We went on a two-week cruise to Alaska, aboard the Ms Statendam. We had sailed with several other cruise lines before, but this was our first time with Holland America. In comparison, Holland America was below average. Our ocean view stateroom was equivalent to a two-star hotel; the bathroom… maybe one-star. The ship had a stale smell throughout, and our stateroom was poorly ventilated as well. The bathroom smelled. The shower did not drain properly, and we would be standing in a pool of water. The toilet did not flush very well. The sink was cracked. The stateroom, itself, was in a general state of disrepair.
Apparently they didn’t have enough seating for the number of passengers on board. We had to wait half an hour for a table in the main dining room. Several other people were waiting as well. We endeavored to reserve a table and were told that we could only make reservations for either 5:30 p.m. or 7:45 p.m. Otherwise, all the tables would be in use.
Holland America’s customer service orientation was deplorable. In every case, the staff chose the convenience of ship administration over that of the guests. The entertainment wasn’t that good, and the food was not amazing. However, the wait staff did serve quite well.
The average age of guests on board was about 80. No disrespect intended, but potential clientele need to be aware of this. It means negotiating with walkers, wheelchairs, and folks with various other impediments. Youths may feel out of place. Activities are geared toward an aging crowd. Single people might also feel awkward. There were mostly couples with many years of marriage behind them.
Upon departure, they wanted us to leave the ship early. So, there was no time to reconcile the final bill from the cruise, which was issued that same morning. One has to rely on them to get it correct. They didn’t! We were double charged for some things, overcharged for others. We had to gather facts, email, then call and cajole them into changing the bill. It was not easy doing it after-the-fact. As far as they were concerned, that ship had sailed.
Frankly, I expected more from Holland America Line. They have a good following and loyal customers, our parents included. And, I hesitate to say that we would never sail with them again. It might depend on the destination and ports of call. On the other hand, given the choice between HAL and some other cruise line, with a comparable itinerary, we would probably choose the latter.