What is Holland America doing?: Rotterdam Cruise Review by michaelhoutex

Rotterdam 3
Member Since 2009

Overall Member Rating

What is Holland America doing?

Sail Date: April 2014
Destination: Mediterranean
Embarkation: Athens (Piraeus)
I have taken more cruises with Holland America than with any other cruise line. In fact, my first cruise was with Holland America, and I have wonderful memories of it, even though our ship (Ryndam) broke down less than forty five minutes after setting sail.

My concerns are with the decisions that are being made at the corporate level. Holland America's leadership seems to be on a self-destruct mission in many ways, and I will explain why I think this is so.

The Rotterdam is a ship I had long wanted to experience. The crew, in almost every single case, did a wonderful job. I was amazed, as always, at how well the cabin stewards and waitstaff perform their duties, especially given what Holland America demands of them. The Rotterdam itself, however, looked rather seedy and frayed around the edges, though I have no doubt that it was incredibly clean. I noticed long ago that Holland America's management seems to let their ships fall into rather sorry states of repair. More This is beyond me, as I have no idea why they seem to think that this does not matter.

I'm happy to say that the food onboard is still quite good, and the selections offered provide plenty of variety. Perhaps the folks in Seatlle are smart enough not to undermine the food service. However, I do want to comment about the wine list, which I found to be rather shocking. I have never seen so many inexpensive wines marked up so much! There was a Pinot Noir listed that I can buy for $7.99 any day of the week, and they were selling it for over $40! Some of the Australian passengers also commented on the ridiculous prices very modest Australian wines were being sold for. I think the wine list should be totally rethought. The wines listed are, for the most part, quite good, but offer them at fair prices, and don't take advantage of being the "only show in town."

The entertainment onboard, or rather the lack of good entertainment, really upset me. There has always been a jazz trio in the Ocean Bar, but it has been replaced with an act I won't even try to describe. Suffice it to say that my bar bill on this cruise was next to nothing, as there was no place I felt I could go for drinks before or after dinner. I used to love listenting to the jazz trio, and am baffled as to why Holland America chose to rid of the best entertainment on the ship.

I think Holland America needs to rethink what it offers with its shore excursions. The prices keep getting higher and higher, and yet less and less is offered. The excursions often end up being more frustrating than anything else. In many cases, passengers may be visiting a place for the only time in their lives, only to be told that they have fifteen minutes to "explore." Holland America should either lower the prices, or offer far more value. By the way, I was told by a fellow passenger that the shore excursion staff is basically forbidden to give passengers any helpful information about the ports visited, and is only allowed to push their own substandard excursions. Based on some of the other things I experienced, I would say that this might well be true.

There are so many things about Holland America that I do like, but I may have already gone on my last cruise with the company. Less

Published 05/25/14

Cabin review: 2633

The room was comfortable, with excellent storage.

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