We selected a one-way cruise from Vancouver to Seward (AK) before a business meeting in Anchorage, and to celebrate our wedding anniversary. Chose this cruise line because they had the route we needed at the time it was needed. But we will not sail a second time on this ship or cruise line.
Most of the staff are Filipino, who have the gift of hospitality. Especially noteworthy was Michelle who worked at the Exploration's Cafe and Riben, our cabin attendant. Food was average in all eating areas except for the Pinnacle Grill and the Rotterdam Dining Room.
While embarkation and disembarkation went smoothly, we had issues with our cabin (Veranda Vista Suite). While the cabin needs to be updated, that wasn't the big issue. We asked for a chemical free room because of allergies and had it for the first 3 days. But when sheets were changed, they weren't chemical free. That was a rough night of intermittent sleep. Next day we alerted them to the issue, and they said they would change sheets to chemical free. Unfortunately all they did was put another set of non-chemical free sheets. We had to strip the bed that night and sleep on the mattress or in bathrobes.
Internet brought back memories of the dial-up modem days even though it was wireless (Very slow). This was irritating because you had to pay for the Internet. Nothing like watching your minutes/$$$ evaporate while that symbol just keeps spinning away. Frustrating.
The "C" in Holland America Cruise Lines stands for CASH. At every opportunity it was buy this, that and another. The biggest negative for us was that we were pressured into purchasing a "Beverage package plan" of 15 drinks a day per person (Alcohol and/or non-alcohol) by the waitress. Afterwards, we wondered if she got a commission? Anyway, just hours later we realized it was a mistake because I don't even drink alcohol and can't drink 15 drinks a day! When we told them we didn't want the beverage package, we discovered it was "Non-refundable." Yes, in small print at the bottom of the flyer it stated such. Hundreds of dollars wasted.
One of the biggest disappointments was the balcony outside our room because of a smoker on one side. We couldn't enjoy sitting or standing outside, so this upgrade was a waste of money. HACL needs to have non-smoking floors/decks.
This is enough, I could go on with a couple of more critiques, but I think you get the picture. All in all a disappointing cruise experience, and will not go again with this cruise line.
We cannot recommend cruising on Holland America or this ship.
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