1. Home
  2. Cruise Reviews
  3. Rotterdam
This cruise is about the unique Itinerary, and I think our captain did a great job getting us into Greenland and in/ around some bad weather. Greenland was beautiful, most of us agreed that cruising Prince Christian Sound was our favorite day, but getting off and seeing a town was also a special event. (We missed one Greenland town due to weather). The crew was mostly energetic, smiling, and helpful except for the front desk crew who seemed overworked and stressed. This was my first Holland America cruise and I enjoyed learning about their traditions- the dinner bell, after dinner treat cart, etc. Celebrity would be the comparison for my line of travel, and I think they are pretty much equal, I would choose based on itinerary and any perks I have built up. The ship is showing its age. Most of it never bothered me- the carpets, floors all have some dinginess and areas of wear, but when water started appearing, it got a little comical. A bucket collecting water in the front row of the main theater (maybe this was from a cabin toilet overflow or something), but when it rained water also collected inside the windows of places like the Crow's Nest, and dripped into the Lido deck. I heard rumors some cabin windows had the same issue. My original cabin 1878 had a noise issue that took 1 week to resolve. Somewhere above or below this cabin is what I think is a crew door that slams, waking me up most nights. It would generally start at 0630 and would slam every 10 seconds in the beginning and end of the day. I eventually solved my problem by noticing that the cabin next to me was empty and I was eventually able to move. Otherwise the crew "had no idea" what door this was and kept telling me they fixed it, but it never changed (I could still hear it next door but it never woke me up). I heard from others that a lot of cabins were noisy- especially cabins with adjoining doors. The size of my Inside Cabin was nice, seemed like plenty of storage to me. Bathroom roomy though I was disappointed with a shower curtain with a stand up shower- I constantly fought with the curtain to keep water in the shower but not sticking to me! Food. I felt was very good, not perfect. I thought the buffet was better than most ships and I enjoyed the Asian section for lunch. Breakfast and lunch in the main dining room was unbearably slow, though it could be because I used shared tables. Afternoon tea was sometimes erratic, with people getting a scone but waiting 15 minutes to get jam and cream. Evening meal in the main dining room was usually the highlight- the staff was fast and food was good. I didn't use the wifi but I overheard a lot of complaints about cost and how slow it was. Wifi is only sold by the day, not minute. I had a European SIM card and for $20 I had it for the Baltic ports and Iceland, and it actually worked in most parts of sailing in the Baltic. I recommend buying one before you leave. I enjoyed the main stage entertainment, I saw all of the Rotterdam singers and dancers shows- even though on a 32 day cruise they repeated. I loved them! The guest entertainment was a hit or miss for me, but you can't please everyone every night, and I liked that the shows were 40-60 minutes, so you could make it through any of them! The EXC guide is a regular Holland America member who gives talks on the ports (not the tours), and local culture and history and I loved this part. The guest lectures we had in Iceland Greenland were so amazing, they packed the Main Stage when they did lectures on history and geology. One main complaint I had with the ship was the temperature! On our days at sea, I always had to wear multiple layers, and there were a few days I sat wearing gloves and a scarf while sitting in the library and in one of the bars to watch World Cup. People walked around she ship wearing puffy jackets and I would finally resort to going to my room and turning up the heat to be able to get comfortable. The dining room and occasionally the Main Stage would then be too hot with all of these layers. A lot of passengers told me that their rooms would not get warm enough and they were constantly trying to get warm. I did buy a few Holland America shore excursions and I was generally very happy. What I noticed as far as value goes, is that the guides were really good and often talked 100% of the trip- you feel like you get your money's worth that way, learning the most- and when the trips included snacks or meals, i was very impressed. Overall, their excursions seemed more expensive than other ships, and when I could I used outside companies for 1/2 the price.

Great itinerary, great crew, so-so ship

Rotterdam Cruise Review by TravelDreamer75

6 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: June 2018
  • Destination: Transatlantic
  • Cabin Type: Large Interior Stateroom
This cruise is about the unique Itinerary, and I think our captain did a great job getting us into Greenland and in/ around some bad weather.

Greenland was beautiful, most of us agreed that cruising Prince Christian Sound was our favorite day, but getting off and seeing a town was also a special event. (We missed one Greenland town due to weather).

The crew was mostly energetic, smiling, and helpful except for the front desk crew who seemed overworked and stressed.

This was my first Holland America cruise and I enjoyed learning about their traditions- the dinner bell, after dinner treat cart, etc. Celebrity would be the comparison for my line of travel, and I think they are pretty much equal, I would choose based on itinerary and any perks I have built up.

The ship is showing its age. Most of it never bothered me- the carpets, floors all have some dinginess and areas of wear, but when water started appearing, it got a little comical. A bucket collecting water in the front row of the main theater (maybe this was from a cabin toilet overflow or something), but when it rained water also collected inside the windows of places like the Crow's Nest, and dripped into the Lido deck. I heard rumors some cabin windows had the same issue.

My original cabin 1878 had a noise issue that took 1 week to resolve. Somewhere above or below this cabin is what I think is a crew door that slams, waking me up most nights. It would generally start at 0630 and would slam every 10 seconds in the beginning and end of the day. I eventually solved my problem by noticing that the cabin next to me was empty and I was eventually able to move. Otherwise the crew "had no idea" what door this was and kept telling me they fixed it, but it never changed (I could still hear it next door but it never woke me up). I heard from others that a lot of cabins were noisy- especially cabins with adjoining doors. The size of my Inside Cabin was nice, seemed like plenty of storage to me. Bathroom roomy though I was disappointed with a shower curtain with a stand up shower- I constantly fought with the curtain to keep water in the shower but not sticking to me!

Food. I felt was very good, not perfect. I thought the buffet was better than most ships and I enjoyed the Asian section for lunch. Breakfast and lunch in the main dining room was unbearably slow, though it could be because I used shared tables. Afternoon tea was sometimes erratic, with people getting a scone but waiting 15 minutes to get jam and cream. Evening meal in the main dining room was usually the highlight- the staff was fast and food was good.

I didn't use the wifi but I overheard a lot of complaints about cost and how slow it was. Wifi is only sold by the day, not minute. I had a European SIM card and for $20 I had it for the Baltic ports and Iceland, and it actually worked in most parts of sailing in the Baltic. I recommend buying one before you leave.

I enjoyed the main stage entertainment, I saw all of the Rotterdam singers and dancers shows- even though on a 32 day cruise they repeated. I loved them! The guest entertainment was a hit or miss for me, but you can't please everyone every night, and I liked that the shows were 40-60 minutes, so you could make it through any of them! The EXC guide is a regular Holland America member who gives talks on the ports (not the tours), and local culture and history and I loved this part. The guest lectures we had in Iceland Greenland were so amazing, they packed the Main Stage when they did lectures on history and geology.

One main complaint I had with the ship was the temperature! On our days at sea, I always had to wear multiple layers, and there were a few days I sat wearing gloves and a scarf while sitting in the library and in one of the bars to watch World Cup. People walked around she ship wearing puffy jackets and I would finally resort to going to my room and turning up the heat to be able to get comfortable. The dining room and occasionally the Main Stage would then be too hot with all of these layers. A lot of passengers told me that their rooms would not get warm enough and they were constantly trying to get warm.

I did buy a few Holland America shore excursions and I was generally very happy. What I noticed as far as value goes, is that the guides were really good and often talked 100% of the trip- you feel like you get your money's worth that way, learning the most- and when the trips included snacks or meals, i was very impressed. Overall, their excursions seemed more expensive than other ships, and when I could I used outside companies for 1/2 the price.
TravelDreamer75’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Shore Excursions
Service
Onboard Experience
Free Price Drop Alerts
Get Holland America Rotterdam price drops
250,000+ people have entered their email

Cabin Review

Large Interior Stateroom
Cabin J 1878
Good size, good layout.
No plugs around the bed was a negative for me. At the desk there was 2 USB plugs and 1 US, 1 European outlet, which was nice, but if you are sharing a room it made this area very crowded.
1878 I had a door slamming noise that woke me up and was constant from 630-730 am and around 8-9 pm. I moved to 1882 which had crew noises around it, but nothing that woke me up.
Main Deck Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Aarhus
    I used the walking tour in the guide book "Rick Steves" and I loved this city. Once walking into the center of town I walked to Den Gamle By (highly recommend), and then to the Art Museum (wow!) then to the pretty Mollestein street to take pictures of the pretty flowers. Some people said it was not an attractive town, I think they didn't know where to go, my tour was perfect.
    View All 11,618 Aarhus Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Aarhus Cruise Port Review
  • Bergen
    I did Bergen on my own and it was one of my favorite ports. Walked to the funicular and went up first thing in the morning before the crowds came, it was awesome. from there walked to the Seafood Market, and then went to the Bryggen Museum for the noon tour which was great. Love this port- though it was not raining and it was such a gorgeous day- that helps!
    View All 11,618 Bergen Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Bergen Cruise Port Review
  • Copenhagen
    I had purchased my HoHo ticket in advance using the company that was Not affiliated with Holland America- I heard better reviews and with this company you could get discounts for using them in multiple cities. I was very disappointed when I got on the bus, first thing in the morning, and was told that they could not check tickets, they would take everyone regardless of prior purchase to their main desk to start. Well, after waiting 1 hour while they tried to fill the bus, we drove right by the stop that I had decided would start my day, and went into downtown for them to look at my pre-purchased ticket and then print out a receipt for me. To reach my planned first stop, I would have had to go all the way around the city to get there and where they dropped us off was a convenient place for Tivoli Garden and other attractions that were not open for another 1.5 hours. What a disappointment- I had planned my entire day around their route and had to end up skipping one of the palaces. I did take the boat tour and thought it was worth the extra price and time to see a large area of town. Otherwise the bus was not too useful for me- I used it for a few stops and each time I did the bus was packed. I am disabled and no one got up to give me a seat- so I stood in the front desperately hanging on to the door because each bus seemed to be equally full. I will say that while waiting for my bus, the other company came by and seemed equally full and people were very upset. I enjoyed my stroll around Tivoli Gardens and the main pedestrian street of town, but otherwise the crowded tour made me disappointed in this city.
    View All 11,618 Copenhagen Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Copenhagen Cruise Port Review
  • Peggy's Cove
    This was a basic tour that took us to and from Peggy's Cove with 1 hour of free time. The guide that took us there kept us entertained during the driving, pointing out things and telling stories. 1 hour was good for me to walk around the cove area and around the lighthouse, but I guess if you want to go further or have more shopping time, the longer tour is better. Even with lots of buses, Peggy's Cove is so beautiful
    View All 187 Peggy's Cove Reviews
  • Helsinki
    this HoHo bus was well organized and I really loved the commentary and the drivers were so nice. It also picked up right at the port. This is how all HoHo buses should run! I highly recommend the Rock Church, Sibelius Monument, walking around the main part of downtown, and I loved the shore line between town and the cruise port- so pretty to walk around.
    View All 11,618 Helsinki Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Helsinki Cruise Port Review
  • Isafjord
    I took a Holland America tour to Vigur Island. It was really a nice place with lots of birds including puffins, but it was too uneven for me to do the tour with the guide. The boat ride was good, though a little chilly if you want to sit outside, the views were nice and I saw whales and puffins on the way. Off the dock, the trail is made with very large rocks, which is where I fell and realized I could not make it by myself walking with a walking stick, so I hung around and watched the birds close by, still able to find a place to watch the puffins. The others did a walk around the island on a mostly grassy path- I probably could have made it- but they went to one end of the island where arctic terns divebombed them and made it uncomfortable. A really great tour to get back to nature, and it was nice talking to the duck down farmers.
    View All 27 Isafjord Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Isafjord Cruise Port Review
  • Lerwick
    I took a Holland America tour which went to see Shetland Ponies and Scalloway Castle. the lady who owns the ponies was very nice and friendly, very informative as well as being a nice photo shoot.
    Scalloway Castle was decent looking, but most interesting was the attached museum about the area- including the interesting Shetland Bus story- read the book first! And the museum has wifi!
    View All 79 Lerwick Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Lerwick Cruise Port Review
  • Blue Lagoon
    I had been to the Blue Lagoon before, but not with a ship tour. My complaint is that with the ship tour you have limited time, so you can't do any extras like a spa treatment or massage. However, it is next to impossible to go on your own on cruise days because the ship books all of the slots.
    View All 42 Blue Lagoon Reviews
  • Berlin
    I had chosen Berlin on your own tour, but it was not booked sufficiently and they put me on Berlin with Hop on Hop Off bus for the same price, and I was very happy.
    For me, the 3-4 hour bus ride was not so bad, we had a guide who I swear talked the entire trip! Most of the trip down he was telling us where we could go, what to see, which was great, but it was confusing because he didn't have the HoHo Map for us to coordinate with- that is my only complaint.
    It was my first time in Berlin, and I loved it, and there is so much to see, and while the number of hours we actually had to go around on our own was short, I felt like I had a good overview. I had planned to go to some museums, but was afraid of time, so i instead got off at a few key photo stops- walking around Brandenburg Gate, the cathedral, etc. I hadn't planned on doing the entire long route, but I am glad I did because seeing West Berlin was more picturesque than I imagined, except the traffic that day was so miserable, that I had minimal time around the Berlin Wall and Checkpoint Charlie. The snacks provided by Holland America were more than adequate- I used the morning snack as my lunch and the evening one was just about enough for dinner.
    View All 65 Berlin Reviews
  • Windmills of Kinderdijk
    From the Rotterdam port, you can cross the Erasmus bridge and there is a stop of the local bus boat. It cost maybe $5 to take this bus to Kinderdijk, and it was very easy- so maybe a 10 minute walk to the station, and there are plenty of signs and the boat guys are very helpful for getting there. Once you arrive, you cross a street and walk maybe 5 minutes to the entrance of Kinderdijk. The windmills are very spread out, so if you decide to walk around, it is a lot of walking. I took the scenic boat ride, and I think this was best for pretty photos and a great view of them. There is a hop on hop off option that you can do both. Beautiful place to visit, and I'm glad I did it on my own- much more relaxed, quiet, and of course cheaper.
    View All 19 Windmills of Kinderdijk Reviews
  • City Tour
    This tour was a brief overview of the town- not a big place anyway, and then a drive up to Signal Hill where we had time to walk around and look at the view, and then we ended at the museum called "The Room" where we had independent time. I was surprised to find that while we had several options on when to shuttle back to the ship, I didn't have time to adequately enjoy the museum, and the guide did not recommend walking back to the boat from there. Great museum I wish I had more time
    View All 15 City Tour Reviews
  • Peterhof Palace
    The guide was fantastic and the combination of Peterhof and Church on Spilled Blood made for a nice long tour.
    My only issue were that one of the passengers had to use the bathroom constantly and this interfered with touring- we had to wait around for them twice besides the usual planned bathroom stops. This was not fair to the rest of us.
    also, inside the Palace you have to wear booties- and they wax the floors- so it was a horrible slippery mess. I don't know how I stayed upright. One little girl fell and couldn't get up. teenagers were skating around on the floors- very dangerous!
    but, the fountains at Peterhof Palace were amazing, so beautiful and worth the trip!
    the planned lunch at Peterhof was very nice.
    View All 202 Peterhof Palace Reviews
  • Stockholm
    First day I took the city bus to the Museum area- taking the day to go to the Vasa, Nordic, Abba Museums and then Skansen. (My favorites being Vasa and ABBA).
    Second day I took the city bus to the Town Hall and took a tour of the Nobel Prize Banquet rooms. Then walked to Gamla Stan and toured there using the guide book "Rick Steves" walking tour, then took the bus back to the port.
    The local bus is great but its 10-15 min walk from the ship and the machine at the bus was difficult to use because the screen was too light. At the port you can buy a all day pass but they had run out when I went the second day
    View All 11,618 Stockholm Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Stockholm Cruise Port Review