1. Home
  2. Cruise Lines
  3. Ryndam (Retired) Review
  4. Ryndam (Retired) Cruise Reviews

6 Ryndam (Retired) Cruise Reviews for Holiday Cruises to Caribbean - Western

This was our first Christmas cruise ever. We enjoyed ourselves and may do this again. The Ryndam is one of the smaller ships in the HAL fleet and we find her size to be just right. It was easy to see the same people again and again, not ... Read More
This was our first Christmas cruise ever. We enjoyed ourselves and may do this again. The Ryndam is one of the smaller ships in the HAL fleet and we find her size to be just right. It was easy to see the same people again and again, not like on a big ship. The ship was decorated for Christmas and everyone was in a festive mood. Mama Lou was on our sailing and will be on the sailing for New Year’s as well. She is a very interesting lady and extremely sharp. She is 90 years old now and has been cruising HAL for 18.5 years. The crew love her and dote on her. We had a small Cruise Critic Meet and Greet. 14 people attended. Seattle had scheduled us for The Mix. The area was not ideal but it served our purpose. The only problem was Seattle neglected to let the ship know about our meeting so no crew came by and no coffee and cookies were served. The Beverage Manager called to apologize when I made the Front Desk aware of the oversight and was ready to schedule another meeting for us. I declined but thanked him for the offer. I really just wanted them to let Seattle know that they had messed up. Our meeting went well without the cookies but a visit from a Staff member would have been nice. Cabin 628 – I had bought an HH guarantee, fully obstructed outside and we were placed in an unobstructed outside. That was nice. The cabin was in good shape. Everything worked. The toilet was a little slow occasionally but it always flushed. I set the air conditioner when we entered and never touched it again. It remained at a constant comfortable temperature until the last two days. Then the cabin would warm up until the air kicked in. Others had issues with their air, some never getting it to work. They were provided with fans. I cannot quote room numbers, I wish I could, but these comments were all heard in passing or while waiting at the front desk for other information. One member of the Cruise Critic group did have to get moved from their cabin. On returning from Key West, the toilet in their cabin was spewing water, flooding right out the door. Maintenance had a hard time shutting off the water. On two occasions, the water in our cabin ran a tan colour before it became clear. Not sure what that was but I noted it on my survey. Several areas of the ship were quite cold. The Showroom at Sea was always like an icebox. The library and Explorations café were also quite cold. The balance is certainly off in how the air conditioning works. I was told by one of the front office staff that the Ryndam is going into dry dock in March of 2014 but he couldn’t tell me what was being done – only soft goods or more extensive repairs. The furnishings in our cabin looked fine as did much of the public space. There are chairs that have seen better days but generally everything looked pretty good. Food – We ate in the Lido most nights and only made the dining room on the formal nights. There was prime rib on the first formal night and 3 people at our table ordered it. Not one was able to finish it since it was very sinewy. The second formal night had surf and turf. The lobster was a good size but the turf was small, but it was very tender. The first 48 hours in the lido under code orange went much better than I expected with no long lines and the code was lifted after 48 hours. We seem to have a healthy ship. Because food is so subjective, no further comments are necessary. We enjoyed our food and had lots of choices. There were many multi generational family groups on board. We were told that there were 150 children. For the most part, they were well behaved. I didn’t run into any elevator issues or running children or really loud children either. The Ryndam had three shows most nights – 6:30. 8:00 and 10:00. This worked well since the Showroom is not very large. Listen to the Music – cast introduction (Only one show) - enjoyed Rock Legends – Ryndam cast – did not see Rich Purpura – comedian, mind reader – did not enjoy Classique – Ryndam cast - enjoyed Dave Hempstad – Comedian - enjoyed Droom – Ryandam Cast - enjoyed Dancing with the Stars finale (only one show) – did not see Happy hours were in the Ocean bar from 4 to 5 pm and the 9 to 10pm or 10 to 11pm in the Crow’s Nest. This varied from one day to the next. It is buy one get one for $1 more. Lounges Explorer’s Lounge – Adagio – Piano and violin - enjoyed Ocean Bar – The Neptunes Mix – Solo Guitarist – Terry - enjoyed Piano Bar – Jamm The Halcats – on deck and the Crow’s Nest – actually quite good Cruise Director – Rick We had booked no excursions, preferring to get off at each port and wander. However, if you do this cruise, do yourself a favour and book an excursion in Santo Tomas, Guatemala. There is a port building with some souvenir shopping and some entertainment and food but there isn’t much else. We booked a trolley excursion at the last minute. It was one hour and took us to Porto Bario where we saw some of the city and how the local people live. We had a very good guide, a local teacher, who does these tours while the winter vacation is on. School is out from November to the middle of January. Santo Tomas gave us the best send off of all the ports. The locals congregated on the pier, danced for us, played music and as we pulled away from the dock honked the horns of the cars and busses parked at the pier. They love the cruise ships and are really a very friendly people. Sadly the pillow chocolates are just little golden squares of milk chocolate, not as good as before but as RuthC would say, still chocolate!! We received a blue HAL bag on our second night and I won a bottle of champagne at the Future Cruise presentation. The Champagne this cruise has been better than on the last couple of cruises. They seem to have changed their brand. Being Canadian we were invited to a Commonwealth Party in the Crow’s Nest. We were provided with appetizers and buy one get one for $1 drinks. This is the first time we have seen a Commonwealth Party although others told us they have been to them before. Different happenings on different ships. There were two Mariner Brunches. Ours was early in the week on the first sea day (two star) and people we met who were 4 star had theirs on the last sea day. I can only imagine we have lots of Mariners aboard. For the Non US citizens reading this, I should tell you we had a strange disembarkation routine. First, we were not eligible to do self disembarkation. The walk off option was limited to US citizens only. Then on Saturday, after we had already completed our requests for a disembarkation time, we were left a letter that we would have to appear in the Wajang Theater at 6:45 am to meet with Immigration officials. The ship could not be cleared until all non US citizens had been interviewed. This has never happened at Miami, Fort Lauderdale or Boston. There, we were allowed to walk off and both Customs and Immigration were done in the terminal. I wish we had known about the early timing before we requested a disembarkation time since I would then have picked an earlier time. So, non citizens, be prepared for this type of disembarkation in Tampa.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
We are veteran cruisers from South Carolina, with 18 cruises on Princess and 1 cruise on NCL. This was our 1st cruise on Holland America. This holiday itinerary was roundtrip from Tampa with 4 ports: Key West, Roatan, Santo Tomas de ... Read More
We are veteran cruisers from South Carolina, with 18 cruises on Princess and 1 cruise on NCL. This was our 1st cruise on Holland America. This holiday itinerary was roundtrip from Tampa with 4 ports: Key West, Roatan, Santo Tomas de Castilla (Guatemala) and Costa Maya. Pre-Cruise We drove to the port, and spent the day before the cruise in Tampa. We spent the afternoon in historic Ybor City a few blocks north of the port. There were hand-rolled cigar shops, pubs and restaurants. We ate at James Joyce Irish Pub. The food was very good, with generous portions. There were many beers on tap to choose from. We stayed at the Quality Inn near Ybor City. It was very clean and well-maintained, and a secure hotel. Embarkation Tampa was a wonderful embarkation port. We drove up to the curb, dropped off the luggage with the porter, and parked in the surface lot right in front of the ship. Embarkation went very quickly, starting at 11:30 AM. We were on the ship at 11:45 and our cabin was ready. We sailed under the Skyway bridge, which was lit up after dark. Cabin We had a window cabin on the lower promenade deck. We had a good view from our cabin. With the reflective glass, no one could see into our cabin, except after dark with the light on. The cabin was spacious, with lots of closet and drawer space. There was also a wide love seat. The bathroom had a tub-type shower, and was the biggest bathroom we have had on a cruiseship. There was a CD/DVD player, and American and European electrical outlets. Our room stewards, Bowo and Yanto, took good care of us. Dining We have read many negative reviews about the Rotterdam Restaurant (main dining room). We found these reviews to be accurate regarding the slow service, especially at dinner. The food was always excellent, so no complaints there. We had 1st seating, with a table for 4. For the first 2 nights of the cruise, dinner took 1 hour 45 minutes. Also, the waiters were inattentive. They walked by the table without looking to see if we needed anything. We couldn't even make eye-contact with them. Even speaking with the head waiter didn't help. He was very defensive, and didn't seem to understand that the service was unacceptable. This situation suddenly changed for the better after we left a comment card at the front desk describing the long dinners and poor service. The dining room captain, Martin, visited our table and assured us that our comments had been heard, and that service would be much better. Service was instantly better, much more attentive, and dinner took about 1 hour 15 minutes, which was fine for us. While service improved dramatically for us, we continued to see dissatisfaction and slow service for several other tables in the dining room. Because we spoke up, things improved for us. But we feel that service should have been better from the start, not requiring us to go to the trouble of writing a letter. Breakfast in the dining room was excellent, with lots of choices. Afternoon tea was also a wonderful experience. We especially enjoyed the Indonesian Tea toward the end of the cruise. The Royal Dutch Tea and everyday tea time were also very good. The Lido had a great selection for breakfast and lunch. We were served by the staff behind the counter. Especially noteworthy were the Filipino lunch selections one day, as well as the Eggs Benedict station at breakfast, and the fresh-squeezed orange juice. We had a friendly wine steward, Roy, at dinner. Art Auctions We attended one art auction. We were astounded at the prices of the art. Most of the items auctioned were original pieces with opening bids in the mid-$1000's. If other cruisers like this, that's fine with us. We just can't see spending so much on art. Princess has also moved in this direction. Gone are the days of limited-edition prints for a few hundred dollars, including framing. We have several such pieces that we still enjoy after more than 10 years. Wijang Culinary Arts Theater This was an excellent feature of the cruise. Included were lobster salad, creme brulee, haute chocolate, among other dishes. The towel-animal demonstration was especially memorable. Entertainment The production shows were professionally done. The singers sang very well, and the dancers were excellent. We didn't see any lip-syncing to recordings. We also enjoyed the violinist in the Explorer's lounge, the piano man Ric in the Mix bar and the Neptune band in the Ocean bar. Bar Drinks The bar staff was very attentive. We especially liked the Boddington's on tap, the Manhattans and White Russian. However, the bar staff didn't know how to make a Grasshopper, Whiskey Sour or Blue Hawaiian. Public Areas The ship was in excellent condition overall. Areas that looked out-of-date were the atrium, main dining room and pools. There was lots of room on this ship, with only 1250 passengers. It was nice to be on a smaller ship again. We really like this about Holland America. While other cruise lines are building ever-bigger ships, HAL has ships with 2000 passengers or less. The wide, wrap-around lower promenade deck is great for walking. Also accessible from the lower promenade are stairways to 3 forward observation decks, including a very large deck on the bow of the ship. These were great for sailaways. Christmas Activities There were several Christmas activities on this holiday itinerary. The cruise left port on Sunday, Dec. 23. On Christmas Eve, there was a Christmas display unveiling in the evening in the atrium. Hot chocolate and cookies were served while we sang carols. On Christmas morning at 9:00, we sang carols in the main showroom, and Santa made an appearance. Presents were given to the younger kids. There were quite a few families on board. Summary All in all a great getaway for the holiday. The Ryndam is a beautiful ship with many amenities and activities. For veteran Princess cruisers, we were very pleased, and plan to take another cruise on Holland America in the Caribbean or Europe. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
For us, this was a last moment decision to go on a cruise during a week that my wife found she could take off from work. We booked the very lowest category cabin (NN) on Holland America Line's ms Ryndam at a very good price ... Read More
For us, this was a last moment decision to go on a cruise during a week that my wife found she could take off from work. We booked the very lowest category cabin (NN) on Holland America Line's ms Ryndam at a very good price considering it was New Year's week. We've had an inside cabin on an S class HAL ship before so knew what we might end up with but fully expected to be upsold if not upgraded. While we were fine with an inside, as it turned out, we were upsold to an A category cabin (055) for what we considered to be an acceptable price. We had an A category cabin on ms Veendam and were quite happy with it so we knew exactly what to expect on ms Ryndam. The master was Captain Werner Timmers, the Hotel Manager was Simon de Boer, Cruise Director was Eric Dowis. The Captain and Hotel Manager were leaving the ship as our cruise ended and I did not hear who was replacing them. We found them all to be delightful gentlemen. EMBARKATION The embarkation process at Tampa is fairly good, but there aren't many seats available for those who end up waiting to board, like ourselves. We drove from the Orlando area to Tampa and parked at the terminal's parking lot. This is co-located with the terminal and we found later that I could have thrown a rock and hit our truck from our cabin on the Ryndam. This was very convenient although more costly than some of the other options for parking in the area but it sure was nice walking from ship to truck in just a couple of minutes after the cruise. Parking is $15 daily and you pay as you enter which is nice when leaving as there is no bottleneck at pay booths to get out. We arrived at the terminal around 11:10am, parked and ran the security gauntlet and were checked in and waiting to board before 11:30am. We had boarding number 28 and when they started boarding just after 11:30am I thought we were going to have a long wait. Our number was called at 11:50am and we were dropping off our carry on luggage in our cabin just before noon. CABIN Our cabin was in fine condition and was exactly as expected based on our experience on Veendam. Cabin 055 is a connecting cabin to 057 but we never heard a thing from that cabin. We met our steward, who seemed to work alone, upon dropping off our carry on luggage. He was a quietly competent young man whose name I never did quite get, although he remembered ours. While he wasn't terribly personable, he kept our room clean and fresh, servicing it whenever we were away. We had absolutely no complaints and the very few times we saw him he aways inquired about our happiness and whether we needed anything special. Our checked luggage arrived around 1pm and we were unpacked shortly thereafter. We did experience a problem with the a/c that was promptly addressed. We noticed on about the third day that the fan was not moving any air at all out of the vent, even with the thermostat set at it's coldest position. As many know, this thermostat has no options beyond a dial that seemingly indicates cold and warm via blue and red colors around the dial's perimeter. There is no setting for the fan speed, but early on the fan moved air vigorously. I called the front desk and mentioned it and by later that day a technician came to the cabin, opened the access panel in the ceiling between the closet and bathroom, and turned something with a screwdriver several times. As he did this, the fan seemed to come up to speed again and he announced that it was now set to maximum and to give it an hour or so to affect the room's temperature. We had no further issues. While we never had any plumbing issues, nor heard of any, we did find that the pressure to the shower head in the bath was poor at best. It wasn't even strong enough to operate the various settings for massage and what-not. Sort of difficult to rinse shampoo that way, but not a big deal. I just disconnected the head from the hose when I wanted a strong jet of water to rinse myself. DINING Unlike many posters have complained, we had no issues with anytime dining in the MDR throughout the cruise. We were always at the same 2-top and went before 6pm. On the first night only the kitchen was slow, as evidenced by all the waiters and asst. waiters standing around "waiting" on the kitchen. Once the food started coming, everything else fell into place. We never waited for service and were done in a leisurely 1 hr 15-20 minutes each night. We don't like eating and running as some seem to. The tables next to us were also anytime dining and were always used by an extended family of 5 adults and 7 very well behaved children ranging in age from say, 2 yrs to 17 yrs old. Their service, by the same waiter (Hermawan) was as timely and good as ours was. I would recommend Hermawan highly. We did notice that there was a fairly long line at the "no reservations" podium when we left the dining room but no line at the podium for those who had made reservations. Darwin, our wine steward in the MDR, was ever-present and my wine glass never was empty. Wherever and whenever we were during the day, both Hermawan and Darwin would greet us and have a chat. On the Lido, Ban and a young man who we callrd "Eminem" because both his first and very long last name started with the letter M, would find us and perform their songs and generally cause delight among the adjacent tables. We just couldn't have been happier than when among our friends, the crew. We ate in Canaletto one night and were pleased with the service and food there. Our waiter was Pepe, who did an excellent job of keeping us happy. We had an odd issue here though, as early on, the a/c vent kept dripping water into my wife's plate. We mentioned it to the manager who immediately wiped the vent with a squeegee, but the drip quickly returned. My wife simply moved her plate and seat to the side to solve the problem. We were disappointed the one night we ate in the Pinnacle Grill. The service there was good but the pace was very slow as there were only two waiters for the front half of the restaurant that had about 10 tables ranging from 8-tops to 2-tops. There were a couple of runners to retrieve the dishes from the kitchen but they always seemed busy running back and forth. With the level of service that is expected in the Pinnacle Grill it is just impossible for 2 waiters to keep up when the tables are full, so while the service itself was quite good, it wasn't as timely as it should have been given the level of attention the waiters provided each table. We used room service for many of our breakfasts and were very pleased with both the timeliness and accuracy of our orders. Often, our meal was delivered at the very start of the 1/2 hour timeframe specified and was always exact. We quickly remembered that if we wanted the little extras like condiments, we had to specify those. My wife found the eggs, no matter what configuration she chose, to be greasy. She's pickier than I am about her eggs; I had no problem with mine. Lunch was often a quick bite from the Lido or the Terrace Grill and we had no complaints here. Overall, we found the food to better in presentation and taste than Princess but not quite up to Celebrity in presentation or variety. SHIP CONDITION I have to say that we are not picky about the things we look for. Given that the ship is used by roughly 1300 passengers weekly and is at sea nearly all of the time, I expect the ship to show this. This ship has the appearance of being very lovingly cared for. There was never a time when I was out and about the ship that someone wasn't polishing, painting, staining, vacuuming, scrubbing or wiping. I could not find rust in all the usual places, probably because of the recent drydock but also because of the ongoing maintenance. The pools were clean, the decking was clean, the carpets were fresh and unstained except for the delightful "day of the week" carpets in the elevators, which did appear a bit worn. All the elevators operated throughout the cruise. The fitness center was in nice shape (ha ha) and had only 1 piece of equipment down, the leg press, unfortunately as it's one of my favorites. The sauna in the men's locker room worked nicely and was unused each time I was there (perhaps because I was there?). We never noticed a public restroom out of business for repair and did not notice any odd odors emanating from gosh-knows-where. Overall I think the Ryndam is in excellent shape. In order to find something to nag about, we finally did notice that the edges of the tables in the champagne bar of Mix were picked and tattered and snagged pant legs and dresses if you came too close to them. That was it. We were very pleased with Ryndam's condition. ENTERTAINMENT We don't usually do the shows in the main showroom. I've yet to find a comfortable seat in any of these venues and just can't sit there for more than a few minutes at a time. We did spend most evenings in the Explorer's Lounge very much enjoying the Adagio duet of violinist and pianist. They were wonderful and packed the lounge each night for most of their performances. I mean, SRO. We always grabbed a seat early and chatted with others and watched the bartender make Spanish Coffees. We never saw the pianist in Mix, although he was listed as performing later in the evenings and didn't much enjoy the guitarist in the sports bar of Mix. The Ocean Bar was usually busy with dancers but we just couldn't listen to the singer of the Neptunes who seemed oblivious of his inability to carry a note. We did not venture up to the Crow's Nest even once in the evening although this was always on our list. We really enjoyed the ladies of Adagio to the extent of not needing anything else. I do wish they would bring back the foursome of Adagio though. Also, the steel drum "guy" at the Lido Pool did a nice job there daily. I put guy in quotes because that's all there was, no band, just a guy with 2 steel drums and a synthesizer. GUEST RELATIONS We did have 1 incident of noteworthy review. My daughter, looking for Christmas gifts to give us, decided that buying us a couple of gifts on the cruise would be a nice way to help us enjoy ourselves. She bought 4 gifts in total, 2 which were to be delivered on embarkation and 2 on New Year's Day. 1 of the 2 embarkation day gifts was in our cabin when we first arrived. We assumed the 2nd gift would be delivered in its time and left it at that. However, that evening after dinner, still no 2nd gift, so we called the front desk and asked after it. The lady who answered said she would look into it and would let us know. We still have not heard back from her. The next day, someone from the front desk, a man, called the room and asked if everything was up to our expectations and if there was anything he could do. My wife asked again about the 2nd gift and the man basically ignored her, saying that we should let him know if there was anything he could do. Later that morning, I went to the front desk and described the above and asked who I needed to talk to about it. John, one of the Neptune Lounge concierges, took possession of the issue. Early in the afternoon, he called the room and asked if we'd received the gift, but we hadn't. Astonishingly, John happened to recognize the back of my head as we passed the Neptune Lounge on our way back to our room later in the day, apologized and explained that the gift had not gotten on the ship and that the cost of the gift was being credited to our OBA. I found it remarkable that he recognized me and was pleased that he, at least, had followed up on the matter. The gift was a "Satin Box of Chocolate Gelt" that cost my daughter $20, so while it wasn't a big deal and we understand there are mixups with things, this should have been handled better. A note the first day explaining the situation was all that was needed, but I have a feeling that if we hadn't started an investigation of the matter, we'd still be wondering what had happened to the gift. OVERALL We had a great time on this cruise and accomplished everything we set out to do for the week: nothing at all! None of the minor issues described above spoiled anything about our cruise. We loved the Ryndam as we have all the S class ships of Holland America. Ports of call were not even a consideration on this cruise for us, so I've not reviewed what we didn't do. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
My two grandchildren, 11 1/2 yr old boy and 7 yr old girl, just returned from a 7 day Holland America Western Caribbean cruise. They just loved it. The ports, Key West; Belize City; Santo Tomas de Castilla, Guatemala; and Costa Maya, ... Read More
My two grandchildren, 11 1/2 yr old boy and 7 yr old girl, just returned from a 7 day Holland America Western Caribbean cruise. They just loved it. The ports, Key West; Belize City; Santo Tomas de Castilla, Guatemala; and Costa Maya, Mexico, were wonderful for the kids. They enjoyed Club HAL, the kids' activities. Because of the age difference, they were in different groups, but both enjoyed the time spent with the kids' activities. The staff was wonderful. Between the port excursions and Club HAL, we spent only one full afternoon at the pool, which they also enjoyed. I had hoped to take the kids more often to the dining room, but the service there was slow enough that they became bored, so except for the formal nights and one other, they ate dinner at the self service buffet. I ate there once or twice with them, and twice took them up there for dinner and then to Club HAL, after which I went to the dining room and joined others for dinner. The 11 1/2 year old went with me one evening to hear the comedian, who had been presented as family friendly, and my grandson enjoyed it. I was unhappy that the one evening we might have gone to a movie, it was R-rated. I am not sure why it was chosen for a holiday cruise, which includes many children. The disembarkation was a snap, very smooth and easy. We next stopped at Santo Tomas de Castillo, Guatemala, which is not even on the list provided here. We had arranged to join an excursion organized by a CruiseCritic member, before leaving on the cruise. There were 7 of us in all, on a boat with the guide, the boat driver, and a helper. We travelled about 35 minutes along the coast and then went into Rio Dulce at the town of Livingston. We went up the river, into the rain forest, and found it very interesting and enjoyable. The only form of transportation in that area is on the river, so we saw many people in canoes and small boats with outboard motors. Our guide, Javier, told us that many communities own boats that are shared by community members. At the beginning of our trip up the river, we stopped at the hotel owned by Javier to order our lunches, and then on the way back, we stopped for lunch. My grandson and I had a delicious seafood soup, with a crab, shrimp, and a whole small fried fish. The whole trip was about 7 hours and we had a great time! Read Less
Sail Date December 2009
I would first like to begin by saying that our trip on the Ryndam overall was a good. We had a great time and met some wonderful people. My partner and I took this cruise on the suggestion of friends who wanted us to try HAL. We have taken ... Read More
I would first like to begin by saying that our trip on the Ryndam overall was a good. We had a great time and met some wonderful people. My partner and I took this cruise on the suggestion of friends who wanted us to try HAL. We have taken many cruises in the past on several different cruise lines and are big fans of Celebrity. I really had no expectations as we boarded the ship. I knew the ship was older and would not have all the bells and whistles of the newer ships, but we went on this cruise wanting to give HAL a try. We booked a suite on the Navigation Deck. Room 24. I was very impressed by the spaciousness of the suite, the abundant storage space and the huge veranda. The cabin however was a bit warm for us and our cabin steward explained the room would cool down once we left the port of Tampa. Okay. We unpacked and went to lunch at the Lido buffet. I got bad vibes just looking at the food. I had a salad and the lettuce was brown (we had just boarded!) and the food overall not at all appetizing. Okay...dinner will be better. It wasn't. We ate in the dining room only twice during the cruise. It was mediocre to say the least. The service was good but because of the food quality, we ended up eating in the Pinnacle Grill for 5 of the 7 nights. The Pinnacle Grill is the specialty restaurant on board where you pay a service charge of $20 per dinner. I have to say the food and service in the Pinnacle Grill was spectacular! Fine steaks, great seafood, superb wines and I cannot say enough about Anne and her wait staff. They truly made you feel welcome and special. We loved it so much that we ate breakfast there every morning. Truly exceptional. Make reservations immediately upon boarding the ship however, as there is a maximum to the number of guests served per night. Back to the air conditioning. To make a long story short, our room and the adjacent room where are friends stayed, Cabin 22, did without AC for practically the whole cruise. DO NOT BOOK THESES CABINS UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES. There is nothing that can be done to remedy the problem. We complained and we were pacified but were never told there was a problem with these rooms until we finally met with the ships hotel manager after being treated very rudely by a supervisor at the front desk. We were told it was an old ship and the way the AC system was built, the cabin was at its maximum comfort level. They supplied us with electric fans but it was still unbearable sleeping and changing for dinner. To make up for the inconvenience, we were given a dinner including wine and drinks, service charged waived. It was a nice gesture but it still did not make up for the sleepless nights. Spa facilities are excellent. The staff is great and the massage and accupuncture treatments were fantastic. I also worked with a personal trainer at the gym (Meg) who really helped me with my chronic aching back. She was a life saver! Cabin steward Victor was superb. Very friendly and very attentive. The room was always immaculate. Room service overall was poor. I ordered room service twice and both times waited 45 minutes to get my food delivered to the room. We went to the theatre only one night. It was a Broadway review and it really was done well. So, I had a great time overall but don't think I will book myself on one of the Dam ships again. I've been spoiled by Celebrity. Read Less
Sail Date November 2009
I went on a Western Caribbean cruise on the Ryndam with a family member during Thanksgiving week. This was my second cruise with Holland America, but my fourth cruise total (having sailed with Royal Caribbean and Carnival in the past). ... Read More
I went on a Western Caribbean cruise on the Ryndam with a family member during Thanksgiving week. This was my second cruise with Holland America, but my fourth cruise total (having sailed with Royal Caribbean and Carnival in the past). Overall, it was a good value at $550 per person for the 7-night cruise. We arrived in Tampa the day before the cruise and stayed at the Doubletree Hotel Westshore near the airport. I was able to get a free night using my Hilton Honors rewards points, so that made it an even better experience. Their regular advertised rates started at around $70, which is quite reasonable for a newly renovated Doubletree hotel. Overall, it was a comfortable stay. The hotel was about a 20-minute drive to the cruise port; and we were able to get a free shuttle to the hotel and the cruise port. However, the embarkation process was a lengthier one than I had experienced at previous cruises; we waited what seemed like an hour before being serviced by a customer service rep. Ship: Upon arrival, I noticed that the Ryndam was a lot smaller than what I had expected. I like big ships with lots of room to roam. Nevertheless, I kept an open mind. I later learned that this ship carries about 1200 passengers, which is relatively small compared to the megaton ships being built today (the new Oasis of the Sea carries about 6000). This midsize ship does have its advantages, however. It feels cozier, plus it's easier to navigate or find your way around. In addition, the Ryndam has a more classic European-style atmosphere. At almost every corner, there's an art or antique piece. They even have a self-guided ipod tour of their art collection - which I highly recommend to better appreciate this ship. It's an older ship, which may be obvious to some, but certainly not rundown or tacky. Thanks to recent renovations, one can appreciate both the classic and the contemporary spaces. My personal favorite areas were the Delft Library (lots of books and comfortable chairs) and the Crows Nest Lounge (very hip). Stateroom: We opted for a "guaranteed inside cabin" and ended up in the middle of the ship at the Lower Promenade deck. For an inside cabin (no windows/balconies), this was quite spacious; there was even room for a couch. Holland America has a reputation for having one of the most spacious cabins at sea, and ours was no exception. Also, because our room was in or around the middle of the ship, there was very little to no experience with rocking motion at sea. The only thing I would change is the TV, with a reception that was erratic. Activities: There were plenty of options to do onboard. Each day, there were movies at the Wang Theater, live performances at the Vermeer Lounge, cooking demonstrations at the Culinary Arts Center, and other activities listed on the daily bulletin. I liked going to the gym - to work out all those calories from overeating! I also liked relaxing at the library/cafe and at Crow's Nest Lounge. The posted activities were not as extensive at say a Carnival or Royal Caribbean, but the quality was quite good. Service: The service was usually good. However, when I had requested a blanket due to the cold temperature in our room, no one brought it after many hours. Also, the dining room service was slow at times. During this particular Thanksgiving cruise, the ship was reportedly at full capacity; perhaps that's why it was hit-and-miss at dining. Nevertheless, the staff were mostly friendly and helpful. In particular, the staff at the shore excursions desk were patient and informative when we had to change our plans numerous times. What I didn't like was the organization - or lack thereof- during the special Mariner's Lunch (for repeat HAL cruisers) and the Master Chef night. There was a long wait in the hallway with about 50 people waiting to get in; it could've been better organized, I thought. Dining: I liked most of the food at the Rotterdam dining room, where we had our dinner nightly. There was something for just about anyone, including vegetarians. A few times, I even ordered two dishes on the menu, especially during dessert! Now, if a guest can't find at least one good to eat on the menu, he/she is probably too picky.... The choices at the buffet-style Lido were not as much as I had seen in other cruises though, and the quality of food there was about average. What I really appreciated was the "open seating" option for dining at the Rotterdam. There was a short wait at times, but I liked the flexibility that the open seating plan offers. Entertainment: I saw two shows at the Vermeer Lounge, both of which featured dancers/singers in Las Vegas-style performances. The second show was better than the first. I really enjoyed the spectacular performances at a prior HAL cruise, but the ones on Ryndam were mostly average. This time, I preferred the movies showing at the Wang Theater/Culinary Arts Center - saw "The Proposal" and "Up." Fresh popcorn served too. Port & Shore Excursions: The port stops included Key West, Santo Tomas, Belize City and Costa Maya. We bought shore excursions for Guatemala, Belize and Costa Maya. Save your money on shore excursion at Key West as this is a pedestrian-friendly city with lots to see on foot; if you can't, then go on a Conch Train tour. The other part of the world (Central America) is famous for its jungles, beaches and ruins - so I would recommend going on a tour to see one or all of those things! We did the Quirigua ruins tour in Guatemala; the zipline/canopy tour in Belize; and the jungle beach break in Costa Maya. The best beaches are in Belize and Costa Maya, which are excellent for snorkeling/diving, but I personally didn't do any underwater activities. Although the shore excursions were quite pricey, they did make our vacation much more enriching. Overall, it was a good cruise vacation - and a great value. My advice to future cruisers: shop around for the best cruise and shore excursion deals; know what is most important to you on a cruise vacation - and be flexible and open-minded. If you expect everything to be "perfect", you will be disappointed - and lose out on the joys of traveling. For us, the Ryndam fit our needs; it wasn't perfect, but I would rate it an 8 out of 10 stars for the reasons above. I would also consider returning to a Holland America ship in the future. Bon Voyage! Read Less
Sail Date November 2009
Ryndam (Retired) Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.0 4.3
Dining 4.0 4.1
Entertainment 4.0 3.7
Public Rooms 4.0 4.4
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.9
Family 4.0 3.9
Shore Excursion 3.0 3.7
Enrichment 4.0 3.8
Service 4.0 4.4
Value For Money 4.0 4.1
Rates 4.0 4.1

Find a Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click