Holland America needs to do some serious updating to this ship. During the first half....the Baltic portion, there were 2 fires on the ship while we were at sea. The first one was a fire in the 4th deck galley and the 2nd one was an electrical fire in one of the common area bathrooms. Quite scary and disconcerting. We only did 1 ship excursion on this portion, which turned out to be a disaster. The bus we were on to go to Berlin broke down about 30 minutes after our 7 am departure. We didn't get back to the ship until 11 pm. Long day. To make a long story short....there were a series of other things that happened while waiting for transportation to Berlin. Holland America thought a good compensation was to not just drive by some of the major points of interest, but to stop and let us get out. They also thought that a less than par boxed lunch at 2:30 was compensation for the failed trip. NOT! As it was, the excursion we originally signed up for supposedly didn't get enough people so for $50 more pp we could go on this "ill fated" one.
During the second half of the trip...the British and Irish Isles...we spent the entire time running from weather and trying to find a "safe port" to go to. Days for ports were changed, 5 ports (tender) were missed and replaced with 2 ports Torquay, England and Cobh, Ireland....nothing special. We missed Holyhead and Fishguard, Wales. Plymouth, Ilfracome, and St. Peter Port, England. It was kind of a catch 22 as our captain was cautious, but in some ways seemed extremely/overly cautious, but overall glad we finally made it back to Amsterdam safely. Since we didn't know most of the time which ports we were going to, where we weren't going and ports changed almost daily, everyone started calling it the "mystery" cruise. And before anyone says anything....yes, I had read other reviews about travel during this time to these areas, but honestly didn't think it would be as bad as it was. We also had 2 more electrical fires during this portion. One on the opposite side of our deck (glassware steamer/cleaner) and the other during the middle of the night (laundry room). Thankfully (?) they were both while we were in port and not in the middle of the ocean. Overall the food and entertainment were great. Our room steward was good also. I would NOT recommend going on this ship until it gets some much needed updating (1997 the age) and would NOT recommend doing a cruise to the Baltic's/British, Irish Isles during September and October. We pretty much had rain and cold weather (pea sized hail) in Copenhagen the entire trip....so much so that when the sun would peak out or we had a rare day of sunshine while we were in port....we were all so pleasantly surprised!
Overall there seemed to be quite a bit of confusion and uncertainty about ports, how long we would be in a port, show changes and time changes for the shows during the second half. The above is just a "brief" summary of this 28 day cruise...trust me....there's more!
After booking what we thought was an obstructed oceanview cabin....category H, 2 weeks before sailing we got an email saying we were "upgraded" to a category G room with 2 portholes. This supposed "upgrade" was at the very front (aft) of the ship, on a lower deck and a very small room.The categories listed above do not have this cabin. I had to "choose" a cabin from the drop down list, but the description of it being a large ocean view room was definitely not the case. I tried to change this cabin back to our original category numerous times before we sailed and then when we got on the ship to no avail. We were told that there were no other cabins available during our first 14 day cruise, but there might be during the second 14 day. They would let us know. Never heard a word and had to spend the whole 28 days in this cabin. Quite uncomfortable with the high waves and rough seas we encountered many times during the 28 days. We were woken up several times in the middle of the night to a horrific slamming sound as the ship was hitting the waves.....again....we did not choose to be...nor would we ever would have chosen to be in the front of the ship....but according to Holland America this was an "upgrade" because our view wasn't obstructed....nope...we had clear views of the large waves and swells.
Loved Amsterdam! We actually had a sunny day each time we were there!
Aarhus, Denmark is a wonderful port! Loved being able to walk around on our own even though it was rainy and cold for the better part of the day. Don't miss lunch at Grandma's Kitchen restaurant. Very quaint and cozy. Food was wonderful!
Bus broke down 30 minutes after leaving port. Quite a bit of confusion as to how we were going to get to Berlin. 3 hours later we were taken in 2 separate taxis. Rushed tour. No compensation from Holland America except a "boxed lunch"....that wasn't originally included...nothing special....View All 100 Berlin Reviews
Tallin was a wonderful port! Easy walking around on your own port. Easy walk from dock to the town.
Beautiful, but were not allowed to take pictures in this room.View All 114 Amber Room Reviews
Beautiful palace. Long line to get in... in the rain and cold. They need a better system for entry.View All 226 Catherine Palace Reviews
Beautiful church.View All 210 Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood Reviews
Great tour.View All 378 City Tour Reviews
So much to see and so little time! We were lucky to get in early before all the crowds got there though.View All 377 Hermitage Museum Reviews
Great tour, but cold and windy.View All 152 Neva River Cruise Reviews
Only toured the outside grounds with all of the fountains. Beautiful!View All 231 Peterhof Palace Reviews
A cathedral is a cathedral. LolView All 113 St. Isaac's Cathedral Reviews
Although we were soaked to the bone from riding on the bikes in the pouring, cold rain, the owner who took us around was great!View All 38 Beatles Tour Reviews
We did the hop on hop off bus around the city. Very informative and you could get off and on where you wanted.
Port is quite far from city center. Had to pay for a ship's shuttle to get there. Weather was awful. Didn't stay in city very long, unfortunately.
Overnight. Port is in a commercial area and not convenient to city center. Had to take ship's shuttle, which was a nightmare because they had 4 buses for over 1,400 people. Needless to say...we waited a long time in the cold and rain. As a result, we missed a bike tour that we had booked independently. We saw pea sized hail several times the first night and the next day.
Excellent place where the ship docks! You can just walk off and walk into the city.
Great tour of the Guinness Storehouse, which was a stop on the Hop on Hop Off Bus.View All 22 Guinness Storehouse Reviews
Beautiful, historic college.View All 24 Trinity College Reviews
Great stop! Interactive museum.View All undefined undefined Reviews
Lovely old town. Long bus ride to and from ship.View All undefined undefined Reviews