Holland America Rotterdam Review

A wonderful 9 days onboard Rotterdam!

Review for the Southern Caribbean Cruise on Holland America Rotterdam
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KathrynwithaK
2-5 Cruises • Age 40s

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Sail Date: Feb 2024
Traveled with children

My family of four including 2 kids, age 11 and 7, sailed on Rotterdam for 9 days in February 2024 and had a wonderful time! This is our 3rd HAL cruise and they continue to impress. The crew on board Rotterdam is fantastic! I'm so impressed with how hard they work and their ability to remember all of our names by the end of the 1st day of the cruise. HAL still does housekeeping twice a day which I appreciate and their crew is just amazing all around. We had two staterooms: 1) Signature Suite on the 7th floor mid-ship and 2) Verandah Guarantee on 8th floor Aft. Originally we had two connecting verandah's but they gave us the opportunity to upgrade a few days before the cruise and only had 1 signature suite left so my daughter and I stayed in that room and my husband and son took the verandah on 8. The signature suite was incredible. Huge, comfortable, great location. The shower is my absolute favorite and I wish I could replicate it at home. In my opinion, the signature suite was worth every extra penny. It was a great size and all four of us spent time hanging in the suite during the day and then went off to our own rooms at night. The verandah room was tiny but adequate for my son and husband. The bathroom in the verandah room was ridiculously small but not uncommon for cruise ships. Love the modern decor on this ship. We knew there was a risk booking a verandah guarantee room and sure enough, it was in a less than ideal location on the ship directly below the Sea View Bar and Sea View Pool where you could smell smoke on the balcony at all times and the noise of chairs moving in the morning was annoying, according to my husband. It wasn't as bad as he thought it would be but definitely something to think about if you are sensitive to noise. I would stay away from Deck 8 all together if you want peace and quiet because the floor above consists of both pools and the lido market.

A few tips that I'll share: 1) If you like drinking out of a straw, bring your own on board. They are hard to find (only at bars) and paper which I can't stand. I was so glad that our Uber driver to the port recommended stopping at Walgreens to grab some before we boarded. I used them every meal. 2) Service at Lido is very slow. They have 1 or 2 servers for huge sections so I recommend grabbing your own coffee and water at the drink station in Lido instead of waiting for the servers because you might be waiting a while. I also grabbed lots of Splenda packets and carried them in my purse so I didn't have to worry about asking for sweeteners every time I ordered iced tea. Unfortunately, you do have to rely on servers for lemonade and iced tea. 3) The Rotterdam has Starlink internet and it's pretty fast and reliable. Tip: Instead of buying an internet package for every person in your party, just buy one MultiDevice Plan. It allows for either 4 or 6 devices to connect (even at the same time). I wish I had known this as it would have saved me hundreds of dollars! 4) If you like to lay out by the pool, plan to get there very early if you want a chair. The pool chairs were full every morning by 7 am and people would leave towels unattended on them all day which was really frustrating. The Lido pool was always way more crowded than the Sea View Pool (Adults Only). The pool is also tiny and was very warm so we didn't really enjoy it very much. If you have kids, expect to get dirty looks from older people who don't want them there. My kids were perfectly behaved and my son was yelled at by an older gentleman for simply enjoying the pool. This happened a few times. Some adults on board HAL seem to think it is an adults only line but that is not the case. If you want an adults only experience, try Virgin or Viking. While there aren't many kids on HAL, there are always a few. 50 were on our ship last week out of about 2000 people.

The HAL kids club was great and my son really enjoyed going every night from 7-10. We ate most meals in Lido and the food was really good. We did eat at Pinnacle Grill one night and it was a fantastic meal! I highly recommend the Candied Bacon and Broiled Lobster. The service was impeccable in Pinnacle Grill! We also loved New York pizza (on Deck 9) and the Dive-In (Lido Pool). New York Pizza has snacks every night starting at 8:30 like popcorn, giant soft pretzels, and buffalo wings among things. We went there almost every night before bed! The staff at New York pizza couldn't have been sweeter and even let my son help make his own pizza several times.

Cabin Review

Our accommodation comprised two staterooms, a Signature Suite on the 7th floor mid-ship and a Verandah Guarantee on the 8th floor Aft. A last-minute upgrade presented us with the opportunity to experience the opulence of the Signature Suite, and it was truly worth every extra penny. The suite was not only spacious and comfortable but also boasted a location that enhanced our overall enjoyment. The standout feature was the shower, a personal favorite that I wish I could replicate at home. The Verandah room, while smaller, proved adequate for my son and husband, although the bathroom was notably compact, a common occurrence on cruise ships. The modern decor of the ship added a touch of sophistication to the overall ambiance.

However, our choice of a Verandah Guarantee room came with a minor drawback. Positioned directly below the Sea View Bar and Sea View Pool, our balcony occasionally carried the scent of smoke, and the morning noise from moving chairs, according to my husband, was mildly bothersome. For those seeking tranquility, avoiding Deck 8 altogether is advisable, given its proximity to both pools and the Lido Market on the floor above.

Port Reviews

Aruba

Loved Aruba! We took at 7-minute taxi to Eagle Beach and spent the day there!

Curacao

Not my favorite port. Taxi's are expensive and not plentiful. $50 to the beach and you have to pre-arrange a pick-up time which I didn't like. Beaches in Curacao tend to be rocky. Not my favorite place. I've been twice now.

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