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The most predominate issue to think about is that the passenger average age is more than 55 on Holland America cruises. But more precisely, on this cruise it seemed like just about everyone was over 60. We think that was because of the time of year – late November. The ship is geared to the pace of the old and decrepit, with few on-board activities that would appeal to any younger than 50. For instance, the theater performances highlights were performers of songs from Nat King Cole, Benny Goodman, and Edith Pilaf. However, all were excellent. A broader problem arises from being on being on board with these old folk, sleeping and snoring on the lounge chairs in the atrium, clogging up the halls with walkers, and grouchy attitudes. Feels like being in an old folks’ home. However, there were many fine folk from American, Canada and Holland that were friendly and interesting to talk with. We met a few that were world travelers as well, and some that were on the ship for months at a time! The good: Large and comfortable room; good food (B+) and wine list, friendly staff (and fellow passengers). Cabin staff was efficient and courteous. Nice pool and atrium, pleasant, and overall functional ship. On this cruise, good ports of call, and good docking for easy access. All on and off procedures were perfect. The bad: No specialty restaurants worth trying. Very slow dinning service; on-board activities that appeal only to the old; no help on spending your own time at the ports of call, even though there was a sort of concierge available, he never knew anything about the port, or which part of it we would dock at, and never told us about the inexpensive and easy-to-use tour buses that we met once out the gates -- typical information blocking to get you to buy one of their overly expensive excursions. Internet was slow and very expensive, and down on the last day. Cocktails were mostly water; peanuts and other accompaniments were old and stale, actually really gross. Hot water was scarce, more than half the time we showered with Luke-warm water. The TV was old and the speakers bad. You must stand up to use the controller as the shelf on which the TV is mounted blocks the transmission of the controller signal. There is a DVD player, but no HDMI port to attach your own media player. The scary: I booked an aft facing room off the HAL website. The site showed a virtual tour of the room with picture window with a clear view looking out to the aft. In actuality, the view was somewhat blocked by a stair-well. That aside, the left pane in the two pain window was fogged, making it not possible to look through it and blocking the good light from entering the room. I complained about this to our cabin steward who said that he knew about it, that it had been that way for a few cruises, and asked me to complain to the front desk. I did, and they said they would look into it -- and I never heard anything more about it during the entire cruise from anyone. I asked about it a day or so before the end, and the front desk told me that they logged the complaint and that it would likely be fixed soon – but of course that gave me no comfort, but perhaps that is why they didn’t follow up, however they should have. The light above the bed had a plastic covering that became loose and vibrated loudly during stormy weather (so I took it apart). The ship shows signs of rust and areas that are not maintained well. The aft area off the Lido cafeteria is mostly wasted space with lounge chairs surrounded by a river of water -- never saw a sole use one, and that’s a large area to waste. The food at the Lido gradually became poor as the cruise was in its last days, and no effort was made to provide better food or service in the Lido on the two formal nights at the regular restaurant, and the dress code on those two formal nights was very strictly enforced, even down to the shoes. Perhaps HAL is out of tune with Europeans -- we don’t dress on cruise ships. Another issue is that my wife made a purchase from the ship using a European credit card (euro) and was not explained what the fees would add up to. She paid close to 14% in transaction and conversion fees. The paper work was imprecise, and she has said the clerk told her the cost would be around 3%. Happily, I was able to subtract the amount from our bill as an adjustment for the poor service as well as considerable more for the foggy window. All in all, a pleasant, relaxing, well run cruise on a good ship with very good food and friendly staff. However, we wouldn’t want to return anytime soon. Perhaps we’ll try this line again in about 5 or 6 years, when we’re in our 70s!

Like an old folks’ retirement home

Rotterdam Cruise Review by TheDinParis

2 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: November 2015
  • Destination: Europe
  • Cabin Type: Large Ocean-View Stateroom
The most predominate issue to think about is that the passenger average age is more than 55 on Holland America cruises. But more precisely, on this cruise it seemed like just about everyone was over 60. We think that was because of the time of year – late November. The ship is geared to the pace of the old and decrepit, with few on-board activities that would appeal to any younger than 50. For instance, the theater performances highlights were performers of songs from Nat King Cole, Benny Goodman, and Edith Pilaf. However, all were excellent.

A broader problem arises from being on being on board with these old folk, sleeping and snoring on the lounge chairs in the atrium, clogging up the halls with walkers, and grouchy attitudes. Feels like being in an old folks’ home. However, there were many fine folk from American, Canada and Holland that were friendly and interesting to talk with. We met a few that were world travelers as well, and some that were on the ship for months at a time!

The good:

Large and comfortable room; good food (B+) and wine list, friendly staff (and fellow passengers). Cabin staff was efficient and courteous.

Nice pool and atrium, pleasant, and overall functional ship. On this cruise, good ports of call, and good docking for easy access. All on and off procedures were perfect.

The bad:

No specialty restaurants worth trying. Very slow dinning service; on-board activities that appeal only to the old; no help on spending your own time at the ports of call, even though there was a sort of concierge available, he never knew anything about the port, or which part of it we would dock at, and never told us about the inexpensive and easy-to-use tour buses that we met once out the gates -- typical information blocking to get you to buy one of their overly expensive excursions.

Internet was slow and very expensive, and down on the last day. Cocktails were mostly water; peanuts and other accompaniments were old and stale, actually really gross. Hot water was scarce, more than half the time we showered with Luke-warm water. The TV was old and the speakers bad. You must stand up to use the controller as the shelf on which the TV is mounted blocks the transmission of the controller signal. There is a DVD player, but no HDMI port to attach your own media player.

The scary:

I booked an aft facing room off the HAL website. The site showed a virtual tour of the room with picture window with a clear view looking out to the aft. In actuality, the view was somewhat blocked by a stair-well. That aside, the left pane in the two pain window was fogged, making it not possible to look through it and blocking the good light from entering the room. I complained about this to our cabin steward who said that he knew about it, that it had been that way for a few cruises, and asked me to complain to the front desk. I did, and they said they would look into it -- and I never heard anything more about it during the entire cruise from anyone. I asked about it a day or so before the end, and the front desk told me that they logged the complaint and that it would likely be fixed soon – but of course that gave me no comfort, but perhaps that is why they didn’t follow up, however they should have.

The light above the bed had a plastic covering that became loose and vibrated loudly during stormy weather (so I took it apart). The ship shows signs of rust and areas that are not maintained well. The aft area off the Lido cafeteria is mostly wasted space with lounge chairs surrounded by a river of water -- never saw a sole use one, and that’s a large area to waste. The food at the Lido gradually became poor as the cruise was in its last days, and no effort was made to provide better food or service in the Lido on the two formal nights at the regular restaurant, and the dress code on those two formal nights was very strictly enforced, even down to the shoes. Perhaps HAL is out of tune with Europeans -- we don’t dress on cruise ships.

Another issue is that my wife made a purchase from the ship using a European credit card (euro) and was not explained what the fees would add up to. She paid close to 14% in transaction and conversion fees. The paper work was imprecise, and she has said the clerk told her the cost would be around 3%. Happily, I was able to subtract the amount from our bill as an adjustment for the poor service as well as considerable more for the foggy window.

All in all, a pleasant, relaxing, well run cruise on a good ship with very good food and friendly staff. However, we wouldn’t want to return anytime soon. Perhaps we’ll try this line again in about 5 or 6 years, when we’re in our 70s!
TheDinParis’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Large Ocean-View Stateroom
Cabin EE 2707
Large - at little large than most others of the same category - and partially obstructed by a stair well. However, that was expected and not an issue. But the large 2 pane window had one pane fogged and that limited the view and amount of natural light that would enter the room. Room is also aft facing, about as far aft as you can get, so you pick up some extra noise from the propellers just below, notably when docking in the morning. Have to get up anyway though.

It's a nice spot on the ship, somewhat isolated with a quiet area just outside. I would definitely book the room again if the window was replaced, as they promised it would be.
Lower Promenade Deck Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins

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