3 Holland America Rotterdam Hawaii Cruise Reviews

The good things: there was something for everyone and we are aged 13 to 80. We all liked the evening entertainment, particularly the gymnast and the comedian who did the impressions and some of us liked the singers and dancers. (meh). ... Read More
The good things: there was something for everyone and we are aged 13 to 80. We all liked the evening entertainment, particularly the gymnast and the comedian who did the impressions and some of us liked the singers and dancers. (meh). With a few exceptions (hey that lobster thermidor was really bad) we had a good time at dinner from opening night to the final Parade of the Baked Alaska (and for those of you who hate and avoid it, what can I say? We waved our napkins with the best of them.) The waiters were great and always remembered my cappuccino. We played Team Trivia every day and came-this-close to winning a ball cap. Some of us did that mile walk every day and I tried learning Tai Chi and the Hula - good instructors too. I meant to take the camera class and never got there but maybe next time. We all enjoyed dress-up (the grandchildren too) and looking at others who made the effort. Some pretty tiny dresses on some of those teen aged girls but at least one of us wasn't complaining... The not so good but not that big a deal: Rotterdam needs to redo the bathtubs as they are really grungy and that tall lady in the Office is grouchy. And the less said about the coffee...Also the wonderful Stryker the Piano Man needs a bigger room. That little bar area was over flowing every day just to hear him. And why couldn't we have more of the talented Adagio Strings - maybe tea time? Best travel tips from others: using a small transparent shoe bag over the bathroom door for odds and ends, bringing a magnetic white board for the door to leave messages for the rest of the family, and packing the thingy with the extra outlets for our BlackBerries, cameras and razor. That one teeny one at the desk is not enough. And we will all remember the other passengers: Bathrobe man(never seen in anything else), red sequined ball cap lady (never took it off but made it easy to spot our tour group) and best of all: sleeveless shirt man who always wore the same one every day...unless he had 14 identical ones. The Captain was memorable for his calm and in control announcements, even the one telling us about the fire....(which fortunately was just a little electric one in the Spa.)Grandson was disappointed he didn't get to get in the lifeboat. The stops were fine: Hilo, Maui, Honolulu. And kudos to the patient and wonderful crew. We agreed it had all been the best Christmas ever. Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
What a great holiday and what an absolutely wonderful crew.We arrived privately at the embarkation point having spent some 5 days visiting Los Angeles (Omni Hotel) and 4 days San Diego (Manchester Hyatt.) In short, Los Angeles is a little ... Read More
What a great holiday and what an absolutely wonderful crew.We arrived privately at the embarkation point having spent some 5 days visiting Los Angeles (Omni Hotel) and 4 days San Diego (Manchester Hyatt.) In short, Los Angeles is a little sad, San Diego is great. We used Luxbus to travel between the cities and they were efficient and effective. Embarkation was as efficient as we have know on our previous HAL cruises but could be speeded with more personnel. Our luggage arrived quite quickly. Our stateroom (Nav.Deck S category) was as we expected and Restaurant (Fixed Upper Level) dining was as good if not better than previous cruises.As to the Cruise, yes, things went wrong, many of which were beyond the control of the Ship's personnel but, they certainly made up for it in every way they could. We have made a number of HAL cruises (now 4 star Mariners) and it is always a built-in thing to compare ships, crews, hotel staff, etc. Not in every way were all the team on the Rotterdam the best but, they gave it their all and we couldn't ask for more than that. We particularly felt that Cruise Director Steve James was outstanding in his humour, perseverance and general all-round like-ability. Well done Steve and all your team, the best we have experienced on any ship and we know how difficult it was for you at times. We have to make the point that many of the activities on board are designed for passengers to have fun and are not to be taken seriously - future passengers please note that there are no world championships or Olympics - it's about having fun. If you don't want to have fun, do something else, there are plenty of other things to do on board.Some of the theatre/showroom acts were not necessarily to our tastes - parochial is a term that comes to mind in terms of some of the acts - but when you have stars such as Annie Francis, Michael Hilbig (Hilby), Comedian John Evans and the like, how can you not enjoy them? The show format with only two dancers and more singers was a great improvement and the lead singers were excellent. The on-board information lectures were informative and generally entertaining. As to the many and various ports and tours available, well let's just say we wouldn't want to return to some places and at some of the others the tours were not value for money. Best experiences were Pearl Harbour, Fanning Island and the jeep safaris, particularly the one in the rain on Bora Bora where we (privately) ended at Bloody Mary's. All these were on the first 30 days.Tours taken - more stars the better (but this is just our opinion) - No Stars = waste of money, * = go if you must, * * = O.K., * * * = enjoyable, * * * * = excellent, * * * * * = lifetime experiencePlace Tour Organised by Our RatingHilo, Hawaii Waterfalls Spectacular HAL No starsLahaina, Hawaii Road to Hana HAL * Honolulu, Hawaii Pearl Harbour and Mighty Mo HAL * * * * Nawiliwili Kauai Grand Canyon of Pacific HAL * *Fanning Island, Kiribati Local Guide (Naan) * * * * * Raratonga, Cook Islands Island Tour Private (Big Bus) * * *Raiatea, Fr. Polynesia Jeep Safari Expedition HAL * * *Bora Bora, Fr. Polynesia Off Beaten Track 4-Wheel Drive HAL * * * * (rain)Papeete, Fr. Polynesia Off Beaten Track 4-Wheel Drive HAL * * * Island Tour by bus Loc. Tourist Centre * * *Moorea Fr. Polynesia Capture Moorea by Photo Safari HAL * * * *Rangiroa Fr. Polynesia Glass Bottom Boat HAL * Not value for $ Pearl Farm HAL * * Nuku Hiva, Fr. Polynesia Taipivai Scenic Drive HAL * * *San Diego, Ca. Shopping & Coronado Is. Self Organised * * * *Cabo San Lucas, Mexico Boat & Scenic Drive HAL Boat ****Drive- 0Puerto Vallarta, Mexico Two if by Sea HAL * * Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala Antigua on Your Own HAL * * *Corinto, Nicaragua Colonial Leon & Mud Pots HAL *Fuerte Amador, Panama Authentic Embera Indian Village HAL * * * * Eco Cruise & Gatun Locks HAL Cruise * . Locks ****Salaverry (Trujillo) Peru Historic Trujillo & Paso Horses HAL * (not at all what is shown on cruise videos)Callao - Lima, Peru Miraflores Sterns Free Bus ** Private Taxi - Changing of Guard Self Organised Official Taxi **** Changing of the Guard *Guayaquil, Ecuador Free Bus to Market Self Organised **Manta, Ecuador Fine Panama Hats HAL * * *Puerto Caldera, Costa Rica Forest/SkyWalk/Pura Vida HAL * (Pura Vida for sale)Puerto Chiapas, Mexico Local dockside market and dancers **Huatulco, Mexico Strolling Self Organised * nothing to seeAcapulco, Mexico Private tour Divers & sightseeing Self Organised ** Zihuatanejo, Mexico Strolling Self Organised ** Manzanillo, Mexico Strolling Self Organised *Would we do this cruise again? Yes to the Rotterdam. Yes to the Islands, Definitely not the Inca Empires. A Big Thank You to the crew, the artistes and the team led by Steve. Particular mention to the Hal Cats led by David - they really should have one evening of their own show. Sadly there is one slight critisism and that was the Classical Quartet. Although they improved as the cruise went on they should have a well-prepared programme that they have practised and not have such long pauses between the pieces of music. To Hans Dernison, well done to you and all your Hotel Staff and to Captains Robert-Jan Kan and Sybe de Boer and all your Officers and crew, we look forward to sailing with you again. As a final point, hopefully on future cruises when tendering is necessary, passengers will step on the yellow line and not try to be Olga Korbut's. Read Less
Sail Date January 2011
First thing, the ship : it has been remodeled, ok, but why put planks to lay on in a tre inch pool? Specially when passengers - most of them - are so old they cannot climb in and out of such pool. The tv sets are so old there is no ... Read More
First thing, the ship : it has been remodeled, ok, but why put planks to lay on in a tre inch pool? Specially when passengers - most of them - are so old they cannot climb in and out of such pool. The tv sets are so old there is no colour left : everything is black and red, the remote batteries need to be checked and changed. Air conditioning : it works full blast or not at all, we preferred the not at all mode. Plumbing : on longer cruises it always happens around half trip, on this cruise it happened at the end so it may be considered as positive. Bathtubs: normal sized but passengers on this cruise were normally very overweight and over age, how can you shower in these conditions? Is this the reason the hot tubs were always full (and I avoided them)? Activities : boring lectures, bridge lessons, computer lessons that should have been held in the (small) theater and not in a 15 seat room. Crafts? making things my three year old niece does or getting together with other passengers and exchange opinions doing your own craft (like in retirement homes). Itinerary : some stops were badly managed. Fanning Island we were encouraged not to get off the ship because it was "dirty": not at all, it has a nice small beach and clean (I did not analyze it) water. Papeete : since we stayed the night, could have included a dance show in the excursions. All together, the itinerary looked like we were in low season and most of the islands were deserted or closed down. Only Honolulu and Lahaina were very good and lively. The food : I am italian, I am a gourmet and excellent cook. The maitre (Sodramin) on the ship should take some cooking lessons. Quite a lot. Will not cruise on this ship again, will not cruise HAL again since "excellence" is very far away from what we experienced. embarkation - disembarkation : I suggest making different paths for those getting in and those getting out, one small lane was used by both having to barge your way in or out. Tenders : sore spot, mostly because passengers could barely walk or were very overweight. Should have made special tendering service for those who had walking problems helping them on and off instead of leaving the problem to those who were already in the tender. Entertainment: really? was there entertainment on board? Never had the chance to get in the theater, the "wailcats" singing on deck had no idea of what the volume button is. The only pleasant moments were those with the guitar man, wherever he was singing. Little added pleasures : stinks of various kind around the ship and a continuous wail (while sailing) in cabins on main deck. Read Less
Sail Date September 2010
Rotterdam Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.1
Dining 3.0 3.9
Entertainment 3.0 3.3
Public Rooms 4.0 4.2
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.6
Family 3.0 3.6
Shore Excursion 3.0 3.4
Enrichment 4.0 3.3
Service 4.0 4.3
Value For Money 4.0 3.7
Rates 4.0 4.1

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