We flew from Newark, NJ. to Amsterdam to begin our cruise of the British Isles and were met immediately by the HAL representative. The transfer to the ship was wonderful. However, once at the port I asked myself why I was taking another HAL cruise. Passengers were embarking while others were disembarking, so there was no place for the bus driver to stop. Once in the building, we were told that we had to wait - only those with suites and pent house cabins were being called to register. The place was full of tired, hungry passengers and they just kept calling those with suites and pent houses.I don't know why they just don't have a special area set aside for those people so that they don't have to wait in line and everyone else can register when they arrive.
Once onboard, we here herded, like cattle, to the Lido dining room which is cafeteria style. There we found, as usual on HAL, lots of food which is mediocre at best. It was being served as though it were the finest caviar - a very thin layer of tuna salad that didn't even cover the piece of bread on my sandwich
The cabin itself was fine but we were told that our verandah was private - not the case. Everyone above us could look right down upon us. Our cabin stewards were wonderful. We chose to eat dinners at our own time by ourselves in the Vista dining room but we could never get a table to 2. When we tried to make reservations they were always booked. The only time the there was a table for 2 was when my husband told the maitre d' that this was going to be our last HAL cruise if he had to sit a a table for 10. The problem is that so many of the people on Holland America are elderly and that is fine but it is hard to make dinner conversation with people so much older. And, we just wanted to eat by ourselves. Breakfast in the Vista Restaurant is always a disaster on all HAL ships. They just can't get the timing right - my food would come 15 minutes before my husband's, most of the time we were never served rolls. The wait staff just walks in circles and we wait and complain and wait some more. They really want you to eat the cafeteria food in the Lido.
The cabin itself was fine. The bathroom was tiny and the closed toilet served as much needed counter space. The verandah was never cleaned - the floor was always dirty - and anyone above us could look right down on us so we had no privacy. We were located at the back of the ship which meant that we could only look at where we had been, not where we were going! Our original cabin was a verandah on the starboard side and at the very last minute we received an e-mail notifying us that there had been a change. When we called HAL to find out why, we were told that this was a better cabin. We were told that the verandah was private but it was not and I didn't like that the woman at the HAL office had lied.