Truly enjoyed seeing the Fjords of Norway and starting/ending at Amsterdam. I needed time connecting with nature and this cruise provided many opportunities to do that. 95% of staff was awesome, and I think that is all one can reasonably ask because there is no such thing as perfection. Beautuful ship; love the art theme. Musical and dance entertainment was outstanding. I am in awe of the Lincoln Center stage performers and the amazing creativity of the dance performances. Many fun nights dancing ourselves at BB King venue and what talent in the dual piano bar, being able to play such a huge repertoire upon request, no time to practice ahead. We fell in love with the Dutch Cafe and their amazing hard working staff and yummy food offerings. Nearly all the food we had was wonderful. Most service in the dining room was great, but when one chooses open seating over a set time, as we did for this cruise, its never going to be as good as when you have the same waiters every night and develop a relationship with them, so I attribute the couple nights it wasn't great to that. My only complaint about food is the gigantic trays used for room service. They will barely fit through the door and are heavy and take up massive space in an already cramped cabin. They need to have two sizes. The big ones for multiple meals and half size for small orders. I felt sorry for the room service staff, and us, when we had to manever them. We did not use the Holland America shore excursions due to their price so my average rating on that is just because there is no "not applicable" button. Was disappointed that nearly all the guided excercise activities cost extra. Never have experienced that before on the cruises I have done with Celebrity, Carnival & Royal Carribean. I will do pilates because its good for me, but I'm not paying $20 to put myself through that misery. :) No worries; I got my excercise hiking in the Norwegian countryside and dancing to the BB King All Stars. So all in all a great cruise and Holland America did a nice job. If I'm ever traveling with two or three friends again, I will choose a different cruise line if at all possible due to their cabin design. However if I had been sharing a room with just one other person I would have given this cruise five stars!
Ugh! Because I travel on a budget I have always shared my stateroom with my friends or siblings, but never remember being this cramped. I shared the room with three other friends so we got one of the limited number of quad rooms. We assumed it was going to be laid out as other quad rooms in ships we have been on, with a full length sofa bed, and a bunk above that, along with the primary bed in the middle that can be queen sized or two twins. Instead they hang the bunk bed over the top of the primary bed - we all bumped our head on that bunk bed at least once. The sofa did not push down futon style to be a comfy full size bed or twin if preferred. Instead it was love seat length and pulled out like a regular sofa bed into a twin bed only, harder and shorter than the other beds, and making it impossible for anyone to get to the balcony without climbing over it once the beds were prepped for the night. There was about 1 foot of space between the ends of the primary bed and wall, so getting around the room was a bit of a challenge even when the beds weren't turned out. Yes there was great storage space and the shower was awesome, as other reviewers mention, but if I ever travel as a group of four again I will look at a different cruise line first, for I understand this is how Holland America designs all their quad rooms. One of my friends suggested that by making it uncomfortable they hope it will inspire upgrades. Certainly a business minded idea, but a budget is a budget, so it wont push me into a higher price point, it will simply push me to a different cruiseline. Seeing what the stateroom looks like with the beds turned out is going to be part of my cruise research from here on out. No more assumptions.
Took the round trip bus available from the tourist offuce just outside the ship to the falls then hiked the lovely trail to the viking graves and "beach." Great day of beautiful scenery.
We did our own thing in Amsterdam both before and after the cruise. Canal cruise, tour of a canal house, "This is Holland" experience, swings on top of "I am A'dam", hop on/off of the Holland country side, yummy food, Rick Steve's walking tour. It was great fun!
It was a rainey day so we shopped and ate our way through this pretty little town.
We did an independent excursion to a family farm and cheese making site far up in the mountains and inland. It was nice to take a break from the water and see some countryside. We dud stop to see the seven sisters falls from a lookout point, and the ship also did a special 360 degree turn that night so we coukd see it up close from below. Beautiful!
I loved the town center of Bergen and would like to go back someday to spend more time there. We did an independent boat excursion that took us to the end of a smaller fjord. So much beauty!