We like the size of the ship as well as the ports. We were pleased with our choice. We had a balcony room that gave us some added space. The rooms are not overly fancy, but comfortable. The ship is beginning to show some wear and tear but overall, in good shape.
Food was plentiful and we really enjoyed the salad bar where you could have your salad made to order. Room service for breakfast was prompt and hot. Dining room service was awesome!
We purchased the beverage package and found the biggest draw back was that you couldn't use it in your room and you could only order one drink at a time. We would have enjoyed being able to enjoy our balcony with more than one drink at a time. Cost wise, well, we didn't come out ahead, but it was convenient.
There is a $12.50 charge, per person a day, automatically added to your bill as a gratuity. Also all drinks have a 15% charge added automatically to your tab. This adds up real quick, especially if you have tipped staff previously.
We didn't book tours with the ship because we found the cost was very high. We booked all our New Zealand tours through Zealander Tours and saved a bundle. Not only was it less expensive, the tours were much smaller and allowed for more interaction with the wonderful guides. We also found that getting help from the staff as to what to do or what to see as an independent traveller was impossible.
We cruised for close to 30 days and did use their laundry service. $20 a bag was totally worth it! Quick and folded and hung!
Entertainment was pretty good. The group that does their productions did very well. There was and awful ventriloquist from Japan! The Australian "Michael Buble" was awesome as were the other special entertainers. As for other night life, it is pretty quiet.
The outside pool area is nice as is the interior pool.
The spa is overly expensive and I didn't find it worth going to. The gym is small and there is a surcharge for many activities.
The front desk was a bit rude and really didn't help, although they do have "smile training". We had some issues with our bill and it took a number of visits to the front desk to fix. For "our convenience" they made us come down as we were departing the ship, even though we had been ensured that it would be fixed on our final bill. If you have cruised before, you know it isn't "convenient" at all to wait in line on the last day of a cruise.
The room stewards work so hard to make sure that your room is looked after. They even supplied us with beach towels for our beach stops!
The internet is awful! Very slow and very expensive. It takes so long to even get a connection that you are out $5.00 without even doing anything. We found free wi-fi sights at most ports in New Zealand and did without on the tiny islands.
We would travel with Holland America again, we just wish that the nickle and diming in charges would stop.
Other than the room wasn't as clean as we would like when we first got in, once they really cleaned it, all was good. The time given for cleaning the rooms is minimal, 2 hours for 34 rooms for 2 stewards. HOWEVER, we mentioned our dissatisfaction and within an hour, they had taken care of it all.
Enjoyed it very much
Seeing the damage was amazing
The countryside was beautiful