Having cruised with a number of different lines over the years we chose our first Holland America cruise recently because of the destinations it was going to in the South Pacific. After having been on the ‘geriatric express’ that is Princess Cruises (because it was going o PNG) we were a little apprehensive but told that HAL appealed to the more discerning traveller wishing to ‘experience’ fine cuisine and luxury. Interesting.
We quickly noted that quite a number of the patrons did seem to be from that precious, tedious class of human beings. A mix of many races and languages with a fair few Americans. Everything on board was very much geared to American tastes and interests. (We ran a little private contest to spot somebody smiling - it took 3 days.)
Example: in the middle of the hot Pacific Islands there was an inordinate number trooping off to the Dining Room all decked out in suits or tuxedos and finery. As a person who has spent his whole life wearing suits I sure don’t want to put one on while on holidays in the steamy Pacific.
Our basic suite, for which we paid near $10,000 was a bit tired. For the first time on a cruise ship we received no ‘onboard credit’. The cooling cupboard (fake fridge) was the worst we’ve encountered. The clothing cupboard space was limited. On a positive note the desk with an ocean view window was nice. The small cheap TV was dreadful. The speakers were shot which made watching anything really miserable. We reported it to the front desk and were told “Yes, it is bad but the ship is going in for refurbishment in October and these tv’s will be replaced. In other words, “Suck it up, Sir.”
(NB HAL cabins include a DVD player and there’s library of DVDs available, so having a useless TV was doubly frustrating.)