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Ryndam Review Norwegian Fjords 18/07/15 to 25/07/15 We've cruised numerous lines including Cunard, Princess, NCL, P&O and Celebrity so I thought I would share our thoughts on our first ever HAL experience. Embarkation We picked this cruise for one crucial reason only! Ryndam was departing from Harwich, UK which is an approx. 10 minute drive from home. Now we've only ever left from Southampton so this was a massive bonus. Left home at 1120hrs and was checked in and on board by 1215hrs. Amazing start to our cruise. Everything went very smoothly at the terminal and no traffic unlike our usual drive into Southampton. Seems a real shame that the 2016 cruise season from Harwich as been very much cut back with no HAL, Celebrity or Royal Caribbean. Somebody please come back soon. Ryndam Now whilst we have not cruised with HAL before we did have the opportunity of a ship visit to Ryndam last year in Dover and knew exactly what we would be getting. I would best describe her as a well preserved charming old lady. Ryndam is now 20 years old and is being passed onto P&O Australia in October 2015. Significant parts of the ship have been upgraded but in other areas such as the lifts and hallways she is showing her age. Despite that she is generally very well preserved and other than some soft furnishings in Explorers which have seen better days the crew were continually carrying out maintenance. This is not a ship that has a particular 'wow' factor. No massive atrium, no waverider and no dodgems but what she has is plenty of small ship charm. Nothing is to far from any where else. A trip back to the cabin is not a two day hike and she is very easy to navigate. At 55,000 tonnes she is the smallest ship we have cruised on but certainly there is something to be said for the smaller ship experience and one that I would not hesitate to use again. If given the choice I would likely choose a Celebrity 'Solstice' class ship but for a 7 day trip to the fjords Ryndam was a perfect size and we were able to access places that i not previously visited such as Eidfjord. Cabin We picked up an outside GTY for the price of an inside and only discovered our exact cabin about 3 days before the cruise. An email pinged up and I discovered we had been allocated 569 on deck 5. Good location mid ships and not to far from the forward lift. This would be considered an upgrade on our GTY ‘H’ grade. Extremely impressed with the cabin which felt huge compared to similar cabins on other lines. Mini tub and powerful shower was to be found in the generous bathroom. It was lovely to have a decent size sofa and with the large picture window we enjoyed several cabin breakfasts which we would not normally do. Other than a ‘Aqua Class’ that we experienced on Eclipse this was probably the most spacious and stylish cabin we have experienced. She may be long in the tooth but Ryndam definitely scores on the cabin front. Our Steward was fantastic and the cabin was refreshed and made up with minimal disruption. Food As part of our booking deal we received a meal in Cannaletto which is the Italian speciality onboard restaurant and another meal in the Pinnacle Grill. These were to be allocated upon boarding. I also treated us to a meal in Le Cirque mid cruise which was my birthday. This was paid for prior to boarding at $49 dollars each. The rest of the time we were to use the MDR. We always avoid the buffet simply because I dislike the scrum and it helps avoid ant dreaded bugs. Our first meal on board was a burger at ‘Dine In’ the burger bar situated on the Lido deck. All food taken to order and you are paged when it is ready. Simply the best burger I have ever experienced on board a cruise ship! Chips were equally delicious and you are also able to enjoy hotdogs and the adjacent taco bar. Fantastic. The first night we enjoyed our free Canaletto meal which is created from the buffet area. Lovely meal for what would be normally $10 dollar cover charge. Probably our least enjoyable meal onboard but only because the menu was not totally to my taste but everything was beautifully cooked and presented. Other than breakfast in Cabin, we always use MDR for breakfast and the omelette did not disappoint. I just much prefer to be served and we chatted with several fellow quests when sharing a table. MDR was used for 4 evening meals and I was extremely impressed with the food quality. The bakery department did a superb job with the rolls and all our food was very tasty and hot. We had anytime dining and varied eating times from 1900hrs to as late as 2100hrs. Waiters all very polite and nothing was to much trouble. I can happily say this was some of the best MDR dining food I have ever experienced on this out 9th cruise. I had read some poor Ryndam food reviews but have nothing but praise for all the food we sampled onboard. Simply delicious. Le Cirque was an amazing experience where I sampled a Caesar Salad Cirque style and Chateaubriand steak cooked to perfection. Best kept secret onboard is a Pinnacle Grill lunch at only $10 dollars. The crab cakes with Orange rice were amazing! My favourite meal was probably our evening in the Pinnacle Grill where we both enjoyed the Lamb Chops. I starved myself all day as was feeling rather full and so was really ready to enjoy dinner when it came. I especially enjoyed the soup and Fries with garlic mayo. Desert was rather fabulous as well. I really can’t praise the food high enough. I had a sneaky hope that it would be rather fabulous and if anything was to draw me back to HAL again it would be the food. This is really the most important part of the cruise experience for me and it was amazing. All on board bar service was very good and the only real complaint I have about anything food or beverage related was the quality of coffee in Explores which is the onboard speciality coffee venue. Disgusting is one way to describe it. Expresso from an automatic machine and served in paper cup. Had better from a Motorway Service Station! No waiter service. I tried several times to get to the bottom of the coffee nightmare but other than other staff agreeing it was not good including fellow passengers we gave up. MDR coffee seemed to be fresh brewed and just about saved the day. Les and I are really non drinkers and always enjoy the onboard Speciality Coffee. Les was left very disappointed . Thankfully the superb quality of food just about made up for the coffee. I just don’t understand how a line as polished as HAL could get this so wrong. I have covered this on the customer survey and also emailed. Hopefully some answers may be forthcoming? Spa We loved the little spa and brought a week long pass for the Thermal Spa as well as enjoying several treatments. I was smothered in seaweed, dunked in a vat of hot water and massaged within an inch of my life. Felt very relaxed after. Many hours was spent relaxing on the ceramic hot chairs and the mineral bath. Our pass meant we could come and go as we pleased and at $149 per couple I felt was good value for money. Pools Two pools can be found onboard. The Lido pool is for families and can be covered. The adult only is rather lovely and can be found at the stern on deck ten. With were heated and I enjoyed both. Lido could become rather noisy so my fav was adult pool on stern. Entertainment The main showroom lacks some of the high tech facilities of a more modern ship but I was left feeling extremely impressed with the quality of the singers and dancers. This was their last cruise onboard and the 3 full production shows featured some of the best singing and dancing I have had the pleasure to enjoy on any cruise ship. A small group of very talented individuals. Elsewhere the ship was covered with various other musical performers who were all of a very high quality. David in Mix was brilliant along with the guitar chap. Sydney and the Halcats were great and we also had two chaps onboard called the ‘Piano Brothers’ All performed to the highest standards. The last evening featured Dancing with the Stars which was really good fun. I did not watch any onboard films in the cinema or really use the culinary centre other than one very quick demo. I felt this was a little underused and more could be done with the space. I know the Culinary Art Centre is a real HAL show case but it felt a bit flat! The Cruise Director was great and plenty of other activities took place throughout the day. Again the small ship spirit shone through. All entertainment staff and crew were so approachable that it felt like one big family onboard. Norway As ever Norway is a stunning place to visit and so easy to reach and enjoy via a 7 day cruise from UK. We went to Bergen, Gerainger, Alesund and Eidfjord. The cruise also had two sea days. We booked no excursions via HAL as very expensive as are all other cruise line excursions. The scenery is really what its all about and you are able to enjoy this so easily from the ship that there is no real need to spend most of a port day on a coach. It was raining in Bergen so we stayed onboard as we had visited before. Elsewhere we popped ashore for a decent coffee. Norway is incredibly expensive so be warned. Eat on board! We took one local trip in Eidfjord to a huge waterfall which meant we were only away from Ryndam for 2 hours. I really adore Norway and what it has to offer the cruise passenger. Stunning views, fresh air and scenery. This was my second Norway cruise and I would go again in a heartbeat. Only downside was the weather was so/so. Disembarkation We filled a form in mid week and were given Yellow 1 which was due to get off at 0830hrs. Luggage collected night before and everything went very smoothly with a last MDR breakfast at 0700hrs. We were home by 0915hrs. Cruising from Harwich is great!! Conclusion We had a wonderful week with an extremely spacious cabin and some of the best food we have experienced onboard a cruise ship. Coffee was terrible but this did not spoil the week. I loved the small ship experience and would certainly try a small ship again. Its sad that HAL are parting company with Ryndam although she is now at the point of needing a great deal of money spent if she is to keep up with the rest of the fleet. Anyone travelling on her prior to her departure in October is in for a treat. I was so impressed. Yes she does not have that big ship ‘wow’ factor but she provided the ideal home for a short Norway cruise. Lets hope HAL don’t abandon the small ship vibe! We had a full complement of passengers which included 200 kids. She never felt crowded and everything worked smoothly. The dreaded bug had been onboard prior to our sailing but other than constant reminders about hygiene we saw no real signs that anything was amiss. The Captain did mention small outbreak but we were not effected. Its a real shame no HAL ship will be based in UK during 2016. They have built a good following in recent years but we are left with no choice but to fly next year which I don’t like to do. Come back to the UK or risk losing fans!

Ryndam July 18, 2015

Ryndam (Retired) Cruise Review by philsuarez

Trip Details
Ryndam Review Norwegian Fjords

18/07/15 to 25/07/15

We've cruised numerous lines including Cunard, Princess, NCL, P&O and Celebrity so I thought I would share our thoughts on our first ever HAL experience.

Embarkation

We picked this cruise for one crucial reason only! Ryndam was departing from Harwich, UK which is an approx. 10 minute drive from home. Now we've only ever left from Southampton so this was a massive bonus. Left home at 1120hrs and was checked in and on board by 1215hrs. Amazing start to our cruise. Everything went very smoothly at the terminal and no traffic unlike our usual drive into Southampton. Seems a real shame that the 2016 cruise season from Harwich as been very much cut back with no HAL, Celebrity or Royal Caribbean. Somebody please come back soon.

Ryndam

Now whilst we have not cruised with HAL before we did have the opportunity of a ship visit to Ryndam last year in Dover and knew exactly what we would be getting.

I would best describe her as a well preserved charming old lady. Ryndam is now 20 years old and is being passed onto P&O Australia in October 2015.

Significant parts of the ship have been upgraded but in other areas such as the lifts and hallways she is showing her age. Despite that she is generally very well preserved and other than some soft furnishings in Explorers which have seen better days the crew were continually carrying out maintenance. This is not a ship that has a particular 'wow' factor. No massive atrium, no waverider and no dodgems but what she has is plenty of small ship charm. Nothing is to far from any where else. A trip back to the cabin is not a two day hike and she is very easy to navigate. At 55,000 tonnes she is the smallest ship we have cruised on but certainly there is something to be said for the smaller ship experience and one that I would not hesitate to use again.

If given the choice I would likely choose a Celebrity 'Solstice' class ship but for a 7 day trip to the fjords Ryndam was a perfect size and we were able to access places that i not previously visited such as Eidfjord.

Cabin

We picked up an outside GTY for the price of an inside and only discovered our exact cabin about 3 days before the cruise. An email pinged up and I discovered we had been allocated 569 on deck 5. Good location mid ships and not to far from the forward lift. This would be considered an upgrade on our GTY ‘H’ grade.

Extremely impressed with the cabin which felt huge compared to similar cabins on other lines. Mini tub and powerful shower was to be found in the generous bathroom. It was lovely to have a decent size sofa and with the large picture window we enjoyed several cabin breakfasts which we would not normally do. Other than a ‘Aqua Class’ that we experienced on Eclipse this was probably the most spacious and stylish cabin we have experienced. She may be long in the tooth but Ryndam definitely scores on the cabin front. Our Steward was fantastic and the cabin was refreshed and made up with minimal disruption.

Food

As part of our booking deal we received a meal in Cannaletto which is the Italian speciality onboard restaurant and another meal in the Pinnacle Grill. These were to be allocated upon boarding. I also treated us to a meal in Le Cirque mid cruise which was my birthday. This was paid for prior to boarding at $49 dollars each. The rest of the time we were to use the MDR. We always avoid the buffet simply because I dislike the scrum and it helps avoid ant dreaded bugs.

Our first meal on board was a burger at ‘Dine In’ the burger bar situated on the Lido deck. All food taken to order and you are paged when it is ready. Simply the best burger I have ever experienced on board a cruise ship! Chips were equally delicious and you are also able to enjoy hotdogs and the adjacent taco bar. Fantastic.

The first night we enjoyed our free Canaletto meal which is created from the buffet area. Lovely meal for what would be normally $10 dollar cover charge. Probably our least enjoyable meal onboard but only because the menu was not totally to my taste but everything was beautifully cooked and presented.

Other than breakfast in Cabin, we always use MDR for breakfast and the omelette did not disappoint. I just much prefer to be served and we chatted with several fellow quests when sharing a table.

MDR was used for 4 evening meals and I was extremely impressed with the food quality. The bakery department did a superb job with the rolls and all our food was very tasty and hot. We had anytime dining and varied eating times from 1900hrs to as late as 2100hrs. Waiters all very polite and nothing was to much trouble. I can happily say this was some of the best MDR dining food I have ever experienced on this out 9th cruise. I had read some poor Ryndam food reviews but have nothing but praise for all the food we sampled onboard. Simply delicious.

Le Cirque was an amazing experience where I sampled a Caesar Salad Cirque style and Chateaubriand steak cooked to perfection.

Best kept secret onboard is a Pinnacle Grill lunch at only $10 dollars. The crab cakes with Orange rice were amazing! My favourite meal was probably our evening in the Pinnacle Grill where we both enjoyed the Lamb Chops. I starved myself all day as was feeling rather full and so was really ready to enjoy dinner when it came. I especially enjoyed the soup and Fries with garlic mayo. Desert was rather fabulous as well.

I really can’t praise the food high enough. I had a sneaky hope that it would be rather fabulous and if anything was to draw me back to HAL again it would be the food. This is really the most important part of the cruise experience for me and it was amazing.

All on board bar service was very good and the only real complaint I have about anything food or beverage related was the quality of coffee in Explores which is the onboard speciality coffee venue. Disgusting is one way to describe it. Expresso from an automatic machine and served in paper cup. Had better from a Motorway Service Station! No waiter service. I tried several times to get to the bottom of the coffee nightmare but other than other staff agreeing it was not good including fellow passengers we gave up. MDR coffee seemed to be fresh brewed and just about saved the day. Les and I are really non drinkers and always enjoy the onboard Speciality Coffee. Les was left very disappointed . Thankfully the superb quality of food just about made up for the coffee. I just don’t understand how a line as polished as HAL could get this so wrong. I have covered this on the customer survey and also emailed. Hopefully some answers may be forthcoming?

Spa

We loved the little spa and brought a week long pass for the Thermal Spa as well as enjoying several treatments. I was smothered in seaweed, dunked in a vat of hot water and massaged within an inch of my life. Felt very relaxed after. Many hours was spent relaxing on the ceramic hot chairs and the mineral bath. Our pass meant we could come and go as we pleased and at $149 per couple I felt was good value for money.

Pools

Two pools can be found onboard. The Lido pool is for families and can be covered. The adult only is rather lovely and can be found at the stern on deck ten. With were heated and I enjoyed both. Lido could become rather noisy so my fav was adult pool on stern.

Entertainment

The main showroom lacks some of the high tech facilities of a more modern ship but I was left feeling extremely impressed with the quality of the singers and dancers. This was their last cruise onboard and the 3 full production shows featured some of the best singing and dancing I have had the pleasure to enjoy on any cruise ship. A small group of very talented individuals.

Elsewhere the ship was covered with various other musical performers who were all of a very high quality. David in Mix was brilliant along with the guitar chap. Sydney and the Halcats were great and we also had two chaps onboard called the ‘Piano Brothers’ All performed to the highest standards. The last evening featured Dancing with the Stars which was really good fun.

I did not watch any onboard films in the cinema or really use the culinary centre other than one very quick demo. I felt this was a little underused and more could be done with the space. I know the Culinary Art Centre is a real HAL show case but it felt a bit flat!

The Cruise Director was great and plenty of other activities took place throughout the day. Again the small ship spirit shone through. All entertainment staff and crew were so approachable that it felt like one big family onboard.

Norway

As ever Norway is a stunning place to visit and so easy to reach and enjoy via a 7 day cruise from UK. We went to Bergen, Gerainger, Alesund and Eidfjord. The cruise also had two sea days. We booked no excursions via HAL as very expensive as are all other cruise line excursions.

The scenery is really what its all about and you are able to enjoy this so easily from the ship that there is no real need to spend most of a port day on a coach. It was raining in Bergen so we stayed onboard as we had visited before. Elsewhere we popped ashore for a decent coffee. Norway is incredibly expensive so be warned. Eat on board! We took one local trip in Eidfjord to a huge waterfall which meant we were only away from Ryndam for 2 hours. I really adore Norway and what it has to offer the cruise passenger. Stunning views, fresh air and scenery. This was my second Norway cruise and I would go again in a heartbeat. Only downside was the weather was so/so.

Disembarkation

We filled a form in mid week and were given Yellow 1 which was due to get off at 0830hrs. Luggage collected night before and everything went very smoothly with a last MDR breakfast at 0700hrs. We were home by 0915hrs. Cruising from Harwich is great!!

Conclusion

We had a wonderful week with an extremely spacious cabin and some of the best food we have experienced onboard a cruise ship. Coffee was terrible but this did not spoil the week. I loved the small ship experience and would certainly try a small ship again. Its sad that HAL are parting company with Ryndam although she is now at the point of needing a great deal of money spent if she is to keep up with the rest of the fleet. Anyone travelling on her prior to her departure in October is in for a treat. I was so impressed. Yes she does not have that big ship ‘wow’ factor but she provided the ideal home for a short Norway cruise. Lets hope HAL don’t abandon the small ship vibe!

We had a full complement of passengers which included 200 kids. She never felt crowded and everything worked smoothly. The dreaded bug had been onboard prior to our sailing but other than constant reminders about hygiene we saw no real signs that anything was amiss. The Captain did mention small outbreak but we were not effected.

Its a real shame no HAL ship will be based in UK during 2016. They have built a good following in recent years but we are left with no choice but to fly next year which I don’t like to do. Come back to the UK or risk losing fans!
philsuarez’s Full Rating Summary
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