I will start with the bottom line, one of the more expensive vacations we have taken, Holland America provided the least value of any cruise line or vacation package we have ever purchased. I fell for the pitch Holland America has been doing Alaska package the longest in the Alaska area and were the best. They cannot stand up to Royal Caribbean or Disney Cruise Lines. We take 2 vacations a year and usually I plan each one a year in advance to ensure we can participate in the activities we are interested in. Biggest mistake, I left the planning to Holland America. One week on land, one week on the water. We travel as a family of 4, 2 teenage boys included. Won't bore you with a novel, just bullet statements to share the comedy of errors Holland America laid on us.
- When arranging rooms at hotels for land package, we were separated as a family by being assigned rooms apart from each other. I booked this vacation months in advance, you think they could get a clue and notice the same last name on the reservations?
-rooms had no AC. I understand we were in Alaska, but the rooms were stuffy. We were told to open the windows. One hotel, The Chalet in Delani was set up in separate building. We were in the last building in the "loop" therefore the shuttles were always filled. We had to run to make our excursion. No ironing board or iron in the room. Overall, hotel selection was average at best throughout the trip. Exception- The Alyeska Hotel and Resort, very nice.
-bus driver "William" did not know how to operate the lift to assist an ADA individual, wasting close to an hour to figure it out. Then instead of allowing all to board the bus or get off the bus, William made everyone wait until he was able to service the ADA individual. Because of this, we were last in line for all activities, again, not allowing us to enjoy the activity as a family. We could not get seats together. The whole trip, Holland America drivers seemed to be last in line. Our family is up and out early to avoid these types of situations.
-from transfer to transfer, new baggage tags had to be filled out with detailed information in
order to get your bags to the next stop. Come on Holland America, it is 2014, pre-printed labels would be nice. A number of items in the baggage were damage during transit, worse than the airlines if you can believe it.
-the stateroom my wife and I had on the cruise ship had defective or broken throughout. Reported immediately and none were ever resolved. Stateroom attendants were great, as usual. Rooms were smaller than any other ship we have been on, but yet were the most expensive. We had a verandah room, curtains were torn therefore you could not keep the light out (Alaska had 22 hours of light during the day while there).
-attitude of staff on board the ship, the worst we ever experienced. they seemed angry they were working there. outside of the stateroom attendants, we found 2 bartenders that had a great attitude and were fun to be around.
-food, average at best, if you get any. We are average size people who do not gorge ourselves at meals. Half way through the serving period, the servers would run out of many selections and just shut it down. I have never seen anything like it on a ship before. This included coffee! When ordering a soft drink with our meals, we never received the drink until we were completely finished with our meals. Service was terrible throughout. Servers were very slow.
-ship was replacing carpet while cruising. Give me break, they only have 3-4 months to travel in this part of the country, have the ship ready. Many other flaws in other areas, ship not up kept properly.
-captain never shut up. once on the speaker, he loved to hear himself talk.
-laundry service, one day folded everything in a basket, the next time everything thrown in the basket leaving it totally wrinkled with no iron to press.
-purchased a DVD package (3 DVD's for $65) of "our" cruise. Not quite sure what cruise we got, but wasn't ours. Just some clips of the different stops from a different time.
-we had 4 hours to catch our flight after receiving our time to get off the ship. Due to the poor transfer system Holland America practices, we barely made out flight. Terrible system. Slow and unorganized.
-I could go on and on. Terrible experience. When you spend a good amount of money on a vacation, you expect a bit more. Surprised people travel Holland America, they have not experienced other cruise lines that do a much better job. Extremely sorry I allowed them to coordinate the land package. Many other cruise lines in Alaska, I would try any of them in place of Holland. By the way, I completed their survey, they got back to me and told me if I wanted to discuss the concerns further, call them. That should tell you something. They should have made that call. Alaska is beautiful, go see it, just do not do it with Holland America at the helm, you will be sorry.
Small rooms compared to other cruise ships, many defects reported, none repaired or addressed. Torn curtains, magnifying mirror at desk did not work, cabinet in bathroom had broken cross bars therefore would not hold anything back, remote did not work, laundry service a joke. Stateroom attendants were excellent though.