479 Holland America Rotterdam Cruise Reviews

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
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
The ship. It had been two years since we sailed ms Rotterdam and the ship's inside public places were extensively done over in a very nice way. New carpets, new upholstery and a general new feel when walking around deck 4 and 5. ... Read More
The ship. It had been two years since we sailed ms Rotterdam and the ship's inside public places were extensively done over in a very nice way. New carpets, new upholstery and a general new feel when walking around deck 4 and 5. Inside our verandah cabin the couch was new, not leathery this time, and the cabin was clean with no defects. Airconditioning worked fine the whole two weeks. The washroom however was not updated. Everything worked, hot/cold water, flush, but the general condition of the bath, although clean, was bad. Apparently the area around the bath faucets was and had been leaking with a lot of rust as a result. This was painted over, but rust was already apparent again. This fortunately did not lesson the enjoyment of the cruise, but is something HAL should attend to as they will keep ships like Rotterdam for another ten years as told by the hotel director on the ship. Dining. Admittedly a subjective subject, we think the choice and quality of the meals in the mdr has improved greatly. I liked every course I selected, which has not always been the case, and it was never a problem to order seconds. There is no charge for a second main course. The lido was used for breakfast and lunch. Quality is good with lots of choices, italian corner, far lands (asian) corner, sushi corner, salad bar, fixed sandwiches etc. On the aft deck you can get made to order pizza, we did that once and it was good and in the covered pool was a snackbar with hamburgers and fries, also good. I sometime read about bad attendance by lido waiters but that is not the case here. Tables were cleaned in record time and they came around for water/koffie etc very often. It seemed like a full house and that reflected in a very busy lido, so to have a table of choice you would have to come early. We did not do pinnacle or canalletto. Crew. They were fabulous as ever. From cabin stewards, dining stewards, in fact everybody you met, it was all smiles and helpfullness. Itinerary. Due to strong winds the harbour of Warnemunde closed and it was not safe anyway to dock there. This was to be the start of Berlin tours and was a great dissapointment for passengers who had embarked on the previous cuise and had stayed on for this one, they had already missed two ports and this would be the third. So another seaday, but the captain announced already at noon that the next day's scheduled sea day would be replaced with an impromptu port stop at Riga and that turned out to be a great one! Rotterdam had never been there before, in fact only Prinsendam had. Every other, scheduled, stop was in general early to arrive and on time to leave. Overall. It was a great cruise, despite the unusual cold weather for the baltic. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Avoid at all costs. While 2 larger ships just hours ahead of us made it across the Atlantic to Lisbon, we sat for 3+ days in the Azores and then headed to Rotterdam for disembarkation. We traveled 15 days from Tampa, FL to Rotterdam to ... Read More
Avoid at all costs. While 2 larger ships just hours ahead of us made it across the Atlantic to Lisbon, we sat for 3+ days in the Azores and then headed to Rotterdam for disembarkation. We traveled 15 days from Tampa, FL to Rotterdam to spend 1 hr in Europe, and that was on the bus to the airport. There was nothing much interesting to do on board. We put lots of jigsaw puzzles together. Food all tasted alike after a few days...same gravy on all the meat dishes, desserts had no flavor....We found the chocolate mint ice cream they had occasionally the best dessert and we can get that at the local grocery store. Casino was smoky, entertainment stale, internet access was $25 for 1 day use, fitness classes area to small for more than 10 people...rust around faucets, overall worn out ship. After missing the entire Europe itinerary for this Normandy Expedition, we were give $100 compensation and 15% off a future (never to happen) cruise which was just a blatant promotion. When your gratuities are $30 per day, the $100 covered about 3 days of tips and that's all for wasting 15 days on this trip. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Outdated décor, but clean. Cabin was fine, except for several problems - a broken balcony door lock, missing remote control, and the granddaddy of them all - the shower. (a broken faucet with scalding water which couldn't be turn ... Read More
Outdated décor, but clean. Cabin was fine, except for several problems - a broken balcony door lock, missing remote control, and the granddaddy of them all - the shower. (a broken faucet with scalding water which couldn't be turn off - and alerted the fire department, who came pounding on the door). I made 2 attempts, with the same results - so went without for 2 weeks! They suggested I use the Spa shower. Food was usually bland or tough, and very repetative.. But the ice cream was the best. What entertainment they offered was fine, except there were no Shows. Highly unusual for a cruise of 2 weeks. Activities were repeats of the same old, same old. There were lots of movies, if you need to catch up on the oldies. Service was hit and miss. Some looked exhausted. Others were trying so hard, they soon would be too. My young cabin steward was friendly and cheerful. The older one seemed to have the need to bully me. Ports - missed 4!! - We saw the Azores, which are lovely. The rest of the time we bobbed around in the Atlantic. Other ships crossed to the English Channel, but we didn't. Reasons varied and weren't clarified. ( a death, waiting for people at the airport, and "other reasons") For me, that meant $4,000 down the drain - with little compensation. Would I travel with Holland America again? They'll have to pull up their socks! Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Because the oasis got canceled. I still wanted a transatlantic cruse and this was still available last minute. It is a small ship with little to do. Entertainment is the worst at sea. The ship is clean, safe and comfortable. Average age ... Read More
Because the oasis got canceled. I still wanted a transatlantic cruse and this was still available last minute. It is a small ship with little to do. Entertainment is the worst at sea. The ship is clean, safe and comfortable. Average age is 70 plus. Embarkation was horrible as we were kept waiting at the airport so no porters at the port and were told to take all our luggage on board ourselves. Ship had an air maintenance issue that took several hours to resolve. Disembarkation was easy. Due to rough seas we had 3 days in the Azores. But we missed the two ports in France and then Belgium. Compensation was below other cruise lines. I know as I just got the RCCL credits. My room stewards were excellent. The food was repetitive and the fruit rotten more often then not. Most don’t go to the dining room so service is fast at dinner. Overall a boring cruise as I read 10 books. Dining overall was average, cabin old with a bathtub and kept clean by great room stewards. No library, no production shows, Astro physics ,history and port talks were repeatedly full as nothing else to do. The movie theatre small so you needed to get there twenty minutes early. If you want to sleep go on the Rotterdam. Given I now have a future cruise credit, I will go on holland America again just not this ship. Not much to say as there is not much to review on this ship Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
As we live in Florida and all ports are close to us, we selected this cruise for our second Transatlantic on Holland America. We loved the crossing last spring and wanted to repeat it with friends onboard this year. Also we had never been ... Read More
As we live in Florida and all ports are close to us, we selected this cruise for our second Transatlantic on Holland America. We loved the crossing last spring and wanted to repeat it with friends onboard this year. Also we had never been to the Baltic countries and this cruise continued on from Rotterdam, the Netherlands to several Baltic ports of call. This was a wonderful experience, our third cruise on HAL. We love the size of HAL ships and boarding was easy. After lunch we explored the ship and found it to be beautifully appointed. The only thing we found lacking was enough interesting books in the Library. We had some reading material with us and the ship provided lots of comfortable spaces to relax and enjoy it. Our inside Stateroom 3342 provided plenty of storage room and the bathroom was more than adequate. Our room Stewards did an amazing job keeping it in perfect order. Dining was as great as we expected. Whether meals at the Lido Buffet, Main Dining Room, a quick snack at New York Pizza or Room Service, we were always pleased. The enrichment programs onboard were wonderful. We attended many lectures on our ports of call, America's Test Kitchen and others. The programs presented by various members of the Staff & Crew were quite varied and interesting. The musical groups were top notch as well. The service on the ship was beyond 5 Star. We found every person on the ship eager to help and answer questions. We had a little rough weather on both cruise portions but the Captain and Staff worked out details for alternate routes and stops and gave us future credits as well. Ports and shore excursions booked through HAL were wonderful. We were pleased that the Hotel staff offered special in-room meal options in St. Petersburg, Russia as our tours ran back-to-back our first day. Returning from our second excursion, trays arrived in the room, a most appreciated bonus Planning the next cruise on Holland America now! Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Love this ship. The fact that they haven't changed alot of the public spaces made me pick this ship. I like the crows nest as is....not a coffee shop.... The casino was smokey all the time e en tho they kept announcing it was a ... Read More
Love this ship. The fact that they haven't changed alot of the public spaces made me pick this ship. I like the crows nest as is....not a coffee shop.... The casino was smokey all the time e en tho they kept announcing it was a smoke free venue... except for one corner...that corner filled the place with smoke. I woulda stayed longer but for that. The food was good as usual...the service was better that we had on the statendam. The entertainment was adequate...not great,but not bad.... I met several people that had pretty bad cabin problems...I hope they were rectified...our cabin was awesome...I also noticed they were bigger than the larger ships.. I did also notice the staff was less stressed out on this ship than on the larger ships. The level of service in the Neptune lounge was incredible and quit helpful with any request that we had. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Just got back from a Holland America Cruise on the Rotterdam. One of the last from the Port of Tampa. Not sure if the staff onboard is starting to get tired or what but some of the services were less than favorable. Embarkation & ... Read More
Just got back from a Holland America Cruise on the Rotterdam. One of the last from the Port of Tampa. Not sure if the staff onboard is starting to get tired or what but some of the services were less than favorable. Embarkation & Disembarkation Very easy. They have this process down very well . Rotterdam ship: Very nice ship, Teak wood upkept very nice. You see the improvements they have done over the years and it looks very nice and clean. Cabin: We had an outside Cabin which seemed very roomie for what it was. Very supprised with all the closet space. nice Touch with the free safe in the room. Bed was very comfortable and the Stewards always kept the room clean and always supplying us with clean towels Dinning: Lido Deck food was very good. Nice that the HAL buffet is served by staff and not a bunch of people reaching in and grabbing food. Food was always fresh and hot. Never needed to add salt to anything we got from the line. Burgers & Hot dogs were good from the Dive Inn grill as long as you didn't get the burger well done.. There Pizza grill did a great job with the NY style pizza. They did keep strange hours on the burger and Pizza service, as neither was 24 hours. Pinnacle Grill- In my opinion, the Main dining room food was better than here. We spent over 2.5 Hours in the Grill. Appetizers were good and hot. Main course I got the Porterhouse and Wife got the Strip Steak. We both asked for Medium Rare and both came back very Rare. I ate mine, but we sent hers back. We cut a piece off right away to check the temp. They took her's back for about 15-20 minutes and brought back the same piece of meat still under cooked (but hot this time) All of the sides came out at room temp initially. When they brought back her steak, they never refreshed the sides for her. For Desert we decide to bring back to the room as we were already there for over 2.25 hours. so she got the lollipop desert cakes along with the chocolates from the table. The waiter put them in aluminum foil and twisted the top.. It looked like one of those weights used to hold down balloons. So when we got back to the cabin it was just a big ball of chocolate. We had a 4 top table come in when She got her second try and they were getting dessert at the same time we did.. Ship services did eventually refund us the up charge and the Pinnacle manager called us to apologize and offered another try on the last night, but we already planned the evening. Entertainment and Activities: Comedians were very good. My wife Participated in the Americas test Kitchen and had a blast!! She said she would do that over and over again... Also, did the bar hop with Jeremy and that was an awesome time. There was never a shortage of things to do. Services: Room Stewards - These guys are great, never needed anything... Spa Services: Very Disappointed with spa services. First, My wife got a manicure. Her nails were chipping after 1 day.. Spa did redo the color, but talked my wife out of the color she wanted and the top of her nails by the cuticle look as if they were 1 week growth and her skin was peeling. The Facial she received left her with bruising and a sore/scar on her nose. She received the facial on the 1st sea day, so had the embarrassment the rest of the cruise. When addressed with spa manager she gave her a discount on the facial. She then gave a third chance for a massage and the tech kept going to deep after she said something several times. This left bruises on her back. Then the spa manager accosted her after her massage, because I had brought these issues up with the Ship services counter. They eventually took off the price of the facial. But during dining one evening another guest complained about being under the kitchen and got a 150 on board credit, so needless to say that was more upsetting to me. Ports and Excursions: Guatemala - We only went thru the bazaar. Prepare your self as they do not take no easily. You must walk away and not feel you are hurting feelings. Honduras: We went with Victor Bordon's Sloth and Monkey Tour - This was a lot of fun getting to touch the animals and see all the birds.. Relaxing at the resort was a really nice addition. Costa Maya, very nice and very clean port.. We didn't do much here as it was really windy ( 7-10 foot waves) made getting back on the boat a real challenge. Summary: Loved the ship and would probably give them another try. Hopefully the managers get a little training so that they stop trying to explain why there staff was making their errors and just fix things.. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Second spring break in a row doing this particular cruise, same ship, with two of my three kids (this time my 8 and 5 yr old boys) while my wife and daughter attended to family business elsewhere. Picked it again for the same reasons ... Read More
Second spring break in a row doing this particular cruise, same ship, with two of my three kids (this time my 8 and 5 yr old boys) while my wife and daughter attended to family business elsewhere. Picked it again for the same reasons we picked it last year: classic ship feel of the Rotterdam; quiet, clean familiarity of the surroundings; low hassle way to get out on the open sea. Crew did even one better by getting a live feed of the NCAA regional finals, and then doing the muster drills in port in between the two Sunday games. The only downer: Devils losing to Sparty during our first two hours at sea . . . My boys loved it (my 8 yr old's first time aboard, my 5 yr old's second), particularly the pool, and the towel origami from our stateroom attendant Rifky. Ate Lido the entire cruise - given the number of different main courses each night, it is possible to go a seven night cruise and not eat the same thing twice for dinner - and the food as always was top flight for us. Did dolphin watch and snorkel in Key West - got a good up close look at a pod of 6-8 dolphins then did some snorkeling with my boys; we did the waterfall hike and splashed in a couple freshwater pools at the Cerro San Gil Nature Reserve in Guatemala (kids ended up playing with frogs and snails); spent the day at Mahogany Bay Beach in Honduras (my five year old caught what I thought was an eel - till he put it back in the water and it turned back into a sea horse); and did the Mayan adventure water park in Costa Maya. My wife was amazed at how uncrowded everything looked both on the ship and during our excursions. Biggest crowds in fact were in Clearwater, where we spent Saturday doing the marine hospital (made famous by the Dolphin Tale star), then cycling to Clearwater Beach. Spent Sunday before the cruise cycling the Tampa Riverwalk from the Barrymore Hotel to the cruise ship terminal and then back before boarding. Embarkation and disembarkation in Tampa is always easy. Scuttlebutt is that Rotterdam is being repositioned back to Europe at the end of April, and that HA has nothing out of Tampa scheduled for the time being for 2020. I sure hope that changes, because these weeks aboard the Rotterdam have become a true highlight for my children and myself, and I dread having to haul down to Ft. Lauderdale, which I understand is the total opposite of Tampa in terms of ship sizes and crowd density. Read Less
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
Sail Date March 2019
We chose this cruise because we were traveling with my elderly father. We knew Holland America typically caters activities and meals to the more mature crowd, so we thought it would be a good fit. My father enjoyed his cruise. But we had ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we were traveling with my elderly father. We knew Holland America typically caters activities and meals to the more mature crowd, so we thought it would be a good fit. My father enjoyed his cruise. But we had to work at it. Starting with positives.... Holland America has disembarkation and customs down to a science. I would give this a high five star rating. The concept of staff serving guests at the buffet line is genius. Our cabin was pretty clean, after we asked the steward to come back and get the soap scum off the soap holder. Mixology, martini tasting, and bar hop were the highlights of our cruise. No, we are not alcoholics. This is the first cruise I have ever taken where I actually lost weight! But there were problems. -THE DINING ROOM SERVICE was very slow, and inaccurate. When we questioned the length of time we were waiting, or tried to get what we had ordered, we were told the kitchen was backed up. We tried three times, two dinners and a lunch, and gave up, eating the rest of our meals at the overcooked and tasteless buffet. Dining room meals were always cold. FOOD ALLERGIES and dietary restrictions were totally ignored until Day 5 and a LOT of complaints to guest services. My hubby printed a card in four languages stating I had a life threatening allergy to shrimp. Only shrimp. I pointed it out to every waiter, at every meal, and laid it on the table. Only the servers in the Lido seemed to pay attention and cater to our needs. My dad gained 14 pounds in three days due to the excess salt in the food. The evening of Day 5 on our 7 night cruise the cruise staff finally addressed these issues. -there was NO WHEELCHAIR AT THE PORT for embarkation as promised. After a lengthy walk, we sat for literally two hours waiting for a wheelchair to assist us the rest of the way through the ship to our cabin. Hubby and I were discouraged from being on the elevators with my dad. We had to hike up the stairs with luggage in tow to leave elevator room for “those who really needed it”. -there was NO PREBOARDING for Mariners as promised. We arrived at the port as directed at 11 am. It turns out it’s not ANY mariner status, as we were told on the phone, but only 3 star and above that get priority boarding. It’s the same for most every “mariner “ function on the cruise. 1 and 2 star mariners are only allowed to attend the luncheon at the end of the cruise. The port staff in Tampa was not helpful at all. They kept pointing to the stale cookies and water to pass our time. -PORTS OF CALL. Even the cruise staff would caution about getting off the ship if you weren’t on an organized tour. Organized tours with “handicapped accessible “ options did not include getting from the ship to the tour, often a 10 minute walk. We were instructed to stay in the designated areas (aka shopping areas). Why did the ship even stop here? -there’s NO MAINSTAGE ENTERTAINMENT. They put lounge caliber entertainment (A magician, a comedian, a pianist, and a doo whop a cappella group) on the main stage as “featured entertainment”. Movies shown were old. Classes were taught by untrained crew members. -my fathers BATHROOM TRASH WAS NEVER EMPTIED during the 7 day cruise. Our hallway smelled like a sewer, but our room was ok. Obviously, Dad’s smelled. And, we may never stop teasing my dad about the ladies’ panties than ended up on his balcony on Day 4 that were never removed. Throughout the ship there are raised “speed bumps” as we nicknamed them. Just enough height difference to trip an older person walking. Most public space chairs do not have armrests. I would not have noticed, until watching my father try to get in or out of a chair. For a ship that boasts catering to mature clientele, they might try to accommodate better in the public areas. We had travelled on Holland America a decade ago. We were very disappointed with what we witnessed on this cruise. ADVICE TO FUTURE TRAVELERS: bring a cane, and steady walking shoes. Keep expectations low. Read Less
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
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. DW 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 DW 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
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 3.4
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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