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10,818 Holland America Line Cruise Reviews

We had our MiddLe Eastern cruise cancelled and thought that by sailing around our own New Zealand and Australia we would be fine. It was great, we managed to book another cruise for the return to Australia but sadly they cancelled that in ... Read More
We had our MiddLe Eastern cruise cancelled and thought that by sailing around our own New Zealand and Australia we would be fine. It was great, we managed to book another cruise for the return to Australia but sadly they cancelled that in the week we had as a stopover in Auckland. Understand the situation completely. The Noordam is perfect for size for us, love the crew, well presented ship with good shows. Every one of the shows was brilliant, the Cast show was really good. We had some rough nights crossing the Tasman but they still did a super job. Our weather was great, the Milford Sounds Cruise was spectacular with stunning scenery in all the sounds, Doubtful, Milford and Dusky. Not a cloud in the sky, really good stopover in Akaroa too. Wellington was tops, pity we didn’t go to Picton and Napier as I highly recommend them as top ports of call. Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
At the port we were greeted very nicely and had a gentlemen that did our paperwork that was very nice and patient. The embarkation went smoothly got our stateroom cards then hop on the ship! We had a guaranteed partial view balcony and it ... Read More
At the port we were greeted very nicely and had a gentlemen that did our paperwork that was very nice and patient. The embarkation went smoothly got our stateroom cards then hop on the ship! We had a guaranteed partial view balcony and it was ok. Next time I will prefer a full view balcony but the price was right. There is a lot of storage space everything was well appointed. I found that the toilet in the bathroom was set in a awkward manner since it's on an angle. The shower though was large and loved the glass door. We then met our stewarts that were going out of their way to help us. We then headed to the Ocean Bar for a glass of champagne. We had the elite beverage package and found that for us it was worth its price. Jose the bartender at the Ocean Bar is fantastic. All of the cocktails were made with attention and were very good. Then off to the adult pool and the pool bar and there we started our voyage. There was a very good vibe there also. Then off the Main Dining Room. All of our servers were excellent all through the week. The food at the Main Dining Room was very very good all the time. We did go to the Specialty restaurants Canalletto and found that it was not worth the extra money spent. I also have the same opinion with Tamarin but it was better. On our voyage the seas were rough but the captain travelled behind the Bahamas and could not stop at Half Moon Key. Captain O'Driscoll is Excellent very prudent and was out on the pier in Grand Turk to salute all the guess. The Music scene is great. BB King Blues Band was excellent, Billboard on Board, Rolling Stone Rock were awesome, I was impressed. We also had good times in the Crows Nest with EXP and the vision was beautiful. We did take an excursion of the ship and it was very nice. (Puerto Plata and Cabarete Beach). The Dutch Café was my morning RDV, Andre and Kessidy were always very nice and enjoyable to start the morning. Sunshines! Where there was some downfalls in my personnal opinion was how short the time lap was for having breakfast and Lunch at the MDR. I was turned away a few times. It is more quiet during the afternoon not as much entertainment. The theatre is a bit small for the amount of people on the ship. Service was sometimes a bit slow at the Aft Pool Bar. We attented the dance shows at the Theatre and they were beautiful. By the way we had a slowed disembarkation because of the testing on one individual by the government of Florida but that was beautifully taken care of. All in All a great cruise with many many great Qualities and some small downfalls. Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
Food: I was impressed by the main dining rooms, the meals were consistently well prepared with equally good meat, fish, and vegetarian options. Sometimes crisp items, like spring rolls, were soggy, but generally things were very tasty ... Read More
Food: I was impressed by the main dining rooms, the meals were consistently well prepared with equally good meat, fish, and vegetarian options. Sometimes crisp items, like spring rolls, were soggy, but generally things were very tasty given the mass production. The Lido Deck offerings were bland and repetitive, but not terrible. Desserts were basic but usually tasty, and not as gelatin-oriented as other cruise lines I've been on. Service: We had great service from stewards, guest services, Lido Deck staff, and bartenders. People were warm, attentive, and good at their jobs. We did have a negative experience with the maitre d and main dining room hosts, who couldn't find our reserved dining table, were condescending and rude about it, and offered zero assistance. We were later able to resolve the issue with the help of guest services. The housekeeping staff also kept walking into our room without knocking. Shore excursions were clearly geared to a 60+ clientele Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
This was out first cruise, and after much study, decided on HA Oosterdam. We went with teo other couples, and had a GREAT time. Embarkation in San Diego was seamless. It did help that Neptune Suite affords you priority boarding. :-) The ... Read More
This was out first cruise, and after much study, decided on HA Oosterdam. We went with teo other couples, and had a GREAT time. Embarkation in San Diego was seamless. It did help that Neptune Suite affords you priority boarding. :-) The Neptune Lounge had a very nice welcome champagne and hos d'hoeuvres party as well. Side note: the Neptune Lounge is a quiet place to relax; also, there is a Concierge there for ANYTHING you need of staying in the Neptune or Pinnacle Suites. They TAKE CARE of you! Not a lot of entertainment choices, but that's fine. We saw a magician and a comedienne, and both were fine. Our only complaint was the that Lincoln Center Theater had performances at 7:30 pm or so - each night we were at dinner, so we missed. This is NOT a cruise for children. We saw few. There are a few BORED looking teenagers. This is a cruise for the 50 and up crowd - and that's fine with us. The ship is in good condition for the most part - but is showing its age here and there. Teak wood decking is a bit weathered here and there on the Lido deck around the pools and hot tubs. Overall though everything is spic 'n span. The ship is nice. The Crew is OUTSTANDING. Over our 7 days on board, almost without exception, each crew member would greet you as you passed with a smile and salutation. Our cabin Stewards greeted us by name whenever they saw us. The people are incredible on the Oosterdam. The buffet is rather pedestrian. We only ate there for breakfast. The Dining Room is very nice, and we opted for the "Up Charge" rooms a couple nights. The Pinnacle Grill was the best $35 pp I have ever spent! Our server Mile was super nice, and what a pro! I really enjoyed the Dive In! burgers for lunch by the Lido Deck pool. We LOVED this cruise so much that we have booked the same ship and stateroom for Alaska in August! Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
This was our 38th cruise sailing with many different cruise lines and it was are 5th cruise on HAL. This cruise on HAL was one of the best cruises we have ever taken and by far the best ever on HAL. From start to finish everything was 5 ... Read More
This was our 38th cruise sailing with many different cruise lines and it was are 5th cruise on HAL. This cruise on HAL was one of the best cruises we have ever taken and by far the best ever on HAL. From start to finish everything was 5 star. We used Park N Go and after being dropped off at the ship we checked in and were in our room in less than 15 minutes. We only ate in the main dining twice, both times it was Gala Night. We preferred the Lido Buffet which had most of the main dining room menu but the real reason was one of the servers, Ariel. Ariel was the most upbeat, funny and hard-working server, aka chef, we have ever seen. Example: Ask for the carrots and he would say, "There from the Bugs Bunny Farm, What's up Doc?" Every day was a different show and they were all funny and entertaining. After a day or two he know our names, Sir Gary & Miss Dolly, and I told him that Dolly's birthday was the nest day. He advised that he would have something special for her on her birthday. Next night he surprised her with a small birthday cake and sang happy birthday to her. OK, back to the review of the ship. SHIP - Ship was kept spotless, no signs of wear and tear, no rust anywhere. Lots of lounge chairs, no trash left on tables. Just a pretty ship. EXCURSIONS - Since we had sailed numerous times in the Caribbean we didn't book any excursions, we did visit Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville Resort on Grand Turk and had a great time there. They had free umbrellas and lounge chairs and a huge freshwater pool. ( Great Margarita's too). On San Juan and St. Thomas we just did a little shopping and spent most of the time back on board. CABIN - Oceanview cabin #625 was mid-ship, main deck. Lots of storage, comfortable queen bed, nice linens, lots of towels. The room was kept spotless by our stewards Sapta and Salmen. DINING- Food in both the Lido and Main Dining was excellent, on par with Oceania Cruise Line. By far, the best food we have ever had on a HAL cruise. Breakfast, with Ariel at the omelet station, lunch and dinner in the Lido were exceptional. Taco bar by the pool was really good too. ENTERTAINMENT & ACTIVITIES - We only made one show and that was Chris Pendleton. She was funny, a good singer and put on a great show along with her daughter Zoe. At the piano bar, Stryker put on a great show every time I stopped there. As for activities I have to be honest and advise that we booked this cruise due to special pricing from the casino. It was $99 each, total pricing with taxes and port charges was $544.00!! Miss Dolly is the gambler and she did very well on the slots. The casino, after a few days of Miss Dolly on the slots, sent chocolate-covered strawberries for her and on the last night of the cruise offered her $1,000.00 casino credit on her next cruise with HAL! Nice. SERVICE - Overall the entire crew was great. Always smiling, saying hello and just so friendly. Special notice for the following: Stewards Sapta & Salmen, bartenders John & Arniel, guest relations Maria and Edward and of course Ariel. SIDE NOTE - We sailed just as the Corona Virus was gaining momentum. There were lots of hand sanitizing stations throughout the ship and a handwashing machine, you placed both your hands inside this thing and the water circled your hands with warm soapy water. as you entered the Lido Restaurant. We've been home now for 7 days and have no symptoms of the virus. OVERALL - On some of our previous sailing on HAL we were somewhat disappointed but not on this trip. Everything was just great from the pricing, the food, the service, and the ship. Can't wait to book another cruise so Miss Dolly can gamble with House Money!! Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
We were on the Eurodam from San Diego - 3/1 - 18/20 to Hawaii. This was during the Grand Princess from Hawaii to San Francisco, that docked finally in Oakland. We were all concerned about corona virus positive crew or passenger(s) being ... Read More
We were on the Eurodam from San Diego - 3/1 - 18/20 to Hawaii. This was during the Grand Princess from Hawaii to San Francisco, that docked finally in Oakland. We were all concerned about corona virus positive crew or passenger(s) being on board our ship. The Captain gave us daily updates, changes in hand sanitizer use, cleaning, food being served only in buffet, etc. and lack corona cases. Passengers were generally good about hand sanitizer use, but not about covering up when coughing, and no social distancing was recommended or followed. No special procedures (other than filling out the standard CDC form) were followed at ports, or embarcing/disembarcing/customs (no temperatures taken, medical interviews or recommendations of the use of masks or gloves). On the last night of the cruise, a note was slipped under our door advising the CDC had notified HAL Medical Officer that a passenger on the previous Eurodam cruise had tested positive for COVID-19. We have not had any COVID-19 symptoms. We live in Northern California, and were under shelter in place on 3/18/20. We'd love to hear other passengers experiences upon return from the cruise. Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
We like long cruises. It was depressing wh the number of wheelchairs and walkers. Men coming to dinner in faded jeans and baseball caps. They are very very stingy with food in the dining room. Vegetables were usually mushy spinach. ... Read More
We like long cruises. It was depressing wh the number of wheelchairs and walkers. Men coming to dinner in faded jeans and baseball caps. They are very very stingy with food in the dining room. Vegetables were usually mushy spinach. One day I had one half of a Brussel sprout. The next day I asked if I could have extra sprouts, I received 2 halfs! My husband received a pile of mashed potatoes with a chicken breast. No veg at all. We ended up eating dinner in the buffet where we had more choice. This I definitely not for gourmet foodies. We were shocked by our cabin assignment. Cabin 7121 inside may have been appropriate for 1 person but not for 2. Most of the ports visited were mediocre but I was looking forward to Lahaina. The day before the captain announced we would be skipping maui because the water may be too rough for tenders. We were diverted to a port that didn't require a tender and seemed to be s shipping port. Our table mats went to maui on their excursion and said there was no problem with rough water. That left us wondering if the change was made to accommodate all the wheelchairs and walkers ?? I very foolishly purchased a ring on board. The jewelry Mgr Marius assured me that he would take care of sizing the ring. We found that after I made the purchase he was no longer interested in us and when he saw us approaching, he would leave very quickly. Do yourself a favour ... make any expensive purchase at home. Our stateroom attendant Nom was excellent. We are grateful to have returned home without being affected by covid 19. Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
We are HA fans after multiple cruises but as others said their reputation is not what it once was. We had never done a cruise with so many sea days in a row so was uncertain if that was for us. While we survived there was not a lot to do ... Read More
We are HA fans after multiple cruises but as others said their reputation is not what it once was. We had never done a cruise with so many sea days in a row so was uncertain if that was for us. While we survived there was not a lot to do on sea days except eat and for some to complain; the trip back to San Diego was more stressful than the trip from SD to Hawaii. Much had changed in just a week as the virus was seriously affecting US travel and cruise ports in particular, as it had not before we left on March1. While in Hawaii, i began getting emails from my airline that many planes were cancelled or consolidated and delays were to be expected. Fortunately our flight to East coast was non-stop so other flights were consolidated into it but it went 1/3 full and crew made us distance by rows. Back to cruise, HA did not begin any serious IC measures until we were headed back. The captain did give updates daily but they did not say much that we already knew from TV news. People mingled about but they did make an effort to assure that everyone use hand sanitizer but only in the food areas. They also took down the self serve line in Lido and opened public RR doors, but that was about it. Last day at sea we were notified that HA was suspending cruises for 15 days and that a passenger from previous cruise has tested positive. Nothing so far about anyone from the 3/01/20 trip but there were folks that were doing a BTB from the previous cruise. Food was OK but not as superior as we have had on HA; Pinicale and Tamarind were excellent and under-utilized. Wait staff and Lido staff were helpful and get an A+. In the end the food choices were a bit better as I think they were using up the larder. As usual cabin staff were efficient and wonderful even if you did not see them frequently. It was obvious that staff has been reduced and the shows are not big productions but performers that varied considerably from one to another. The best entertainment was Lincoln Center Stage; Never enough seat at any performance! The worst was BB King, which was loud and terrible. That was a disappointment as they have been much better on other ships. HA did away with America's Test Kitchen and have gone back to using their own chef. It was OK but ATK was much better. Another penny pinching stunt was that they have done away with the port point person and assigned this to the cruise director; so there was no specific info about each POC that independent cruisers may utilize. Obviously the push is to sell expensive excursions. You could not even get a map of the port area. Our only issue was the cabin on Lower Veranda deck # 5149 which was incredibly small; we are both disabled but the right angle between the desk and BR and closet wall would not allow for my husband to use his crutches and because of the way the door opened there was nothing to hang on to. When we booked there was no handicapped accessible cabins so this one was suggested by HA cruise consultant. He has booked for us before and knew the situation; when we asked if we could change on day 1 they offered an accessible cabin at a significant markup. We toughed it out but it was not easy and not safe as several nights at sea were rough. This is long but hope will give others food for thought. Don't know when HA will be back but am sure there will be more cost saving efforts; so will need to give HA serious thought in the future. Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
Location of travel. Not a good experience with room staff that took an item from the room, Onboard shops pushy, harassing and unethical. Food was average and allowed many people on excursions and onboard move around the ship that were sick ... Read More
Location of travel. Not a good experience with room staff that took an item from the room, Onboard shops pushy, harassing and unethical. Food was average and allowed many people on excursions and onboard move around the ship that were sick in lite of the Corona Virus issue. Almost on a daily basis, I was standing in a food line while someone was sneezing, on a bus or tender coughing and sneezing, in the upscale dining room a few nights and still the same. In the upscale restaurant brought the wrong order or forgot to bring an item requested on the menu. The wine steward many times dripped wine on the table, and try to upsell a wine that I can get at home which a low grade of wine. The wine tasting had a collection of really cheap wines that you can easily find at a big box store. The person at the dessert counter when seeing a line of people was very rude a short with every customer request. This was the worst cruise experience I though you always get what you paid for but in this case, you will pay more and get less One last item would be the fitness center trying to push a product that you can get a lot cheaper at home. Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
I was impressed! I was a bit scared of the "older ship" but the Oosterdam did not disappoint! She was stylish, glamorous, and artfully appointed. Food was stunning in the Lido Market, the Vista Dining Room, as well as The ... Read More
I was impressed! I was a bit scared of the "older ship" but the Oosterdam did not disappoint! She was stylish, glamorous, and artfully appointed. Food was stunning in the Lido Market, the Vista Dining Room, as well as The Pinnacle (specialty restaurant). The cabins (we sailed in a Signature Suite 8073 with larger veranda!) was very comfortable. Bathrooms were new and well equipped. The service and smiling crew were the crowning achievements of HAL. There was not a grumpy team member to be had. Shore excursions were well organized and well planned for the "more mature" audience. Missing on board was karaoke (maybe a good thing!) and the big boardway show (comedian was excellent, magic show fun, and trio songsters were fun!). The boys at Billboard (piano duo) were stunning and had a very solid fan base! Definitely recommend the History Of HAL presentation and The Talk With The Captain. Jonathan, the Cruise DIrector / Entertainment Director, was very low key and effective. With the threat of on board disease, the crew were constantly wiping surfaces, handing out Purell before your arrival in dining room, spraying down shore excursion trolleys after each journey, and encouraging elbow bumps as opposed to hand shakes. I felt the cruise was a big success and I commend the HAL team for their work! I will be back! Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
We are seasoned Carnival cruisers looking for a change, we are both retired in our mid 60's We cruised Oosterdam out of San Diego to Mexican Riviera. We are now hooked on HAL! We drove to San Diego the day before departure and ... Read More
We are seasoned Carnival cruisers looking for a change, we are both retired in our mid 60's We cruised Oosterdam out of San Diego to Mexican Riviera. We are now hooked on HAL! We drove to San Diego the day before departure and utilized a park n'cruise at Comfort Inn with free shuttle to/from the port. We walked the boardwalk at the San Diego Harbor and had a nice meal at Mitch's on the waterfront. Cabin: we booked an obstructed ocean view room as we were testing the waters to see if we would like HAL. The room was very spacious, the couch was comfy, the bathroom had a tub and plenty of storage all the way around. An added plus was the automatic night light in the bathroom. Imagine our surprise when we were in Cabo San Lucas and the life boat outside our window was lowered to be used as a tender….what a view. We were very happy with this cabin and location, mid ship deck 4. Ship & Entertainment: what a beautiful ship, fresh flowers, even in the public restrooms! We never waited on an elevator or had to deal with overcrowding. No lines anywhere. Smoke free casino, another plus, entertainment was great, we especially loved BB King’s All Stars. Billboard Onboard and Lincoln Stage Live were also hits and full every night. The magician and comedian in the main lounge were very entertaining. The ship is in great shape and maintained beautifully. Food: Over the top quality and quantity so much so that we dined in the dining room once for gala night surf n turf and duck breast. Service was amazing and very professional and we were always greeted with a smile. The food on Lido was beyond our expectations. We did not dine in any specialty restaurants. General: Embarkation & Debarkation were a breeze. Wwe enjoyed Happy Hour each day with buying one drink and getting the 2nd one for $2. We did not get off the ship at any port stops which were PV, Mazatlan, Cab San Lucas. We saw whales and sea lions right from the ship. We walked the ship each day and the Explorations Cafe is a nice location for relaxing. The fitness center was busy every time we visited. The attention to details by the entire crew is exceptional. There were more than enough activities each day to stay very busy. We enjoyed everything about Oosterdam. Spa: We did not visit the spa other than a walk thru. We will be cruising again with HAL. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
Cruise was a gift to us, but glad we went. Outstanding food and service, entertainment lagging except for the Boardwalk piano players and BB Kong’s. Needs more at sea activities. Nice casino. We did excursions from vendors at the ... Read More
Cruise was a gift to us, but glad we went. Outstanding food and service, entertainment lagging except for the Boardwalk piano players and BB Kong’s. Needs more at sea activities. Nice casino. We did excursions from vendors at the ports rather than through the ship. I would sail on the Oosterdam again, would take more books to read, and study up on excursions! We returned rested and content from our time onboard. Our bed was so comfortable and great pillows. We had room service for breakfast most mornings and nice to pick the time for it to be delivered and it was always good, especially the coffee! Room was kept very clean by staff. We had no noise issues nor rocking of the boat. The crows nest on deck 10 is very nice and relaxing, and deck 11 a quiet place for time in the sun with a book, no pool noise. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
First cruise on Holland America but 20th cruise overall. Wanted to see the Panama Canal and we selected Zuiderdam. I have avoided HAL for years and confirmed that this is not the cruise line for me. Embarkation went very smoothly in ... Read More
First cruise on Holland America but 20th cruise overall. Wanted to see the Panama Canal and we selected Zuiderdam. I have avoided HAL for years and confirmed that this is not the cruise line for me. Embarkation went very smoothly in Ft. Lauderdale. Ship is older and smaller than what we have sailed on recently but it is in very good condition. The ship has three sets of elevators where most now have only two. This decreased the distance we had to walk and the elevators worked fine and while busy, didn't have to wait too long. We had an obstructed view cabin on deck 4 forward and were happy to be able to see a little bit outside. Cabin was in good shape with two large drawers under the bed otherwise storage is tight. Were able to order a bottle of liquor delivered to the cabin. The price was high but I saved that much on ordering from the bars. Food quality was a little hit and miss. There is an Eggs Benedict station on the Lido Deck for breakfast with eggs poached to order. I had given up on Eggs Benedict on other ships as 9 times out of 10, the yolk was a solid as a hard boiled egg. Pancakes and french toast can be made to order but this seemed to be a timing issue. Lunch at the Dive In was pretty good but everything is cooked to order and pretty slow. The first few days they used beepers to let you know when your order was ready but these disappeared after a few days. Sushi is available at lunch but should be avoided. Not even grocery store quality. Dinner in the main dining room was pretty good with a few misses. You can order a medium rare steak but your chances of getting one are not good. Sent one back and would have sent the second one back but didn't want to be there for hours. There is no food available after 11:30 pm unless you want an apple. All the Lido stations close exactly when they say the will. Entertainment was also very uneven. Mainstage does not have any traditional singing and dancing shows and no condensed Broadway shows. Hilby, the Skinny German Juggle Boy (name from the program, probably in his mid 50's) was by far the best. Two shows were BBC Nature documentaries with live music. Enjoyed the Lincoln Center piano quintet but the venue needs to be twice as big. Never saw a performance where the little side space was not totally full. Billboard On Board guys, Luke and Collin, were very good as was the BB King Band. However these two groups were the extent of the evening entertainment, and after 11 days, something additional needs to be available. Casino games have a terrible house advantage. Roulette wheel has a zero, double zero and a triple zero which is very bad for the player. Blackjack tables only pay 6 to 5 for a black jack unless you are betting over $15 a hand. I managed to make a little money but quit after about 8 days. Not sure what the deal was with America's Test Kitchen but this was non existent (no longer shown on the HAL website). EXC Talks are supposed to be like TED talks but they are presented by the cruise director reading a script. The one I saw was supposed to be about block chain and off shore banking which have nothing to do with each other. The history of off shore banking may have been correct but it was very confusing to a person with over 40 years of banking experience. Service was good, probably very good. Staff was very friendly from our room stewards, to our dining room waiters, bar servers and others. Liked Aruba and Curacao a lot. Cartagena reminds me of the ports in Mexico where vendors are trying to sell you everything. Very aggressive and unwanted. This was on an excursion called Less Shopping and More Walking. The amount of walking required on most of the excursions seemed to be much more than their descriptions indicate. Even Moderate activity means lots of walking. Panama is interesting and a great engineering achievement. However, going through the locks is like watching paint dry. We did not have an excursion on Canal day and this was a mistake because you will be bored to death sitting on the ship. The ship basically went two boat lengths into Gatun Lake and anchored to let off excursion passengers. Once the tender boats were back we proceeded immediately into the locks to go back out. Last two days of the cruise back to Ft. Lauderdale were the roughest of our 20 cruises. Not sure if this was due to malfunctioning stabilizers, the age and small size of the ship or other reasons, but we will not cruise on this size ship again. There were maybe 6 kids on this cruise. I felt sorry for them as there didn't seem to be much for them to do. Of course there was also not enough for me to do and I will not book HAL again. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
What was meant to be a holiday of a lifetime was spoilt by choosing Holland America as our cruise line. We were on a 15 night cruise starting from Sydney on February 26th. Although this ship was refurb the only changes to the cabins was ... Read More
What was meant to be a holiday of a lifetime was spoilt by choosing Holland America as our cruise line. We were on a 15 night cruise starting from Sydney on February 26th. Although this ship was refurb the only changes to the cabins was the television on the wall. The bathrooms are very tired and our friends whose cabin was next door had the enamel peeling off the bath. On return from our holiday I checked my bank account and noticed we had been overcharged by $70. We called HAL and they were extremely unhelpful said it would take weeks to look into it as they are busy doing refunds. After not hearing from them my husband chased and they sent us a copy of our bill. We could clearly see where the overcharge was they took money for a dressing gown and the plastic cover they put on the bed before you put the suitcase on it. First of all I would not want to steal a dressing gown that hundreds of people have worn and secondly why would I want a piece of dirty plastic that hundreds of suitcases have been on. We are still trying to get our money back and we have been told we have to wait a further 28 days for them to look into it. I am absolutely disgusted with this company and will never travel with them again. The service on this ship was not good, we had dirty glasses left in the cabin for days on end. The waiter who served us at dinner after about 12 days of serving us still could not get it that one of us was vegetarian and kept offering her meat. I was told by head office before we went that the men could wear smart shorts in the dining room but when we got there they refused to let them in shorts. Some of the staff were rude which is not what you should experience when you are paying the sort of money you pay to cruise. I have been on Celebrity, Princess and Royal Caribbean and have never experienced rude staff before only on HAL. We were overcharged one night for drinks in fact we had about three different charges for one lot of drinks. (This overcharging seems to be a pattern). The entertainment was non existent and I think we saw the Cruise Director once, all he was was a voice on the tannoy system. Nothing happening at all at night, we would leave the dining room at about 9.15pm and there was not a sole around it was a ghost town. BBKings is the same every night so after a few times its extremely boring and the two piano players were so bad it was a cringe worthy experience. In the theatre they had hardly anyone on so the same people entertained twice in the 15 days. Once you have sat listening to a very bad comedian once you do not want to have that experience again. In my opinion the worst cruise company going and if you want to be bored and spoken to in a bad manner then yes HAL is the company to go with. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
We chose this cruise because we had heard good things about Holland America and it was going to places we wanted to visit. We have been on many cruises before always using Cunard, Celebrity and Royal Caribbean in the past without ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we had heard good things about Holland America and it was going to places we wanted to visit. We have been on many cruises before always using Cunard, Celebrity and Royal Caribbean in the past without criticism. However, from the moment we boarded we were disappointed. The ship looked very tired. Our stateroom had a balcony and we had paid a lot of money for it. The room itself was ok. Not amazing but ok. The bathroom was another story. Quite frankly it was horrible. It had a manky old bath with a vile shower curtain. The bath was literally peeling i.e. there were large loose flakes of bath hanging loose on the base. The bathroom overall was very old fashioned and looked like it needed ripping out and starting again. The food was very mediocre. In the buffet it was much as you would expect from a ships buffet but the dining room was disappointing. At the start of the 15 day cruise I explained to our waiter that I was vegetarian. He still persisted in recommending me meat dishes every single evening despite me repeating that I was vegetarian. On one occasion he brought me soup with pieces of meat floating in it. The menus were not always clear as to what dish was vegetarian and the soup was a cream soup so I thought I was safe. He should have picked up on that! The internet was exorbitantly expensive and we opted for the top level on the recommendation of the Holland America staff. This we purchased before we boarded. We found that the internet was incapable of sending simple e mails a lot of the time. This was not how it was sold to us. We were overcharged for drinks and often found ourselves queuing at guest services in order to complain. The evening shows were not very good and by about 9.30 you could walk the ships communal areas and not see another human being. There were two bars that were a little more lively - BB kings and the piano bar. However by 11.00 pm there was no life, no atmosphere whatsoever. Some of the stops were lovely but there were three stops that were a waste of time. Whilst there were tours available, it felt as if to do one of these would merely be for the sake of it. The ship stopped in Hobart Tasmania from 5pm until around 11pm the following night. There was nothing to do there and no life whatsoever. Very very small town atmosphere. We stopped in Dunedin in New Zealand which I thought was boring and likewise Gisbourne in New Zealand. Judging by conversations with other passengers we were not alone in our views. We learnt a very important lesson from this trip. Never book Holland America again!!! Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
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
Got a great discount for my casino play and we were offered Club Orange at half price on our 10 day Southern Carib. cruise. So we were very satisfied overall. Koningsdam is a beautiful ship - maybe the nicest of our 42 cruises on almost ... Read More
Got a great discount for my casino play and we were offered Club Orange at half price on our 10 day Southern Carib. cruise. So we were very satisfied overall. Koningsdam is a beautiful ship - maybe the nicest of our 42 cruises on almost every cruise line. The food was as good as you expect on Holland. The staff always delightful and cheery. New York Deli whipped up some interesting breakfast dishes. We had all of our dinners and most of our breakfasts in Club Orange. We paid the half price of $500 for the both of us for 10 nights and it was worth it but I wouldn't pay twice that. The staff in Club Orange was tremendous and attentive! Obviously among their best servers worked this small private restaurant. Cons: The shows were one night comedian and one night magic show. Just ok. and THREE nights with the same "modern dance" troupe. Ugghh. The average passenger would be bored senseless during the first show. And there were only a few nights with some live instrumental music before 6:30 pm - and even that was a 5:30 start. We remember HAL offering some great string quartets, etc after 4 pm to enjoy with your drinks. True to form, HAL hosted an older crowd. In fact, I have never seen so many motorized scooters There were several dozen lined up in front of the dining room very night. Thought they should have held scooter races a la Carnival's Belly Flip contests and such. A total of 6 kids on the entire ship, which was just fine with us. And an even smaller number of women who belonged wearing a bikini. So if you need the eye candy, HAL isn't for you. We are 63 and 58 so we felt like the youth group. Not a problem for us. We love oldsters and will be there with them soon enough., Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
Chose the new ship based on previous excellent experience with HA on Veendam. Sevice and food (a particularly big concern as wife has extreme allergies) always met or exceeded expectations. Staff throughout couldn't have been better. ... Read More
Chose the new ship based on previous excellent experience with HA on Veendam. Sevice and food (a particularly big concern as wife has extreme allergies) always met or exceeded expectations. Staff throughout couldn't have been better. The ship itself, though, was a major disappointment. It appeared as though everything was primed, but no finish color was added... anywhere. Just a relentless barrage of white, beige and sometimes a splash of yellow. There isn't a single venue on the ship that delivers a "Wow" response when you see it. The Dining Room is especially bewildering... 2 stories of NOTHING. An endless sea of white and beige, sort of like a high end nursing home. The Atrium is just a 2 story swirl of some metal. It sure looks like every possible expense was cut in putting the decor together. Saved millions, no doubt. Only experienced Classical Quintet and BB King's Band, which were both terrific. Rock Band was generic and we fled quickly. Never saw or heard of the Dueling Pianos. Grand Dutch Cafe had nothing of interest. Lido food was a big upgrade over any other ship we've been on. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
Late offering where and when we wanted to go, seemed like a winner, but food options not fitting our schedule. Formal dining each night at 8 pm was fabulous but prevented time to get to a y shows. And the lido banquet closed completely ... Read More
Late offering where and when we wanted to go, seemed like a winner, but food options not fitting our schedule. Formal dining each night at 8 pm was fabulous but prevented time to get to a y shows. And the lido banquet closed completely each morning for way too long, and long lines late morning at other food places made it tough for us to get a bit of breakfast. Ludo buffet always had a sign saying "Service continues on other side" but that was a lie as it all closed at the same time and was closed way too long. They failed to tag our liquor purchases onshore properly and so we were made to wait for a good portion of our last day in our cabin, and if I hadn't showed them my copy of our receipt from the shore store we'd probably still have nothing. Our package never got tagged and our tag was placed on someone else's package (had two tags). Again, should never have happened. Rooms were great and everyone was friendly and helpful except customer service, and we needed them most! Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
I am positively sure that reading a review is one of the last things you would like to do, am I right? The experience we all are going through nowadays is very discouraging to say the least, that's why we need some kind of ... Read More
I am positively sure that reading a review is one of the last things you would like to do, am I right? The experience we all are going through nowadays is very discouraging to say the least, that's why we need some kind of entertainment to put our minds at peace and that's my goal in writing this review; I hope I'm able to accomplish it! Together let's make the best of it! This 10 day cruise was aboard the HAL Koningsdam to the Southern Caribbean and started on February 23rd. ending on March 4th. We left Canada towards Ft. Lauderdale one day before departure; at that time we were slightly aware of that virus and the effect caused on board the Diamond Princess but as I said, "just slightly". something that in a way allowed us to enjoy the cruise fully. Passengers and staff were also behaving completely free of any kind of concern. Before starting with the overall review of that cruise, I want you to know that last June 2019 we cruised around Norway on board the beautiful Nieuw Statendam (pictures & review's titled "Canadians on Viking Lands") it was too short (7 days), visiting too many places for the first time (e.g. Amsterdam, Oslo and another three Norwegian ports) and not having enough time left to be able to enjoy that ship. That made us try to find another longer cruise with her; unfortunately time-wise it wasn't possible so we opted to go with her older sister, the Koningsdam. Our direct flight to Ft. L. left Ottawa quite late so it was a very late arrival, to avoid having to wait for the free shuttle the hotel offered, we decided to take a taxi that costs us +/- u$s 25.- The name of the hotel was "Roadway Inn Hotel" and though it was quite close to the airport it is not possible for us to recommend it. Very weird and undescriptive entrance and reception area and to get to your room you have to follow (no porters) different lanes through a large courtyard in different directions trying to find your room number. The room itself wasn't bad but not going back. The following morning we took their shuttle (u$s 10.-) and because there were so many ships in port, the driver had to divert directions many times to be able to avoid the huge amount of traffic. It would have been a big mistake to take a taxi. Anyway, we got there and found a very large waiting line and it was then that we got our first shock! Embarkation The people waiting in that line were in their 80's plus and not in good shape either; we really felt like teenagers!! and certainly we're not (early 70's but in good shape). Embarkation was smooth but slow caused by the slowness of the passengers; once on board we bought the Elite Beverage Pkg. (EBP) having previously checked it out on the internet; with offerings of wines up to $15.- a glass (more about this subject later). Celebrating that we were on the ship and because that transaction had taken place at the counter of the Ocean Bar, at once we ordered a fantastic gin (Tanqueray 10) and tonic mixed by Michael, the bartender who took care of all the paperwork when buying the EBP and by the way he was one of the best bartenders on board. The very close second best barman was J.R. at the Explorer's Lounge Mid ship D 2 above the Rolling Stone Rock Room, who made the best "Oaxacan Old Fashioned" cocktail; with the usual ingredients the Old Fashion has, tequila is added so we asked for the "Anejo (Old) Patron" , it was a sensational concoction. The different ratings between them has to do more than anything else with the personalities of the two; Michael was a very friendly and approachable guy, meanwhile J.R. was quite distant and very curt, at any rate both were outstanding in their craft. Then "in good spirits" we walked around, realizing how identical, minus art work it was to the Nieuw Statendam, so there were not too many surprises for us and if any it was mainly the passengers on this cruise not only because of their age and physical condition but their attitudes and demeanor, not all of them granted, but quite a large number. After walking around the ship we felt the need to eat! (more about places to eat in the "Restaurants" section). Now we will proceed the review of this 10 day Southern Caribbean cruise clarifying that what you are going to read was our personal experience on this specific sailing, regarding passengers, staff, officers, restaurants, etc. Restaurants That first night we had dinner at Canaletto on D-9, and enjoyed everything, food, staff and drinks!. Also we had dinner twice at Pinnacle Grill on D-2 which was also as good as Canaletto though the second time, service was quite poor. You could have lunch at Pinnacle for $15.- pp., we never did because we wanted to be outside as much as possible to enjoy the weather and the sun, and being Canadians we knew quite well what kind of weather we could find back home! There is a third Specialty Restaurant called Tamarind on Aft D-10. We were really looking forward to going there after the unforgettable experiences we had in the Statendam's Tamarind! So much so that we prebooked two nights with them! what a let down it was this time! It started right from the beginning, the receptionist was cold, absent, indifferent and unfriendly, she was talking to us, looking at the computer but never at us, the sommelier was a very sleepy looking woman who gave us the impression that she didn't know were she was and not even what she was doing and to make things worse the place was practically empty giving a very boring atmosphere. Our waitress was quite nice and the fillet mignon was one of the best I ever had but regardless,y that wasn't enough for us; the reason? we do believe though the food is indeed very important, if the staff around you are not up to standard, that's a place not to go back to again. And that's what we did the following morning - we cancelled our second reservation.. The Maitre'd (another negative point) called us a couple of times trying to convince us to go back even offering a free meal but we couldn't care less and did not accept it. Main Dining Room Fwd. on Decks 2 & 3 (though only opens for the majority of guests on D 2); the food offerings were quite diverse and quality, temperature and presentation were excellent and the servers, sommelier and staff in general were outstanding. It comes to mind that one of them whose name is Dennis was an exemplary server who went out of his way to help us when we had a small problem leaving the Dining Room. Both Gala Nights took place there (it’s recommended making reservations before-hand especially if you like a table for two) and we were happy to see that people in general were dressed accordingly and not like what happened on the Statendam; (if interested read our review on that cruise of June 19th, 2019.). Dive-in Mid-ship on D 9 close to the pool, opens only for lunch and offers great burgers (seven specialty ones or create your own), huge hot dogs and the best fries on the ship. Waiters/waitresses are all around ready to take your order. Very pleasant and tranquil area to enjoy a relaxing lunch, many tables to choose from with a lot of space between them, but....but....with a caveat, many times tables that were there clearly for eating purposes were taken up by a group of people playing cards or dominoes or even just having a drink; this is one of the things, among others, that those type of passengers were absolutely selfish with complete disregard for the other passengers; we saw many people coming with plates loaded up with food looking for a table to sit and eat, quite upsetting! It is a problem but with a very easy solution; just place a note on each table stating that the table should be used only to have your lunch and of course the waiting staff has to keep an eye out to make sure that the tables are used for eating not reading or gaming. New York Deli & Pizza On D 10 overlooking the pool deck and also the Dive-in eatery. This was the place we chose on embarkation day after walking around the ship; we knew already how good their pizza was and can highly recommend both the "Tribeca" and the "Central Park" they're awesome!, as much as their salads and sandwiches. The service is excellent with a waiters/waitresses going around taking your drink orders and also in the same area is a bar where you can go and order for yourself if in a hurry. In general we had lunch many times in these two places (NYD&P & D-in) because they are and feel very airy, giving you the sensation you are having lunch outdoors! But in actual fact, the glass roof was often ¾ shut which was often good because direct sunlight made everything very hot.The problem with some passengers occupying tables rather than eating only happened occasionally. Lido Market Buffet Located on Aft. D 9, between the Dive-in and the Sea view Pool and Bar. The selection of food was quite large and of great taste but the place was always very busy with too many line ups and my God! those chairs at the tables are ridiculously heavy and difficult to move! Regardless the huge windows all around you looking at the ocean and the sky, you still feel that you are inside a room and that was the main reason we were more inclined to have lunch at any of the other two (Dive in & NY Deli) venues. It was so easy to order or choose your food, there is more space between tables, very easy to move around, and chairs are manageable! But the most important thing was that you really felt you were having lunch outdoors. There is a fantastic feature that the Lido Market has and we think HAL should consider the possibility of installing them in all of the other eating places. There are hand washing machines, four of them located near the main entrances. Each unit is divided into two sections, one for each hand. You just introduce your hands all the way up to the wrists and then a circulating spiral like spray washes your hands for about 12 seconds. You have to be careful not to get your shirt cuff or watch wet but the system is most efficient. Then you use nearby paper towels to dry off. There is quite a messy area around both openings due to all the liquids that drip off each user's hands. So it's best to wipe down the area afterwards as a courtesy for the next user. A very good system which should help improve overall buffet hygiene. Grand Dutch Cafe Mid ship D 3 A lot of offerings are free of charge like regular coffee (but not espressos), pastries, sandwiches. Good service, kind of dis-attached, and the area where the tables and chairs are, we found it very oppressive and too close between them. We went there only once. There is another Specialty Restaurant called Rudy's Sel de Mer on Mid ship D 2, but we didn't care to go. Many times we went by and the place was quite empty, so..... As you can see there are a lot of choices, try to make the right ones! The place to enjoy a great view with a good drink in your hands is the Crow's Nest, Fwd. on D 12 where also you can order coffee and pastries for a fee. There are a lot of Lounges and Bars throughout the ship, it will be up to you to discover them! Small hint, a very good one is the Sea View and Bar Fwd. on D 9. Elite Beverage Package - is it worth it? At a 10% premium over the standard beverage package, it was not really worth the outlay but from a point of convenience and status I would have to say it fit our style. The biggest issue was with availability of high priced wines. The standard package covers up to $11 per glass or shot while the elite goes up to $15 and both are actually worth more as the service charge is included and added onto the above rates. Unfortunately there are not many offerings in the range of $12 thru $15 and most are 12 and the few remaining are 14 or 15. Added to that, we experienced shortages on our 10 day cruise. At the first Gala in the main dining room we enjoyed but one glass of an excellent French red and then had to switch. This also happened later in the Polo Grill. And even our favorite Pinot Grigio ran out in most bars by day 8 of the cruise. And it was only a $9 glass. So Holland American made some money on us. The best you can and should do make your own numbers. Koningsdam cruise staff They were all extremely helpful, polite, friendly and fun, inevitably there were a few exceptions but on the overall they didn't count at all. I will repeat again what I said at the beginning, all these are our own experiences and opinions of this specific cruise itinerary, date and ship. Some of those on our sailing might disagree and that's natural. I would like to mention something we noticed about the passengers on this cruise; besides the already mentioned age and physical condition, there was a huge number of obese and morbidly obese passengers that mostly weren't too old; I was observing them eating and well!!! It wasn't difficult to realize why they were so overweight. This observation made me conclude that unintentionally the cruise lines are promoting obesity as much as alcoholism. In my opinion, they should take this under consideration and try to find a solution to those problems. All this might sound ridiculous but it’s in the way I feel. The ship in general was in very good shape, considering that she sails constantly and passengers are not very careful using the premises. We had the feeling that the ship was overcrowded! during the day, even in port, it was difficult to find a table on the Lido, Dive in or Sun Deck & Bar (Fwd. D 11). Never happened to us on any of the many cruises we've been to, especially when the ship is docked in port. We are closing this review now and really hope you had an entertaining time reading it! and learned a few things. Right now, we are living in very frustrating times, when it is impossible to make any plans because we don't know what will happen next. My philosophy is to keep myself very busy around the house that happy to say I really enjoy doing, to think positively, to try not to pay too much attention to the news and to take care of yourself and love ones specially when leaving your house and to wear disposable latex medical gloves, face masks to cover your nose and mouth and to keep a safe distance between you and people around you and please! do not let your kids go running loose all over the place (e.g. food stores). I am sure you know all of this but I feel compelled to do so whenever I have a chance. Well dear readers, till we meet again in more happy times I am sure! Make the best of it and a very Happy Easter to all! Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
We chose this cruise for its length, reasonable price and nice itinerary. Generally, we were quite satisfied with the cruise. Of course there are always irritating issues on any voyage – in our case our television broke and the guest ... Read More
We chose this cruise for its length, reasonable price and nice itinerary. Generally, we were quite satisfied with the cruise. Of course there are always irritating issues on any voyage – in our case our television broke and the guest services staff noted that it could not be repaired or replaced. We requested Wi-Fi access so we could check the news the stock market. We were told this was not possible and we were instead given an access key to an empty cabin on the other side of the ship where we could watch TV. We thought this was an odd resolution. Our TV was replaced before too long, so the issue essentially became moot. However, we thought Holland America service staff could have been more accommodating since the broken TV was their problem, not ours. We also felt that onboard entertainment was not up to other cruise lines’ standards and there were very few daily activities. Our goal with this cruise, though, was to simply enjoy the sunshine and to relax, so the problematic issues we outlined were mere nuisances. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
We are seniors and prefer smaller ships that have a reputation for traditional cruise experiences with fine food & service but without the theme park hype of RCCL. Although we are Diamond members of RCCL, we decided that we needed a ... Read More
We are seniors and prefer smaller ships that have a reputation for traditional cruise experiences with fine food & service but without the theme park hype of RCCL. Although we are Diamond members of RCCL, we decided that we needed a break from the behemoths of the seas Oasis class ships. Although the Oasis class is fine to experience a time or two , it is not for us. You almost need a GPS to navigate the ships and we are NOT rock wall climbers, surf riders or zip liners. If we want a theme park experience, we will go directly to Disney World. We have cruised over 30 times that included all the popular lines, such as Carnival, Norwegian, RCCL, Celebrity & HAL, so I'm in a position to evaluate reasonably objectively. The food & service was definitely a cut above at the main dining room & buffet. We did not eat at the extra cost, (specialty) dining rooms but reports suggest they are also very good. Breakfast buffet was very good. Wide choice of fresh fruits and baked goods. Of note are the sticky buns which are at least as good if not better than the famous Celebrity sticky buns. Moreover, they were available every day. Eggs could be ordered any way you like them, Omelets, scrambled, Benedict, or over east medium etc. and the lines were NOT excessively long. Lunch & dinner often included N. Y. strip steaks grilled to your perfection. Service in the main dining room was good. We chose anytime dining for 2 and were always accommodated in a reasonable short time. The food & food selection was good. But with 2 exceptions. The Tiramisu desert was totally lacking in presentation & taste. It was served on a tasteless cracker & NO Kalua. The shrimp cocktail is served with a version of tarter sauce. After the 1st night I wised up and specifically asked for regular cocktail sauce. No problem!. ENTERTAINMENT. The main theatre entertainment consisted of a comedian, John Wing, & he was excellent & kept you in stiches. The illusionist that they called a magician was barley OK. His name is J. P. Parent and did almost all card tricks. I prefer an illusionist that makes things disappear/appear & appears to cut people in half. And it helps if he has a scantily clad assistant. The special musical production by Step One Dance Company was called "HUMANITY" We did not care for it. It was loud, mostly loud drum beat and bass noise that some call music. It was freestyle dance with a touch of cirque du solei. The other theatre production was "Holland America Story, First 150 years." An interesting history of the company. Found it very interesting & entertaining. It traced the genesis & growth of the company from its beginning thru the war years to the present. The other film was. The other film/documentary was a nature film about life in the deep ocean. Again very interesting, especially since both were shown in the theater in the round concept. Screens that surrounded you approximately 180 degrees. Other entertainment venues: Much has been written about the Rolling Stone Rock Room and BB King's Blues Club & billboard on board. First, the Rolling Stone Rock Room Band was the WORST band I have heard in a long time. IT was TOTALLY INAPPROPRIATE music for a mature passenger clientele. It was mostly hip hop & rap, with a generous amount of horrible heavy metal thrown in. It was ear drum splitting loud and in the open so it was hard to get away from. NO one danced to the music. What does that tell you? The other venue "billboard onboard" was good. It featured two pianists playing oldies rock type music by such well know & popular artists such as, Elton John, Neil Diamond, Glenn Campbell, Tom Jones, Jerry Lee Lewis, & yes Dolly Parton & of course Elvis. This venue always drew a standing room only crowd & the performers encouraged sing along. One problem was that there was hardly any real dance venue or music. The ship was kept exceptionally clean & easy to navigate. It had 2 main pools an outdoor pool deck 9 in front & the Lido enclosed pool deck 9. We hung out primarily in the Lido deck enclosed pool. It had a retractable roof and we expected this pool to remain mostly enclosed. Unfortunately they opened the roof as early as & 7:30 AM even on windy & cloudy days which made it too chilly for most . Also they played loud recorded music , hard rock that was much too annoying for an enclosed pool that was supposed to be relaxing. I would have given this ship a solid 4.5 rating except for the loud rock music in the Lido enclosed pool and the totally inappropriate Rolling Stone Rock room heavy metal band. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
A group of 11 family and friends ranging in age from 60-80 decided to get together for a cruise. Holland America Koningsdam was chosen because 4 of the group who are experienced cruisers chose to try a different cruise line than they had ... Read More
A group of 11 family and friends ranging in age from 60-80 decided to get together for a cruise. Holland America Koningsdam was chosen because 4 of the group who are experienced cruisers chose to try a different cruise line than they had travelled in the past and the rest of the group agreed to join them. All agreed that this was likely our first and last Holland America Cruise due to the lack of fun entertainment as compared to other cruise lines and resorts. We were aware that Holland America caters to an older demographic but we were not prepared for the lack of activity and entertainment on this ship. I am not saying that it was all bad, and being a large group we were able to make our own fun. There were very few young people on this cruise and there was an abundance of walkers, wheelchairs and scooters. We flew from Canada to Fort Lauderdale and stayed overnights at Comfort Suites Fort Lauderdale Airport South & Cruiseport. It is a very nice hotel and well located but quite pricey ay $400 USD/night. They provide a free shuttle from the airport and it arrived quickly when we called once we had retrieved our luggage. They allowed us to use the breakfast area in the lounge to eat our take out food rather than going out for dinner. There are limited options for good restaurants within walking distance. They provide a hot breakfast which was your usual ‘breakfast included’ fare. We had to pay $10 USD for the shuttle to the ship the following morning. There are 2 departure times:10:15 & 11:15 depending on which ship you are boarding. We were assigned the 11:15 shuttle. This process was not very efficient and left us sitting in a very crowded lobby due to a long delay for the shuttle departure. It is a short distance from this hotel to the cruise port but there was a lot of traffic. Once we arrived at the cruise port our luggage was taken and delivered to our cabins but we had a very long hot line up prior to checking in. (A nice touch in this area would be the offer of a complimentary welcome beverage.) Once we checked in we discovered that our cabins were ready (approximately 2pm by now) so we were able to freshen up and drop off our carry on luggage before going to lunch at the Lido Buffet. My husband and I and my cousin chose to share an Oceanview Cabin vs a Verandah and opted instead for the beverage package which was close to the same cost. Our cabin was more than adequate for 3 people. We had a queen size bed and a 3/4 sofa bed which was comfortable. There was lots of storage space and additional hangers were available upon request. 3 robes, 3 beach towels and lots of bath towels were provided. The window in the cabin was plenty big and there was no sense of feeling claustrophobic. Our travel companions all had verandahs but most agreed that the verandah, for the amount that it is used is not worth the additional cost as their rooms were identical to ours except that we had additional shelving. The bathroom was small but efficient. The toilet was positioned on an angle but unlike other reviews mentioned there was no need to sit at an awkward angle. The shower was large and water pressure was good but the hand held shower flopped to an awkward angle and had to be held vs being left in the holder. The ship was clean and cabin stewards Ketut & Mario were extremely friendly and efficient. The cabin was located closer to the back of the ship and had good access to both the rear and mid ship elevators. The Lido Buffet was perfect for breakfast & lunch and there was sufficient variety to avoid monotony. Many dishes were prepared to taste from scratch with fresh ingredients as compared to most buffets where dishes are prepared in advance and left to sit for long periods. Freshly made omelettes and stir fries were a big hit with most of the group. There was always a good selection of fresh fruit and berries and stock was replenished quickly. There was a good selection of breads, buns & bagels and while there were occasional lineups the service was efficient. The food is served by the staff vs self serve and this seemed to be more hygienic. There was always adequate seating for our entire group to sit together at breakfast and lunch. Service here was good. We tried the New York Deli for pizza one day and all 3 varieties were a big disappointment. The toppings were floating in oily cheese. This counter also served deli sandwiches and both the Smoked Meat and Reuben Sandwiches were satisfactory. The wait for food at lunch in this area was quite long. The Dive In Counter has delicious burgers, hot dogs and fries. The Gelato Bar has a nice variety but there is a charge of $2.30USD/scoop. They pile on 2 scoops without telling you this and a charge of $4.60 appears on your account...not a big deal but also not OK! Meals in the dining room were overall satisfactory. There was decent variety on the lefthand side of the menu in addition to regular choices on the right hand side. The Salmon or Strip Loin Steak were always a good go-to if nothing appealed from the nightly menu. Items of note were the Coconut Shrimp and the Crusty Sweet & Sour Shrimp. The pasta selections were also good but the Surf & Turf on the 2nd Gala Night was just OK. We had requested to be seated at the same table and this was not the case the first night but was quickly rectified by the Maître D André by the 2nd night. The Gala nights were Nights 3 & 9 of our 10 day cruise. Special menus were prepared for these nights but nothing spectacular. One might expect a show with Baked Alaska or some sort of special presentation but none of that. The dress code for Gala Nights ranged from tuxes & long gowns to casual shirts & pants for men & capris and T-shirts for women. There were certainly more people in fancy dress than on non Gala nights but some people wore the same as other nights. They do adhere to the rule of long pants & collared shirts for men on all nights but sandals are permitted. Wait staff in the dining room were great and special mention should go to Gina the Wine Steward who had a knack for remembering our preferences and always appearing at just the right time to make sure that our needs were being met. We did not try any of the specialty restaurants due to cost although they did look very nice. There are 2 small pools and 4 hot tubs on the Lido Deck. The pool towards the back of the ship is open to air but the one mid ship is partially enclosed and stifling hot. We did not understand why they did not retract the roof a little further. The temperature of the pools was fine but the area was extremely crowded especially on Sea Days. It was difficult to find a vacant lounger right after breakfast. Table and chairs and sofas also filled up quickly. If you were lucky enough to find a vacant spot it was an OK place to be but there was absolutely nothing going on poolside. No live music, contests or animators. Entertainment in this area was sorely lacking. One side of the deck is reserved for smokers so this further limited our seating options. The bar staff were friendly and efficient and drinks were tasty. We were advised to try a ‘Wang Wang’ by a photographer on our first day and with it’s 7 spirits and 4 fruit juices it soon became a favourite. Our Signature Beverage Cards which cost approximately $520 USD ($700CAD) each allowed us 15 drinks/day with a max cost of $11/drink. This included bottled water for excursions and specialty coffees. This met our needs and never were we denied a chosen beverage because of cost. Different bars offered varying types of mixed drinks and cocktails but the Sea View Bar seemed to offer the best selection. They did not seem to strictly adhere to the one drink per half hour rule. Sharing with other passengers is technically not allowed but loosely monitored. Something to note is that all people in the same cabin must each purchase a beverage package. We 3 were like-minded in this regard but our other travelling companions had different preferences so it was not beneficial for any of them to purchase beverage packages. If you each anticipate having at least 7 drinks/day the Signature Beverage Card is worth the money...it allows you to enjoy that second glass of wine with dinner and an after dinner Baileys without a second thought. If you are considering the Signature Beverage Package make sure to order it at least 3 days prior to boarding as it is significantly cheaper than buying it on board. Keep an eye on your on board account as we were charged for all of our drinks on Day 1 and it took 3 or 4 days to resolve the issues on all 3 of our accounts. Guest Services staff were not very efficient and our story had to be repeated multiple times. Evening entertainment was lack-lustre. The shows on the World Stage were just OK...the Comedian was not funny and the Magician was just so-so. The musical entertainer Mark Donaghue was OK as were the dancers but none of the shows were breathtaking. Those who appreciate Classical Music said the pianist was good but I did not attend that show. We had all been on previous cruises where the entertainment was far superior to this cruise. We found ourselves gravitating to the Piano Bar every night where we were entertained by 2 very talented young men Sam & Anderson who played 2 or 3 sets for 8 of the 10 nights. They were endearing, comical & interactive with the audience but I have to say that their sets got old towards the end however we continued to go because there were few other appealing choices. Across the hall from the Piano Bar was a Rock & Roll Band that played alternately between Piano Bar sets. The sound was deafening even from where we were sitting at the Piano Bar but we dared not leave for fear of losing our spots for the next set in the Piano Bar which was always packed. The drinks and wait staff at the Piano Bar were fun & efficient. There was a Jazzy Blues Band down the hall that also sounded pretty good if you like that kind of music. We stopped in at the Casino a few times but the smell of smoke was so repulsive that it turned me off. Smoking should not be allowed in an enclosed area!!!!!! Daytime activities were not exciting and had limited appeal to most of our group. There were cooking demonstrations and Microsoft Seminars but nothing that we would call fun. There were afternoon games with a facilitator in the Crow’s Nest but these were not well promoted and as a result poorly attended. The Crows Nest and with the Exploration Bar was a nice quiet area to hang out and play games although most of us agreed that the staff in these areas did not seem to be as friendly or happy with their jobs as other wait staff. The Dutch Bar on the 3rd level is a nice little place to stop for a pre-dinner cocktail. We travelled during the height of Covid 19 and there was an awareness for increased hygiene precautions. There were several hand washing stations at the Lido Buffet and Purell Hand Sanitizer Dispensers at numerous strategic locations throughout the ship. We ordered the Internet Package at a cost of $143.99USD for the 10 days. A slight plus to this was the option to share the package with others allowing only 1 device on at a time. 4 of us took advantage of this and while it was very slow and required frequent reconnecting it met our needs for the 10 days. I would not take this service unless you can share the cost as the service is not good enough to justify the cost. We ordered it before we left because it was cheaper than waiting until we were on board. The jogging track on the 11th deck was never too busy but the Fitness Room seemed to be well utilized. The walking track on the 3rd level was not very appealing and felt confining due to the presence of the lifeboats hanging overhead. None of us chose to purchase any shore excursions and instead just got off and enjoyed the immediate port areas. More details will be provided in the Port & Shore Excursion areas of this review. Disembarkation was smooth and efficient. Luggage was collected by midnight the night before departure and we had time for breakfast at the Lido Buffet before 8am on departure day. We were then called down in groups to collect our luggage and board the shuttle for the airport. We were at the airport by 10am and our 3pm flight was delayed by over an hour so it made for a long day at the airport. There are limited restaurant options at Fort Lauderdale Airport and the Duty Free shop has less selection & is pricier than some of the Duty Free Shops at the ports so it is wise to purchase alcohol at a port and retrieve it upon disembarkation. Mandatory tipping is $14.50USD per person per day and is automatically charged to the credit card provided upon online checkin. There is nothing wrong with additional cash tipping to staff who provide exemplary service. Most of these people are from impoverished countries and are away from home for prolonged periods. They work hard and long hours for their salaries so a few extra dollars are always appreciated. There is no need to check out unless you prefer to settle up with cash. Make sure to closely monitor your onboard account which is accessible on the TV in your cabin. Mistakes have been known to be made and I imagine that it is easier to resolve these while still onboard. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
The FOOD: Dinning room above average variety and tase. Lido Buffet, way above average as each station has an active attendant that will prepare to order and/or place food on your plate. Passengers do not need to use tongs and get ... Read More
The FOOD: Dinning room above average variety and tase. Lido Buffet, way above average as each station has an active attendant that will prepare to order and/or place food on your plate. Passengers do not need to use tongs and get what they want instead simply ask and the attendant will place on a plate and give it to you. This resulted in food being fresh and at correct tempture and not over cooked.. The only negative was that no food outlets were closed by 11 so must return to state room and use room service. The SERVICE: At dining room, above average, quick, attentive, and pleasant. At lido buffet, service above average, attentive, and pleasant Drink service. A bit above average as there were servers who were around and would occassionaly ask if you would like a drink. At a level where you were not being asked every 5 minutes. The ENTERTAINMENT: Severly lacking. 3 Primary venues - Billboard(piano bar) - Very Very lackluster. Low energy. There were two pianos. Each attended by a capable piano player but not by piano entertainers. At no point was the joint a rocking. Instead I felt like I was in venue were most in attendance were semi awake as the MUZAC played soft rock. Very little entegy or audience engagement demonstrated by the players(not entertainers).... a big difference. So lame 1 piano would hav sufficed. Closed by 11 most nights - Rolling Stone Live 4 piece band Bands were decent. But only did 2 45 minutes sets per night. Closed by 11 most nights - BB King blues Good muscians and vocalist provided energized show. Closed by 11 most nights After midnight all bars were closed and all entertainment ended - Main stage Comedian - 2 shows by himself. Funny but not haliarious Magician - 2 shows by himself which consissted primarily of jokes and a view average card tricks. Dance shows - 2 shows 1 was good with lighting and stage affects. The other was more free form which I left early. NO DISCO or any VENU/BAR where one may be a night owl. By the stroke of midnight the ship referts to a floating hotel offering NO LATE NIGHT THINGS TO DO. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
We choose this cruise because I took my mother and she loves Holland America and I needed a real relaxing vacation not a huge party on the ocean with 5000 of my closest friends. The demographic is mostly retired older people. It was nice ... Read More
We choose this cruise because I took my mother and she loves Holland America and I needed a real relaxing vacation not a huge party on the ocean with 5000 of my closest friends. The demographic is mostly retired older people. It was nice and relaxing. There were a few things you could do during the day other than lay by the pool such as trivia, bingo, bridge, lectures or go up to the Explorers lounge and play other games. It was a good way to meet people. The ports of call were good. Nothing I had not seen before but again I wanted to relax. The food was amazing. We never ate in the dining room because there were so many choices on the Lido Buffet. Most nights they had the some of the same food you would get in the dining room but you were on your own schedule and didn't have to take two hours out of your night to eat dinner. The nightly entertainment was great. There might not have been anything exciting to do during the day but you were only at sea two days. The other days you were in port. But at night I had too much to choose from and sometimes had to eliminate something I wanted to do. We saw every concert at the Lincoln Center Stage. Then it changed into the Blues Club and some nights they had an hour or two of ballroom dancing. The Rolling Stone Rock Room and Billboard on Board were great venues. The music was really good and had a wide variety so there was bound to be a night or two that had something you would like. The two shows on the main stage with the dancers were really good. I only went to one comedian show and he was very funny. Room was spotless. You are still on a ship so space is tight. We had a veranda and moved the coffee table outside for more floor space. There was plenty of storage. Our cabin stewards knew our name the first day and great us using our names every time they saw us. The staff was great from everyone in the Lido Buffet to the bartenders and servers. I was always greeted in the hallway when they passed me. Already looking to book next April on same ship. I know I am leaving something out but we both had a great time One more thing. We took off our own luggage and we were off the ship at 0730 through US Customs and at our car at 0748. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
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