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248 Transpacific Repositioning Cruise Reviews

The embarkation got us off to a rough start. As Diamond Plus, we were seated in an "exclusive" area and started boarding right after the suites and pinnacles. We soon ground to a halt in the cattle chutes for Australian ... Read More
The embarkation got us off to a rough start. As Diamond Plus, we were seated in an "exclusive" area and started boarding right after the suites and pinnacles. We soon ground to a halt in the cattle chutes for Australian immigration, with a shore team person directing each next-in-line to the next available immigration officer. The next thing we knew, our line stopped completely while an express line was opened up and the shore team person started directing them to the immigration officers. Must be some late arriving suites I thought, but then several of us caught a glimpse of one person's boarding pass as they came by and it was Platinum. We started complaining, asking why Diamond Plus guests were being held up so that Platinums could board and the answer was "we are doing it like Royal Caribbean wants". Yeah, right. The Goods: - Deck patrol staff were all over attempted chair hogs, with the result that one could find a lounger anywhere, anytime. KUDOS! - Staff were also all over people entering any dining venues, with multiple hand sanitizer stations at the entrance AND a staff member there with a squirter in case someone bypassed the sanitizer stations. KUDOS! - The standard evening show schedule was 7:00 and 9:00, instead of bouncing around with some late shows, so that we could arrange for a regular My Time Dining reservation. - Production shows were excellent - and for once not over-amplified. - Guest entertainers were all good, with one exception noted below. - Very friendly staff and excellent servers in the bars and the dining venues. The Bads: - There was no attempt to organize an orderly queue for the ice show and the lines sometimes disintegrated into a mob since some people are blind to existing queues and just saunter on up to the door. I suggested to the staff that they set up a row of stanchions to get a line started, but to no avail. - The food in the MDR and the Foodjammer was varied and well presented, but somebody ordered too much salt and was trying to get rid of it. Some dishes were so over-salted to the point they were not palatable. (Disclaimer - we use salt sparingly and almost never add it at the table, so we are sensitive to over-salted foods) - Mobility devices were allowed to be stored in several of the corridors overnight and it took several complaints to guest services and the ship's safety officer to get the offending passengers to park them in their stateroom instead of the exit corridors. - The Elton John imitator sucked big time and people stared leaving before his first number - which stretched ad nauseum - was even over. The Uglys: - I tend to get ugly with the almost constant pressure to buy beverage packages and specialty dining, especially after being interrupted several times during mealtime in the Foodjammer, but I try to smile since the staff are being forced to turn on the high pressure sales tactics and it's not them personally. Maybe next cruise I'll just wear a big "NO" button. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
Wanted the experience of crossing the Pacific and this did not disappoint. The embarkation was a debacle but once on board the staff and crew really delivered. Kudos to Graham and his entertainment team that worked so hard for us on the ... Read More
Wanted the experience of crossing the Pacific and this did not disappoint. The embarkation was a debacle but once on board the staff and crew really delivered. Kudos to Graham and his entertainment team that worked so hard for us on the many sea days. Some of the entertainment was terrible namely the juggling firemen (more suited to a kids birthday party than cruise ship entertainers) and the Elton John impersonator whom I had seen on another cruise and if anything his act has got worse. Please RCCL don't book him again the man has no talent. However we were treated to some excellent entertainers not least of which was the rock violinist and her husband. Two extremely talented people. Captain Rick sang (badly) for us. As the saying goes don't give up your day job. He was very visible around the ship and very approachable. Our dining room staff were excellent, entertaining us with magic tricks at the end of our dinner, Rohan and Samuel great job! My room steward was attentive took care of any little requests I had, was visible without being intrusive. The Diamond lounge and Concierge club coffee machines had long lines due to the number of Diamond, Diamond Plus and Pinnacle members on this sailing. RCCL should consider adding specialty coffees to the Seapass just like the complimentary evening beverages to alleviate this problem when they are aware of how many guests with certain tier status are traveling on a particular sailing. Just an observation. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
This is a great cruise if you like sea days. It was 24 nights and it crossed the date line and the equator. Suva to Hawaii 7 nights cruising and Hawaii to Seattle 6 nights cruising. Also going east the ship looses time so as to match ... Read More
This is a great cruise if you like sea days. It was 24 nights and it crossed the date line and the equator. Suva to Hawaii 7 nights cruising and Hawaii to Seattle 6 nights cruising. Also going east the ship looses time so as to match the destination time. We loose 1 hour every few days and 1 Day when you cross the date line. Better going the other way. The crew were fantastic at all times and were eager to please. At times it got a little bumpy. As we neared America it became bumpier. The weather changed and it became cold on deck. A few brave cruises tried the pools but us Aussie's just rugged up. The ice skating on Studio B was fantastic. Got to see 3 shows and it was a full house every time. Went as a single and joined the singles/solo group. Made many new friends. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
It terminated in Seattle,which suited us,while the food and entertainment was in the most part good some of the entertainment sucked( Elton John and a comedian? )Graham Seymour was excellent doing a difficult job,shore excursions were ... Read More
It terminated in Seattle,which suited us,while the food and entertainment was in the most part good some of the entertainment sucked( Elton John and a comedian? )Graham Seymour was excellent doing a difficult job,shore excursions were handled well,the shops were good but there is only so much you can purchase,We were not happy with the ,in my opinion the underhanded charges for gratuities,at $13.50 u.s.per person per day it is doubling up on gratuities for one cabin which is only " serviced" once a day,We were never informed at time of booking that gratuities were extra nor at any time on the voyage,and on a previous Royal Caribbean cruise only 18 months previous there were no such charges. On returning to Australia and querying the charges was told there was nothing they could do as the gratuities had already been paid,having been in business for many years I find that excuse while ingenious some what unusual. We will not travel with Royal Caribbean again and I urge others to thoroughly check and get in writing any extras they may be charged Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
We chose this cruise as we wanted to go to USA the long way round! It was a great cruise made better by the wonderful people we met, and got to know a little of, while aboard. 23 days sounds a long time, but the days flew by with trivia, ... Read More
We chose this cruise as we wanted to go to USA the long way round! It was a great cruise made better by the wonderful people we met, and got to know a little of, while aboard. 23 days sounds a long time, but the days flew by with trivia, great entertainment, interesting lectures - did I mention trivia - cocktails, quiet times, trivia!! The meals were great even if the "Windjammer" was constantly crowded. The MDR was elegant and our wait staff superb. Every now and agin we would return to the cabin - with balcony btw - to find another towel sculpture on one of the beds. Although there were over 3000 passengers, we did not feel crowded and could nearly always find a pleasant spot to sit and read. But there were so many interesting people on board that we frequently just sat and catted instead of getting lost in a book. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
We chose this cruise after seeing an advert in the UK DMail in late 2015 and just fancied the itinerary. I thought, 'looks interesting, like those stop-offs, I wonder if I can get it for less . . .' After some investigation and ... Read More
We chose this cruise after seeing an advert in the UK DMail in late 2015 and just fancied the itinerary. I thought, 'looks interesting, like those stop-offs, I wonder if I can get it for less . . .' After some investigation and maths I found that we could go on the cruise, plus have a few nights in start and finish destinations for the same amount. So we went ahead and booked and so glad we did. It became, honestly, the holiday of a lifetime; 30 days away with the 17 day Pacific cruise as the highlight. Ok, first the best bits: the stateroom accommodation was excellent, better than on previous cruise lines we had used. The crew were extremely friendly and efficient and actually spoke to passengers, started conversations, which was so refreshing. The ships facilities were also very good and finally the food superb. Now for the cons: the drinks were very expensive and even with having a drinks package I felt it difficult to make the most of the outlay (we both needed a rest to our livers when we arrived home!). The Captain, God bless him, was difficult to understand being Greek and although he was undoubtedly a fine sailor, communication and presence was not his strongest virtue, and this applied to some of the officers to. Some people found that having 2 lots of 5 continuous days at sea was too much; maybe a better thought out itinerary with additional stops would have been better. Food, as I said, was very good but not as varied as other lines we have used and, just one complaint, the iced tea was awful! In addition, some shore excursions were poorly managed and not what I had hoped for. Finally, I am by profession a maritime engineer with some 50 years experience and currently have my own ship safety engineering company in the UK; during my trip behind the scenes (additional 99$ cost!) I saw a number of areas which need review from a safety point of view - nothing major I should add, but areas that need tightening up. But saying all that, we met some new friends, most cruisers were very friendly and I would definitely recommend Celebrity and would not hesitate to cruise with them again. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
Embarkation Was seamless, we are Elite Plus level and we do enjoy some benefits such as early embarkation, hey we have cruised a large number of cruises with them, Royal Caribbean and 1 with Azamara Journey (wasn't really all that ... Read More
Embarkation Was seamless, we are Elite Plus level and we do enjoy some benefits such as early embarkation, hey we have cruised a large number of cruises with them, Royal Caribbean and 1 with Azamara Journey (wasn't really all that good and not 5 star). Glass of bubbly is still available if you like on boarding the vessel, they haven't removed that yet, give them time! Ship Condition Overall it was good inside it is showing some signs of wear and tear however, we have been on this ship for 6 cruises and it now has paint flaking off it, not seen that before, maintenance appears not a priority anymore. Staff and Service Only recognised two staff that we had previously met on this ship, they were both bar staff and were as good as ever. Although the older of the two was a little unhappy as the management were not quite up to scratch and were more concerned about selling drink packages and speciality restaurant packages than ensuring that the customers were being looked after, shame really! Our cabin steward was missing in action for most of the first day, we asked about the bottle of sparkly we are supposed to get as part of the Concierge package, well you would think we were asking for $1000 OBC, he said we have to ask for it now, and for bathrobes, etc, etc. He was the worst room steward ever, we also were on the cruise afterward back to back to Vancouver, the service went from bad to worse, and he accused us of stealing something on our last night, that was the last straw! Guest Relations staff, except for the Manager, are rude and non accommodating. We had transferred our 2 cruises from Asian cruises to the Sydney to Hawaii and Hawaii to Vancouver and we had been the 3 perks package transferred over $300 OBC, free gratuities, and the Classic Alcohol and non alcohol drink package (CALL) for both cruises, we had this is black and white from our travel agent, who had it in writing from Miami office of Celebrity. Well we had the fight of our life to get the CALL package honoured, 5 hours later after lunch, we finally managed to have it honoured after we spoke to several customer service people, managers, they called our travel agent, and Miami, we think, and we finally had our first drink on the package 6 hours after embarkation. What a joke and a calamity, they have no care or concern for any passengers and especially loyalty club ones with a large number of cruises with them under our belt. Shame we are over them and have not booked anymore cruises with them!! Cabin Was ok however Concierge class is not worth it, it is a rip off big time! Entertainment We have seen most of the crew shows previously, as we cruise a lot 33 or 34 cruises up to this one, not all with Celebrity, we have been with Princess, Azamara, Royal Caribbean, P&O, MSC, HAL, Captain Cook, etc. However guest entertainers was good on the whole! Dining Main Restaurant food has deteriorated to the a level where it is not 5 or even 4 star, the fish was the worst, it had been thinned out by slicing it horizontally and tasted dry and virtually tasteless, the waiter did warn us, we had anytime or select dining although they placed us mainly at the same wait station, with the same waiters. We did manage to go to the other side of the restaurant and see how the service was there. Overall service was ok, however, the waiter management are younger and are not up to scratch as I said previously. Bistro variety was good, food not too bad, they cannot serve poached eggs that the white has been cooked properly, not in the restaurant or especially up in the bistro. Attended the Tuscan on one night, as we received a special price, very nice indeed. However, they are now openly informing us that you cannot get the meals we were used to having in the main dining room anymore, you must purchase the speciality restaurant package to get that quality. Money, money, money, bring back Daniel Hanrahan, get rid of this bean counter who is running the cruise line!! Shore Excursions Didn't go on any, as we had been on this cruise in 2013, and they were good then. Conclusion We were extremely disappointed with Celebrity, from what they used to provide and the great service we once received is all but gone, pity! Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
As per normal boarding was easy and well organized. While there are parts of the ship that do need some attention I have to say it was a great cruise. Of course the norm now is to smash you at every turn with drinks packages, Rest ... Read More
As per normal boarding was easy and well organized. While there are parts of the ship that do need some attention I have to say it was a great cruise. Of course the norm now is to smash you at every turn with drinks packages, Rest packages and now even ship tours. The other regular thing that seems to be the norm is price increases and it never ends. We were on this ship in Feb and did the Galley tour with lunch It was a good tour and we had lunch at chops grille. As we were on with friends we decided to do it with them and of course it was more expensive, less time and no chops Grille but just in the dinning room and it was about 10% more expensive than Feb. Overall however, great cruise, staff were excellent, Cruise Director and staff the best I have ever had. The food was great, and yes drinks expensive still however I did notice cocktail of the day went from $12 US to $8 US this cruise which was something anyway. The loyalty program is fantastic as we are Diamond Plus members. Room was all good and our Room attendant Janna was awesome. I have to admit my bucket list included a trip to Tahiti islands and Hawaii. If you are into water sports you will love them but apart from that they are super expensive and not a lot to do. After Tahiti I thought Bali was heaps cheaper and just as good I did my Pearl Harbor tour so I was happy. Now comes the BUT !!! Twice in 2 cruises now we have caught the dreaded Cold/Flu. I recall 1 staff member saying they had it for 15 days which would make me believe there is a big chance staff are spreading it. Both my wife and I were as sick as could be and she had 2 visits to the doctor which is a very expensive exercise. I was in bed almost the whole time from Bora Bora to Hawaii. We do cruise a lot but I am now starting to re think" is it really worth it" ? We paid a lot for this cruise and we spent at least a quarter of it sick and add to that the $330 AUS in doctors fees and it leaves a sour taste I know it is the luck of the draw in most cases and if you do not get it Great !! We enjoyed everything apart from the doctors bill and being sick Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
We were advised by our travel agent to take a relocation cruise to enjoy a lot of extra cruising time, plus the bonus of having a few days in Hawaii before flying home. Sounded like a great idea. My daughter and her husband, both aged in ... Read More
We were advised by our travel agent to take a relocation cruise to enjoy a lot of extra cruising time, plus the bonus of having a few days in Hawaii before flying home. Sounded like a great idea. My daughter and her husband, both aged in their 20s joined us. We had only done one other cruise which was fabulous. Royal Carribbean was sold to us as a 'cut above' and more pitched to adults than families with young children. The reality was that it was an old, but well-maintained ship, only 2 main restaurants (all speciality restaurants at additional cost), plus very little to do on seagoing days. History of WWII talks, religious philosphy, learn to play bridge were the highlights of the daily activity. We felt that the whole cruise was clearly geared towards the elderly. While there were younger folk on board and there was an ongoing Michael Jackson dance contest, but even the evening concert entertainment was geared towards 'seniors'. No waterslides, and none of the onboard activities that you see in the glossy brochures (our fault for not checking more closely). The situation was made worse when rough weather closed all outdoor activity. No pools, no outdoor movies. We slept and read a lot, which was relaxing, but the 'wow' factor was certainly missing and I felt sorry for my daughter and son-in-law who spent most of their time sleeping or reading. Even internet connection wasn't available for a few days while in transit. Disembarkation was so poorly managed, that many passengers were getting angry/anxious about getting off the ship. Despite allowing 5 hours from arriving in port to get to the airport (30 minute drive), we would have missed our flight, had it not been delayed by 2 hours. The ports of call were great, but next time, we'd choose to fly to island resorts, rather than sit in a floating nursing home for 21 days. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
The destinations and sea days appealed to us. Having cruised the radiance many years ago, we had no qualms of using the ship again. Our first encounter with our cabin came as a shock with worn and badly patched curtains and an over all ... Read More
The destinations and sea days appealed to us. Having cruised the radiance many years ago, we had no qualms of using the ship again. Our first encounter with our cabin came as a shock with worn and badly patched curtains and an over all shabbiness. The smell coming from the drains was terrible, our wonderful room steward was unable to help with the smell, the origin of the odour became evident when, whilst taking a shower, I found myself in almost ankle deep backflow from the drain. The bathroom was soon flooded with the terrible odour even worse! Someone was sent to work on the problem, however the odour was ever present. During some rough seas, we were awoken with drawers and cupboard doors flying open and shutting. This too was fixed with maintenance putting Velcro on the doors and drawers. But not till the following day after we had a sleepless night! The public bathrooms were not kept to the same standard of cleanliness, in fact, were quite filthy! We noticed that many cut backs had occurred such as body lotion and conditioner, both of which I had not taken having assumes that as all previous cruises, these were supplied. The crew from the captain down were fabulous . Drinks are over priced, and many of the shows were suitable for children's parties. So thanks to Radiance, cruising is now off our agenda, after all, who wants to spend 18 days on a 2 star ship! Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
Returned yesterday from a Tokyo to Honolulu segment on Symphony. Overall, would rate this ship and the crew as excellent. We chose this cruise for a couple of reasons. First, we love sea days and it doesn't get any better than ... Read More
Returned yesterday from a Tokyo to Honolulu segment on Symphony. Overall, would rate this ship and the crew as excellent. We chose this cruise for a couple of reasons. First, we love sea days and it doesn't get any better than this. Second, we live in Honolulu and wanted the opportunity to leave the ship and be home in 10 minutes by cab. We have previously cruised on Silversea and Seabourn. I would give the Symphony a slight edge. It is a larger ship with more dining options and much better entertainment. Also, I found the crew to be a bit warmer and made us feel more comfortable. We opted for Dining by Reservation. It worked out for us very well. Found a table we liked with a great waiter. I would rate the food a little below Seabourn but not my much. The alternative dining options were very pleasant. Al-in-all a terrific cruise. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
My wife and I boarded the ship in Sydney on 12 April 2017 and stayed on board for 39 nights doing a back to back to back and disembarking in Vancouver, BC after doing the Alaskan inside passage. Where to start the cabin was good we had ... Read More
My wife and I boarded the ship in Sydney on 12 April 2017 and stayed on board for 39 nights doing a back to back to back and disembarking in Vancouver, BC after doing the Alaskan inside passage. Where to start the cabin was good we had a premium balcony for the first 32 days then moved to a Mini Suite for the last 7 days. Comparing a Balcony to Premium Balcony to Mini Suite the best compromise for cost and space is a Premium Balcony. The Mini Suite was great but does come at a higher cost. My thoughts here is that a slightly bigger shower would really be a better compromise by the cruise lines in allocating space within a cabin. Back to the cruise our first impressions the Stewards were tired and it showed in their zero to limited initiative, we found this pretty bad. We had anytime dining which was ok, However we found the buffet better and the Crown Grill awesome. We did two visits to Share which was great and several to Crown. The first 15 days were good getting to Hawaii, and Tahiti is always a fun place, the cruise to Vancouver via Los Angeles was terrible, a time limited stop in LA was the worst for us as it was our first visit there and one of the ports we were looking forward to. Next the Casino, when we sail we love heading to the Casino and playing the Slots and table games, well I can tell you these slots would float if they were thrown overboard, tight does not even start. At any rate after we piled heaps of money into the Casino after which we had to ask for free drinks to put this it into perspective my wife had over 24,000 points, with myself getting to over 7500 points. On other princess cruises this equaled a free drinks package but not here we got a dinner then had to say thanks to the host for the bone thrown! When we left no letter for gaming credits for the next cruise just a website that's it ZERO. The Alaskan cruise was good and the weather perfect, however where there's a will there's Princess to screw something up sure as eggs they did. At Ketchitan Princess decided that one of the largest cruise ship's there should tender while smaller ones docked. There were 5 ships in harbor 3 Princess and 2 Holland America. This meant not getting off the ship until 2pm and missing a much looked forward to ship excursion. To put this into perspective all the ships docked were owned by Carnival so this is pretty poor planning. Exiting and re-entering the ship at Vancouver was a 2 hour wait for pre-boarded guests, un-boarded guests had to wait over 4 hours. Cheap bastards, the coffee cups at the international cafe were changed out so only one small size was available yet you were still charged the as for the larger cups that disappeared. Meaning you were ripped off on the pre-purchased coffee cards. Finally when I had enough of all this crap I called Princess and asked to be put through to a Manager and was refused by the initial person that answered the phone, talk about poor customer service. All I can say is if you want to take a Princess Cruise be warned this ship sucked, and yes I have cruised with them before, being Platinum Cruiser. We have only experienced 1 worse cruise than this on the Carnival Spirit. We have also sailed RCA and NCL. This review is a warts and all account I trust you read it as an honest appraisal. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
The itinerary for this cruise - Japan, South Korea and the N Pacific crossing was great. We enjoyed all the ports. Embarkation and disembarkation was very smooth in Yokohama. Going ashore in the other ports was easy - the only hold ups ... Read More
The itinerary for this cruise - Japan, South Korea and the N Pacific crossing was great. We enjoyed all the ports. Embarkation and disembarkation was very smooth in Yokohama. Going ashore in the other ports was easy - the only hold ups were Japanese immigration but that is to be expected. Favourite ports - Osaka and Incheon Service on the ship was very good but the cutbacks in staffing are putting a huge burden on the remaining staff. This was very apparent in the dining room where service was very slow. The ship is an older ship - it is kept very clean and tidy - but it badly needs to go in to drydock. The only chairs that the bottoms weren't falling out of was in the Canneletto dining room. Seriously, there was a 2" depression in the Rotterdam chairs! Uncomfortable for a leisurely meal! Food - we were not impressed! The meals in the Rotterdam were just okay - biggest complaint was that there were very few vegetables accompanying the entree and we routinely ordered a bowl of steamed vegetables for the table. The food served in the Lido was very much below what I expect on a cruise ship. I have no food issues - I love food - but the choices were over salted and way too many things were fried. I had difficulty finding items for lunch other than a salad. The Asian food bar was usually good but still oversalted. The fresh fruit was awful! Apples and oranges were soft and tasteless, bananas were slimy and black. The fruit salad was a mixture of over ripe and under ripe choices cut so small that it was mushy very quickly. There were very few activities planned for the 6 sea days as we crossed the Pacific - not a lot to do. We may avoid doing another HAL cruise Positive - we saw some of the best entertainment we have seen on a ship. The dancers and singers were exceptional! Very much enjoyed our evenings! Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
A repositioning cruise that took us 36 nights from Auckland/Sydney/Honolulu/Vancouver with no ship problems...so that is a very good and great thing! But service overall ('anytime' main dining) was a big hit & miss for the ... Read More
A repositioning cruise that took us 36 nights from Auckland/Sydney/Honolulu/Vancouver with no ship problems...so that is a very good and great thing! But service overall ('anytime' main dining) was a big hit & miss for the whole cruise - often 3-4 hr dinner service, cold coffee (both breakfast & dinner service), orders not taken right or forgotten, lots of cold and unappealing food served, dry and overcooked food - including fish, cold eggs benny (or solid eggs benny). More often than not dinner entree plates had been sitting 1/2 made up for some time with lumped, cold & glutinized rice or starch on the plate waiting for the meat portion. I never did get a caesar salad that did not have some problem like wilted warmed lettuce. By the end of the cruise nearly everyone was talking and experiencing the same problems in anytime dining....so much so that I've never cruised where so many people stated they'd removed their gratuities. Five star mariners were complaining and writing pages to the front office. Also people were saying never another Holland cruise and some couples cancelled a future cruise they were so upset. By mid cruise we figured out it was better to eat in the Lido...except so many were doing that, it was crowded all the time and you were always walking around looking for seating (breakfast and lunch too)....but at least the food was hot and you could pick and choose what you wanted. All over the ship there were many very cold common areas. And there were many areas where water constantly dripped from the ceilings above - interior Lido area, the spa area, Sports Bar, etc. Seating in the sports bar had pails on them, the Lido walkways had yellow cones where water was on the floor. Carpets in the spa area were sopping wet (and not from pool water, but water from above). And as well seating in the thermal spa area was soaking wet from above.The staff kept the interior shone and very clean, but many areas were in need of repair, carpet replacement, many seat cushions need repadding, etc. No librarian or bridge master anymore. The cruise director - Jeromy Whitehead was lack luster to say the least and his side kick - Marshall, not any better. Usually a cruise director can liven things up...change or set the tone of a cruise...but not this one...he was pretty much not seen and boring when he was...in a suit with a "talking" orange tie is about all. Ship board life got quite boring real fast for the lack of things to do of any real interest. Holland needs to greatly improve in this area - I blame the cruise director. The Neptune party at the equator crossing was put on with no great effort, nor thought compared to others I've experienced. The Crowe's Nest - a great venue onboard - sat empty EVERY night but one of the 36 night cruise!!! - nothing going on. Except for the nightly Vista Lounge entertainment, there was little of to do after dinner after you'd spent a night or two with the Adagio classical duo, or the piano guy, or covered your ears to look in at the BB Blues Band who were way to loud to be enjoyed or anywhere near for long. Even the casino was dead! The passengers who only went from Auckland to Sydney got short changed during the day with presenters as the Vista Lounge was not utilized during the daytime, instead the Queen's Lounge was used - ill-suited for the number of people wanting to attend...so people stood and listened, could not see and left. Even the Maori team were complaining about the wrong venue...but it was not changed. It was terribly crowded - seating/chairs all wrong and uncomfortable. This included using the venue for movies too...nearly unworkable, or any comfortable seating to see anything. The cultural groups aboard (Maori & Hawaiian) were very good and well received....were of great interest and variety...but the 3-4 lecturers were not that great after listening to them more than once. Their topics were just boring and dry...it just became a place to go and sit, kill some time for the most part. They seemed to be 'old hacks' with 'worn' material who were on a 'free' cruise. Holland needs to bring on people who are current, new and not so so boring. I sat at dinner with one of the them as he explained how he was selected (from his agent) and what little work he had to do to change up his presentation to meet some relevancy, but it really was a free cruise and his wife was already looking at choosing and sending another cruise request to his agent. The one thing that Holland does very well is embarkation and disembarkation as well as tendering - on time, smoothly organized. The ship's office is on their game with proper information to your cabin and it runs smoothly and that includes passport and visa work also. And how can I forget to mention the "GIFT" that the Noordam gave nearly all its passengers - a cold/flu virus that morphed to a terrible chest congestion and cough that spread like wildfire. At times in the Vista Lounge all you could hear was coughing...this continued the whole cruise. While I can't entirely blame staff, I can blame quite a few passengers for not remaining in their cabins for a few days and for coughing and sneezing directly into their hands while in the Lido - then proceeding to touch chair arms, serving spoons, etc and spreading it throughout the boat. Also, I saw Lido staff wipe down table after table with the same (now) dirty cloth, then proceed to place clean water glasses upside down onto a wet table top. I also greatly fault Holland for not making any mention of the situation...or for not asking to passengers take and adhere to better precautions. My 2 cents worth. While it was not a cruise from Hell, it was not the cruise I had longingly looked forward to either....despite the good port calls. It will be some time before I cruise with Holland again....from my experience Celebrity or Princess do it so much better. This was my 2nd more than 30-day Holland cruise. Perhaps it was just this cruise, this ship - Noordam, but after reading many other negative reports from Noordam passengers, I know the experiences I had first hand and agree with the negative comments many, many others have also written....so beware!!! Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
Chose it because it went where we wanted to go but didn't ant to go all the way to Vancouver but we were told we couldn't get off in Honolulu unless we paid for entire leg to Canada. That being said the reasons we were terribly ... Read More
Chose it because it went where we wanted to go but didn't ant to go all the way to Vancouver but we were told we couldn't get off in Honolulu unless we paid for entire leg to Canada. That being said the reasons we were terribly disappointed are many. I got food poisoning in the formal dining room and was treated like a criminal for even suggesting that the escargot was bad. The front desk told me to go to my room and stay there until they released me. No one in the medical staff saw me, took my temperature or helped me at all. When I wanted food while in my room no one answered the phone in room service or the front desk for at least an hour. When I finally went to the front desk (yes, I left my room!) they had room service call me.15 ins later they called and took an order for me and my husband they said it would be there in 30 mins. which ended up being an hour and a half later. I called the medical staff to find out when I would be able to leave my room, she told me she would let me know sometime the next day after 9 a.m. and then hung up on me before I could saying anything more. Before they released me they came to "sanitize" our room. Which included wiping down a few surfaces but NOT the phone, door handles or bathroom door or the arm chairs. After they supposedly had sanitized the bathroom, I took a wad of TP and wiped under the rim of the toilet seat. It was filled with brown slime and black mold!!!! I let the front desk know this and they said they would mention it to the proper staff, but it never got cleaned. At least 70-80% of passengers were sick with a cold for the entire 36 days. There weren't any waste cans to dispose of used tissues so people were putting them on their used plates, behind curtains next to the tables etc. on Lido deck. I never saw anyone wipe off the chair arms (sticky, oily film covered the arms) I did see them wipe off the handrails but nothing else. The excursions were pretty lame in some cases very good in a few cases. Orcas were touted on the ship as being plentiful on the Orca Whale watch in Victoria but were nonexistent after 3 hours in the cod and rain. To be honest they should call it a wildlife tour since they said while we were on the tour that they hadn't seen or heard of any Orcas being seen for a long time. There was no more to do on sea days than on in port days but much more crowded of course. No games or entertainment around the pool on sea days. In fact one day they took most of the pool chairs away and had a "big sale" on stuff they hadn't been able to get rid of in the last 30 something days. Service in the Lido dining room was the best thing we experienced. The service people were friendly and hard working. Many times though on sea days we had to bus our own tables and get our own beverages because the help was over worked, not enough help. Roasting the same meats is not my idea of cooking. Pretty much roast pork leg and fried chicken every day. Lots of mashed potatoes and carrots. The salad bar was wonderful and was the saving grace for the food department. Finally the last day was the crowning insult. We paid (through the excursions department) $58 for the 2 of us to be transported to the airport to catch our flight. The whole process was chaos both the ship and the bus company were to blame. There was no sense of urgency through the whole chaotic ordeal and culminated in many of us on our bus missing our flights which of course incurred even more fees and getting home 8 hours later than our original flight. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
We very much enjoyed our 25 day Sydney-San Francisco cruise on Queen Victoria. It was made even more enjoyable by our upgrade to a Princess Grill Suite. The first benefit of the upgrade was the priority embarkation when we went ... Read More
We very much enjoyed our 25 day Sydney-San Francisco cruise on Queen Victoria. It was made even more enjoyable by our upgrade to a Princess Grill Suite. The first benefit of the upgrade was the priority embarkation when we went straight through Immigration and all the other checking in processes, avoiding the very long lines for others not so fortunate. The exclusive Princess Grill dining room is nice, but the dinner arrangements of the same people at the same table, arriving at any time between 6.30pm and 9pm, is not for us. As an example, we could have arrived at our table for 6 persons at 8pm and found the other two couples had arrived at 6.30pm, departing at 8pm. We dined each morning at breakfast in the Princess Grill and the staff were top class, addressing us by name from the second day. As Princess Grill guests we were given 135 minutes free internet time each, indeed a bonus! We relocated to the Brittania Restaurant for dinner, seated at a table for eight. This table for eight made dinner a delightful occasion for the duration of the cruise. The Queens Lounge which is shared by Queens and Princess Suite guests, is very enjoyable for reading quietly and conversation, and the daily afternoon tea is certainly a treat. Afternoon tea in the Queens Lounge is the ultimate in pampering: a private lounge for suite guests, Cunard do afternoon tea brilliantly: white gloved waiters serving finger sandwiches, petit fours, scones with jam and cream. There is a Captain’s Cocktail Party for Princess and Queens Grill guests, there is a feeling of spaciousness throughout the ship, with all staff being pleasant and attentive. Guest speakers, lecturers and entertainment are of a very high standard. Two stand-out guest speakers were Midge Ure and John McCarthy. Midge Ure was a member of the group Ultravox and had an extremely interesting story to tell, including his partnership with Bob Geldorf, forming Band-Aid and Live-Aid. John McCarthy was a journalist, taken hostage in Beirut and kept prisoner for 1,943 days, in company with others, including Terry Waite. The Queen Victoria Library has 7,000 books, an excellent reference section, and along with Queen Elizabeth, the best we have experienced in all our years of cruising. Criticisms The Princess Suite bathroom is no larger than any other cruise ship balcony stateroom we have experienced, indeed, the lighting is worse than others. There was no TV channel in our suite or indeed in the entire ship, that showed AFL football live or delayed, even though there were more Australians on the ship, Sydney-San Francisco, than any other nationality. It is worth noting that in the Golden Lion Pub, which was saturated by televised soccer, rugby, golf and every other imaginable sport, they could not find a spot for AFL. Our observation was recorded in writing as part of the end of cruise questionnaire. As a contrast, on Celebrity Solstice in 2016, Sydney-Honolulu, AFL live broadcasts went to every cabin. Dress standards While dress standards are a big plus for Cunard, we wonder whether they have gone a bit too far to the extreme in wanting to have a point of difference. Jackets are required, not only every night at dinner, but everywhere on the ship other than the Lido Buffet and the semi-outdoor Winter Garden after 6pm. You could not even enter a bar or the coffee shop after 6pm unless a jacket was worn. Perhaps one night in four of smart casual, where men are required to wear long trousers with an open neck, long sleeved shirt, or polo top, would be welcomed by guests. Whilst our Queen Elizabeth cruise was in 2012, we think that the dress standard at that time included a “Smart Casual” evening option. Summary Cunard’s Queen Victoria was everything we expected: a beautiful ship, well maintained, with excellent food, entertainment and lectures. We would definitely cruise with Cunard again, depending on the time frame, itinerary and cost. Gratuities are discretionary and can be negotiated at the Purser’s Office. From the Commodore/Captain down, all staff were professional and courteous, with a high degree of visibility around the ship daily. Queen Victoria is very shortly going in for a refit, there will be more suites/passengers, elimination of some public areas and with no additional crew. Hopefully this will only have minimal effect on the amount of public spaces. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
We boarded the Maasdam in Sydney on 1/15/17., destination San Diego, 39 days later. The agenda was terrific; Australia, New Zealand, South Pacific Islands, Hawaii...pretty much to die for. We only missed one port in the agenda and that ... Read More
We boarded the Maasdam in Sydney on 1/15/17., destination San Diego, 39 days later. The agenda was terrific; Australia, New Zealand, South Pacific Islands, Hawaii...pretty much to die for. We only missed one port in the agenda and that was due to the ship having a guaranteed passenger. Denied entry into Niue, a sparely populated island just north of Tonga. First time I ever saw that happen! The agenda provided great sightseeing, wine-tasting, onshore foods, beaches, snorkeling, whale-watching and relaxing. Couldn't ask for more ! The ship was another issue. We had many stateroom problems...see my cabin review. Maasdam is nicely decorated, clean and stable. Food was a significant issue for me, knowing full well that this is a subjective topic. I am not a fussy eater but I am discriminating. I know GOOD food from mediocre food. Maasdam served up mediocre food (at best) for the most part. I left many dishes tasted but barely touched. This applies to both the MDR and the Lido. The Pinnacle Grill wasn't much better. I hate to send food back...the Stewards are very busy and I hate to make a scene. I mentioned to our table Captain about certain dishes and his response was to "send it back and get something else". Well, if I wanted something else I would have ordered it! I wanted what I ordered (by the menu descriptive). He didn't come by our table so often after a few of those. Entertainment was a mixed bag. The production shows was generally excellent...very talented, energetic troupe...and the HAL Cats were very good. Most of the featured performers were good to very good. Exploration speakers were terrible...good subject matter but absolutely awful presenters. Most of the daily program is dedicated to selling something. Sea days were pretty boring all-in-all. The Front Desk show be renamed the Department of Defense. No one smiles behind the desk! And they don't tell the truth. What kind of training do they get? You have a problem and they treat you like YOU caused the problem. TERRIBLE! Staffing levels on Maasdam were definitely down...and if not down then insufficient. Service was spotty in all restaurants. The beverage Dept. had many problems, mostly with wines. Maasdam was out of more wines then they had on the wine list. The stewards did the best they could to offer substitutes for out-of-stock wines, but this often meant dropping down a level or two. Wines are very over-priced and the list is generally poor. Whoever is in charge of the wine list and inventory at HAL should be FIRED! The Officers aboard Maasdam are particularly anti-social,(some minor exceptions) including the top brass. Leadership in that important category is very important to customers, but, in this regard, is lacking on Maasdam. OK, that's enough from me. Form your own opinions, but I warn you to stay clear of cabin 544. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
It seems the travel industry has decided big is beautiful, we now see huge resorts covering hectares and more to the point cruise liners being the equivalent of land based resorts. I am of course talking about cruising in ships like the ... Read More
It seems the travel industry has decided big is beautiful, we now see huge resorts covering hectares and more to the point cruise liners being the equivalent of land based resorts. I am of course talking about cruising in ships like the Ovation of the Seas versus the Radiance of the seas. It all comes down to personal choice, you might prefer to spend 14 days cruising on a floating hotel with upto 18 restaurants (which means of course at least 4 will miss out) or alternatively spend 34 days cruising and discover maybe 75% of all the liner has to offer. Or choose a smaller ship like the Oosterdam or the Radiance. Both will have specialty restaurants and a variety of activities for all ages and inclinations. I want to talk about the Radiance as this ship was my most recent cruise and therefore the best remembered. The Radiance is one of the smaller ships in the Royal Caribbean fleet; it is also one of the oldest but has undergone some fairly recent refurbishments. It holds about 2300 passengers and 859 crew. It has the hallmark specialty restaurant Giovanni’s which seems to be on all RC ships. It is a not to be missed experience. I have been on three other RC cruises and all Giovannis’ are a gourmet delight. The Radiance also had another hallmark RC restaurant – Izumi and if you’re into Asian food I cannot recommend this more highly. I also dined at the Samba Grill a Brazilian restaurant not seen on other ships. Be advised – starve yourself all day! Now, anyone would think my entire cruising is focused around eating. Admittedly, it’s an important part of a holiday not having to cook any meals and the Lido (cafeteria style) or main dining rooms (silver service) provide wonderful menus. But like all RC ships/cruises they do cater for all ages and interests. There’s the climbing wall and age is no deterrent(!), two swimming pools one in a solarium environment and child free, there is a supervised children play area, seminars, cooking or wine demonstrations in other words the options go on and on. I can only comment on my cabin 7528 as I booked late. It has a large verandah which of course means a smaller cabin (stateroom!). The layout of all the cabins excluding suites is basically the same and they are very adequate for short to medium cruises. The bathroom is a tad small, slightly compensated by a shower curtain rather than a shower screen. The shower is tiny and if you’re a large cruiser – don’t drop the soap! The layout of the main entertainment area is poor and obviously while the concept was great, ships like the Voyager or Explorer have improved on it vastly. On the Radiance the focal point is called the Centrium and located on Deck 4. As the name suggests it’s midship and circular with a bank of 3 lifts on either side. All the main attractions are held here (other than the booked entrainment) it is too small and if you need to sit get there 1 hour earlier. The lifts have a poor configuration and your eyes need swivel 180 degrees or have amazing hearing. And when you do grab one be prepared to be completely disorientated as to forward or aft. I didn’t need to exercise as I spent so much energy walking in the wrong direction for my cabin! But the one thing that sets the Radiance apart from any other ship I have been on is the crew. They are exceptional, if you decide to make one bar your bar then within days the staff remember you and your drink. The cabin stewards are equally attentive and will pretty well try to accommodate any of your wishes. Super glue for broken reading glasses was a bit beyond them! Smaller is personal and that alone makes the Radiance a beautiful cruise ship. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
We have cruised with Royal Caribbean before in Europe and found them great so when we saw this repositioning cruise we decided to do it. We recieved an email prior to the cruise advising as we were on deck 12 we should be at the cruise ... Read More
We have cruised with Royal Caribbean before in Europe and found them great so when we saw this repositioning cruise we decided to do it. We recieved an email prior to the cruise advising as we were on deck 12 we should be at the cruise terminal in Singapore at 11am. We got there on time and were still waiting to board at 1.45. Have never had to wait this long to get aboard any ship. When we finally got onboard everything was fine. Our balcony cabin was as expected and very comfortable. Oir next disappointment was the main dining room. If you wanted steak there was a $25 USD charge for it. We travel with NCL a lot and steak is a permanant item on the main dining room menu. On this cruise there were a lot of stewey, casserole, rice type foods. Not much to really sink your teeth into and the portions werent very big. The menu got boring. While we were at sea for the 5 days between Singapore and Darwin they were advertising if you book a future cruise while onboard you would get 60% of the fare of the second person. We got a quote for a 13 night Alaska cruise +land in balcony cabin. They quoted us $14,000 for 2 people. I asked about the 60% off the second passenger and they said this was the price with the 60% off. Couldnt believe my ears. No way was I going to pay that for 13 nights.When I got to Darwin and had internet I googled the price online. It came up at under $9,000 and that was without any discount. I took a screenshot of the quote and was going to confront the booking desk but by the time I got around to it I decided it wasnt worth it as there is no way I wanted to travel with this cruiseline again When we got to our first tender port, Port Douglas, it was unbelievable. We had a tour booked independantly and had to meet the tour people at the cruise terminal at 9.30am. We queued up an hour before the tender tickets were due to be available to make sure we would be in the first lot to leave the ship. Our number was called first and we went to the tender. Its wasnt the normal ship tender but a big catamaran type thing that held around 300 people. We sat on this thing for 50 mins waiting to fill it up. By this time it was 10am and I had the tour people ringing me to ask where we were. I had to tell them we were still sitting on the tender waiting to come ashore. By the time we got to shore it was after 10.30. There were a lot of agro people complaining about the long wait. If they used the small tender boats it would have taken a short time to fill a boat and it would be heading to shore while they filled the next one. . I heard there were people who hadnt gone to get their tender tickets until 10am and hadnt got to shore until after 2pm. There were another 2 tender ports that were slightly faster but not much. I heard from other passengers that the section between Hong Kong and Singapore had been worse with some people asking for a refund and wanting to get off. I have nothing but praise for the crew. They were as on most cruise ships, great and willing to go out of their way to make the holiday good. Also the entertainment was outstanding. Couldnt fault it but the negative things ruined this holiday for us. Back to NCL for our next cruise. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
Food especially in Chops was excellent. Ice show was very good but we prefer to dance rather than watch shows. So we really didn't watch many of the shows so can't comment other than on the ice show which was very good. This is ... Read More
Food especially in Chops was excellent. Ice show was very good but we prefer to dance rather than watch shows. So we really didn't watch many of the shows so can't comment other than on the ice show which was very good. This is the only area that the ship fell down on. First the dance floors especially at Dizzy's were too small. People ended up dancing on carpet which isn't the best surface. The DJ wasn't particularly open to requests. There were two bands, one of which was very good but focused on reggae which gets too repetitive. The other, well let's just say they really needed a new vocalist. There was a pretty hard core group of dancers on the Seattle to Sydney cruise which almost made up for the small floors. They did add a second Black & White Ball night with a dance floor over the ice rink but so many people came out those nights the floor was still too crowded. The added on night's music wasn't as good as the scheduled ball. We had a port balcony on the 9th floor that was very nice and an excellent steward. The bar staff remembered our drinks and very professional as well as courteous. My only criticism is that there really needs to be more power plugs to charge camera, phone and computer/tablet. Service in the main dining room was a bit on the slow side. We had anytime dining and it didn't seem to matter when we ate, service was always a bit on the slow slide though the food was very good with the exception of some of the fish being overcooked and some serious discrepancy between serving sizes. Overall I'd give dining a 9 out of 10. The three services I had in the spa were all excellent especially the manicure and massage. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
Loved this repositioning cruise. We are happy to have lots of sea days. Our arrival was delayed but flights and transfer booked with RCI so boarding guaranteed. Boat due to leave at 4pm and we arrived at the berth at 3.55pm! Embarkation ... Read More
Loved this repositioning cruise. We are happy to have lots of sea days. Our arrival was delayed but flights and transfer booked with RCI so boarding guaranteed. Boat due to leave at 4pm and we arrived at the berth at 3.55pm! Embarkation was very quick! Disembarkation in Sydney was very smooth as we had completed immigration onboard a couple of days before arrival. Would probably not bother with the Pacific islands again, especially Suva. Would have liked 2 days in Hawaii rather than Suva. RCI Pearl Harbour tour was good but more time would have been nicer. My only real complaint was the entertainment. Ice cast brilliant, most of the visiting entertainers were very good however the RCI production cast was woeful. The singers were pathetic and the dancers mediocre. Lots of people were complaining. The Cruise director Graham and his team were very professional and lots of fun. They worked really hard and always had a smile on their face. We did have difficulty with decent teabags at the beginning of the cruise. The Fields and Select brand is mere dust. Eventually Twinings was supplied. We also ran out of lettuce, bananas and mushrooms before the end of the cruise. Our Wait staff was exceptional as was our room Steward We would going on this lovely ship again Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
We chose this cruise for the itinerary. We had sailed HAL once previously for a Sea of Cortez cruise which we thoroughly enjoyed. The entire cruise was a repositioning cruise from Vancouver, BC to Auckland, NZ however, because we are ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the itinerary. We had sailed HAL once previously for a Sea of Cortez cruise which we thoroughly enjoyed. The entire cruise was a repositioning cruise from Vancouver, BC to Auckland, NZ however, because we are not yet retired and the entire itinerary would have stretched our time off too much, we decided to pick it up for the Honolulu to Sydney segment. So when we got onboard, there were already many passengers who had been on the ship either from Vancouver or San Diego. Other than feeling we had missed out on some of the entertainment which came before we boarded, it was a good decision. We arrived at the port in Honolulu about 1:30 p.m. The ship was overnight here. About 800 passengers embarked along with us, but we were one of only about three other couples boarding when we did - so easy and quick! We got unpacked and went off to get reacquainted with Honolulu. Next day rented a car and circled Oahu - great day! Made stops at all our favorite places. Midnight on day 2, we set sail for Lahaina, Maui. It was a tender port and quite bumpy, in fact a fellow passenger fell between the tender and the ship, basically ruining her day while making her a minor celebrity. Won't attempt to place blame as we were not there when it happened. But we enjoyed Lahaina and then on to Hilo. Met up with good friends in Hilo and had a fun day. Then we were off for 5 days at sea on our way to Pago Pago, American Samoa. After Hawaii, the ports were all new to us and we had a great time visiting new places. We went to Vanuatu, Fiji, and New Caledonia. 10 ports of call in all including Hawaii and Sydney. As for the ship, I had read that it was getting tired, which I somewhat agree with, some of the furnishings - mirrored table surfaces in particular - were worn, but overall, it was a clean, classy, beautiful ship with enough room for all the passengers. There were some special little cabanas on deck 10 which seemed to get very little use. Also the spa therapy pool was underused. Should be opened up to all passengers. Of everything about our cruise, we most enjoyed the people - fellow passengers as well as staff. Service was superb and I'm always amazed when I read other reviews where people berate the staff in any way. Fellow passengers were open and friendly. We made many new friends. The enrichment program on the Noordam was wonderful. It is something we look forward to on any cruise. Bud Murch did a lecture series on Astronomy while Brian Stoddard covered the sociology of the South seas. Very interesting. We mainly attended Bud Murch's lectures and were enlightened and educated as well as entertained. Well done!!! The Hawaiian Troupe was very fun and they provided music and Hula along with local crafts and ukulele lessons. Great! Other entertainment was good with musical shows, comedians (loved seeing Bud Anderson again), ventriloquist, pianist, harmonica aficionado and magic/comedy. Was disappointed not to find any live music out on deck. Fellow passengers loved Adagio, a violinist/pianist duo and the pianist in the piano bar. We fell in love with Sydney. Can't say enough nice things about this place. People were especially friendly for a city of its size. For my usual complaints, smoking on the balconies is still permitted, drinks and excursions are overpriced. We did not use the casino. We booked shore excursions from local vendors (which is why I did not rate shore excursions) as we arrived and were not disappointed. Would definitely sail on Noordam again. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
Flew from hometown to San Diego to embarkation. Met my roommate in San Diego airport. We only had time to get luggage and then catch the shuttle to the ship. We were promptly put aboard and our cabin was ready for us as well as ... Read More
Flew from hometown to San Diego to embarkation. Met my roommate in San Diego airport. We only had time to get luggage and then catch the shuttle to the ship. We were promptly put aboard and our cabin was ready for us as well as Invitations for dinners, drink cards, chocolate covered strawberries (never was sure who sent them)and our cabin stewards, Setyo and Nita, greeted us before going to lunch. We dined in the Pinnacle the second night aboard. The food was perfectly presented and excellent in flavor. We had room service often for breakfast and it was delivered right on the time we requested with a smile and good morning from the waiter. All or our dining experiences were positive and enjoyed every meal. We didn't do many excursions until New Zealand and we were off at every port.. Beautiful country neat and clean with the most friendly assistance as well. All of our off shore experiences were positive as well. This was a bucket list cruise and it was a wonderful experience. Also, met some lovely people on board, The cruise critic Roll Call was well attended, I thought. There were three from San Diego and a great way to meet some of the others on cruise critic.. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
We liked the itinerary, the time of year and the size of the ship. The trip was perfect. There were plenty of sea days to enjoy the daily activities, interesting ports of call and thankfully perfect weather. The onl;y disappointment ... Read More
We liked the itinerary, the time of year and the size of the ship. The trip was perfect. There were plenty of sea days to enjoy the daily activities, interesting ports of call and thankfully perfect weather. The onl;y disappointment was missing Mystery Island because of a lapse in the weather but t his happens, Food was outstanding even though a previous reviewer could not eat between 5pm and 5,30pm!!! Is that a problem? Yes, some of the shore excursions were ridiculously expensive but you could opt out and organise them privately yourselves at a fraction of the cost. The evening entertainment was brilliant with a series of professional individual musicians and the ship's cast with wonderful singers and dancers. THe music every night gave everyone choices between classical, dance , big bands and the popular piano man. TH e Cruise Director was the best we have ever seen on any ship. Her personality and enthusiasm generated an atmosphere of excitement and fun. Her side kick was also outstanding. The daily trivia session was a highlight for those who attended. Our memories centered on the friendliness and competence of the whole crew. Everything worked! It seems to be a feature of Holland America.It encourages us to continue cruising with them after 4 happy cruises. Bring on the next cruise! Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
We chose this Australia-bound cruise on the Maasdam as it ticked several key boxes. Foremost was our preference for smaller, more intimate ships that offer more of the Old-School cruising experience. The embarkation port and itinerary ... Read More
We chose this Australia-bound cruise on the Maasdam as it ticked several key boxes. Foremost was our preference for smaller, more intimate ships that offer more of the Old-School cruising experience. The embarkation port and itinerary were also important given the easy proximity of the Seattle gateway and our desire for a broad survey of Polynesia and Melanesia on our way Down Under. For the most part, the Maasdam did not disappoint as it is in remarkably good shape for a ship of her relatively advanced vintage--1993. The cabins were larger than their equivalents in competing lines and the ship looked well cared for. There were a few signs of age and neglect including the riot of mismatched carpets, garish colors, and the black mold growing in the grout of our bathtub. The ship lacked amenities that we take for granted in more modern ships--no mini refrigerator, just one (!!) 110v outlet in the entire cabin, and the internet connection crawled at dial-up speeds. One traditional touch that we enjoyed was the well stocked ship's library and the presence of a helpful and knowledgeable librarian on board. We are distressed to hear that HAL is eliminating librarians on future Maasdam cruises and I hope they reverse this decision. Dining was good but not great. About midway through our 23-day cruise, we began to tire of the bland monotony of the daily fare aboard the ship, and we began to look forward to the ethnic offerings at lunch and the chance to eat off the ship during our port calls. Our waiter was also kind enough to keep a jar of fiery Sambal Olek, Tabasco, soy sauce and other condiments handy to spice up our bland dinner choices. We tried the Canaletto restaurant once but the fare was uninspired and similar in quality to the dining room. We tried one wine tasting but it was a disaster, with the sommelier running out of stemmed wine glasses and service creeping to a crawl. The food was served cold and the red wines were served straight from the bottle at tropical room temps rather than cellar temperatures. Our entertainment director was terrific but the range of offerings was somewhat limited. Unlike many other HAL vessels, the Maasdam did not have a BB King nightclub on board, and the jazz trio was a fairly sedate alternative for those who like dancing to live music. In keeping with our South Pacific destination, we had a duo of Hawaiian musicians and a pair of Hula dancers. They not only provided daily performances in the lounge and Lido Deck, but also offered morning lessons in playing the Ukulele and Hula dances. HAL gets top marks for having ukuleles available for interested passengers and in organizing a couple of performances by the passengers who took the classes. Our Ukrainian dance troupe gave some energetic performances but the dancers had the annoying habit of monopolizing the best poolside lounge chairs. Every day. We signed up for a couple of shore excursions but they were cancelled due to inclement weather. Our port call at Mystery Island was cancelled altogether and the diving trips in New Caledonia were called off because of high winds. We had a port specialist who provided information on upcoming port calls but we found her long on generalities but weak on specific information useful for independent travelers. The Indonesian and Filipino service staff in the dining room and cabins were top notch--efficient, unfailingly polite, and almost telepathic in their ability to anticipate and respond to nearly any request. All in all, we treated this cruise as a relaxed and comfortable way to get from the West Coast to Australia. The cruise succeeded in providing nice journey from A to B. Would I want to do it again? Probably once is enough. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016

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