This was our first cruise with Holland America, and we were not disappointed. We flew to Honolulu and sailed back to Sydney, a 15 night segment of a longer cruise. There were lots of sea days on this sector which is what we wanted to just kick back and relax. If you are looking for a party this is probably not the ship for you as the average passenger age was probably 55-60+, which is also our demographic so it suited us. Initially we had booked a verandah cabin that was next to the glass elevators. Thankfully I saw a video online showing that anyone on the elevator would have full view of our verandah. As we spend a lot of time out there, we opted to change to a SY Suite (8047). That was a good move,and I doubt we will ever go back to a smaller cabin again.
The ship is kept immaculate by very hard working and pleasant crew, who have a strong customer service ethic. Some reviews suggest the interior is dated, but we found it very comfortable and elegant. The public spaces are numerous and varied, and there are many interesting items on display around the ship. The library was particularly impressive with a vast array of material, a resident librarian, and a cafe. Internet connection however, is slow and expensive: avoid if possible. We did find the temperature in the public areas a bit warm, and a lot of passengers were complaining of inadequate air con in cabins. Ours was fine, but we had it constantly on the coldest setting.
We had preordered wine and spirits for both the cabin and the dining room, and prebooked dinner in the Pinnacle Grill and Le Cirque. All services were delivered exactly as requested with no hassle. The Pinnacle Grill is worth the small surcharge, but we were extremely disappointed with Le Cirque and would not recommend that. However, the Master Chefs Table is worth the additional charge for a special treat. We were pleased with the Vista Dining room, which had a constantly changing menu for dinner. We had free time dining and had to wait a short while for a table on only 2 occasions. Food was always well cooked and arrived hot. The buffet is also very pleasant, with plenty of choice and chefs on hand to plate your food. Room service also gets a thumbs up from us. The Lido snack bar, BBQ, fruit buffet and more, all helped to add variety and interest to the dining options. It is impossible to go hungry! Overall, dining gets an 8.5/10 from us.
A variety of evening entertainment was on offer, everything from classical music recitals, to piano bar and the Vista Lounge shows. There was sufficient to keep you occupied although none was a stand out for us. Similarly, there were lots of activities on offer during the day, and effort went into providing variety. We enjoyed the daily presentations of the guest speakers, and the Digital Workshop. We also participated in the on board fundraising walk for cancer organisations . Happy hour in the Crows Nest became part of our routine to watch the sunset and catch up with fellow cruisers.
This was our first time on Holland America and we would definitely cruise with them again.
The SY Suites have plenty of space with a full size bathroom including double washbasins and a separate spa bath. There was enough space on the verandah for us to chose to dine there a few times. Our cabin stewards David and Made looked after us beautifully, with twice daily servicing of the cabin, so there was always ice in our ice bucket. Small inclusions like personalised notepaper, and the Explorer booklet that detailed our cruise added to the feeling of being pampered. We were a little concerned that the cabin was located under a pool area. This proved to be no problem at all, there was little if any noise inside the cabin and on the verandah there was some scraping of furniture to be heard but nothing intrusive. This cabin was convenient to stairs to the pool, and elevators to the lower levels. Recommend this cabin.