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Cruise Ratings
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Sail Date: December 2018
I don’t know what happened to the Holland America I know and loved. Food was mediocre but the breads and baked goods were quite good but even the ice cream wasn’t very creamy, and room service had limited breakfast choices ... Read More
I don’t know what happened to the Holland America I know and loved. Food was mediocre but the breads and baked goods were quite good but even the ice cream wasn’t very creamy, and room service had limited breakfast choices unless you wanted to pay more. The room service menu in general was very limited unless you wanted to pay. Really. 2/3 ports of call were industrial with no redeeming qualities. On board activities included uh uh shopping, learning about shopping, special events to buy something, learning about spa treatments to buy. The comedienne who wasn’t funny, forgot her lines, and repeated the same material both days she performed.. Didn’t stay for the magician. Did I mention I was 1 of many who spent 24 hrs quarantined due to GI problems? Cost me $140.00 for the nurse, an injection and pills. Our dinner in the Pinnacle Grill was fabulous but I didn’t buy a cruise to pay extra to eat good food. The popcorn in the movie theater was good. The crew seemed disconnected from the passengers. Not a happy lot. Our cabin Stewards were efficient but didn’t always understand our requests, like clean wine glasses. The New Years Eve party was not remarkable. And the jewel in the crown, the Prinsendam, has been sold. I took 2 wonderful grand voyages on her and was looking forward to another. Our verandah cabin on Deck 6 was spacious and had lots of storage. So sad to experience the decline of what has been a wonderful cruise line with wonderful memories. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2018
This cruise started off with a pretty big hiccup but all said it was a great vacation. We spent the night before our cruise at the Vinoy in St Pete's. We woke up to an email saying that due to fog our ship was delayed arriving and ... Read More
This cruise started off with a pretty big hiccup but all said it was a great vacation. We spent the night before our cruise at the Vinoy in St Pete's. We woke up to an email saying that due to fog our ship was delayed arriving and there would be an update at 9am. At 9am we got the exact same email with no update. The communication from HAL was lacking. The other cruise lines seemed to have done a better job updating passengers about what was going on etc. The port finally reopened that afternoon and our ship got into port around 5:30pm. They had to disembark all of the passengers and finally around 9:30pm we were able to start boarding. Because of the fog delay we spent the night onboard in Tampa and had to skip Key West. I wasn't too disappointed about missing Key West as it ranks towards the bottom of all vacations I've ever taken. HAL did give every passenger a $50 onboard credit because of the delay. We left port Monday morning and sailed straight to Trujillo the 2d port. We had just come off the Veedam the week before and I enjoyed the Rotterdam much more. The dining room had a better feel to it. They also had two sets of connect 4 in the exploration lounge which made my kids' week ;). The coffee in the exploration lounge was definitely worth the added cost. The free coffee was not good in the lido or the main dining room. The itinerary on this cruise was fantastic. I really felt like we got to see more of the "real" Central America. Cruising the Caribbean it can sometimes seem like the islands are interchangeable, but going on to mainland Central America made the trip more about culture and less a beach vacation. We traveled with our three kids (ages 10-13), but they had no interest in the Club HAL activities this cruise. On past cruises they have enjoyed it. There were lots of other kids in Club Hal though. Our favorite entertainment activity was the daily geography trivia with Aubrey. We didn't take in a lot of shows as the times for shows didn't really work with our 8pm dining time. All the shows seemed to be either 8pm or 10pm and with a port stop almost every day we didn't want to stay up too late. We've been on other cruise lines where the late dinner seating can catch a show before dinner and have enjoyed that in the past. The movie always started at 7pm which also didn't work for either dining times. Overall the service was excellent in both our cabin and dining. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
This was my 23rd cruise, and I like to offer my insights. I like to start with positives so here we go: Staff is amazingly helpful. Ship is immaculate. Storage is amazing on this ship. Closets, cabinets, shelving, compartments. ... Read More
This was my 23rd cruise, and I like to offer my insights. I like to start with positives so here we go: Staff is amazingly helpful. Ship is immaculate. Storage is amazing on this ship. Closets, cabinets, shelving, compartments. Everything was terrific. Elevators are really fast and never crowded. Cabins have a great amount of USB ports so you don’t have to lug charging bricks with you. Loved the makeup mirror they give you in the cabinet. The LED reading lights are terrific. The free movie selection in the room was unparalleled! Truly the best ever offered on a ship. For once, the pictures were lovely. No hard sell, very good value and the best, they had REASONABLY priced photo gifts that the produced right on the ship. BB Kings location and music was terrific! It’s enclosed and the acoustics are lovely. Much better than the Konigsdam which was wide open and had no ambiance of a club. Now for the real issues: This was our 3rd New Years cruise on HAL and the first time there was NOT ONE table to put your drink on while you were enjoying the New Years party near the pool. I looked at pictures from the Konigsdam and saw all of the high top tables around the deck. We had the 8pm seating for dinner and were NOT offered ANY New Years party favors. The ship has horrible plumbing issues. We had standing water in shower and backed up toilets constantly. Other people had brown water in bathroom sink and was told at first that it was ok to use to brush your teeth. Then Later, was not to use it. This ship doesn’t have a “sports bar” per-se but there are so many TV’s around and they just didn’t have enough viewing locations for all the college bowl games and NFL playoffs Some smaller issues: no laundry bags in room. If you make the mistake and take the bag marked “laundry” bag, you will be charged $15. The daily activities were pretty much non-existent. If I had not been on three other HAL cruises, I would have just chased it up to the “target” demographic but I must tell you, I think this is a direct reflection of the “middle aged” cruise director who just doesn’t necessarily care about making the shop have varied activities. On deck 11, there’s an area where they do all the cultural talks. I don’t know why they don’t utilize the same seating area and show movies so people don’t have to stay coupes up in their rooms if they want to watch a movie. There should be scheduled movie times crwatingvan atmosphere of socialization! It wasn’t until the last day at sea that I saw coloring pencils in the Fugi craft area. Why the ship didn’t let people know there was an adult “coloring ” time is beyond me. The food was ok. Nothing special and certainly nothing like other Holland ships. When they say “rack of lamb” but serve two pancake thin lamb chops, this is NOT rack of lamb. The food in Lido was mediocre to say the least. The bakery selection for breakfast was terrible and the eggs (scrambled) were just inedible. I don’t understand why the “daily menu” selections were not printed in the menu every day considering the menu was not very good. Ships should move over to paper straws rather than discontinue straws (on request only) Port of San Dirgobwas very easy for both embarkation and disembarkation. There were over 280 kids this week but the ship didn’t change anything on the daily program. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
Booked a New Year’s cruise on this brand new ship after having had a great cruise last year on the Koningsdam. Wow, things have changed in a year. After over 40 sailings, 8 of which have been with HAL, can’t get over the ... Read More
Booked a New Year’s cruise on this brand new ship after having had a great cruise last year on the Koningsdam. Wow, things have changed in a year. After over 40 sailings, 8 of which have been with HAL, can’t get over the incredible budget cutting to the entertainment program. Really sad. No HAL orchestra, no live pool music, no HAL Cats, no sailaway music, no singers in the shows, no ballroom, latin, Jazz or swing music. No pre-dinner or after dinner dancing. The dance troop has been downsized and the shows were repeats on a 7 day cruise. If you like to have fun and dance, don’t go on this ship. New Year’s Eve was like an acid rock funeral complete with Fox News live-streaming. Luckily they poured a glass of cheap champagne at midnight to help dull the pain for those that stayed. It’s unfortunate to see a great line like HAL succumb to the budget ax especially when it comes to critically important entertainment and at a time when so many new and innovative ships are being launched. The irony is that the ship is music themed- just without the music (but it should be noted that the BB King band was great when they performed and the only time that passengers seemed to be having any fun on this ship). Luckily the food is on par with other HAL ships and the gym is one of the better ones at sea- though it has very dim lighting so make sure you work out when the sun is out otherwise it can be quite hazardous. Hopefully HAL will quickly re-learn how to give their passengers a good time on a Caribbean cruise before they do too much damage to their business. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
The Good-The Ship is stunningly beautiful, the artwork, the cabins, the WALK IN SHOWER in every cabin! It's a stunner. The Crew is lovely but you could see cracks in their patience (see more in "The Bad"). Sadly our cabin is ... Read More
The Good-The Ship is stunningly beautiful, the artwork, the cabins, the WALK IN SHOWER in every cabin! It's a stunner. The Crew is lovely but you could see cracks in their patience (see more in "The Bad"). Sadly our cabin is one I would not suggest as there is something in the Wall behind the bed making super loud noises ..so much so that we were moved to a "Sleeping Cabin" ( Kudos to Guest Services). The cabins are gorgeous and loving all the storage. (Don't miss the Drawers under the foot of the bed). The main dining room served the best Cruise Ship food I've ever had and in fact it was so good that the alternative restaurants which you pay for was a harder sell. Don't shy away from the main dining room as it really is spectacular. Like Sushi? for Sure the sushi bar is a hit- It was packed most nights and at about $5.50 a roll for huge 8 piece roll it's a solid winner. The not so Good- Service, Holland is using IPads for waiters of every type and the Drink servers are having a real hard time. So much so that they resorted to paper several times during the cruise and it was super hard to get drink service outside as it often took two or three minutes for the ipads to "update". Hey HAL, drop this system ASAP! Servers were super frustrated and the HAL "enthusiasm" that you normally see form the staff, seemed to be sucked out of these guys/gals. They seemed just exhausted. Also, be sure to buy the drink Package in advance as a standard cocktail hovered in the $10 Per drink Area- 5 drinks a day and you were well over the package cost. Wines were outrageously expensive. Woodbridge Cab for over $40 a bottle- What? As for Rolling Stone, it was hardly ever busy and the band was slightly better than a garage band. My guess is HAL will have this removed sooner than the first drydock. For New Years Eve they just sort of missed out (Where was the Cruise Director?) The Lido deck party they actually missed the countdown and midnight just sort of happened. In general the programming on board was the type you'd see on a typical 10 night Europe Cruise. In the Caribbean, people want to have a little fun and kick up their heels a bit- this was not the case and I felt that the Cruise Director could have done a much better job with on board programming. Also, what happened to the big BBC Earth promise-We saw a stunning show on the Koningsdam showing BBC Earth accompanied by a orchestra- Nada here. Seems like HAL has really cut back on the big shows. They have this STUNNING showroom and super thin productions. The cast is talented but very small and I was a bit disappointed. I realize it's only the 4th sailing of the vessel but I also sailed on the 4th sailing of the Koningsdam and it was a night and day experience. I wanted it to be great. It just wasn't. Dare I say I was a bit bored! Read Less
Sail Date: December 2018
Service st pinnacle grill has a lot to be desired very slow we canceled future dinner reservations and had free Neptune suite breakfasts and only went to two because of the same service problem What made this worse was HAL CEO onboard ... Read More
Service st pinnacle grill has a lot to be desired very slow we canceled future dinner reservations and had free Neptune suite breakfasts and only went to two because of the same service problem What made this worse was HAL CEO onboard and this happens. First Neptune suite and it was awesome and the concierge ladies Ari and Diane were outstanding and graciously worked things out. Lido was good as always as was the Dive in. When we left the Captain was awesome with his toots way too many that he even gave the pilot three little ones for his goodbye. Weather was awesome throughout the week. IMO Falmouth should be changed to Ocho Rios which would make it much better itinerary. The hydro pool was good but too many items breaking down for which they gave us $31 OBC still enjoyed it very relaxing Neptune suite had toilet issues and leaking pipe outside veranda area but they were fixed Read Less
Sail Date: December 2018
We have only sailed once before (with Princess) and were looking for a holiday cruise that wasn't overrun with kids on winter break. We love kids, but as teachers, we needed a little break ourselves! Although there were kids on ... Read More
We have only sailed once before (with Princess) and were looking for a holiday cruise that wasn't overrun with kids on winter break. We love kids, but as teachers, we needed a little break ourselves! Although there were kids on board, they weren't the focus of the cruise and seemed polite, in control, and even "cultured". We enjoyed seeing kids reading books and appropriately enjoying the entertainment. Most positive aspects of this cruise: *The food was outstanding! *The service was amazing - many attendants and servers were from Indonesia and we found them engaging, positive and hard working. We gave above and beyond our planned gratuities because we were so impressed with the people who can easily make or break a vacation. *The entertainment was clean and fun. We went to the Main Stage almost every night and enjoyed all of the shows. Billboard On Board was our favorite nightly club event and we were impressed with the performances at the small Lincoln Center Stage. A few things to improve on: *internet access... In this day and age, internet should be easily accessible, if not completely free. Without paying an entire day's fee, we couldn't even check into our flight home. Just being able to connect with our family on board was difficult as well. *The daily buffet closed at 9:30 pm with a few (old, dried out) leftovers available for the starving ones. As a diabetic, I needed access to snacks and meals on a regular basis. Room service menus were very limited and honestly, a little pathetic. It usually took an hour or more for food to arrive. It was such a contrast to the amazing dining room meals, that we were confused as to the purpose of this neglected area of service. We felt like we didn't get the memo... *Sales pushing - although they weren't as overt as Princess in pushing sales for jewelry, alcohol and future cruises, almost half of the activity offerings on the daily agenda were sales pitches. At least this time, we recognized them for what they were and could avoid them. Overall, we were pleased with our experience and would consider booking another cruise with HAL. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2018
Chose this cruise for ports of call and schedule. Except for the quality of the food, the cruise was a disappointment. The ship was worn and tired. Booked a Neptune suite and there was wallpaper falling off the wall and rusty areas on the ... Read More
Chose this cruise for ports of call and schedule. Except for the quality of the food, the cruise was a disappointment. The ship was worn and tired. Booked a Neptune suite and there was wallpaper falling off the wall and rusty areas on the balcony. The carpets are stained throughout. Many small things added up: missing bathroom fixtures, a towel hangar that was replaced with a simple screw in the wall. The Neptune/Pinnacle suites are supposedly the nicest aboard -- if that is true, then I feel badly for those in lesser cabins. The service was also poor, but I consider this a reflection of how the crew is treated by their employer. Most crew members seemed disinterested in being helpful, and some where downright rude. More often than not, I was getting my own drinks in the Lido restaurant. In the dining room, we gave our order and the waiter confirmed it, only to bring the wrong thing. I would describe most of the crew as aloof. HAL supposedly provides a premium experience, but this was far from it. Would recommend you cruise with someone else. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2018
This was a getaway for New Year's Eve. We were pleasantly surprised at the young ages on this sailing knowing Holland's reputation. However, Holland did not take this into consideration and maintained a ... Read More
This was a getaway for New Year's Eve. We were pleasantly surprised at the young ages on this sailing knowing Holland's reputation. However, Holland did not take this into consideration and maintained a "Senior" environment with night symphonies, cooking demonstrations, etc. The shipped appeared dated, especially the exterior with cracked windows in several locations. The entertainment in the theater was awful using the staff which appeared more like a high school production. The headliner comedian canceled and New Year's Eve was held in the theater. 1,000 people crammed into a two tier theater having to watch the Cruise Director sing three or four songs. He was not Frank Sinatra! Champagne was limited and those of us on the upper tier just received our champagne at the strike of midnight. Now tell me why they did not take advantage of the pool area with the covered top and some energetic live music? Sea Days: Young ages throughout the ship, yet Carlos the Cruise Director did not make any adjustments for some fun on sea days at the pool and no live music. Food, overall was good with an imbalance of proportions. Some had a healthy plating while others had barely a portion for one person. God forbid you asked for extra sour cream. Seems the ship had a premium on that! Service was very good. Stateroom was nice size but never saw our attendant and we ended up with the same used glasses for four days in a row. Towel animals needed some work and the towels and wash clothes were grey and dingy looking. Excursions: Took one "Old and New San Juan". The driver gave no history of the city during the drive. Stopped at fort for a 45 minute walk. 23-acre fort! Not much time. Dropped us at a corner for shopping not giving any suggestions or time for a bite of food. The only saving grace on this cruise was "Martini Mike" with nightly martini tastings and the beautiful islands of Grand Turk and Half Moon Bay. Sorry, Holland but a huge disappointment for on board experience. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2018
This started poorly with the embarkation process. Very unorganized and SLOW. once onboard, no music (Usually a calypso band playing on other cruise lines), no welcome drink. To top it off, we didn’t leave Port for four hours ... Read More
This started poorly with the embarkation process. Very unorganized and SLOW. once onboard, no music (Usually a calypso band playing on other cruise lines), no welcome drink. To top it off, we didn’t leave Port for four hours waiting for the meat delivery! Holland did nothing to compensate for this late departure. Most lines will serve drinks or snacks or SOMETHING to ease the pain of inconvenience. Thie ship was nice, but the availability of entertainment was far less than mediocre. Also, the service was almost nonexistent at the pool and on deck. Had to keep going to the bar. The main pool was like a sauna because they didn’t fully open the roof! Forget about late-night - no food and not many entertainment options. The Main Stage Theater had less than average entertainment and the showtimes did not coincide with the dining. 2nd Dinner seating was at 7:45 and the last show was at 9:00. The staff was so slow that we had to skip dessert in order to see a show. There were two bands and a dueling piano bar. Nothing available after their last sets at 11 pm. I always felt like the staff was doing me a favor by doing their jobs. I will stick with Royal Caribbean or Carnival for guaranteed fun and better service. Holland America is not for me. Read Less
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