This ship is the latest in the Pinnacle class for Holland America. I wanted to sail on the new ship, even as I read reviews from veteran HAL cruisers warning about elimination of some of the charm of the older ships. I agree with those reviews; the ship seems very crowded in the Lido cafe during rush times; the World Theater can get too crowded. The promenade deck has been cut down and there are none of the wooden deck lounges which allow you to sit out on deck and enjoy the sea views and air. Do not get me wrong - the ship is beautifully appointed, the staff service is excellent. I found the Main dining room choices rather limited and enjoyed dinner in the Canaletto and Nami Sushi restaurants much more. We stayed in a Vista Balcony suite which made excellent use of storage space and had numerous USB outlets for charging devices. Beds are very comfortable and the shower is excellent. But, as another reviewer has said, it now feels like we are nickel and dimed on board. The shore excursion prices are exorbitant (especially in Saint Petersburg---I opted for a local travel group TJ Travel that provided an excellent, small group tour in a van as oppposed to 50 on a bus for $100 less than HAL). Sea day activities were meh.... I did very much enjoy the Music Walk performances of the BB King Blues Theater, Billboard performances, and the Rock and Roll band. The Lincoln Center quartet was also very nice. This was my 5th cruise with HAL - if I were to sail again, I would seek out the smaller refurbished ships.
This cabin was very comfortable and made great use of available storage. The numerous electric outlets, which included USB ports, was appreciated. I enjoyed the spacious shower and the beds were comfortable. I do find that the duvets can be too heavy, so was using the small fleece blanket. Cabin Steward noticed this and made my bed up with that and a top sheet. Excellent service from Rizky and Roy. We enjoyed the balcony and the lounge chairs provided. Liked the fact that they provided us with an umbrella, binoculars, and the fleece blankets as well as robes, slippers, and a HAL shopping bag.
We arrived 2 days earlier than embarkation to take advantage of visiting Amsterdam again. Enjoyed seeing the refurbished Rijks museum and enjoyed a canal cruise. Also braved the airport to Centraal Station train ride and return - very efficient and less expensive than HAL transports.
Ok to get an overview of the city and see some of it from the water.
Walked into town, did a bit of shopping. Easy access to ship
Lovely town to walk. Found grocery store where all the crew shops and purchased some necessities. Also found pharmacy convenient. At the port TI, exchanged euros for rubles for St Petersburg trip - exchange rate was 1 euro = 60 rubles. Not the greatest but gave me the currency I needed to use in St Petersburg.
Hop on/Hop off tour - very expensive through HAL - hard to get audio tour part to work, traffic in Stockholm was horrendous so luckily I took this in the a.m. rather than worry about getting back to the ship on time.
Walked into town only - didn't wish to spend 1.5 hours traveling to Hamburg. Shopped and enjoyed the scenery.
Mind boggling gilt in many of the areas. Very much like Versailles. So glad I got the chance to see it.
Liked all the mosaic pictures