Amsterdam Cruise Review by wingsrcl
- Sail Date: September 2007
- Destination: Alaska
Embarkation in Seattle: Very organized, fast and efficient. Plenty of porters to take your luggage. Check-in was a breeze and in no time we were onboard the ship. Lunch buffet served in the Lido Buffet while the cabins were being cleaned.
Cabin: We were in a verandah suite on deck 6. The cabin size was very good. The large couch and sitting area made a difference. The size of our verandah was also very good. That's where the positive stops. The cabin was filthy dirty. Piles of dust behind the flat screen tv, dust on the couch, a beat up refrigerator ( I mean you could have dropped it from the side of the ship and let it spend a month at sea and bring it back on board, that's what it looked like). Rust and scratches. Bathtub had rust lines that leaked down the wall every time we took a shower. I was absolutely shocked. I had heard all the wonderful things about Holland America Line and found this to be outrageous. I'm wondering if this is what they mean by "Signature of Excellence". Cabin was not made until 2 or 3 p.m.
Ship: The Amsterdam looks like a floating retirement home. The carpets are worn out and dirty, the decor is drab and old. I have never seen such a fashion emergency on a cruise ship as on this one. It's in desperate need of time in dry-dock and a good update of it's fabrics,carpets, curtains and soft goods. Chairs in the lounges are beat up. Windows are dirty. Power lines are taped to the floor. Refrigerator cord goes over the edge of the vanity before being plugged to the wall.
Service: The crew tries very hard. They are personable and friendly, but that's where it all ends. The service is confused and lacks focus. The ship is understaffed. There aren't enough bar waiters, cabin stewards and staff to make this work. This ship is in desperate need of a good Hotel Manager.
Food: Someone here made the right statement about the food onboard: "It sounds good, It looks good, and it tastes of nothing". Horrific food in the dining room. Food is always served lukewarm. The only meal I had the entire week served at the proper temperature was the escargot. Even the famed Pinnacle Grill left lots to be desired. They had an iron, I kid you not, plugged and sitting on the top of the main vanity in the Pinnacle Grill dining room, which they use to take the creases off the tablecloths in view of all guests! Plates were picked up before all guests in the table finished each course. We asked to start with choice A just to have choice B brought to our table. This happened over and over, at different tables in the dining room and during our evening in the Pinnacle Grill. Food in the Lido Buffet is actually good. The Asian choices are particularly good. Room service is also very good.
Front Desk and Shore Excursion Office Staff: FANTASTIC! These are well trained and efficient employees who really make a difference on board.
Entertainment: The production show I attended was very good. The dancers and singers were actually very capable, it has been a long time since I have felt a show on a cruise ship didn't feel like a high school production, and on this Holland America exceeds.
Ports of Call: All Alaska ports of call were wonderful and disembarkation and optional tours worked out great at each port. I am particularly fond of the optional tour in Ketchikan where you take one of the fishing boats which took place in the Discovery Channel's "Deadliest Catch" show. We went out with the Aleutian Ballad for four hours on what I call the highlight of our trip to Alaska. The crew is fantastic, the ship, which was converted to a tour boat is impeccable, and the experience is as authentic and original as one can come to in Alaska. We spent four hours with the wonderful crew learning and seeing first hand how crab fishing is done in Alaska. This is a brand new tour. I can't thank them enough for the great job they did.
Disembarkation: Amazing! very organized and fast. We didn't have to stand in line for Customs or Immigration. We handed in our customs forms to a Holland America employee and we got on a taxi within 15 minutes.
Overall: I'm afraid to say this was not a positive experience with Holland America Line. I have no doubt they have the knowledge, the employees, and the resources, but for some odd reason this rates as one of the worst cruises I have ever taken. I would like to see them live up to their slogan of "Signature of Excellence". I hear great things about other Holland America ships, but I must tell you the MS Amsterdam which is only 7 years old, looks like a 50 year old ship.
What they do well: The Lido Buffet, the beautiful place settings in the dining rooms and the Pinnacle Grill, the fresh orange juice machines, the linens and silverware in the buffet, the fresh towels in the public bathrooms, the quality of the bedding in the cabin, including nice linens and pillows, the fresh pastries and breads which are amazing, the quality of the Asian choices in the buffet, the outdoor decks and nice chairs in the promenade deck, the nice outdoor pool, the large bathroom in the cabin.
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