We chose this cruise purely for the itinerary, and knew nothing about Holland America. But so glad we took a chance! Friendliest crew we have ever met on a cruise- ok. we didn't meet our cabin steward till the second day, but no problem. Lots of things on this ship that we felt were done very well. We loved the system with sunbeds- no need for pool towels in our room- they're already rolled up and ready to use on the beds. Great retractable roof over the pool, and we were always able to get a bed there when we wanted one. Food in the Lido and restaurant was generally of a high quality- I loved the make your own salads in the Lido. Although the ship was full, it never seemed crowded anywhere. Evenings meals we had in the restaurant. We generally went down about 7, asked for a table for two, maybe had to wait 10 minutes, then straight in. Maitre d always very accommodating, as were all of the staff. Our cabin was on Rotterdam deck., towards the rear of the ship. Very comfortable, very quiet. Entertainment in the evening was ok. We enjoyed B B Kings, Trivia quizzes ( met some great people) and some of the entertainment in the theatre. Billboard wasn't for us, although they were very popular. Daytime activities on sea days we found to be very limited, but that's no different from most cruise ships we've been on. Gave me time to catch up with reading! The Crows nest area we found to have a bit of a strange layout. No library on board this ship, which was a first for us- books available to read in the Crows Nest, but we didn't find it a particulary inviting area.
We did four shore excursions through Holland America- no problems with any of them, except for the price!
Would recommend that people checked out independent tour operators for all the ports- we booked with Travelling Viking in Akeyuri prior to cruise. Prompt pick up at11 in a mini bus, great tour guide, and a lot less than Holland America wanted for simoilar tour.
Embarkation and disembarkation very well organised- had to wait a while for coach to come to airport to pick us up for transfer to ship, but because we were the last transfer, went straight onto ship .
Very comfortable, clean well equipped cabin. Adequate storage space, and plenty of hangers! At rear of ship on deck 7. Large television with good choice of films. Quality toiletries and excellent shower.