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10,437 Holland America Cruise Reviews

Typically cruise on Princess but wanted to try this due to itinerary. Hard not to compare Princess against Holland America. On the positive side we like the larger bathroom. Also the staff is great. On the not so positive side: The ship ... Read More
Typically cruise on Princess but wanted to try this due to itinerary. Hard not to compare Princess against Holland America. On the positive side we like the larger bathroom. Also the staff is great. On the not so positive side: The ship itself is old and is not well maintained compared to Princess ships except for cabins. Too much up selling in all areas. For example, Consistently being asked if we want to purchase a $75 steak or pay $25 for a lobster. When you say NO the demeanor of the staff seems to change. Not as attentive. Booked a walking tour at one of the ports. Due to fairly heavy and consistent rain and cold we thought it would be canceled but it wasn’t. Can’t imagine who would want to walk in the cold and rain for two hours. Probably will not be cruising with Holland America again anytime soon. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We travelled as a party of 9 and had really looked forward to seeing Alaska with Holland America. Boy were we disappointed. Every show, talk, movie on the cruise was an attempt to sell something. Although we are used to cruises and ... Read More
We travelled as a party of 9 and had really looked forward to seeing Alaska with Holland America. Boy were we disappointed. Every show, talk, movie on the cruise was an attempt to sell something. Although we are used to cruises and expect this to happen, their selling attempt was too blatant and started to ruin our experience. A season on the history of diamonds led to a pushy sales effort to sell items from the stores on the ship. We had the unfortunate opportunity to see a doctor on board, and he was incompetent, unethical, and tried to upsell medication like a cheap used car salesman. The food was tolerable, but got repetitive after a few days. By the 5th day we were dying to get off the cruise. The excursions were actually quite pleasant and we were happy to meet some locals. However, we also realize how much more expensive the excursions sold on the ship were compared to just getting off the ship and go with a local company. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
THE GOOD: Very efficient at embarking and disembarking passengers smoothly. Smiley, welcoming and attentive staff. Very clean and comfortable stateroom. Good entertainment (we watched the dancers). Several choices of bars and lounges, ... Read More
THE GOOD: Very efficient at embarking and disembarking passengers smoothly. Smiley, welcoming and attentive staff. Very clean and comfortable stateroom. Good entertainment (we watched the dancers). Several choices of bars and lounges, all with excellent service. Pretty good food. NOT SO GOOD: I couldn't help compare this ship with the one I sailed on 20 years ago. It was nothing like as luxurious. The opulent art and sculptures are gone. The decor, once tasteful, is pedestrian. The colour schemes horrible. The cuisine, once out of this world, is ho-hum. No ice sculptures. No Baked Alaska. No movie house. No jazz pianists in the lounges. No afternoon Dutch tea. No midnight chocolate extravaganza. I think I know what happened. Cruise passengers were once refined, cultured and discriminating. Now they are not. People from all walks of life come to party, gamble, drink and overeat. Because of the changing demographics and lowering of standards, Holland America has eliminated the niceties. What an awful shame! Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We had used Holland America about 14 years and decided to give it a try once again as a lot of our friends were going on this cruise and it was just a 1 day cruise Embarkation:- we had arrived at about 3 the embarkation process was very ... Read More
We had used Holland America about 14 years and decided to give it a try once again as a lot of our friends were going on this cruise and it was just a 1 day cruise Embarkation:- we had arrived at about 3 the embarkation process was very smooth and we were on this ship in less than 15 minutes. We did find it odd that held on to our passport and Green card and gave us a receipt for just the passport. (when we went back and pointed it out they said sorry and added US permanent card on the receipt) They told us that they do this for the getting the customs and immigration clearance and that we will get them back on this ship. Dining Lido - they were running out of food and did not refill any of it. I took some pasta and it was dry. Cabin - the cabins were a bit small but they were neat and clean. Fries on the swimming deck. One of the best fries that we had. Main room dining - We were in the 8 o clock sitting. They were running out of food clearly. they had prepared Indian and offered it to us. they were in small tiny cups and the dal was only half filled. When people asked for refill they said sorry that they had run out of it. The salmon dish that I had ordered for my entrée was not brought when others on the table were ready to order the desserts. When I enquired about the Salmon he said they were backed up for this and that it would take a while to bring it out and asked me if I still wanted it. When I said yes they brought it 15 minutes later and it was overcooked. One of the couples in our party were celebrating their anniversary but they left as the service was slow and the showtime had begun. After they left the servers came and said they had a cake for them. When they found out that they had left they took their cabin number and said they would deliver it, but it never got delivered to the room. Show - The show was decent IMO, but the others in the group liked it. so will leave it at that Public restroom. They were clean and I personally like the rolled up hand wash towels. Early morning phone call - We still hadn't heard anything regarding our passport / green card. However at 6:35 on the morning our phone rang and they informed us that we needed to be in the Hudson room at 6:40 for immigration process and they wanted all of the family members there. When we went there they made us all sit in the room and they started taking a roll call of the people present and asking if all of the members in the party were present. There was no communications as to what was happening and the process involved. When I raised and asked my hand if they would announce what we should expect the lady rudely explained that they would do it. After about 30 minutes of roll calling, the supervisor arrived and said the immigration officers would come and clear the passports and would pick a small size of people to see them face to face and to sit tight. After about another half an hour of wait a few people were called and one of the couples they wanted to see could not be located. even during the roll call they were missing. after 10 minutes later they came and said that the ship was cleared and one person was announcing the room number to come and pick up the passports. we got ours back in about 15 minutes but I am sure they would have take another 15 20 minutes. The whole process IMO was ridiculous and disorganized. Silver lining - the breakfast they brought to the room was good and on time which we were not expecting. They earned some brownie points Bottom Line - they lost us as customer for sure. Never again are we going to cruise with Holland America. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Pretty ship with wrap-around teak promenade deck where you can walk for hours. We were in a Neptune suite, so embarkation usually easier for suite guests. Neptune lounge personnel and coffee very good. The food in the Lido and DR on HAL ... Read More
Pretty ship with wrap-around teak promenade deck where you can walk for hours. We were in a Neptune suite, so embarkation usually easier for suite guests. Neptune lounge personnel and coffee very good. The food in the Lido and DR on HAL is average at best. We almost always ate in the Lido because the restaurant is a hassle for us (we don't tend to linger over dinner) and the food is no better. That said, the Lido can be pretty intense, almost competitive most of the time. The aft pool was nice esp since hardly anyone used it while we were on the ship. There are only 2 hot tubs out there, so there was a lot of competition for those. There is a relatively new(?) entertainment feature - Lincoln Center on Stage. A rather pompous name for what was provided - a reader's digest version of some classical pieces (and pop tunes) played inharmoniously and off-key. We didn't try any other entertainment. The cruise director seemed a lot smarter and more capable than most. We liked the Tamarind bar for the views and the quiet and the bartender. Great books in the lounge at the top of the ship. We didn't go on any shore excursions. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Our voyage on the MS Volendam was short, but sweet! This ship is still in very good shape. It is scheduled for another retrofit next month. We flew to Vancouver to join the ship on it's transition from Alaska to the Caribbean. ... Read More
Our voyage on the MS Volendam was short, but sweet! This ship is still in very good shape. It is scheduled for another retrofit next month. We flew to Vancouver to join the ship on it's transition from Alaska to the Caribbean. Many people on this voyage were settling in for the extended Panama Canal cruise. We had limited time as we had another trip planed, so we decided to take the 6 night cruise from Vancouver to San Diego. We stayed at the Best Western Plus Uptown Hotel in Vancouver. It's only 4 miles (12 minutes to the cruise terminal) and is about half the price of the downtown properties. We found it clean, friendly and in a very nice neighborhood filled with restaurants. Embarkation was very fast and our rooms were ready when we boarded around 11:00 a.m. Our cabin was a Guaranteed Ocean view Cabin. We were very satisfied with our location on Dolphin deck near the Aft part of the ship. The cabins are a bit dated, especially the TVs and the safe; other than that, a great clean cabin with plenty of storage space. We enjoyed the limited entertainment onboard, especially the comedian and the magician. Both were excellent. The BB King All Star band was also great. We have heard many of these bands play on other HAL ships and HAL does a great job recruiting these bands. We also enjoyed early evening entertainment in the Ocean Bar. The food onboard was fine. We enjoyed all of the food and service in the Main Dining Room. Our servers, Rudy and Eko, were outstanding. The Lido Buffet is fine for what it is, along with the Dive In area. We did not partake of the Pinnacle Grill or Canaletto this voyage as we are going on another HAL ship in thirty days and will book then. Victoria is always a great walking port. We did not get off the ship in Astoria, Oregon. San Francisco is always a wonderful city to visit and we were fortunate to spend from 7 am until 11 pm in the city. Debarkation in San Diego was effortless and we were at the airport in minutes. As always, the crew on HAL REALLY make the difference. These people bust their buns each and every day to make sure all guests are having the best experience while onboard. A shout out to Henry and Jerry in the Ocean Bar, as well as Sol and Teddy, our cabin stewards. We look forward to our upcoming trip on MS Koningsdam. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We sailed Sept 22-29th 2019 and had a positive travel experience made so by the excellent serving staff throughout the ship, in our cabin (thank you Ricki and Ahmad), and dining service (thank you Ari Komang Joseph Izebb and Sudika table ... Read More
We sailed Sept 22-29th 2019 and had a positive travel experience made so by the excellent serving staff throughout the ship, in our cabin (thank you Ricki and Ahmad), and dining service (thank you Ari Komang Joseph Izebb and Sudika table 311). Among ourselves, we commented daily on how hard working and pleasant all the ship’s staff were. We ate breakfast and dinner in the dining room, and used the Lido Market and Lido Dive In for lunch. We chose a wine package so that we could enjoy a bottle of wine with dinner. This was much more reasonable in price than any of the drink packages. Any cocktails we wanted were purchased a la carte. Embarkation was a long but necessary process, again with excellent staff and lots of helpful agents to answer our questions. Disembarkation was extremely smooth. Well done Westerdam! We arranged tours in Juneau, Skagway and Ketchikan through Holland America. The tours were a little pricey for what was offered. They were pretty basic. Again the staff assisting with the tours and security check in. Our only complaint is Westerdam’s outrageous charge for internet and bottled water in the room. Westerdam, you’re taking advantage of a captive market by charging these exorbitant fees! Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
This was our sixth cruise to Alaska, all on Holland America ships. People, I know ask “Why Alaska? Why Holland America? Why the same cruise?” I’ll answer the last question first, “Because we can, because it is the most ... Read More
This was our sixth cruise to Alaska, all on Holland America ships. People, I know ask “Why Alaska? Why Holland America? Why the same cruise?” I’ll answer the last question first, “Because we can, because it is the most convenient cruise to take from our home, and because we can afford it”. The Alaska cruise is always a lovely cruise, the scenery cannot be beat, and yes you may encounter some rain, but it still can be a marvelous experience. Why Holland America? Well there aren’t too many surprises on their ships, we have traveled on three different ones, and comments about aging vessels really don’t make a lot of sense, they are all well maintained. For the doubters, every ship will have occasional problems, toilets, and a/c malfunctions, but you will get those on any ship in any fleet. We found that Holland America prides itself on service. On the three ships, we’ve sailed the crews seem to be a happy crew. A smile and a greeting will always get a positive result on a Holland America ship. Something we’d been told and found out for ourselves, once the crew gets to know you, they always call you by your name. When they only know you for a seven-day cruise, I find this amazing. You can be way down the hall, and they’ll call out to you. Thank you Holland America for your hiring system. The dining facilities aboard ship, from the Main Dining Room to the buffet and even the Dive-In, are exceptional and there’s always something to please the palate. Now in fairness, I must admit I haven’t sailed on any other cruise line, yet, so my submission may be tainted. We have found the food service to be well above par, regardless of the venue. We have found a home in the Ocean Bar, and it’s not surprising as do many of our fellow cruisers. The bartenders and wait staff can’t seem to do enough for you. Happy Hour is always packed. And again the crew call you by name, which is even more surprising due to the number of passengers they deal with. Each cruise for us has been different, different ships, different cabins, but the service has always been exceptional. On this trip, we were offered a paid upgrade to a suite. It is larger than the oceanview and balcony that we have had in the past. There is plenty of storage space and the bathrooms had two sinks, a jet tub, and a shower stall. The suite was furnished with a most comfortable queen-sized bed, sofa and two chairs. A large widescreen TV had a multitude of options from ship activities, dining options, live TV and movies. There is little to want for in these cabins, they provide a very relaxed comfort zone. The Westerdam is a beautiful ship, the design is marvelous, there is so much to see and do on the ship. In reading some of the reviews on Cruise Critic I sometimes wonder at some of the negative comments from cruisers that were on the ship I was on, where we actually on the same ship? Throughout the ship is works of art, it's like being in a floating museum. On Deck 1, below the atrium, there are even picture frames that you can use to make your own photo portrait. The ship has plenty of elevators but there are also stairs, to wear off the pounds collected in the dining venues, plus the Promenade deck which is covered and allows you to walk around the outside of the ship. When I hear that there is little to do onboard I wonder where these folks may be. Entertainment abounds, music from classical to blues and jazz to modern pop, plus shows in the main theater nightly. There is a small casino. During the day the ship’s activities are for everyone, take your choice - it seems endless. There is lots to do aboard ship. And when we dock, there is a myriad of shore excursions. The highlight of any Alaska cruise is the time spent looking at glaciers. Usually, this includes several hours in Glacier Bay. On this trip, we encountered a different and most marvelous glacier experience. We traveled up Tracy Arm to the Sawyer Glacier. What makes this cruise so special is getting to the Glacier requires sailing up a narrow passageway, through ice flows. Streams flow down the mountainsides making the whole trip an exciting passage. The ice flows are not large, but much larger than those we’ve experienced in Glacier Bay. It is said if you’ve never cruised to Alaska, you need to see Glacier Bay. Once you’ve seen Glacier Bay, you need to see Tracy Arm, you will never experience a more wonderful site. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
I enjoyed my cruise! I particularly enjoyed the lincoln center stage and the walking track. I really enjoyed walking around the deck as it was good exercise after the big meals. I didn't find the entertainment that great other then ... Read More
I enjoyed my cruise! I particularly enjoyed the lincoln center stage and the walking track. I really enjoyed walking around the deck as it was good exercise after the big meals. I didn't find the entertainment that great other then the lincoln center stage although I heard one of the comedians was quite good - i'm not interested in comedians. The dance number was good but at the billboard singing event they did the singers were horrible. I found there were a lot of talks during the day to keep me busy but the scenery was the main attraction for most days. One example of a talk was on the Pacific Giants (whales) that was good. There was a naturalist on board and I attended one of her talks on salmon. She also held wildlife sighting sessions, although I didn't attend that. There was a really good Alaska in Concert show where they had a film of alaska accompanied by the musicians of BB Kings and Lincoln Stage. The food was good. I preferred the main dining room to the buffet. There was a seafood night in the buffet though on the ketchikan day that was good. I particularly liked the steak and lobster tail on the second gala night although unfortunately it was rough that night leaving ketchikan and I couldn't completely enjoy it. I was a solo traveller but I found everyone friendly at the dining room. The only tour I did was a rail/bus excursion by Chilkoot charters in Skagway and it was nice it only had 24 people on the bus instead of the 60 provided by cruise lines. Make sure you sit on the right if you are going up to Fraser on the bus as you will have better scenery. Note the bow is open on the Glacier Bay day and the inside passage day. Luckily we had a nice day for Glacier Bay. Note that while overall we had good weather, september has 3 times the rain as May or June. So you are taking your chances in September that you will have good weather - I lucked out. Some people complain of Noordam looking worn but that didn't bother me. I thought it looked nice. I liked being on what felt like a small intimate cruise ship - lots of nooks and crannys to sit in. Disembarkation went really smoothly as I chose to carry my own bags. My only complaint was if i'd know I would have a more leisurely breakfast! Overall, a great first cruise. If cruises weren't so expensive for singles, I would cruise again but as it is I would have to be picky about prices to choose Holland America again. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Due to poor weather we missed four ports. I have to believe that HAL knew the weather would be difficult for tender ports before we left Amsterdam yet kept us guessing. Being that we had more overnights in a port because we could not go ... Read More
Due to poor weather we missed four ports. I have to believe that HAL knew the weather would be difficult for tender ports before we left Amsterdam yet kept us guessing. Being that we had more overnights in a port because we could not go to the next port, they did not plan things to do on the ship assuming all would get off the ship. That did not happen and you had many bored people. The only time they did plan was the last sea day which was supposed to be a tender port. Along with that many many people were sick and there was so much coughing and sneezing on the ship and on the bus tours. I also was sick and by the end of the cruise after talking to many passengers found that about 1/4 of the ship was sick. After traveling with HAL for many cruises this was my first experience with this kind of sickness, I have experienced the stomach problems but not this. The whole experience was sad as after you plan for a great experience you come home so disappointed and still sick. Since home have gone to the doctor and on antibiotics. I stgill wonder is many of the crew were sick and they still make them work or something is wrong on the ship. My worst experience on any of the 25 cruises I have been on. Have to say service was great Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We had high expectations when we booked this cruise! Unfortunately, the cruise was a huge disappointment due to extremely poor management primarily from Guest Services on the ship. First, let me inform you about the positive aspects on ... Read More
We had high expectations when we booked this cruise! Unfortunately, the cruise was a huge disappointment due to extremely poor management primarily from Guest Services on the ship. First, let me inform you about the positive aspects on the cruise! Virtually all of the ship's staff that we encountered went above and beyond attempting to make the cruise enjoyable! In particular, our cabin attendants were excellent in attending to our needs the entire cruise! The staff in all the of the eating and dining areas of the ship were very good and all were very helpful and seemingly always had a smile on their face! Food was OK with the food in the dining area lacking but made up in the Lido Market by having a tasty variety of dishes and desserts. The on board entertainment was good with a couple of shows that were fun. We went on four shore excursions with the highlights being the Quebec and Charlottetown tours. We were thoroughly impressed with Charlottetown as it very much reminded us of Ireland! Absolutely the most enjoyable aspect of the entire cruise were the great people we met! We traveled with friends and we participated in a couple of events (Music Trivia and Team Pictionary) in the evening that turned out to be great fun! Also met a couple from Oregon that were lots of fun! Unfortunately, all of the above positive aspects of the cruise were negated by the following debacle! Upon boarding the ship at 4:00 PM on Sept 21, we proceeded to our cabin. As soon as we entered the hallway we observed some type of machine down the hallway which was making quite a noise. As we approached our cabin, we realized this was a large blower that was right outside of our cabin door. Opening the door we were greeted by another of these large blowers in the entryway of the cabin. I quickly recognized the blower as a large industrial type used to dry out wet areas. The room was configured with two twins pushed together to make a queen size bed. On either side of the bed was suppose to be a night stand but the right side nightstand was removed and placed in front of the dresser on the other side of the room. This was necessary because the first 10 to 12 feet of cabin carpet was soaked in water. As we entered the room, water pushed up around our shoes. I immediately went to Guest Services and was greeted by a long line of guests. Eventually, I was helped by a Guest Services individual named Caesar. As soon as I told him what the problem was he stated he was aware of the state of the carpet in the room and said it should be dried out quickly. I was informed that the bathtub had been allowed to overrun when it was being sanitized between cruises. It overflowed so badly that it soaked the carpet in the our cabin, the hallway outside the cabin, as well as the cabin next to us. I asked about moving to another cabin and was told the cruise was 100% booked and there was nowhere they could move us. I asked twice for clarification about cabins and was given the same answer again. He stated that they were extremely busy right then but would contact us after 6:00 PM. About 7:30, I again went to Guest Services and was told that they would send someone to check on the cabin. Approximately an hour later an individual from the ship's staff knocked on the door and checked the floor. He stated the machines would have to be left on to dry the carpet and left. The blower was so loud that we left the room and wandered around the ship just to escape the noise. After we returned I turned off the blower in the cabin so we could get some sleep. I turned it back on when we woke up the next morning. Upon returning from breakfast, we were greeted with a second machine which was a very large suction machine which made it impossible to get around the bed. We left very soon for a shore excursion and did not return until mid afternoon. Upon returning we noted someone had come in and moved both pieces of equipment to another spot. I went back to Guest Services and was again told they were working on the room and that we would receive compensation for our inconvenience. The representative stated she could not tell what this amount would be as management would decided the amount. Again was told there were no spare cabins. That night I again turned the machine off when we went to bed that evening. Carpet was drier but I could still mash water out of it. During the night a pillow fell off the bed and was dripping water when we picked it up in the morning. I turned the machine on again when we left for breakfast. We again went on and a shore excursion and returned to the machines. When we returned from dinner, the machines were finally gone. The smell in the room was terrible and reminded us of a wet dog. It stayed that way the entire cruise duration. Mind you this was day three of the cruise when the machines were removed. Consequently, the first three days of a seven day cruise was a disaster to us. On the night before the cruise ended, we returned from dinner and found a final bill statement on our door. After three days of putting up with a mess, Holland America offered us $300 in compensation. I went to Guest Services as was told by the rep that "this is the maximum compensation we can offer". After I stated that we put up with this mess for three days, I was told we were "only inconvenienced for two days" because the machines were taken out after two days. He quickly realized that was not true as my wife produced cell phone photos of our room with the equipment present. It was dated 17:02 23 Sept 2019 which was the evening of the third cruise day. He realized we were right and gave us no further argument about the fact. He went to the back and when he returned to the front desk he stated "they raised to compensation to $400". I was still unhappy about the offer but asked the rep if he could give me an updated statement. He again went to the back and upon returning he stated that the compensation was increased to $450. He offered no explanation for the increase. Realizing this was going no further, we left to pack for disembarkation the next morning. As I stated initially, this cruise was a total letdown for us because of extremely poor management by Guest Services. We were given compensation (which I had to negotiate) that amounted to less than 10% of the amount we paid for the cruise. Probably more important was the fact that no one really seemed to care about our situation other than to state "we are working on it". My wife has a severely compromised immune system and we were very concerned about the possibility of mold or some other type of contamination being present in the room. I mentioned this to every single contact I had with Guest Services and not one person even acknowledged the fact I had brought it to their attention. We felt they did not care about our concerns. This entire situation could have been avoided if we could have been moved into another cabin. To not have any available spare cabins is poor management at best. Actually, I find the fact they have no spare cabins very difficult to believe! When I brought up the issue of no spare cabins to the Guest Services gentlemen the last evening of the cruise he stated " Of course we had spare rooms but they were not of the size and comfort level of the cabin you were occupying".We had repeatedly been told that the ship was 100% booked and were now told they had spare rooms but not like ours! No one questioned us as to whether we would stay in a smaller room for a few days! Throughout this entire episode, we had to actively pursue resolution of our situation with Guest Services and they absolutely showed no concern for the condition of the cabin, our discomfort and inconvenience! We absolutely were not treated as valued customers! Additionally, we felt we were given the "run around" the entire cruise by Guest Services! We certainly plan more cruises but it will not be with Holland America! Needless to say, our experience was unforgettable for the wrong reasons! Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Holland America has some great ships and cruises. Unfortunately the Veendam cruise from Boston to Montreal is NOT one of them. The ship is scheduled to be decommissioned soon so it is in its lasts throws as a working Holland America cruise ... Read More
Holland America has some great ships and cruises. Unfortunately the Veendam cruise from Boston to Montreal is NOT one of them. The ship is scheduled to be decommissioned soon so it is in its lasts throws as a working Holland America cruise ship. Problems began on embarkation. Our fellow travelers were assigned to a Veranda deck state room next to ours and upon arrival found industrial strength air blowers trying to dry out their room(A178) which had been flooded by an overflowing tub being sanitized. Room A176 was also flooded as well as the hall way. The smell (like a wet dog) and damp carpets were present for the remainder of the seven day trip. Guest services said nothing more than trying to dry out the carpet could be done since all the cabins were full. When we first went down to Guest Services to complain, there was a long, long line of people trying to change rooms for various problems. Dining in the main dinging room was also a negative aspect of the cruise. On all of our previous cruises with Holland America, dining in one of the main dinging rooms was always special. The menus and meals on this particular cruise were so mundane that it seemed like a majority of dinners left of the Lido Market after two days of disappointment. The Veendam is old and pretty worn out and it shows in every room that we visited. Most of the crew tried to make up for the ships many faults with their service but there was just too much to overcome. The most dangerous moment occurred when we were tendering back from a day in Bar Harbor. Lack of seamanship left the tender too far from the Veendam's dock and a choppy sea resulted in the tender slamming violently into the side of the Veendam. A number of returning passengers were thrown into the floor of the tender and one woman appeared to be seriously injured. I have always praised Holland America but after this cruise, I would be more careful about reading current reviews. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
This cruise was a last minute decision and the most delightful surprise. A 1400 passenger ship now qualifies for a small ship experience.The Veendam was renovated in April and its classic charm updated into a modern version of the ... Read More
This cruise was a last minute decision and the most delightful surprise. A 1400 passenger ship now qualifies for a small ship experience.The Veendam was renovated in April and its classic charm updated into a modern version of the same.Beautiful antiques throughout, easy to get to any place on the ship, absolute fine dining in the main dining room and in specialty restaurants.Chef Guru handled all dining venues from Rudi's Seafood, Canalettti,Pinnacle Grill and buffet to perfection.Classical entertainment by Marian on violin,and beautiful shows especially the Planet of the Stars in main theatre. Other musical performances happy and fun.Service impeccable in all dining areas.Even have a happy hour in 2 bars twice a day!!Many more ports than the usual Canada/New England cruise. Officers friendly and kudos especially to Chief Engineer Paul Jacobs and Hotel director Leonie Henry who were visible and so engaging. Can't wait to book this ship again! Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Had to be bussed 4 hours to the second port because the ship was under repair. Had to wait in the lobby for hours for a bus because they had no idea when we would go. We were compensated $75 for the trouble. Communication for ... Read More
Had to be bussed 4 hours to the second port because the ship was under repair. Had to wait in the lobby for hours for a bus because they had no idea when we would go. We were compensated $75 for the trouble. Communication for Immigration back into the country and tendering were also very poorly handled. The good news was the food was better than other lines I’ve been on and the ship was very clean. We paid extra for Club Orange which I thought was worth it. Our upgraded stateroom was clean but in need of updating. There was NO outlet in the bathroom and only one in the room. More closet space than expected. The staff in general were very pleasant. The highlight of the trip was when we got off of the cruise to spend time in Boston. We were with some friends or else this itinerary (Montreal to Boston) would have been too boring for us. Unless you really, really want to see these ports I don’t recommend it. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We were a party of four (my wife and I and my brother and his wife, all late 60’s early 70’s) and we booked Neptune suites on either side (port and starboard) of the Neptune Lounge entrance. That way you don’t miss any views and one ... Read More
We were a party of four (my wife and I and my brother and his wife, all late 60’s early 70’s) and we booked Neptune suites on either side (port and starboard) of the Neptune Lounge entrance. That way you don’t miss any views and one side always gets the sun. However, if you have to pick one side starboard is better as you spend more time on the veranda coming back. The weather was mostly very good, some rain but sun when it was important. We booked 6 months early got a free beverage and no gratuities perk, and the price was less than brochure. The cruise – If you enjoy cruising then you must do this one at least once. Ours was the end of season seven-day Alaskan cruise. Average age 65+; few children (who seemed to have a good time.) I suspect the ship was not sold out and other than the Lido buffet things were pretty quiet. Smoking section is outside aft of the lido and was a sensible solution – heard no complaints and there were quite a few older smokers. Clothing – For excursions and on the boat deck during Glacier Bay - I read everything in Cruise Critic (advice varied) and planned accordingly and was very cold the first day as I did not have any fleece or wool layers. Bought a sweater in Juneau for the rest of the trip. My recommendation – • thin long sleeve thermal undershirt(UNIQLO heatex), • light to medium wool sweater with high neck – zip up was best, • cotton hoodie • unlined rain jacket (NorthFace), • light scarf • light wool gloves These layers were pared down according to condition. Fully dressed in the 45° rain on one of the whale boats on their outside decks. Extras – You don’t need: • Binoculars – the ship has them (in the suite) and all the tours have good ones as well. • Bug spray – never saw a mosquito • Sun block – you welcome any sun There were two ‘formal’ nights and most folks dressed up – some in suits and a few in tuxes – for the main dining rooms. I brought a jacket and tie and black slacks. Embarkation – we arrived at 11:15 and they opened the gate at 11:45 and we were in our room shortly after. We snacked in the Neptune Lounge and had salads in the Lido. The stateroom – Neptune suites are really gorgeous – this was our 4th time and they have only gotten better appointed. Very spacious and a large balcony, although this was only used on sunny days when we had them. Free laundry and binoculars. We have gotten used to booking suites which means we cruise less but cruise better. Our favorite is the Haven suites on Norwegian but Holland is our favorite after that. Both offer some dining advantages especially breakfast and sometimes lunch. Entertainment – we did not partake except to listen to the classical ensemble. Typically we retire after a late dinner Neptune Lounge – This lounge area is a really nice respite from the rest of the ship, offering a quiet escape and great snacks and beverages throughout the day. Plus there is a concierge on duty to assist with any kind of planning. Having it across the hall made it real easy to grab coffee (one of those wonderful cappuccino machines) and get back to the room. Wifi – standard package (day and capacity based) was fine for email and news – 89$ for the week. What we did – • Juneau – 50° - mixed rain and cloudy - we took the whale watch catamaran and Mendenhall Glacier package - about 5 hours. Saw 10 whales, some see lions and a few eagles – and then a bus ride to the glacier. Good guides throughout. I would recommend just doing the whales and skipping the glacier – not much of it left and you miss Juneau. Or if you can afford it – do the float plan tour of the glacier. Saw a little of Juneau at beginning and end of trip. • Sitka – 47° - Mixed rain and sun - we took the another catamaran and saw plenty of otters. Then a bus ride to a raptor sanctuary and bear sanctuary. Missed seeing Sitka. • Glacier Bay – 45-50° - Mostly sunny – This is why you do this cruise – Seeing whales and sea otters is fun, but this part of the trip makes the whole trip worth it. It consumes most of the day and the scenery is visible from many venues on deck, even from your staterooms. Really spectacular landscape and great narration by park rangers. We saw bears, mountain goats, eagles, a whale or two and many glaciers – even caught a double ‘calving’ at one. • Katchican – 42° heavy Rain and then sun - we took the another catamaran. Aside from a 45-minute tour of the beautiful Misty Fjords, most of this 4.5 hour trip is getting there and back. And you have zero time in Katchican, the best ‘town experience’ on this trip. If I did it again I would do the float plane tour of the fjords, otherwise skip it. • At sea to Vancouver – 50° sunny – we arrived at 6 so we never left the ship. Dining – • Lido – better than I remember – really good curries. • Main dining room – Ate there four times –always good - the gala night was the best menu. • Pinnacle – Beautiful space. The rib eye and NY strips were tough and either under or over cooked. The 7 oz filets were perfect, as where all the sides and the service was just great. • Rudi’s Seafood dinner night at the Pinnacle was well worth it – best meal of the trip - we had the dover sole on the frame (skillfully filleted in front of you). My wife had perfect rack of lamb. Big portions. Sides and desserts were really good. • Tamarind – had a really good experience there – We felt that the food and venue (and service) are underrated. I had excellent sashimi and the others had a combo of Asian appetizers and a filet. Great appetizers and sides as well. • Room service – didn’t have any – My sister in law loved it. Overall – I give this cruise B+ that with a few tweaks (regarding excursions) it would have been an A. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
I selected this for the land tour as we had never been to inland Alaska. Was what I had hoped for. Weather excellent for land, but some rain on cruise. Included Excursions , especially Denali bus and train to Anchorage were spectacular. ... Read More
I selected this for the land tour as we had never been to inland Alaska. Was what I had hoped for. Weather excellent for land, but some rain on cruise. Included Excursions , especially Denali bus and train to Anchorage were spectacular. The road in Denali is fast falling away, so may not be available for too long. Saw moose, bears, caribou, sheep. Accommodations were as expected, lodges fine, Anchorage hotel a little older and tired. Holland America’s logistics are excellent, including meeting our plane at 2:30 am. Luggage always where it was supposed to be. Check in was 5 minutes. Ship looks in excellent condition, and food excellent. A real upgrade since our last HAL cruise in 2014 when we found it stodgy. Entertainment good but could benefit from more choices like a piano bar or dance band in the pre dinner hour. Excursions, as always, over priced. Do at least one boat trip and one glacier. The Kenai Fjord was great with all the expected birds and animals. I left HAL after many of their cruises, feeling they were stuck in the past. After this successful trip, I will be back. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
My wife and I chose this last minute cruise since she had never seen Canada. We are frequent cruisers of the Caribbean and thought this might be a nice change. The ship is fairly small and the clientele for this cruise is definitely ... Read More
My wife and I chose this last minute cruise since she had never seen Canada. We are frequent cruisers of the Caribbean and thought this might be a nice change. The ship is fairly small and the clientele for this cruise is definitely older. The food was good on the cruise. The best part for us was all the food is actually served even on the buffet. Was nice to not have other guests touching serving spoons and kept things very fresh and appetizing. Had not seen this on most lines and was a nice feature. This cruise had ports every day so that kept daytime activities onboard minimal which was ok since we took cruise to see the sights. However in evening there was still little to do but eat, casino or drink. They did have ESPN on at one of bars to watch sports which was nice. Bars are actually minimal too so had to go out of way usually to find drinks. Very friendly staff but amenities from most ships are lacking here. So if onboard activities are your preference pick a different cruise. We chose to do our own activities in port so didn’t do the planned excursions. They also seemed very pricey for what they offered. There was a nice theater onboard with a couple nice movies that were shown. Also, the shows were decent though nothing special. The cabin was good size and had a tub. We had a window cabin and it was comfortable with lots of storage. Only one outlet on desk but will bring you a power strip. This is difficult though if you have lots of devices and also the desk is far from bed. The tv is also small and far from bed. They will give you dvds to watch but again hard to see in 13 inch screen that is the long way across the room. Overall happy with room though. The bad now. This is an older boat and it actually broke down in Quebec City so we couldn’t continue to our last port in Montreal. In talking to staff this wasn’t the first time it broke down either in the last year as they all knew the drill. This kept casino closed the last night and took away one of the few entertainment things on the ship. This also meant the decided to bus us to Quebec starting at 4 am for a 3 hour bus ride to the port. This was the only information given. When we got to bus it was an old yellow school bus! So no facilities in bus and no information prior to leaving the ship this would be the case. People had just eaten and now had to ride in a tight bus, no facilities and no air conditioning. They did stop about 2 hours into trip at rest area but by then people had resorted to using bottles etc. when we got to the port they had our luggage on a truck that was at port but not unloading. Instead they chose to spend an hour loading the next group on those buses to take them to Quebec City to board the boat. So we sat at the port an hour waiting for luggage with no Holland America rep present to explain where to go for luggage, timing, etc. For the inconvience e were given $50 ship credit on our account. Also, offered 15% off future cruise where details of discount were supposed to be on other side of letter but was blank. So really no offer at all there. I would have rated the cruise about a 3 had the end not happened or been handled better. However the lack of communication and really poor accommodation at the end made this a terrible cruise. Given age of boat and past problems I would tell anyone to avoid this ship at all costs. So sort of buyer beware situation. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We choose this cruise for the itinerary. It was leaving from Boston and we don't live to far away. Also we had heard great things about Holland America. We loved the first 5 days of the cruise but the last two were where Holland ... Read More
We choose this cruise for the itinerary. It was leaving from Boston and we don't live to far away. Also we had heard great things about Holland America. We loved the first 5 days of the cruise but the last two were where Holland America totally lost us. We loved the service, food and ship until the last two days. Two nights from the end of the cruise a pipe burst on our deck and 6 or 7 rooms not far from us were flooded. We heard others on another deck were also affected. They had to move the people on our deck at 4 am. They woke us up with all of the noises but at least we were dry. We had a fire alarm go off on one of the first nights of the cruise at 2 am and it ended up being a steam leak in the galley but alarms and speakers going off so wrecked up that night's sleep. The worst thing was that the ship started having propulsion problems before Quebec City which slowed us down so we were several hours late getting into that port. They worked on the problem while we were ashore and acted as if it was fixed but by dinner that night it was clear we were not going anywhere. They finally told us at 10pm we were not going to Montreal on the ship and were to be bused in the morning. When we showed up to disembark we were put into a yellow school bus for an estimated 3 hour ride which ended up being over 4 hours. No room for luggage or carryons. No room for knees. No room for senior citizens. When we got to the Montreal Port Terminal we had to wait for 40 minutes to unload because they were first loading up the next cruise guests for the next week and they had to get them to Quebec City. I was livid that they had the gall to make us wait in the parking lot (as we had already paid) so they could load up the new guests. We also found out that other guests got to be on nice air conditioned custom buses as they were waiting in the parking lot with us. We were supposed to disembark in Montreal at 8am. We didn't get to leave with our bags (had to wait on them as they came by u-haul truck as no room on a school bus) until 2pm. So pretty much whole day lost in touring Montreal due to riding on a bus and waiting at terminal and waiting on bags. Then we had to drag our bags several blocks aways from the terminal to get a ride as the taxi line was very long and not moving. But Holland America did give us a $50 pp credit for all of this situation so I guess in their minds they took care of us. Terrible communications on the issues. If they would have advised we were going to be stuck on a school bus I would have looked for a train, plane or automobile instead. Due t the issues on the boat, I also wonder whether this boat should be active right now. I'm no expert but it sounds like dry dock is where it should be. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We decided about 18 months ago to take a trip for our 15th anniversary and we went with close friends who were married the same year. We are 2 couples ranging in age from mid-40's to early 50's, We selected Holland America ... Read More
We decided about 18 months ago to take a trip for our 15th anniversary and we went with close friends who were married the same year. We are 2 couples ranging in age from mid-40's to early 50's, We selected Holland America because of their history cruising in Alaska.We also liked the idea of a smaller, quieter ship. While we are not seniors we tend to go to bed early and don't need the night life that some other ships provide. We booked 18 months in advance and selected an aft balcony and our friends chose a port-side signature suite. Just before final payment the prices dropped considerably so we contacted the travel agent. Because of the promo we booked under they wouldn't credit us with the difference but they offered to upgrade us to Neptune Suites which we happily accepted. We ended up on Deck 6 port side and our friends were on Deck 7 starboard. Embarkation - I had heard that embarkation can sometimes be long waits at Port of Vancouver. We arrived around 10:45 and we were on the ship by 11:20 with no wait at any point of the process. Very smooth. Cabin - we were in 6064 and our friends had 7051 and we were all happy with the accommodations. The room stewards were so friendly and attentive. Our friends were directly across from the Neptune Lounge and we were one floor below which I honestly didn't mind. Neptune Lounge - the concierges Carina and Kristine were both lovely, welcoming and helpful. We didn't really use their services much except to cancel a pre-paid dinner and make one dining reservation but they were always happy to answer questions. Having access to tea/coffee and snacks was a nice bonus. I would often wander up there early in the morning to grab a tea and a croissant to bring back to the room. Lido - We went to the Lido for only 3 meals the entire cruise, mainly because it was like feeding time at the zoo! I found it chaotic, crowded and only mediocre food. Don't get me wrong, no one was going to starve and the food wasn't bad, just not good enough to make up for the atmosphere. Main Dining Room - Despite booking super early we had open dining. While we liked the flexibility of the Open dining I think it also affected the service in the dining room. We only ate dinner there 3 times and while the experience got better each time it was still not up to the level of past cruise dining experiences. I found the main dining room crowded, noisy and rushed. I felt like our waiters made no effort to connect with us, nor did their service elevate the meal in any way. Tamarind - FANTASTIC!!! We loved the food and service here so we ended up going twice. The servers were so welcoming and they memorized your names. When you saw them later in the cruise in a different location they remembered your names. So personal and lovely. Food was delicious. They even brought me a special cake for my birthday. Pinnacle - As Neptune suite guests we had access to the Pinnacle for breakfast and I have to say that was the best suite perk that we had. Breakfast choices provided a lot of variety and it was delicious. Staff in the Pinnacle were so welcoming and always remembered your requests from the day before. We also had one lunch and one dinner in the Pinnacle and they were both delicious. Excursions - We booked two different excursions through Holland America and we were happy with both. In Skagway we did the White Pass Rail to the Yukon which was a full day tour, including lunch. In Ketchikan we did the Wilderness Explorer Cruise and all-you-can-eat crab feast. Both excursions were well done. In Juneau we opted to rent a car and explore on our own. Entertainment - We visited Billboard one night. The female piano player had a beautiful voice but the man was not great. Mid-week we discovered BB Kings and we wish we had made the effort to check it out sooner because it was great. They do 3 sets every night and the place was packed! We didn't do any of the EXC talks in the main theatre as that's not our thing. We did watch the comedian Jim Short and the illusionist Leon Etienne. Both were great. They also did a variety show on the last night with both of them. We had planned to see the dancers one night but they were cancelled for their safety due to high waves and rocking ship. Disembarkation - We were in the first disembarkation group which was announced at about 7:45 am but since we didn't have a flight to catch until later in the day we had a leisurely breakfast before getting off the ship at about 8:30. From the time we scanned off the ship to when we were outside the terminal was less than 12 minutes. Super fast and efficient. Overall Impression - We found that the things people paid to upgrade (Neptune Suite, specialty dining, etc) were fantastic and provided the experience and level of service we expected of the cruise as a whole. Those things which were included (Lido, Main Dining Room, etc) were not up to par with what we were expecting. We didn't have a bad experience but our experience in the upgraded areas certainly made the cruise that much better. It's just unfortunate that we had to pay for the level of service that has been included on past cruises with other companies. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
So we picked this cruise for the ports here are the highs & lows. Pros - -Beautiful ship and comfortable rooms - high quality food - wait & room staff excellent - quick boarding - happy hour 4-6 drink specials ... Read More
So we picked this cruise for the ports here are the highs & lows. Pros - -Beautiful ship and comfortable rooms - high quality food - wait & room staff excellent - quick boarding - happy hour 4-6 drink specials Cons - - slow dining room service , I think they had zero asst waiters so the head waiters are clearing tables - maitre ds gave us terrible tables most nights , didn’t care - slow waiter service on aft swim deck . Took forever to get a cocktail. - music offerings are limited & repeated - cruise director was invisible - customer service desk mgr was rude to one of the people in our group/ lost bag situation for seven days . Promises made promises broken. - age group on board is older which meant the piped in music on the swim deck was turned down to accommodate older clientele. - no live music on deck for sea days or sail aways - chateau st Michelle wine blending venue is completely unused , they only sell $55 bottles. No one at the wine bar the entire cruise. Holland should sell blended glasses for $8-$9 Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Wanted to see Greece. It was a fair Itinerary although I could've done without Salerno and 2 days in Athens. Basically, the staff is great. Verandah rooms have hairdryers and magnifying mirror. Beds are comfy. A few more ... Read More
Wanted to see Greece. It was a fair Itinerary although I could've done without Salerno and 2 days in Athens. Basically, the staff is great. Verandah rooms have hairdryers and magnifying mirror. Beds are comfy. A few more things like free water, and free wifi would be a great plus. Be aware of the wifi onboard.You must have the whatsup app and maybe another app or it won't work. From what I could see even with all the tools people were still having a lot of trouble connecting. For Spa services they add another $23 for tips. Keep a tab on your bill. They add a dollar here a dollar there. Food is good. The lido grill is just fine. Don't pay attention to grouchy comments. You get a ton of choices all cooked to perfection. Beef Wellington, Whole Roasted Pig, Salmon, lots of salads, delicious oriental choices cooked in Woks right in front of you Yummy deserts. Breakfasts everything you could ask for. Specialty dining is all very good. Said it before but will mention it again the Staff is amazing. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Our 37th cruise but our first trip to Alaska. How could it have been better? Uber dropped us off at the front door at 12:15, in our cabin at 12:35. Holland really knows how to get you on and off the ship. The ship was a little smaller ... Read More
Our 37th cruise but our first trip to Alaska. How could it have been better? Uber dropped us off at the front door at 12:15, in our cabin at 12:35. Holland really knows how to get you on and off the ship. The ship was a little smaller than our last HAL cruise on the Koningsdam. Our room was so big that we could not see the TV to pick movies, had to use binoculars. We like to sit outside a lot but did not on this cruise, the back of the ship on the starboard side allows smoking so we did not sit out there much. I do love the fact that this is our first cruise where they did not allow smoking in the Casino. Spent much more time there. We asked for late seating at a large table. We went to our assigned table the first night and we dined alone so the next night we asked to be changed to the dine anytime and that worked out perfect and we met a lot of really nice people because we asked to be seated with someone each night. Only 1 night (gala) was there a 5 minute wait in the lounge. Food was good, service was spectacular. We had most breakfasts in Lido which was great, had an Omelette almost every morning and the longest wait was 10 minutes because there were 3 people in front of me. They had 2 omelette stations and 2 servers making omelettes at each. We had room service at least 3 mornings and it was on time, hot and very good. We spent a lot of time in the Crows Nest and listened to Morgan the onboard naturalist speak and that was really nice. We went to several of her outdoor morning briefings. Wife attended the Test Kitchen presentations and she enjoyed them all. We visited the Billboard Onboard or BB King every night, great entertainment. We attended all of the shows. I believe we witnessed the funniest comedian ever (John Wang), this guy was hilarious and it was a clean act. Enjoyed the talk with the captain in the main stage. The ship had a medical emergency during the day and a Coast Guard Helo had to take someone off the ship and we turned around for an hour to give the Helo more time over the ship. Captain said this happens about 2x per year and a lot goes into planning and making this work safely. The ship was in great shape and the staff of Holland is by far the best that we have ever witnessed. They are the friendliest crew at sea. I read reviews from our same week that said there is not enough entertainment and the shows were not good even though they did not attend any shows. Huh??? These are not Vegas productions but small scale shows on a moving ship so....... We now like Holland because there are NOT hairy chest contests and drinking contests onboard. Holland is a little older crowd but that is good, I did not hear or see any over served guests, nobody running up and down the halls at 4:00 am Someone complained there was no big central atrium on the ship. I believe it was designed this way. Maybe they would be happier on the mega party ships. I read where someone complained that you did not get a tray in Lido so it was slower. Yes, and that is a good thing, the servers give you your food after you tell them what you want. I love this, have you watched people getting food on other cruise lines and can you imagine that 1/2 or more do not wash their hands? We were on a Holland 21 day Europe last year and we signed up for 17 night Hawaii next year and we are looking forward to the great experience. I do expect to do Alaska again but might try Vancouver next time to see different ports. Seattle was easy, flew in a day early, Uber to the dock which was just at the edge of the city. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Truly enjoyed seeing the Fjords of Norway and starting/ending at Amsterdam. I needed time connecting with nature and this cruise provided many opportunities to do that. 95% of staff was awesome, and I think that is all one can reasonably ... Read More
Truly enjoyed seeing the Fjords of Norway and starting/ending at Amsterdam. I needed time connecting with nature and this cruise provided many opportunities to do that. 95% of staff was awesome, and I think that is all one can reasonably ask because there is no such thing as perfection. Beautuful ship; love the art theme. Musical and dance entertainment was outstanding. I am in awe of the Lincoln Center stage performers and the amazing creativity of the dance performances. Many fun nights dancing ourselves at BB King venue and what talent in the dual piano bar, being able to play such a huge repertoire upon request, no time to practice ahead. We fell in love with the Dutch Cafe and their amazing hard working staff and yummy food offerings. Nearly all the food we had was wonderful. Most service in the dining room was great, but when one chooses open seating over a set time, as we did for this cruise, its never going to be as good as when you have the same waiters every night and develop a relationship with them, so I attribute the couple nights it wasn't great to that. My only complaint about food is the gigantic trays used for room service. They will barely fit through the door and are heavy and take up massive space in an already cramped cabin. They need to have two sizes. The big ones for multiple meals and half size for small orders. I felt sorry for the room service staff, and us, when we had to manever them. We did not use the Holland America shore excursions due to their price so my average rating on that is just because there is no "not applicable" button. Was disappointed that nearly all the guided excercise activities cost extra. Never have experienced that before on the cruises I have done with Celebrity, Carnival & Royal Carribean. I will do pilates because its good for me, but I'm not paying $20 to put myself through that misery. :) No worries; I got my excercise hiking in the Norwegian countryside and dancing to the BB King All Stars. So all in all a great cruise and Holland America did a nice job. If I'm ever traveling with two or three friends again, I will choose a different cruise line if at all possible due to their cabin design. However if I had been sharing a room with just one other person I would have given this cruise five stars! Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We chose this cruise for the Norwegian Fjord itinerary. We chose the cruise line and ship due to the fact that the ship was essentially brand new (launched December '18) and we were interested in the culinary arts offering through the ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the Norwegian Fjord itinerary. We chose the cruise line and ship due to the fact that the ship was essentially brand new (launched December '18) and we were interested in the culinary arts offering through the advertised America's Test Kitchen. Several weeks prior to embarkation we received an email listing some of the possible demonstrations that we would see in the culinary theater. However, we found out on board that the culinary program was not being offered and no one had an explanation regarding why this was. We spent a few days in Amsterdam prior to the cruise. During this time we received a gift from a friend in the Netherlands that included a bottle of alcohol. Knowing that we were not permitted to bring this on board we checked it in with security at the terminal during embarkation and were told it would be delivered to our stateroom on the final night. When it did not arrive and when our steward couldn't locate it we contacted guest services. They assumed it was at the terminal and told us if they located it when the ship docked they would bring it on board and we could claim it at guest services. If it was not found we were told we would receive compensation (we don't know how we could be compensated for a gift). On the morning of disembarkation we went to guest services and were met by a very cranky individual who assured us that the item was found and would be waiting for us at a desk at the end of the gangway after we left the ship; she couldn't explain why it wasn't brought on board as promised. The item was not at the desk, the individual manning the desk knew nothing about this and her attempts to reach her supervisor on board via radio were unsuccessful. We nearly missed our transfer to the airport while waiting for her to reach someone. During the entire process we felt as if we were getting the runaround and that no one wanted to assume responsibility for dealing with this. We easily could have accepted the fact that this item was lost if we were told as such. More troubling is that we contacted guest relations via email and also mentioned this in the on-line survey (which arrived in our email one hour after disembarkation) and after a week we have not received any response. This experience alone is enough to convince us to spend our travel dollars with a different cruise line in the future. Another issue that surprised us was the wine package. We purchased a 6 bottle package shortly after boarding. Each night, except for the last, we were met with confusion when we tried to order a bottle. Compared to other cruises that we have taken there seemed to be a paucity of things to do on board during the at sea days; we had expected to participate in the Test Kitchen events which never happened. The ship itself is beautiful, the art on board was impressive and for the most part the meals in the dining room were good. The food at the Lido Market, however, was always cold unless we had something made fresh which was always available. The Grill was excellent but had a 39$ upcharge, the food at Tamarind was mediocre. The musicians at the various venues were all excellent and much more entertaining than the performances in the theater; we only wished their sets were longer than 45 minutes at a time. The ports were all great to visit and as with any other cruise we would have liked to spend more time there. The terrible service review only applies to the customer service. The wait staff, the bar staff, the deck staff and our cabin steward were all excellent. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We flown in the day before and spent the night in Boston. The embarkation was rather smooth as we didn’t rush with the masses to get to the pier. We were offered an upgrade to the Neptune Suites and we jumped on it as apparently some ... Read More
We flown in the day before and spent the night in Boston. The embarkation was rather smooth as we didn’t rush with the masses to get to the pier. We were offered an upgrade to the Neptune Suites and we jumped on it as apparently some travelers canceled due to hurricane Dorian. We figured that the storm would have been ahead of our travels so there shouldn’t have been any excursion disruptions. Upon settling into our cabin and waiting for our luggage to arrive, we stepped into the Neptune Lounge to find snacks waiting for us. The fruit tarts are delish and look for them each day. After attending muster, we were informed the Captain decided to delay our departure from Boston an hour to give the storm a chance to go further north. Our main dining room experience was fine, we sat with 2 other couples. Going forward, we decided to get a table for two for the remainder of the cruise. Bar Harbor Sept. 8th We ate breakfast at the Pinnacle Grill as that is exclusive perk for Neptune Suite guests. Very good service and food is perfect. After arriving ashore via tender, we looked around for signs and possibly someone to tell us where the Lulu lobster boat ride is located but no one seemed to know. After waiting for 5 minutes, someone did show up and lead us to the area where the boat is tied up. We waited until the designated time and boarded. We opted for forward seats with unobstructed view of where the lobster traps were to be hauled up. The female guide was very knowledgeable about the lobster industry and about lobsters. We learned quite a bit, now we know a female has sweeter tail meat, while the male have bigger claw meat. We got dressed for formal night as we are scheduled to do the Cruise Critic meet & greet. We received acknowledgements from about 18 folks but in the end, only 6 showed up. Very disappointing but we had good conversation nonetheless. Beverages and cookies were provided so at least it was not a total disaster. Formal night was good as the dining room has special meals to select from. Of course the photographer was making his round be we forgo the photos as we weren’t going to purchase any of the photos. Halifax, Nova Scotia Sept 9th After getting off the ship, we boarded the Horse Trolley ride through the city. We did see debris from Dorian, uprooted trees, and even a crane that fell from top of a building. Overall, nice ride through the city but the seats were not that comfortable. After returning to the pier, we stopped in to one of the shops to try out the so called famous “Lobster” roll. We opted to just by the mini one to split. It was ok, nothing to write home about. We went back to our same table for two for dinner now that the maître d knows us. Sydney, Nova Scotia Sept 10th After arriving by tender, we were ushered into a small room with tables and a small stage in the front for Spirits of the Fiddle. There were drinks and biscuits which were ok, hard and tasteless. The music was ok and they had a clog dancer for one of the songs. After getting back to the ship, we decided to see what is up at the lido deck. After looking around, we decided on getting a made to order pizza. After waiting for about 30 minutes, the buzzer rang to tell us it was ready. It was nice and hot. Thin crust just like the way we liked it, very tasty. DH got his shirt stained so we decided to get the laundry done. The laundry is complimentary with the Neptune Suites so we were able to get our clothes washed as often as we liked. We went to the dining room and to my surprise the waiter gave me organami elephant. So I took the elephant to try our luck at the casino with blackjack. As it turned out, not so lucky, lost $200. Charlottetown, PEI Sept 11th The rain finally caught up with us so after getting off the tender, we walked into a chaotic building wondering where we needed to go. After a bit of looking we finally found the kiosk where the gal took our tickets. We waited until a guy showed up and took us out to the Chinese Junk boat. We walked quite a bit but after we got settled in, all twelve of us, we traveled out into the bay. It is a family operation as the wife and daughter came from mainland China. He is Caucasian and told us how he got the boat. The wife served snacks and tea to everyone. The daughter did dancing and singing in Chinese. We did try to head out to the lighthouse but the water was getting choppy and the older travelers were starting to look a bit green so we headed back to the pier. We went to the dining room and found an organami dog this time. Cruising the St. Lawrence River Sept 12th Tried the casino again and didn’t have any better luck so switched to slots. At least didn’t lose as much. Dressed for our Pinnacle Grill Dinner and we ate so much but the filet mignon was cooked to perfection. Quebec City Sept 13th After leaving the ship, we waited for our winery and Ste Anne falls tour. We drove outside the city and stopped at the winery. The guide provided us with wine samples which were all pretty good. We then drove to the Ste Anne falls. We decided to take the golf cart instead of walking the trail as DH knees would not be able to handle it. We took pictures and video from two vantage points but we opted out of trying out the zip lining. Our last meal at the dining room and the waiting gave me an organami butterfly. Montreal Sept 14th Our last breakfast at the Pinnacle Grill. We lounged in our cabin since there was no hurry as we couldn’t check into our hotel room in Montreal until noon. We disembarked with a slew of other passengers and into cab for Hotel Zero 1. We left our luggage with the reception desk person and headed into Chinatown across the street. We walked to find the dim sum restaurant and after many attempts, found it on the second floor inside a mini mall. The restaurant did not have dim sum carts but rather a list for us to order. The food was so so, as the ones back home is better in our opinion. We returned to the hotel and found out our room was ready. The room as nice, although the couch could have been better. We rested up and then we made our way out for dinner. Again the food was so so. We went to the bakery and picked up breakfast items for the morning. Montreal Sept 15th We ate breakfast and received text message our tour guide is waiting downstairs. Ruby is our guide for Montreal. We traveled through the city stopping in a meat restaurant to sample their brisket. Very tasty. Then stopped in the fresh bagel shop and picked up out of the oven bagels. Also very good. Then off to the fresh market, we walked around to see all kinds of fresh fruit and vegetables. Amazing sight, we sampled sweet corn and it was so good. Stopped into a wine and cheese store. We sampled the meat and cheeses along with apple cider wine. After being dropped back at the hotel, we later went for Pho and bought some souvenirs. Next day our early transport to the airport and flight home. Overall, pleasant vacation, ship staff is nice and cabin roomy. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
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