The cruise was chosen because of the itinerary. This was our third Holland America Cruise.
It was a Baltic Sea cruise with an itinerary that included 9-10 ports in 7 countries in 14 days.
We didn't believe the food in the Pinnacle Grill (with an upcharge of $39 per person) was any better than the food in the main dining room (where there was generally a better selection, too). The entertainment in the main show room was okay, some evenings better than other. None of it was spectacular. The comedian was fresh and funny. Entertainment at the piano bar was okay. The pianist had a good repertoire and played well, but didn't have a voice to match. I have more comments in the cabin review. Ports seemed to be well chosen and excursions were generally good. We had an issue in St. Petersburg, Russia, where arrangements to visit the Hermitage were not well handled. After waiting for an hour to gain entrance, and about time for the museum to close, the tour operator rushed us through a single exhibit (spent maybe 20 minutes) rather than canceling and refunding. Traffic conditions that day were atrocious, and we were delivered back to the ship an hour after it should have sailed. Fortunately, since the excursion was sold by the cruise line, the ship waited for us. We all received an apology from HAL and a 25% rebate on the cost of the excursion.
Large suite, plenty of room and closet space. But, bathtub leaked on two occasions, jetted tub failed to operate on one occasion, room safe shorted out and we couldn't open on one occasion. All of these issues were promptly addressed and repaired, and an apologetic note with a bottle of wine followed each. Of our many cruises, this is the first time we've experienced issues with a cabin. Since each issue was quickly resolved, I would call them "annoyances" rather than major problems. The cabin stewards were very pleasant and accommodated all of our requests, but we had a few "annoyances" there, too. They periodically forgot to refill ice buckets. They periodically failed to renew coffee products. They periodically failed to replace used glasses, leaving none or only one a few times. Each time we mentioned an issue, it was quickly and satisfactorily handled. Again, it is the first time we have experienced these kind of annoyances. This was our third Holland America cruise, but we have been on many others. We chose this cruise because the timing and itinerary was what we wanted, not necessarily because of the cruise line or the ship. We have had extended (21-day) cruises on both the Nieuw Amsterdam and the Volendam, and had no problems on either. Food in the main restaurant was good (not great) and at least as good as that in the Pinnacle, where we ate on four occasions. We canceled our last reservation in the Pinnacle. The itinerary was everything we hoped, and the excursions were as expected. No issues there. Entertainment in the main show room was mediocre. Piano bar entertainer was good on the piano and put on a good show, but wasn't much of a vocalist. There were other entertainment venues on the ship, and they get good marks from me. Overall, the cruise gets a good review - despite the annoyances - but we have never been on a cruise that required as many calls to the desk for assistance.
Long walk, raining, wind 40+ mph, temperature about 50 Fahrenheit. Stayed only a few minutes, then walked back to a cafe to wait out the time remaining. Not the fault of the cruise line or tour operator, but not a good experience.
Very interesting. Many points of interest, including a pharmacy that claims to have been in business since opening in 1492.
Not much to offer in Helsinki. We jumped off the tour in Market Square and spent the afternoon there. That made for a pleasant afternoon.
Not to be missed. Open since 1853, said to be the inspiration for Disneyland.
Lunch in the area. Ski jump is spectacular and worth a visit.