We’ve previously cruised on Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Princess and Celebrity. Last year we went on a Celebrity cruise to Alaska. This was our first Holland America cruise. Overall we were impressed with how well organized it was for the guests’ comfort. We did not have to wait in lines to embark; we sat in groups, and the luggage arrived quickly at our room. For the safety drill, we just gathered at the muster station rather than wearing life preservers or standing by the lifeboats. There were no daily ship-wide harangues from the cruise director. Daily newspaper summaries were available. When disembarking, we could wait in our cabin after having breakfast rather than in a public lounge. Overall the staff was friendly and helpful.
We had interior cabin 6131; because it was wheelchair accessible, it was relatively spacious. The beds were comfy, the shower was hot and the room was quiet. It was very easy to set the thermostat, and the cabin had electrical sockets in both American and European voltage. The TV had a wide selection of movies and TV shows and live TV which came in handy when we hid in our cabin during a rough storm.
We ate almost all our meals at the Lido buffet. Unlike other cruise lines, the chairs had cushions, the glasses were glass, not plastic, the tables had fresh orchids, and the staff provided the beverages. Hand washing machines provided a whirlpool for your hands.
We did not buy a shore excursion from Holland America. One can walk from the port to the train station and catch a tram into the city. We bought on the tram a 24 hour tram/bus pass for 7.5 euro.
We did not buy a shore excursion from Holland America. We just walked from the ship to the fish market. On the way we visited the castle near the port. Tip: don't eat at the expensive restaurants along the main street from the ship to the fish market. If the weather permits, eat outdoors at the fish market. If the weather is bad, walk to the street behind and parallel to the main street for cheaper restaurants. We did not buy a ticket for the lift to the top for the view. We walked the winding streets and paths up the hill.
We walked the metal staircase to the top and enjoyed the waterfall.
We did not buy a shore excursion from Holland America. We bought a bus tour from a local vendor which took us to the waterfall.