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We love the fact that Holland America is not over commercialised. Unlike some 'other,' cruise companies HAL are not trying to 'nickel & dime,' one at every opportunity. We like the small-medium ship scale of the Holland America fleet, and love that most staterooms have a bathtub, (great to relax weary bodies after a busy day ashore). Our Holland America itinerary was the perfect balance of ports and places to visit. Highlights of our travels were snorkelling between the European & American teutonic plates in Iceland, and discovering the breathtaking wonders of Shetland! The service in the main dining rooms and speciality restaurants was excellent. Sometimes we had to wait perhaps a little too long to order wine via the wonderfully knowledgeable Sommeliers. Perhaps HAL needs to employ more sommeliers..... I am always a little disappointed that HAL only offers 'Windows' workshops.. Most of the passengers I spoke with were MAC folks, even using their iPhones instead of traditional cameras. More attention to enrichment workshop diversity would be a good thing.

Holland America doing what it does best.

Zuiderdam Cruise Review by u7jf

1 person found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: June 2018
  • Destination: Baltic Sea
  • Cabin Type: Deluxe Ocean-View Verandah Stateroom
We love the fact that Holland America is not over commercialised. Unlike some 'other,' cruise companies HAL are not trying to 'nickel & dime,' one at every opportunity.

We like the small-medium ship scale of the Holland America fleet, and love that most staterooms have a bathtub, (great to relax weary bodies after a busy day ashore).

Our Holland America itinerary was the perfect balance of ports and places to visit.

Highlights of our travels were snorkelling between the European & American teutonic plates in Iceland, and discovering the breathtaking wonders of Shetland!

The service in the main dining rooms and speciality restaurants was excellent. Sometimes we had to wait perhaps a little too long to order wine via the wonderfully knowledgeable Sommeliers. Perhaps HAL needs to employ more sommeliers.....

I am always a little disappointed that HAL only offers 'Windows' workshops.. Most of the passengers I spoke with were MAC folks, even using their iPhones instead of traditional cameras. More attention to enrichment workshop diversity would be a good thing.
u7jf’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Deluxe Ocean-View Verandah Stateroom
Cabin VC 5036
Our cabin in June 2018 was looking particularly tired. It was spotlessly clean, but in need of a decor refurbishment.
Navigation Deck Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Akureyri
    Our HAL tour to the Myvatn Nature Baths was excellent. Our tour guide spoke very well articulated English and communicated must of the local history and culture to us as we drove between destinations. The swim in the Myvatn Nature Baths was a great experience, (everyone has to have a shower in the nude before entering the pool). Our marvellous tour guide even sang a beautiful Icelandic lullaby to us on the bus as a way of explaining the culture on our return to the ship. I for one had had a lovely hot bath, been well cared for by our nurturing and attentive tour guide; the lullaby was lovely wind down to a big day. I loved this tour!
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  • Alesund
    We took an independent Hop on Hop off tour of Alesund. It was great.
    View All 193 Alesund Cruise Port Reviews
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  • Bergen
    We organised our own private Bergen by Segway tour which was the most marvellous way to truly see Bergen. My husband is 74, I am 58 with arthritic knees and it was a wonderful way to get around! We saw so much more than we might have by car, bus or walking tour. I highly recommend seeing Bergen by Segway.
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  • Isafjord
    We simply walked around town.. Isafjord is an unpolished diamond.. it is not over commercialised to take advantage of tourists. It is what it is. I felt that it was a privilege to be able to simply walk around this interesting village. There is free WiFi in the village centre pastry/bakery shop. The food is excellent! Highly recommend that if one wants to catch up with one's emails that one takes to time enjoy this wonderful bakery.
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  • Kiel
    We simply walked around the town centre.
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  • Lerwick
    KITTYWAKE TOURS! That is all you need to know about what to do in gorgeous Lerwick! We booked privately with 'Kittywake Tours,' and were absolutely mind-blown by our experience. To provide context; Lerwick, was day 23 of a 24 day cruise. 11 months earlier, we had 26 days cruising and touring the Eastern Med (also with HAL). In the previous 12 months we had met many tour guides and visited many magnificent sites. Kitty Corbett, from 'Kittywake Tours,' left every other tour we had been on in her wake.. Kitty totally exceeded our expectations. Kitty was very responsive to our first-contact emails, providing suggestions based on our preferences. We disembarked our cruise ship an hour earlier than we intended, to have a little wander around the port and use the nearby cash machine. We got chatting to some of the locals on the dock whose faces actually lit up when we told them we were doing a Lerwick, tour with Kitty. Everyone knew Kitty and obviously loved her! Kitty greeted us like we were long lost family and immediately made us feel enthusiastic and excited about our day. Our tour of Lerwick and South Shetland with 'Kittywake Tours,' was the absolute highlight of our entire cruise. We shared our tour with another couple from the ship; but on reflection, next time, we would pay the small additional fee to have Kitty to ourselves. Kitty is enchanting, charming, very intelligent, thoughtful and kind! It is obvious that Kitty loves where she lives and loves sharing her insights and incredible local knowledge with awestruck visitors. Our tour was incredibly comprehensive - Kitty managed to fit in an amazing number of breathtaking stops.. we saw Puffins up close, fed Shetland ponies, sat by a smokey peat fire in a historic stone cottage and had a yarn with an elderly local, wandered through an abandoned croft, drove across an active runway, visited a specular lighthouse, toured the most amazing pre-historic to medieval site, visited craft wool shops, visited the 'Shetland,' television sites, visited the best 'Fish & Chippy,' on the Island, and sipped hot chocolate and ate biscuits [UK], cookies [USA], while gazing down on the most magnificent white sandy beaches.
    We highly recommend 'Kittywake Tours,' for anyone lucky enough to visit beautiful Lerwick.
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  • Reykjavik
    A 3 min walk from the ship's gangplank is a tourist souvenir shop with free WiFi. The Go to Joy Iceland, bus collects guests from just outside this souvenir shop. Our tour guide was wonderful. He went above and beyond what we might have expected. We saw an incredible amount of Iceland on this tour. It was very well paced. We feel that we had an advantage over larger tour bus companies. We stopped for photo opportunities, patted Icelandic ponies and enjoyed the flexibility of being with a small group. Highly recommend.
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  • Rostock (Warnemunde)
    We walked across the road from the ship, and caught a Rostock tour bus. The excellent English speaking tour guides were wonderful.
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  • Vasa Museum
    The Vasa Museum was wonderful our HAL tour guide was not so good. He was constantly walking off leaving large contingents of the group behind. This caused anxiety in the crowded Vasa Museum. The guide did have a microphone attached to his collar, so he could easily have said, "we are now going up to the next level," etc. Despite being asked to keep folks updated with his location he continued to walk at his own pace and disregard his group. It was a frustrating tour, because we were reliant on our guide to catch the right bus, (there were dozens), back to the ship. This tour could definitely been organised much better, including dropping folks off a other tourist points.
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  • Torshavn
    We did the HAL - RIB Safari, inflatable tour. Instructions provided prior to the cruise indicated that we would need our "own waterproof shoes, trousers, and coats." We complied with the tour suggestions, but need not have bothered, as the 'RIB Safari,' tour provided waterproof jumpsuits in a good variety of sizes. It was a little awkward & undignified getting from the small jetty down into the RIB, but everyone managed with much laughter. Perhaps consideration should be given to providing some sort of temporary step stool, just to help with embarkation and disembarkation. It was truely wonderful to speed across the beautiful waters to circumvent the small islands off the coast and spy the local seals, puffins and other birds. After our tour we wandered around the delightful town centre and then caught the free hop on hop off city tourism board provided bus.
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