We have sailed on Holland America many times but this was the most disappointing. Firstly the same cruise a year ago was the same price and was 29 days with 7 more port stops which was excellent. Secondly it appears to us as guests that Holland America is trying to cut costs by reducing the number of staff in the dining room and Lido. We mostly had to wait for a table in the dining room and then when seated the table still was not ready for us. The dining room and Lido staff were fabulous and the food sensational but it took a long time to be served. Another area where staffing seems to be affected was in the number of activities offered each day. This was particularly disappointing where we had 15 sea days.
Holland America needs to provide a service to guests wanting to do their own activity planning and organising.
The entertainment was as usual excellent.
The cabin was very light and had plenty of storage but the actual area of the sleeping part of the cabin was smaller than on previous Holland America sailings and very cramped.
Cabin staff were excellent.
We rented a vehicle and drove around the island it was most enjoyable except for the 2 kilometre walk to the rental company. They drove us back to the ship after the day's rental
Unfortunately Port Villa had a cyclone a couple of months prior to our arrival but the locals were still very welcoming and the devastation incurred very obvious.
The boat taxi from the ship to the main area was fabulous and a great way to get into and out of town when not taking a ship's tour. The operator takes $AUS or $US but much cheaper if you use $AUS.
We once again rented a car and drove part of the island visiting most of the sites covered by the ship's tours including the waterfall, the seaside villages.
This time the rental company was much closer to the shipping terminal but we caught a taxi to the rental company and they drove us back to the ship after our day's rental.
We snorkelled at a lovely beach although there was a lot of coral. We took the local bus the full route. WiFi is available at the local library about a 10 minute walk from the ship but it does cost but much cheaper than the WiFi provided portside.
We rented a car and drove to the canyon and beyond which was extremely pleasant. We then drove to the blowhole and a beach for a swim then onto the waterfall. In all a great day.
We rented a car but had to go to the airport to pick it up. If the Ship's company could organise with rental companies to pick up and drop off at the ship for the time we were in port would have made this a much better experience.
We went to Bishop Museum - well worth it. Also swam at Waikiki beach - fabulous and explored Diamond Head. Shopped at Alamoama which was very interesting as far as shopping centre's go.