:30 pm. Internet package was expensive and limited internet at times. Should not be charged when we can’t get service until 6:00 pm or later as we sail out of a Fjord. Entertainment - enjoyed the Lincoln Center Stage venue and BBC movies, other entertainment was just ok(magician, comedian, sax player) We will not be cruising HA again. The issues on this cruise and HA’s response says it all for us. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
My wife and I were on the Rotterdam for 55 day in 2015 and liked it very much. The ship is very different now. There appeared to be a reduction in staff that resulted in frequent poor service in the Lido and often poor service in the ... Read More
My wife and I were on the Rotterdam for 55 day in 2015 and liked it very much. The ship is very different now. There appeared to be a reduction in staff that resulted in frequent poor service in the Lido and often poor service in the main dinning room. Seldom refills in the Lido and two and a half hours in the main dinning room. The employees in the main dinning room worked hard but there weren't enough of them. Many of the employees in the Lido appeared to be poorly trained and lacked proper supervision. The cabin boys were excellent and did every thing they could to make our stay as good as possible. The Food was often very bland and lacked proper seasoning. There were a lot of desserts with varying quality. When I ordered lamb chops I received only two which were quite small. Of the 21 days there were only two entertainers that were good. There was no duplicate bridge, no craft lessons, almost no expert speakers, The lectures on upcoming ports were obviously for selling excursions, It was a boring cruise Fellow cruisers read a lot of books and played games in the library. The price of the internet was outrageous with no reception most of the time. The ship shows its age with warn carpet with poorly chosen carpet colors. The design is confusing with an odd layout. We missed the two most important ports of the cruise. The excuse for for missing Flam was that several of the tenders were in operable. How did several tenders have problems at the same time? What happened to preventive maintenance. We had doubts about the life boats. The ports were advertised over two years ago, why had docking reservations made then. There were four other cruise ships in the port. We have well over 200 days of cruising but will never take another cruise on Holland American again. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
Rotterdam Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.1
Dining 3.0 3.9
Entertainment 3.0 3.3
Public Rooms 4.0 4.2
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.6
Family 3.0 3.6
Shore Excursion 3.0 3.5
Enrichment 4.0 3.3
Service 4.0 4.3
Value For Money 4.0 3.7
Rates 4.0 4.1

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