35 San Diego Cruises for the Disabled Cruise Reviews

My mom wanted to cruise with Holland because of an excellent experience she had on another Holland ship years ago. She too was very disappointed with the overall experience of this cruise. Dining room waiter was a highlight of the trip. ... Read More
My mom wanted to cruise with Holland because of an excellent experience she had on another Holland ship years ago. She too was very disappointed with the overall experience of this cruise. Dining room waiter was a highlight of the trip. The portions for dinner entrée were very small and took a fair length of time to receive our meaL There was never an option for requesting more even if we had wanted it. Food was so-so. Our waiter ordered extra desert our last two evenings and had delivered to our suite. That was an unexpected surprise. We never saw our room attendant with exception to day of arrival. Our suite was not clean upon arrival and we had to ask for several items:towels,robes, sharps box, and distilled water for my moms CPAP. I had requested the box and water before we embarked the ship. Having traveled on several cruise lines I didn't think it was crazy to expect a vacuumed-clean and equipped suite. There were no visible people wiping down the public places like door knobs, bathrooms, elevator buttons....No required use of hand sanitizer upon entering dining room and buffet area. Again a standard I have come to expect on my other cruise experiences. Shore excursions were misrepresented and were not as fun as the trip we took with a local in Puerto Vallarta. Would not pay to do their excursions again. Entertainment was so-so with exception of the illusionist: Leon Etienne who was great and all of us enjoyed his show. The positive: the ports were lovely and God blessed us with lovely temperatures to enjoy our time together off the ship. They offered wheelchair service for my mom once we arrived in port for disembarkation. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
We simply chose the Holland America volendam because the dates fit in with several of the party we were cruising with. We do enjoy Holland America and our only bad experience out of 7 sailings with them has been on the veendam in the ... Read More
We simply chose the Holland America volendam because the dates fit in with several of the party we were cruising with. We do enjoy Holland America and our only bad experience out of 7 sailings with them has been on the veendam in the spring 2018 so we were a bit anxious about this booking on the volendam. We were absolutely delighted with our experience on the volume down. She is well maintained. Her food is excellent. The crew was extremely friendly. when we had any issue the staff bent over backwards to help us work it out. If we submitted a common card with anything the least bit negative we got a phone call to our stateroom and if we were not in our stateroom to take the call we got a note on our door. They then followed up to make sure every little thing was perfect. of the seven sailings with Holland America in the last two years I have to say this was probably our best overall experience, even though we did enjoy all of our other sailings except on the veendam. What I'm coming to realize is that most ships seem to go through a low period, And then if the company is smart measures are taken to get its act together and correct their weaknesses and make the ship much more pleasing and accommodating to passengers. The volendam is the same class of ship as the veendam and westerdam. As beautiful as a koningsdam and the eurodam are we do enjoy the smaller ships and this class a ship that the volume down is in is somewhere between 1300 and 1450 passengers. A great experience and we would definitely cruise on her again. It was really hard to even find constructive criticism to give on our end of cruise survey. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
Let me start by saying the majority of the crew aboard the Wonder were excellent! The food was nothing special and the fact that Pirate Night took place at 9:45 at night made me wonder if was for adults or children??? However, my ... Read More
Let me start by saying the majority of the crew aboard the Wonder were excellent! The food was nothing special and the fact that Pirate Night took place at 9:45 at night made me wonder if was for adults or children??? However, my review will focus on a 7-page, comprehensive, formal complaint I sent following the cruise which included solutions, with the Disney Cruise Line regarding numerous and dangerous accessibility issues that we experienced on our May 16, 2018 cruise with our disabled daughter. Our daughter requires the use of a transport-style wheelchair any time she is out of the her home or out of the stateroom. We also copied our formal complaint to Cruise Line International Association, Department of Justice ADA and The Open Doors organization. The serious accessibility issues that we encountered onboard the Wonder are as follows: 1: Elevators that are too small, doors that do not stay open long enough and door sensors that are inoperable. 2: Exterior to interior thresholds are impassible on Deck 9 without assistance. It took 3-4 adults to get our daughter over the threshold on Deck 9 (Pool, restaurants, coffee shop, movie theatre, etc): 2 people to lift her wheelchair, and 1-2 people to hold the doors open! 3: Severely limited number of automatic, ADA, entry doors. The one ADA door that we found did not stay open long enough to even push our daughter through it before it began closing. 4: A treacherous and narrow gangplank was used in Victoria BC, which had 2 very steep switchbacks. Prior to disembarking, we consulted with a crew member at the entry gangway, who assured us, that the gangplank was, "fine," for disembarking with our wheelchair. In reality, it was very dangerous, and took both my wife and I, and all of our strength, to safely get the wheelchair, and our daughter, to the bottom of the steep gangplank. Upon re-boarding the Wonder, there was no assistance available, or crew member present, to help us push our daughter back up the treacherous gangplank. We were forced to plead to a fellow passenger who we did not know to ask for help to push our daughter back onto the ship. 5: There is crucial accessibility information that is intentionally being omitted and hidden from Disney's Special Services Information form. In addition, there are NO warning signs, call buttons or crew members present to offer assistance in the areas of inaccessibility. Nor, are any of the major accessibility issues listed above "revealed" in any written, online or onboard materials. A representative from the Executive Offices of Disney Cruise Line, called me to respond to our complaint. The essence of the response was dismissive, to say the least. Instead of taking responsibility and caring about what happened to our daughter, and ourselves, onboard the Wonder,she, instead, chose to blame our travel agent, stating that she should have informed us that we needed to complete the Special Services Information form prior to our cruise. Fortunately, 100% of the time, we do not require any assistance when traveling with our daughter. We do not use accessible staterooms, require airport assistance, or any other type of assistance from anyone, at anytime. Nothing on the Special Services Information form applied to us so we did not complete it. Had the Special Services Information form disclosed the magnitude of the accessibility issues onboard the Wonder for persons with mobility issues, we would have had a reason to complete it. The only thing worse than the blatant negligence displayed onboard the Wonder in regards to accessibility, was how the Disney employee handled her response to our complaint. She took NO responsibility, whatsoever, for any of our complaint issues. Instead she blamed our travel agent and blamed us for not completing the Special Services Information form, inferring that had we completed it, assistance would have been available to us at all times. Absurd! Again, had the accessibility issues outlined above been "revealed" on the Special Services Information form, we would have "known" to complete it. A supervisor did call us before completing our review and smoothed things over and was very professional. That call does not excuse the accessibility issues but the issues were handled very professionally by the supervisor. We will NEVER entrust our disabled daughter's safety and security to a Disney Cruise Line ship ever again. IF YOU HAVE MOBILITY ISSUES, THINK TWICE BEFORE CHOOSING DISNEY CRUISE LINE FOR YOUR NEXT CRUISE. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
We chose this cruise because it was easy port to drive to and we wanted to celebrate my Mom’s 75th birthday on 02/26. The itinerary was round trip out of San Diego and the port stops were Cabo, Mazatlan, and Puerto Vallarta. We stayed ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it was easy port to drive to and we wanted to celebrate my Mom’s 75th birthday on 02/26. The itinerary was round trip out of San Diego and the port stops were Cabo, Mazatlan, and Puerto Vallarta. We stayed in a Signature Suite. There were 3 adults in our room, one of whom used a rollator to get around off ship and used a cane to get around on ship. It was my first time sailing Holland America and some of the cruise critic postings made me wonder if this was the right line/ship for us. It turns out we had a great time. We bought the Thermal Suite spa passes and spent several hours relaxing there each day. We only made it to a couple of the shows, but we entertained ourselves with many hands of pinochle, thermal spa visits, reading on the balcony, and generally relaxing. In fact, we came home, and we all agreed that we wished it had been longer and we were ready for the next cruise. Pros: The smaller ship size meant that the buffet wasn’t too crazy and we always managed to sit in the same general area. The buffet was generally good and I was worried that the fact they had to serve many dishes v self serve would slow down the process, but it didn’t bother me on the ship. We liked the pool deck layout with so much space devoted to tables instead of loungers. It made it more useful for us. Cons: Main dining room food was pretty bland. I tried ordering some spicier dishes, but they always came out barely spiced. We would sail Holland America again if the price/itinerary was right for us. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
We’re experienced cruisers, an older couple, one of us has a mobility problem. This was the second of two cruises we took this winter, the first was a Princess cruise to Hawaii that was very successful. By contrast the Azamara cruise was ... Read More
We’re experienced cruisers, an older couple, one of us has a mobility problem. This was the second of two cruises we took this winter, the first was a Princess cruise to Hawaii that was very successful. By contrast the Azamara cruise was less exciting though still very good. We had done two cruises on the Quest last year covering much of the same territory, tho with the addition of the Sea of Cortez. We repeated because we wanted to stay close to North America – and Azamara offers a gourmet experience, important to us. Unfortunately we came down with vicious colds and coughs. No fault of the cruise. Since the temperature was so hot we avoided visiting nearly all the possible ports, barring the Azamara evening in Cabo San Lucas and a short trip in Huatulco. Which meant we stayed on the ship, in itself a pleasant fate. We had an accessible oceanview cabin. It was large, comfortable, and very quiet, indeed a congenial place to spend much of the day. The cabin, on the fourth floor, was especially convenient, with easy access to the elevators and from there to the front and rear of the ship. The Quest is a small ship, so you rarely have a sense of being crowded, unlike on the Star Princess where battling for elevator space was a daily occurrence. Exceptions: when a special event like the white night party or a folkloric show which pulled in so many people, and the pool side bar-b-ques where there were long lines of hungry passengers. We’d expected the food on the Quest to be very good: it had been on five previous trips. And, yes, much of it was tasty. But somehow not as pleasing as before, certainly not at the level of the Crystal (a line we have always enjoyed). The dining room offered a variety of dishes, including the standard salmon and steak, every night. Yet nothing was memorable this time. The nightly wines, included in the fare, were ok but not as good as on the Star Princess (where of course you had to pay). On sea days it also offered lunches, including once a tasty Spanish burger that pleased and, even more, a dim sum feast. (We didn’t try the brunch.) The Patio had excellent burgers and in the evening good steak, though its ribs ho-hum. Prime C, the specialty restaurant, as before, had very good steak (and some really fine desserts) but we found it noisy: try to get a table in the back away from the front where there is a large table that attracts people enjoying themselves with gusto, and thus much noise of course. The various pool side bar-b-ques were abundant and tasty – but, again, the ribs this time were not spectacular. The signature crepes, however, were as good as ever. The Windows Café, the buffet, in the evening served a themed dinner, seafood, Greek, American, etc. The paella prepared individually by a chef for the Spanish evening, was simply superb, one of the best I’ve had anywhere. But the pad thai similarly prepared was mediocre. And the Turkish night offered nothing of interest to us – or most others, it seemed, given the paucity of passengers. Room service breakfast was excellent, the many restricted but still varied, with much to choose from and delivered on time and as requested. We did go to the Windows Café for many lunches: what appealed were the various salads and salad makings as well as the sandwiches and sandwich makings, as well as the soups. The cheeses on the cruise were limited but decent – one difference with the Crystal where the cheeses superb. The Quest looks good, despite its twenty years. It has a classic look yes, especially notable in the Discoveries dining room, the baroque staircase on the 4th-5th floor, and the drawing room. It has an excellent viewing space at the front, the Living Room where in addition you can enjoy drinks and at meal times various tapas. Recently the ship has added replicas of Dalí sculptures, a marvellous touch, and these enhance the overall look of the public areas. Likewise dropping Park West Gallery and replacing them with an individual artist was a wise move: he did an excellent rendition to the night of the dead, the theme of the Azamazing evening, producing it on site. The upgraded stateroom was great, despite the curious bump around the bathroom, presumably to ensure that the water ran off into the drain, not the room. One of the outstanding features of the Azamara Quest is the staff. Captain José, Hotel Director Philip, the entertainment master Russ, the security chief Silvano, all these officers are fine people, friendly, congenial, helpful. And that applies to the rest of the staff. All of the people were ready to help, to offer assistance, to ensure that our needs were met, our concerns satisfied. The Quest is a very friendly ship where the staff goes out of its way to look after passengers. We didn’t do much of the enrichment (tho the lectures we attended were decent) and almost none of the entertainment (excepting Russ’ singular performance, really an enjoyable show). We did go to the Azamazing evening in Cabo (the third time!) and it is certainly singular, full of colour, music, and charm – plus excellent margaritas. I should add that the logistics of this evening, moving all the passengers back and forward without mishap, the professional skill demonstrated, is itself amazing. The folkloric show when in Cartagena was also superb, again full of harmony and dance, a mix of Caribbean and Spanish and Hispanic styles. In the end, then, a fine cruise. Pity our health didn’t allow us to enjoy more. But, in the end, the fact the cruise offered us such great service, some fine spaces, and so much peace made it all worthwhile. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
This was a 24 day Cruise. The Cruise started in San Diego through the Panama Canal. There was a choice to disembark in Fort Lauderdale, New York or Boston. I cruised this with my elderly father who uses a rollator walker. We decided ... Read More
This was a 24 day Cruise. The Cruise started in San Diego through the Panama Canal. There was a choice to disembark in Fort Lauderdale, New York or Boston. I cruised this with my elderly father who uses a rollator walker. We decided on this itinerary because I wanted to see the 9/11 memorial and have always had on my bucket list to sail in and out of the harbor in Manhattan past the Statue of Liberty. We also have family in Pennsylvania we see rarely. This gave us time to visit so we tacked on a 3 day road trip after the Cruise. We live in the San Francisco Bay Area and flew to San Diego from SFO On Southwest Airlines. We took the 8:00 flight. We arrived in San Diego at approximately 9:15 a.m collected our luggage, tagged the luggage for the Ship, then proceeded to ground transportation and took the breeze shuttle to the port for $10.00 per person. We arrived at the terminal at approximately 10:15. They allowed us in the terminal but we could not check in. There was a big turnover in Staff in San Diego so we needed to wait till the Staff board the ship. At 10:30 check in went very smoothly. We were given a group number til we were ready to board. At 11:30 they announced that we could board the Ship. They announced that the cabins were not ready but we could go to all the public areas and the Cruise director would announce when the cabins were ready. My dad and I went to the lido. By 1:15 there still was not an announcement made that the cabins were ready. I started asking people in the lido if they had been to there cabin? Several people told me they had gone to their cabin. My dad and I proceeded to our cabin on the Lower Promenade Deck. We arrived at the cabin to find the cabin appeared to be ready. My gallon of distilled water was there for my CPAP machine and beverage card had been delivered. The extension cord for my CPAP had not been delivered yet but sometimes that does not come til later. My father needs a shower stool, which I ordered. I opened the bathroom to find out if the shower stool had been delivered. When I opened the bathroom door I found water coming from the ceiling and all over the floor. My dad called the front desk and they sent the plumber to fix the broken pipes. They cleaned up the mess. Housekeeping came and wet vacuumed the carpet. The head of guest relations came and told us they would need to put a blower in the room to dry the carpet. We figured that. The machine sounded like a jet engine. It took 3 days and two nights to dry. For the inconvienced we were compensated with a Canaletto dinner and onboard credit. Our cabin Steward really worked hard to get our cabin livable and get the mildew smell out. This really made a difference for the rest of our Cruise. We also encountered an A/C problem. They came to check it and gave us a fan which made it more comfortable. The fan was very quite. I have cruised the Maasdam twice before. But the old gal is getting old and showing her age. I last cruised the Maasdam last summer to Alaska and there have been allot of changes. I thought the food was good last summer but I thought the food was better this time. They changed the daily program to Then and There and halfway through the Cruise the name was changed to the navigator. I guess that was changed to correspond with the online version of the navigator. If you have a smart phone you can sign up for the navigator. You can book shore excursions, dinner reservations and view your bill. You can also sign up for the internet package. I signed up for 500 minutes for the 24 days. The internet was slow. I used it do download my email and then log out. The internet was very slow, sometimes it would take as long as 20 minutes. In port I would try and find free Wifi and spend more time and the internet was faster. Most of the time we ate in the dining room. One night it took almost 3 hours. Most nights it took 90 minutes. They did not show movies during the day and would show them at night. On the nights we would want to see the movie we ate in the Lido. I found I ate less in the lido and it would only take 45 minutes. It was easier for my father to eat in the dining room but some times the schedule didn't work out. The schedule of events were very weird. Between San Diego and Fort Lauderdale there were 8 sea days and they played bingo only 3 times and win a Cruise bingo the last sea day before Fort Lauderdale. The person running the bingo was usually late in showing up. Entertainment was hit and miss. I only went to a few of the production shows and they were OK. One entertainer I really enjoyed was a flutist. I spent time playing in the Casino. That has definitely improved since last year. The Casino host Robi made it fun. I have never played in a black jack tournament before. I ended up pacing fourth. I now have a very expensive tee shirt. Ports Puerta Vallarta - I have been there many times before so I just walked around and went to Wahlmart to pick up supplies that I didn't have enough room to pack for a 24 day Cruise. Manzillo - Took a Turtle Farm tour through Hal and after the turtle farm we had a lite lunch and walked around the beach area. Hualtucco - I took a Land and Sea Tour from HAL. Went out to several Bays and then boarded a bus to go around the area. Puerta Chippas - Took a tour through Hal Chocalate tour and Izapa Ruins. This was quite interesting. The tour guide took us through the market place where you could really feel the culture. We saw a folklore show. Then they should how the cocoa is turned into chocolate. We got to taste some. I purchased some but t was stale when I got home. It might have been stale when I bought it. Then we were off to the ruins Guatemala - Took the Shuttle over to the vendor area to a cafe with free wifi. Then did some shopping. Guatemala has beautiful things. almost wiped out my small bills here. I had enough left to tip the bus driver. Nigaregua- Took a tour of live traditions of Nigaregua. We went to a city into a Cathedral then drove through the market place. Went to a property where we saw a folklore show ate tortillas and beans and banana chips. Then saw pottery being made. Drove through a horse breeding farm where there were beautiful horses. We were getting reading to sail when the captain came on and announced that we had two passengers who had not returned to the Ship and the nigaregua would not release the Ship til they returned. The captain sent out security looking for them and found them in a bar. We were an hour late leaving. I guess they found them fast. Never found out what happened to them afterwards. The captain did announce the same couple had been late boarding in Puerta Vallarta. Costa Rica. I took a tour to San Jose which was beautiful but for the length of the tour we could not see much. Panama Canal. What can I say Awesme! Aruba- I took a countryside tour that was arranged by our Cruise Critic Roll Call. This is also a great beach and snorkeling place. Cuaracao - Took. A Hal Tour around nod the island. Toured the slave house. It was very interesting. Also went to different beaches on each side of the island. One was very windy and the other was mild clear and light blue great for snorkeling. Once we got back to the Ship I was going to go across the way and due some shopping but the heat really got to me. Fort Lauderdale - This was a lazy day. We needed to get off the Ship for immigration and could not get back on until everyone had been through immigration. The sail away was beautiful. Here I was surprised, that they did not board new passengers for a repositioning to Montreal. The Ship was minus 600 passengers til we reached New York. New York -Gorgeous view sailing into the harbor viewing the statue of Liberty. Took a panoramic Tour that HAL offered. The tour stopped at Rockefeller Center and the 9/11 Memorial. The day we were there there was someone who drove up on the sidewalk for three blocks in Times Square,killed one person and injured 22. It happened 20 minutes after we passed through Times Square. So traffic was a bear getting back to the Ship because they closed the whole area down. We lost 200 passengers in NYC and gained 400. The night before disembarkation we got a letter in our stateroom that the Ship heard at the last minute that all passengers disembarking in Boston needed to go through immigration again. No one would be able to get off the Ship til all disembarking passengers. We had to report. At the wayang Theatre at 7:50. Immigration didn't show up til about 8:15. Everyone showed up so they started disembarking at 9:00. Disembarking seemed to go OK til we got to n the terminal where there was chaos. We were in the 2nd group because we were taking a tour and transfer to the Airport to Rent a car to visit family in the Poconos. We then flew home to California from EWR. This was a great Cruise. The longest I have ever done. The service was outstanding. I like be the Maasdam but she is getting old and she has many caretakers. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
I booked this cruise in December as a gift to my husband who had, until now, never cruised. We wanted to try a short, 5-day, cruise to make sure he wouldn't become deathly ill from motion sickness and to just give him a taste for ... Read More
I booked this cruise in December as a gift to my husband who had, until now, never cruised. We wanted to try a short, 5-day, cruise to make sure he wouldn't become deathly ill from motion sickness and to just give him a taste for sailing. Background - I've sailed at least 17+ times on Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Princess, and Norwegian but mostly on RC. My husband and I are 40 years old, don't really party anymore but still enjoy good shows, music, friends, fun, and fantastic food. The ship - We both agreed, the ship was absolutely immaculate! I have never experienced a cruise ship that has been cared for so thoroughly! Everything aboard the Oosterdam has been cared for and maintained meticulously. She shows signs of being 14 years old, mainly in the decor, but physically the ship is outstanding. Our cabin - We upgraded from a SY (Signature Suite) to an SA (Neptune Suite - 7062) a week before sailing and are SO glad we did! The suite was a decent size, the bed was extremely comfortable, and the cabin stewards always made sure the room looked perfect. The suite gave us access to the Neptune Lounge which was directly across the hall. We popped over to the lounge a few times during the day to get coffee, juice, and sample the wonderful horsedouvres. The lounge concierge was always very eager to help and definitely made our trip even more special. The complementary guest laundry and dry cleaning also worked out well and came in very handy. We will most likely always book a suite with similar amenities from now on as they are well worth the expense! Dining - Ok, The Main dining room, Canaletto, and the Lido buffet were just par for cruising cuisine. None of them were terribly spectacular and the dessert at all three venues was pretty lackluster. The Pinnacle Grill, however, was absolutely fantastic! We had breakfast and dinner there a few times and thoroughly loved it! When we return, we will likely only eat in the Pinnacle and forego the other restaurants completely. Service - The service on board was outstanding! Everyone we came across had a huge smile on their face, greeted us, and truly made us feel at home. So here is where things get a little funky for me... Remember, my husband and I are both 40 years old. Apparently, HAL's target demographic is considerably older than us. We found this out first-hand before boarding. When we walked into the pier, the security staff asked if we were crew. When we responded "No, we are passengers..." their jaws dropped and they let us pass in amazement. Most of the other passengers, we later found out, were in their late 70's, 80's and early 90's. I'm totally fine with cruising around senior citizens, don't get me wrong. They were extremely nice, quiet, and were all very friendly. We were walking on the Promenade and came across an elderly lady napping, head back and mouth WIDE open, on a couch. I was afraid she had passed away right there and was tempted to place a mirror under her nose to see if she was still alive. Entertainment - The entertainment wasn't that great but, again, it was designed for the target HAL demographic. My husband and I were expecting a Broadway-worthy production yet, well, that wasn't the case. The Lincoln Center Stage performers were wonderful and the America's Test Kitchen demonstrations were extremely fun. There just wasn't much in the way of nightlife. Overall - Great ship, amazing service, wonderful food (at the Pinnacle)! It's a little like a floating nursing home but there is nothing wrong with that! Just be prepared. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
We are regular HAL cruisers and were very pleased with this cruise. Almost all the ports were very interesting, and we learned a lot about the Western side of South America. Embarkation and disembarkation went very smoothly. The Maasdam is ... Read More
We are regular HAL cruisers and were very pleased with this cruise. Almost all the ports were very interesting, and we learned a lot about the Western side of South America. Embarkation and disembarkation went very smoothly. The Maasdam is an old ship that is showing its wear. The temperature is quite uneven. Our room was never really cool, despite keeping our thermostat on max cool. The engineer couldn't do anything about it. The crew is always the best part of HAL cruises. The food was very good as usual. I have very specific dietary issues, and the staff did everything they could to accommodate me. There was little onboard entertainment except the evening shows. The ship singers and dancers were OK, but the other acts were, for the most part, outstanding. HAL has eliminated so many of the things we used to count on and enjoy; that's disappointing. They weren't even things that cost much if any money. Many are hard to understand. All the crew in every department went out of their way to be extra pleasant and helpful. It was so sweet to see them helping passengers with various disabilities. We liked most of the ports with the exception of Manta, Ecuador. We were there on Sunday, and the port is so far from anything that it felt like a wasted day. I do need to note that many passengers began coughing within a few days of the start, and this continued throughout the cruise. I myself came home with bronchitis which has dampened some of my enthusiasm for my experience. Go see the Incan, Mayan, Aztec and so many more cultures of Central and South America! Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
We were invited to join some friends on this cruise. Since my partner hates to fly and this left from our Hometown of San Diego-we decided to give it at try. We are 2 star Mariners and although we've been on many cruises but never ... Read More
We were invited to join some friends on this cruise. Since my partner hates to fly and this left from our Hometown of San Diego-we decided to give it at try. We are 2 star Mariners and although we've been on many cruises but never one with so many sea days and we were apprehensive. We booked a balcony VB4166. The room is standard but the veranda is twice as large as the others on the upper promenade ( not including Neptune Suites) as we enjoy entertaining and spending time out there. We were unable to spend much time out there as the weather was very windy at times on the way to HI but when we were able there was maintenance going on directly below us and on the aft Lido deck. It was very annoying. They called and offered us earplugs which we considered laughable. In the end they did give us a credit off our bill which was very welcome. Early dining was okay. We were seated at a table of ten and lucked out with our table mates.I considered the menu to have little variation ( the first 3 nights-peppered tenderloin was offered). If you don't like cilantro or fish there isnt much to choose from, Our servers were very nice but not really personable and the food was mediocre many nights. Wine steward was really seen. Our room stewards were excellent and the bar staff on the Lido deck were terrific! Ocean bar too. Overall we enjoyed this cruise and even though we are seniors (69 &73) I would say that most passengers were much older and less mobile than most. if you're looking for a younger crowd and late entertainment check out a different cruise. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
We scheduled this cruise because it gave us six days on four islands (with an overnight in Honolulu) which seemed to balance out the sea days. It also included a night passing of Kilauea with the spectacular sight of lava entering the sea ... Read More
We scheduled this cruise because it gave us six days on four islands (with an overnight in Honolulu) which seemed to balance out the sea days. It also included a night passing of Kilauea with the spectacular sight of lava entering the sea the highlight of the cruise for me. We have sailed with HAL before on other long cruises and knew that it would be an older crowd (I think only 8 children) with more sedate activities and that was not a concern. We met a lot of interesting people while sailing, often folks who had sailed the same itinerary many times. The Westerdam itself was a very nice ship though larger than we prefer. Considering it is about to go in for refurbishing, it was attractive and in very good condition, not too worn. Our cabin (6046) was behind the elevators but not at all noisy. Our room stewards (Tutu and Gede) were excellent; they knew our names right away, figured out our schedules quickly but worked around days when we spent extra time in the cabin, and were extremely helpful when we had a scooter problem. The balcony even got cleaned off from the collected sea salt several times during sea days. Front desk and shore excursion staff were also quite good. You can tell that there have been cuts to staff in the Lido and dining room as service was not what it once was--but we were usually very well satisfied. In the Lido I saw staff going out of their way to assist some of the many passengers with disabilities--and several times a crew member would carry my plate and drink to the table for me. It was, however, often hard to find someone to clear plates or fill water, especially at dinner. We had open seating dining and this worked well for us since we were willing to share a table. We typically had breakfast and lunch in the Lido where the selection and quality of food were good. I especially liked eggs cooked to order and sushi availability. Hamburgers by the pool and pizza at the Italian station were also good. Soft ice cream availability by the pool was missed. Room service for breakfast was disappointing since the menu is now much more limited--but we did discover that if you wrote something on the order sheet that wasn't on the menu (like bagels and cream cheese) they would provide it. Menu for dinner in the dining room seemed more limited than it used to be, especially the first week, but the food was good. The Lido dinner menu was similar but with the hot appetizers and cold soups missing. One disappointment was that on an 18 day cruise we only had lobster available one night (it was excellent!). Even in the Pinnacle Grill (pay extra restaurant) you pay extra extra for lobster. Perhaps that is why it often seemed almost empty. We had lunch in the Pinnacle one afternoon and enjoyed the quiet there. Our first evening we ate in Canneloni, the extra pay Italian restaurant up on the Lido deck, but find the new menu not nearly as much to our liking as the old. Service was excellent. For us days at sea are for reading, relaxing, talking to people and attending shipboard activities. HAL seems to be cutting back on libraries which is a shame. Entertainment in the showroom was varied and enjoyable, especially the magician and floutist. Unfortunately, if you didn't get there 45 minutes before the early show you wound up with a seat behind a pole or no seat at all. If there was only one show for the night it was even worse. This was the biggest complaint I had with the cruise--seats filling up long before the events and full rooms--which to me is a sign that there was not enough going on from which to choose. This was the case for the showroom, movies, trivia, afternoon tea, cooking demos, pretty much everything. This makes it even more annoying when some people insist on "saving" the better part of a row of seats for friends who come much later. Teas are now in the Ocean Bar--and I miss them being in the dining room (at least some of the time). Educational talks were not as good as I expected from past experience in that they were often not related to the Hawaiian itinerary (really--the Bermuda Triangle when you are mid-Pacific?). The talk as we sailed by the lava flow at midnight was only available in the Crows Nest but the sound should have been broadcast on stateroom TVs for those like us who wanted to watch in PJs. The group of Hawaiian entertainers who were onboard as we sailed to Hawaii were charming and did a very nice job with making leis, teaching hula, etc. The pool area was not often too crowded to find a spot and was enjoyable. Sometimes the pool was like a wave machine but the hot tubs were usable most of the time. Shore excursions did a good job of making things do-able for passengers with disabilities (thank you Debbie). At tender ports the crew members were wonderful helping passengers on and off the tenders in rough waters. We did two privately arranged excursions (Chief's Luau in Honolulu and Marylou's Tours in Hilo) that were reasonable in cost compared to HAL tours. Marylou's was exceptional and I would recommend her to anyone visiting Kona or Hilo. HAL's Pearl Harbor / Arizona tour and Pali Coast tour in Honolulu were both good but had much more overlap than was evident from the descriptions. Blue Hawaiian helicopter tour and time sitting along the nearby beach were a great way to spend a day in Kauai. A Trilogy Catamaran tour in Maui was not a good choice for anyone in need of shade or who wound up in the back of the vessel where you could not hear the narration. Two hours mid-day on the water in the sun was too much for many on board. It also was too high in price when purchased through the ship--there were definitely better and more reasonably priced options available on-shore--but we did see whales!! I wish we had done another Marylou tour in Kona as that had more personalized guidance at the sites (Coffee museum and store, Painted Church, and a Refuge along the beach) but our ship arranged tour was good as we went from one place to another. I very much enjoyed this cruise and think it is a wonderful way to see Hawaii. In spite of some corner cutting with staffing HAL continues to provide a good experience for the price. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
Like the colour scheme, which is more subdued than I remember on the other 3 Vista class ships, Food in the MDR seemed a step up over our last cruise on Eurodam. The wait staff have changed from pen and paper to tablets, with a noticeable ... Read More
Like the colour scheme, which is more subdued than I remember on the other 3 Vista class ships, Food in the MDR seemed a step up over our last cruise on Eurodam. The wait staff have changed from pen and paper to tablets, with a noticeable improvement in the speed of service. We got in and out from one meal in the MDR in 45 minutes! Entertainment was good and the Adagio classical music duo was far the best I've heard since HAL downsized them from three players to two, with a concert-quality violinist. Westerdam is looking slightly tired but has a 12-day refit coming up in April. The gold wallpaper on deck 6 is not in the best of shape due to the carts going by, although we one panel was being replaced as we walked by. Good and friendly cabin stewards. The in-room breakfast menu has changed from a la carte to set meals. Fresh fruit on request but the promised fresh flowers were just a couple of carnations and didn't appear for several days; order a bouquet if flowers are important. We had fog for one night. The foghorn is pretty loud on deck 10, which betokens a serious sound-proofing issue for the cabins to be added behind the Crowsnest in April. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
I only chose this cruise as it leaves from San Diego. I have been on many of HA's ships and loved them all but this one was awful. The awesome Indonesians were replaced by Filipino's poorly trained. The food has gone down big ... Read More
I only chose this cruise as it leaves from San Diego. I have been on many of HA's ships and loved them all but this one was awful. The awesome Indonesians were replaced by Filipino's poorly trained. The food has gone down big time, even the lamb and steaks were STRINGY. Maybe a first time cruiser would like it but anyone who travelled on other ships would know the difference. My accident was the fault of HA but even so they refused to send doctor unless I paid exorbitant amount of money for the consultation. I am still in pain - 1 week later - bruised ribs, whiplash, etc. The entertainment by the crew was good, and also the piano man (he wasn't Liberace) but the rest of the entertainment was sub par. The Pinnacle Grill was excellent and I do recommend you eat meals there rather than the Lido. The first Hot Tub was scalding hot. The second one o.k. The cabin sofa was so dirty it was BLACK. When I pointed this out they threw a white sheet over it, lol. On the last day it was removed. The Breakfast in room dining never got it right! Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
I was traveling with my 81 year old mom who has limited mobility. We wanted a cruise with interesting ports we haven't seen before. We both enjoyed the cruise immensely. It was a great blend of interesting places and relaxing sea ... Read More
I was traveling with my 81 year old mom who has limited mobility. We wanted a cruise with interesting ports we haven't seen before. We both enjoyed the cruise immensely. It was a great blend of interesting places and relaxing sea days. This was our fourth cruise, and it was the first time I did not have a list of complaints afterwards. Service was excellent everywhere. Food--We were very impressed with the food on this cruise. We dined at one of the two main dining rooms most every night, and had many excellent meals, and none that were bad. We had delicious ribeye steaks twice at Cagneys. We enjoyed Moderno the churrascuro restaurant but felt that one trip there was plenty. We would have liked it more if there were some dipping sauces for the meat. It got a little boring. We also enjoyed La Cucina. We have learned to avoid the buffets on cruises except for a light snack. The few lunches we had from the buffet were just OK. Embarkation--long lines but smooth. They did not have a good set up for handicapped passengers and it was hard for my mom to stand in a long line. Enrichment activities--really informative documentary on the Panama canal the day before we sailed through it. The day of passage a representative from the canal comes on board and narrates the passage. This was really enjoyable. I would love to have more in-depth information about the various countries we visited. Entertainment--I have little interest in cruise entertainment, but I was very happy to hear the string quartet playing on this trip. We enjoyed them in the dining rooms several nights and in the lounge. I took plenty of books to read but ended up reading 3 I found in the well-stocked library. Fitness--I enjoyed the aerobic dance classes but sometimes they were in the direct sun on the deck and it was wayy too hot. Wish they offered more of those throughout the day. Good walking track that stayed pretty shaded most of the time. Onboard experiences--lots of nice, quiet places for reading, which I appreciated. Most of the outdoor seating was in the sun. It would have been nice to have more shaded areas besides under the lifeboats. We enjoyed the trivia and name that tune games, except the host of name that tunes played way too much of the song and took away the challenge. It would have been nice to have some karaoke earlier than 10:00. Lots of late activities that we missed being early birds. Shore Excersions--these were all chosen to be easy with little physical activity for my mom. There were many fun things like snorkeling and zip lines that we did not do. Cabos San Lucas--did the ship easy excursion. There is not much to see in Cabos. This was a decent overview. We enjoyed the demo at the glass factory. Excellent fish tacos at Molly's in Cabos San Jose. Acapulco--very enjoyable tour with Baldo Gomez at Tours by Rudy. We released baby sea turtles at the refuge, saw lots of different areas of town, the Peace chapel, Los Flamingoes hotel. Fun day. Puerto Quetzal--did the easy shore excursion to Antigua. My mom wasn't feeling well so I went on my own. The shore excursion spent a lot of time in a jade factory/store which didn't interest me, so I went walking through Antigua on my own. A beautiful city not to be missed. Corinto--had a nice tour with Denis of Julio Guides to Leon. Leon was poor and bleak after Antigua. We got an overview of the place, saw the market, murals of the political history which went on too long standing in the heat. We went to a nice cool place for lunch. It was interesting to see but lots of poverty. Costa Rica--excellent tour guide Javier Vargas with Thumbs Up tours. One of the highlights of the trip. Went to macaw sanctuary, crocodile river cruise, and a general tour of the area. Lots of interesting plants and animals explained by our fabulous guide. We learned a lot and had a great time. Not to miss especially with Thumbs Up tours. Cartagena-- Beautiful old town. I would focus solely on that next time. We took an OK tour with Dora. We got an overview of the area and a walking tour of old town, but she rushed us through that to spend 45 mins. In an emerald store. Did not like that part, but Cartagena was one of my favorite spots on the trip. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
Wow. What a cruise. The ports were amazing. Hawaii, Somoa, Fiji, Tonga and French Polynesia. I have wanted to do this cruise for the last 5 years. My husband finally retired so we had the time to do this 48 day cruise from San Diego. ... Read More
Wow. What a cruise. The ports were amazing. Hawaii, Somoa, Fiji, Tonga and French Polynesia. I have wanted to do this cruise for the last 5 years. My husband finally retired so we had the time to do this 48 day cruise from San Diego. The weather was wonderful the whole time. I can't even remember having any rain. The seas were calm and quiet the whole trip except the night we left and the night we came back into San Diego. There must be something about ocean conditions off the coast of Mexico and California. The Amsterdam is an older smaller ship. I liked the size. Not too big and not too small. We usually get balcony cabins as we enjoy them so much but on this cruise the balconies were cost prohibitive. We made do with an outside cabin. It was okay. We did not like the TV. It was small and was pointed sideways. We couldn't enjoy it as we couldn't see it well from our bed. Also, there was no fridge in our cabin. We couldn't get any cool water to come out of the tap. I won a bottle of wine from the art auction and we had to drink it warm. We were told the lack of fridges was because it was an old ship. They seemed to blame a lot of things on it being an older ship. The food on this cruise was wonderful, however, I am not picky, if someone else makes it I'll eat it. We usually ate in the dining room at a shared table for dinner, however, service was very slow. We found out that the wait was cut in half if we managed to get a table for 2. Tables for 2 were in very high demand. Some nights we ate dinner in the buffet which was so much faster and easier. We ate most of our breakfasts and lunches in the buffet. We were never allowed to serve ourselves in the buffet so the staff had to ask each person what items they wanted on their plates. This slowed down the lines in the buffet greatly at busy times. There was also the Dive In grill that had hamburgers, hot dogs and nachos. Needless to say we didn't lose any weight on this cruise. We loved the main pool area. It never seemed crowded. It was just very sunny and hot. There was no shade for the loungers. The pool itself was very nice. Cool but not too cool. It was deeper so it was so nice to dip into to have a swim. There is a pool in the back of the ship but it was only 4 feet deep. Much too shallow for my liking. I must say all the staff on this ship were fabulous. The bartenders, room stewards, etc were all so nice and friendly and did their jobs well. I hate being called Madam. In the buffet I met a waiter who called me Madam. I told him how I hated it and told him to call me by my name. For the whole rest of the cruise he recognized us and called us Miss Linda and Mr. William instead of Madam and Sir. We were upset that our captain did not take us past the lava flow in Hawaii. To go to Hawaii and not see the lava flow is like going to Alaska and not seeing a glacier. The Captain gave no explanation and just kept saying it was not on the itinerary. Funny how it was on the Noordam's itinerary who cruised past it just a day before. After complaining to the corporate office we found out the reason we missed it was because of fuel consumption. We had been on a Hawaii cruise a few months before this on Celebrity. Not only did the captain go by the lava flow. He stopped the ship and circled it 360 so everyone got a view of the flow. This does not make this captain or HAL look very good in our eyes as was the case for many on this cruise. We missed one port. Niue was cancelled. We do not mind missing ports when the need arises but the way it was told to us was very disappointing. The captain said it was due to heavy swells. We had never seen such calm seas that day. Hardly a ripple. So we found it very odd. We were talking to a tender officer on deck and he said the port was cancelled because the tender did not line up to the pier. The officer explained passengers would have had to jump up 1 meter from the tender to the pier. Now why would the captain lie and say heavy swells when it was due to the pier height. Had HAL never been to this port before? Bad planning on HAL's part. We did not appreciate being lied to by the captain for a second time. We were then slapped in the face when they refunded us .99 cents to our accounts for port charges. I love to snorkel. So I intended to snorkel in every port. I snorkeled in every port except Nuka Hiva. In Nuka Hiva we were not allowed in the water due to bad sharks. We were also warned not to walk away from the port area alone as cannibalism is still practiced here. (We found that hard to believe until talking to the cruise director. He said a tourist was killed and eaten in 2014. Yikes!) I did not purchase any shore excursions from HAL. They were all so over priced. I purchased all my snorkeling shore excursions on the pier and usually paid less than half of what the ship charged. Sometimes I just went snorkeling independently at public beaches or areas near the pier. I enjoyed all my snorkeling trips very much. Sadly, I must say a lot of the coral is dying. I had one snorkel leader who thought nothing of stepping on the coral with her fins. sigh ;-( We purchased $425 in internet time. The internet on this cruise was horrible. Most of our internet time and money was spent waiting for pages to load. We were told by the captain that the reason was because the Amsterdam was such a old ship. The internet could be improved on this ship however HAL corporate will not spend the money to upgrade the internet equipment. The entertainers on this ship were hit and miss. All of the production shows were great. The dancers on this ship were most excellent and the best I had ever seen on a cruise ship and I have been on a lot of cruises. They were exceptional. We had 3 local dance groups perform. One from Hawaii, Fiji and Tahiti. They were very nice. Some comedians were good, some were terrible. Some singers were enjoyable some were boring. We had a lot of musicians. I think I have heard flight of the bumblebee on every musical instrument known to man. Some nights we had no entertainment and just had a movie shown. I must say I loved HAL's popcorn. We had to take tenders to most of these islands as they did not have piers for larger ships like ours. Tendering was such a pain. We would have to line up very early in the morning to get tender tickets. One morning I was 4th in line for tender tickets. I got tender number 4. I asked the crew member in charge how in the world could I be on tender 4 when I was fourth in line. She explained that the 3 people ahead of me had gotten 3 tender boats worth of tender tickets. I guess people were getting 30 tender tickets each for their friends, neighbors, groups etc. I don't think people should be able to get that many tender tickets. It should be limited to 4 or 6 per person. People on ship excursions and 4 star mariners with HAL did not have to line up for tender tickets. They were all the first ones off the ship. Disembarkation was a nightmare. All non Americans were required to go to a lounge and clear customs. Customs would not clear the ship or let anyone off until that was done. Many non Americans did not go in a timely manner. The cruise director kept announcing over and over again for people from certain cabins to go to clear customs. This took 2 hours. It was 9am and we were kicked out of our cabins to wait in the public areas. Finally the ship was cleared and self assist was able to disembark the ship. The problem was that so many people had gone down to the gangway to wait to disembark that the self assist people couldn't get off as all the stair ways and hall ways near the gangway were full of people. The cruise director announced several times begging people not to go to the gangway area until their colors were called. Then it was found that the gangway was not secured to the ship properly. Disembarkation had to be stopped while the gangway was re secured. Our color was supposed to get off the ship at 9am. Our color was finally called at 10:30am. Right then they announced that the elevators were all non operational. I am disabled and walk with a walker. Since my walker doesn't do stairs I had no way to get down 8 decks to the disembarkation area. My husband finally decided to carry my walker down the stairs while I slowly and carefully negotiated the stairs. When we got down to the disembarkation area we saw all the people waiting for their colors to be called. It was difficult to try to get around them and get off the ship. Now this nightmare was not all HAL's fault. Why do people not go when they are told to check in with customs? When people are told not to go down to the disembarkation area until your color is called why do people not listen and go anyway? We made it to the airport in plenty of time as our flight was not until the afternoon, however, I am sure many people must have missed their morning flights. We are not loyal to any one cruise line. When we cruise we have a choice. Most main stream cruise lines are more similar than they are different. We cruise a lot with all cruise lines and are used to getting affordable balcony cabins and booking perks. On Celebrity and NCL we usually get free gratuities, free beverages and free unlimited internet. Nothing is free on HAL. Because of this and the captains dishonesty I don't think we will not be doing many more cruises on HAL. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
We departed from San Diego and hit two Mexican ports, Guatemala and Costa Rica before reaching Peru. It was Early November, hot and humid but since we are avid birdwatchers we managed to pull in a few lifebirds (birds we had never seen ... Read More
We departed from San Diego and hit two Mexican ports, Guatemala and Costa Rica before reaching Peru. It was Early November, hot and humid but since we are avid birdwatchers we managed to pull in a few lifebirds (birds we had never seen before). Just be prepared for the heat. Peru was very interesting from a cultural and historical standpoint. The ports are industrial working ports and not user friendly for passengers since you have to take a shuttle bus to leave the industrial area. In Lima the wait for the shuttle was an hour and the ride took 30 minutes. The bus delivers you to a highly policed park where expensive taxi service is available. We left the park and walked along the seaboard taking in many sea birds. We then hailed our own taxi and paid $20.00 to take a 45 minute ride to the Lima zoo. My wife thought the taxi ride was scary (it was) because he weaved in and out of traffic and barely missed pedestrians. We loved the zoo because it had birds and animals specific to Peru. They have a very nice bird exhibit where we saw my personal favorite bird (the Cock of the Rock) which is bright orange with large spoon shaped crest. A very nice zoo with lots of locals hanging out with their families. We saw several wild lifebirds here as well. A memorable day! Chile was fabulous! We love this country! First of all we noticed it is clean (not very much trash on the side of the road). The people are friendly but they don't smile. It isn't that they aren't happy, they are just stoic, so don't expect them to return a smile when you flash your pearly whites. In Valparaiso we took the shuttle bus to a terminal (exchanged some money) and walked a half mile to the bus stop. We paid the equivalent of $3.00 and road the 600 series bus for about two hours until our bladders couldn't take it anymore. It was a cheap tour of the city and a good way to get to know the people. A salesman got on and with the bus driver's permission gave a sales pitch for a package of pens he was selling that you could mark on their money to make sure the bills were not counterfeit. He sold a couple then got off and waited for the next bus. Next a volunteer from Salvation Army got on requesting donations, followed by a guitar playing singer selling CD's. He played and sang for about 15 minutes. The bus driver liked it so much he bought his CD. He was followed by a candy salesman. Women with their daily grocery shopping, kids, lovers, businessmen and students were the kinds of people we observed on the bus that day. Definitely worth three bucks! We stopped at the famous flower clock and went the Sheraton to use the marble clad restrooms. Walking down the hill from the Sheraton we stopped at the beach to take in some seabirds before catching the bus back to our shuttle station. We spent Thanksgiving in the Straight of Magellan where I photographed a group of penguins swimming near the ship. The ship glided past fabulous scenery as we encountered Tierra del Fuego National Park with pristine snow covered peaks, glaciers and breathtaking vistas. Reminded me of the the Alaska inside passage. We took a Cruise Critic tour to the interior of the park and saw Upland Goose, Black Necked Swans, Caracara and a few songbirds. The weather cooperated with us as we rounded Cape Horn. It was crisp and cool but the sea state was relatively calm. Our next stop would be the Falkland Islands. Falkland Islands is a tender port. The ride takes about 20 minutes depending on the winds and sea state. The day we were there it was cold and very windy with a little rain. We spent $20.00 each for a round trip shuttle ticket to Gypsy cove. You see Gypsy cove as you enter the port. It is located on your Port side about three miles prior to the anchorage. There we saw a small colony of Magellanic Penguins, Upland Geese, Kelp Geese, Turkey Vultures, a Dark Faced Ground Tyrant and a Grass Wren. We also saw the Flightless Falkland Steamer Duck and Oyster Catchers. A great birding day! There are also adventures to see Rock Hopper Penguins as well as other penguin species but be prepared to get muddy and jostled in the 4 wheel drive vehicles. Back to Argentina we pulled into Puerto Madryn a user friendly port with a long dock. Here we went on another Cruise Critic tour to Punta Tombo to see thousands of penguins. It takes two hours to get there but the roads are nice and well maintained. They make a pit stop at a gas station with clean restrooms somewhere in the middle of the trip. Great place for seeing lots of Magellanic Penguins in their burrows. You will also see Rea here as well as Steamer Ducks and Imperial Cormorants. Montevideo, Uriguay is a nice port town, easily accessible and interesting. I smelled pot as we crossed the first street reminding me it was legal here. The old section of town has some very nice European style architecture. There are many shops and street vendors. You will see Monk Parakeets in the city parks and we even saw a Coo-coo which had a punk rocker hairdo. Taxis are cheap here but you will need pesos. In Buenos Aires we ended our cruise. We hooked up with a professional bird watching guide named Diego Gallegos who picked us up at the cruise terminal in his van and then took us on a most excellent birding adventure. We saw over 30 lifebirds that day! He supplied a nice lunch and then took us and our luggage to the airport in time to make our flight back home. He is married with two kids and has been birding since he was a kid. Very knowledgable and well worth the price of $260.00. If you need a birdwatching guide I highly recommend him. I found him on the "birdingpals" international website. His email is diegogallegos61@gmail.com if you would like to contact him. The NCL Sun is old and in desperate need of repair. We made the mistake of moving the beds in our stateroom so we could look out the window without kneeling on the bed. Our mistake was seeing the pee-stained mattresses. Yuck! The furnishings are dilapidated and wear and tear is evident everywhere you look. A tattered bucket of bolts ready for the boneyard or a major overhaul in dry dock. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
Best Cruise of 10 we have taken, until time to disembark. Then total disorganization Like they have never done it before. Kept telling non English speaking passenger to report somewhere so that ship could be cleared for customs. kept ... Read More
Best Cruise of 10 we have taken, until time to disembark. Then total disorganization Like they have never done it before. Kept telling non English speaking passenger to report somewhere so that ship could be cleared for customs. kept everyone on board for 1.5 hours while they kept announcing in English for them to report. This system is bound to fail and they need to have a prearranged system to let these passengers know what to do, such as printed instruction in their language. Need to take a lesson from the other cruise line on how to disembark passengers. I have never had this problem before on other cruise lines. Also took long time in lines to board in San Diego. Here again they need to see how other line do it much better. Other than slow boarding we though this was the most enjoyable cruise we have ever taken. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
I have taken 11 cruises total and NCL SUN was the absolute worst ship I have ever been on. I had a Suite #8077 that was not much bigger than a balcony state room. It was the noisiest most vibrating room from the engines that I have ever ... Read More
I have taken 11 cruises total and NCL SUN was the absolute worst ship I have ever been on. I had a Suite #8077 that was not much bigger than a balcony state room. It was the noisiest most vibrating room from the engines that I have ever been in. I got absolutely no rest on this cruise. The ships AC was not working 7 of the 11 day cruise!!! The staff was very nice and friendly but you could tell the last 2 days of the cruise they were all getting sick with some kind of respiratory problems and it so happens all 3 of our passengers came home with upper respiratory infections. There is absolutely NOTHING to do on this ship after 10pm except casino. This ship was like a floating Nursing Home. I was really looking forward to the Mexican Riviera cruise but was very disappointed in the ports of call. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
Since we live fairly close to San Diego, we don't have the hassle factor of air travel to and from the cruise. We arrived at the port around 11:00 AM, and were greeted by "Sherry", a wonderful person at the pier who ... Read More
Since we live fairly close to San Diego, we don't have the hassle factor of air travel to and from the cruise. We arrived at the port around 11:00 AM, and were greeted by "Sherry", a wonderful person at the pier who coordinates the "wheelchair assist" passengers. HAL's embarkation and disembarkation for mobility impaired passengers is so far & away above the other cruise lines we have used. Very organized. We arrived in our cabin around 11:45, dropped our hand luggage and proceeded to the Main Dining Room for the Mariner's embarkation luncheon. We tend to avoid the Lido buffet just because we like to be seated and served our meals. Our cabin was a category A, Vista Suite, deck 10. It was a tad smaller than we had anticipated, especially the veranda, but there was plenty of closet/drawer/shelf space for everything we had brought. Bathroom was OK, there was a "bubble tub", which makes the tub wall fairly high to get into it, but we had requested a small step stool and it was in place when we arrived. The ship staff all went out of their way to assist us, so many happy greetings, and we always felt welcome anywhere we were on the ship. This is a smaller, older ship which is our preference - doesn't take so long to get from one place to another and it never felt crowded. It's decor reflects the Dutch sailing history - many interesting paintings, sculpture, etc. So many of the newer ships are decorated like Las Vegas on steroids. Not very soothing to us. The entertainment was mostly good - we liked the classical violin/piano duo (used to be the Adagio String Trio), Went to listen to them after most every dinner. There were 2 production shows, the one titiled "Encore" was fabulous, one of the best we have seen on any cruise. Also a "Piano Man" who was really good, we missed the comedian. The dining experience was very good. We had the early fixed seating, always get it whenever possible. It is so nice to have a waitstaff who knows our preferences by the second day and call us by name. Of all the different dishes we ordered, there was not one that we didn't like. We try to order unusual food that we don't have at home. There was a varied menu each day, temperature of food was hot or cold as appropriate, and very well presented. We ordered room service breakfast each day, again very well done. There was a long list of activities in each daily program, if one wished it was possible to be busy every hour of the day/night. We tend to like the relaxation that comes with a cruise - to do nothing at all is a luxury. We only got off the ship at one port - Mazatlan. This cruise line has only started calling there within the last month. We remarked at how clean the pier area was, so many local tourist information volunteers to asssist us, and that the town looked a lot cleaner than years ago. Overall a great time on a great classic ship. Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
I took my Grandfather on a 14 day cruise to fulfill a promise I made to him to take him north, south, east and west. This cruise was thru the Panama Canal (south). It started out with the best expectations. However, I quickly found that ... Read More
I took my Grandfather on a 14 day cruise to fulfill a promise I made to him to take him north, south, east and west. This cruise was thru the Panama Canal (south). It started out with the best expectations. However, I quickly found that this cruise would be fraught with frustrations. I somehow managed to upset the room service folks and the whole cruise I don't think I had one meal that was as ordered; and you'll get a better idea of exactly how frustrating by the end of this. The first few ports were great. Then my Grandfather managed to hurt himself on one of the deck chairs (many of them had screws loose or missing). I took him to the Doctor and he said he was ok, but his leg kept getting worse and by the last couple of days on the Statendam he could not walk. The only way I could get a wheelchair was to rent one. For the last three days they wanted me to pay $145! It was their deck chair that hurt him and they were ruthless in the requirement of payment before I could get a wheelchair! So we are basically stuck in our cabin and even thought I tipped, room service never did get the orders right and on the last day, they gave us used silverware! :-( Please consider before using Holland America. Do not get sick, they will be very unsympathetic and not to helpful. I do have many other frustrations over this one cruise with them too. Just think twice about using them. I have had such delightful experiences with other cruise lines that it highlighted how poorly they behaved. At the end of the cruise, I was so exhausted that I just didn't have the energy to complain over the fact that they just took out a daily gratuity whether I felt they deserved it or not:-( While our room steward was terrific, I would not have given anyone else a dime.   Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
After having to postpone this wonderful itinerary for almost 3 years due to health issues, we finally boarded the beautiful Westerdam on Oct. 4 for our 30 day cruise to Hawaii and the South Pacific. Stayed at the Best Western Yacht ... Read More
After having to postpone this wonderful itinerary for almost 3 years due to health issues, we finally boarded the beautiful Westerdam on Oct. 4 for our 30 day cruise to Hawaii and the South Pacific. Stayed at the Best Western Yacht Harbor Hotel in San Diego for 2 nights prior. Nice room overlooking the bay -- staff was very accommodating. DH traveled with his scooter and the hotel arranged for special transfer both from the airport and to the cruise pier at their expense. Embarkation was very smooth and we were in our lovely veranda cabin by 12 noon. Loved the extra space and the bathroom is to "die for" !Our room stewards were wonderful -- and we never needed to ask for anything twice. It amazes me how they know your names almost from Day 1 --- Jo and Dani were always smiling and very pleasant. As this was our first cruise with HAL, I was very concerned in regards to the mixed reviews I had read on the CC boards about the food, entertainment and overall atmosphere of the ship. We were pleasantly surprised! The entertainment was top-notch. Cruise Director, Jason commented that HAL does bring on more upscale entertainment for the longer cruises and we enjoyed the main shows almost every nite. In fact, several of the performers did repeat shows which was great. However, the HAL singers and dancers were totally "underused" only doing two Broadway type productions for the 30 day trip. These folks are wonderful, work extremely hard and HAL should use their talents more! We had originally chosen the "anytime dining" thinking we could eat around our usual 7 pm dinner time -- however, after the first nite and the long line and resulting chaos -- we changed to fixed dining at 8 pm. I think HAL needs to change this policy as the only times one could get a reserved spot was either at 5:15 or 8 pm in the Dining room on Deck 2 --- nothing in between. As my husband needs to eat at a certain time due to medications --- the concept of going to the dining room whenever we wanted was not available. So we would see the show at 7 and then have dinner at 8. Our waiters were wonderful and always concerned that we were happy with our meal. Speaking of food --- we were very pleased with the quality and quantity. Lobster and Filet were offered on each of the 7 formal nites along with my favorite: escargot in garlic butter sauce. The desserts were very good although DH really missed a nice slice of apple pie or a piece of NY style cheesecake. That's OK -- he didn't need the extra calories anyway. We ate in the Lido Buffet mostly for lunch --- we preferred the Dining Room for breakfast as our food always arrived hot. We didn't have the craziness of the Lido with people walking every which way -- plus there were a significant no. of canes, walkers and some scooters on board so the traffic was pretty tight at times. The pizza (thin crust) was actually very good, too. The retracting roof over the Lido pool was a great asset --- allowing passengers to enjoy the area even during the few times we had some rain/wind. However, the Thermal pool and Spa is another area of "compliant" at least for me and a significant number of other guests. Seems you were required to purchase a spa pass for the ENTIRE cruise at the cost of $ 800 per couple or a day pass of $ 40 pp per day. HAL needs to re-think this policy especially for the longer cruises -- I am sure if one could buy "week pkgs." -- this area would have gotten a lot more use. As it was, I often saw the T pool empty and I passed by just about daily. What a waste, IMO !! Hawaii and the South Pacific islands were exactly as you see in the travel brochures --- the turquoise colors of the waters in Bora Bora and Moorea are so clear and amazingly gorgeous !!! We did private tours on all islands with one HAL tour on Moorea. The price HAL charges for their shore excursions is outrageously high --- we like smaller groups with more "one-on-one" interaction with tour guides. Plus we got alot more for our money, too ! With reference to using a scooter and tendering --- I must say that HAL's crews were wonderful !!! DH was able to use his scooter on all the islands with the exception of Nuku Hiva which made for a much more enjoyable trip for us both. He would have missed so much if this trip had been with any other cruise ship. We did have a itinerary change as a medical evacuation caused us to stop at Christmas Island after leaving Fanning Island. Due to miscommunication at some point at the Hawaiian end ---We sat there for over 12 hours waiting for the medivac plane from Honolulu to show up. As this is a military base -- we were not allowed ashore but most took it in stride and enjoyed the beautiful weather. This meant we would miss Rarotonga and to make up time --- our arrival in Bora Bora was pushed ahead by 2 days !! I was the tour coordinator for our tours in Bora Bora and was petty anxious about this change of plans. However, the Front Desk was very helpful in helping me contact the tour operator and he was able to accommodate us and the tours went off smoothly. All in all, this was a wonderful cruise and I highly recommend the Westerdam and it's crew. We will definitely check out her itineraries for future cruises. Read Less
Sail Date October 2012
First off, this was my third cruise so my opinion is not one of a frequent cruiser. We had a great time. I did not think the ship looked old or worn out, except maybe the carpets in front of the elevator in some places. There was a lot of ... Read More
First off, this was my third cruise so my opinion is not one of a frequent cruiser. We had a great time. I did not think the ship looked old or worn out, except maybe the carpets in front of the elevator in some places. There was a lot of deep red colored wood with brass fittings in the lounges and dining room. The crew was hard working, yet seemed happy. The officers were very visible throughout the ship and always asked how we were doing and were obviously listening to the answers (as opposed to pleasantries.) We were on Deck 5 as we had an accessible room. It was in excellent condition, and the beds were firm (maybe a little too firm for me!) Our shower had plenty of hot water (in fact, it could be too hot so you had to adjust it and give it a minute to reach full temperature (much like it is a home.) The only annoying thing is that Deck five was where the accessible rooms were, and our MDR seating was also on deck five--but the kitchen was inbetween the areas. Therefore, you had to take the elevator up a floor, go to the aft elevator and then take the lift down a floor. The elevators are small compared to the other ships I've been on and were frequently full at dinnertime, so we would just get on when the elevator was going up and then ride it back down. The food was excellent. I tried so many dishes I'd only heard about and everything was beautifully prepared and tasted wonderful. I pretty much had two deserts each night as I tried whatever sounded irresistible plus a little scoop of sorbet, which was a different flavor each night, like guava, kiwi, green apple, tangerine, mango.... Here is a copy of their menu that someone else posted: http://www.megacity.org/scrap/Jan201...te%20Menus.pdf There were a few changes but that was pretty much it. Lobster was served during the final formal night (there were three) and it was delicious. I did not see anyone turned away for how they were dressed on formal night and people at my table were dressed like you would going out to a nice restaurant. Our room steward, Mohammed, was very pleasant and always had our room made up. We had the first seating in the MDR and our attendants could not have been better (Sabu and Nicole.) Complimentary shampoo/conditioner/lotion was refilled daily (citrus scented.) The soap was a bar, not that liquid stuff. We never ate lunch, but instead went to Tea Time at 3:30pm if we thought we couldn't make it until dinner. They also offered a British breakfast which was a welcome treat (loved grilled mushrooms and tomatoes and their bacon.) There was a cruise critic get together on the first day at sea. It was opposite a talk I wanted to see, so I stayed there 20 minutes and left. They had cookies and beverages. I talked to Jamie Petts, the hotel officer and he explained that on the previous cruise the reason the ship slowed down to 6 knots was because there was a low pressure with 18 foot swells ahead and by slowing down they allowed the system to clear before they went into that area. They had three guest speakers and they were excellent. And June, the Hawaiian ambassador, taught us how to make leis and such on four different days. We had a lot of fun with that, and it was fun to see everyone walking around wearing their creations. There was also all sorts of gambling, bingo, trivia games, and competitions with the officiers but we didn't have the time to get to those. There were also movies, one would be shown in the cinema a few times a day, but then it would also be on the tv on certain other days. Films were The War Horse, The Help, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, Ides of March, Capt America, and some comedies. John was the cruise director and he was fun. I particularly enjoyed his talk about being a stunt man in Hollywood. Quality was variable in the evening entertainment. The comedians were fairly funny, the magician was very good. I didn't care for the big song and dance nights. One night they had a singer that was pretty good. I skipped a couple of nights, though. The first day at sea was rough, I think the swells were 16 foot with plenty of white caps. A couple of times waves splashed against our window on deck five. I found out a lot of people were laid low with motion sickness. I also asked and found out the ship had 1700 cruisers on board. There was only 2 days where the seas were fairly calm, the rest of the time there was a 6 foot swell which made walking slightly challenging but not bad at all. It was about 61F/16C on deck on most days so the sun worshipers were only the most determined. The day or two before Hawaii, things warmed up enough to be comfortable out there. Honolulu: we rented a car. It was very hot and humid. The car rental angencies sent shuttles to the little park just across from the Aloha Towers. We wanted to go to a shop in Honolulu, but after an hour of heavy traffic like LA on a bad day only to find there was no parking available for blocks around that store, we gave up and drove the circle tour around the island. We stopped at the Pali Lookout, then continued on along the coast. We stopped at Tropical Farms Macadamia Nut Farm and found lots of good things to buy. They had free coffee which was very welcomed and the staff were wonderfully warm and generous people. We continued along the coast to the North Shore. No turtles were at Laniakea, a beach they are known to frequent. We stopped for a shaved ice at Matsumoto, and then drove back through the center of the island to go to a luau at Germaine's. That was a lovely time. Good food and drink, and they demonstrated how the dances were different on different islands. I'd left Mom alone while I got the drinks, only to return to find a handsome young man, a performer, chatting her up. He had the Maori tattoos on this face and I think he'd just noticed her alone and went to keep her company. He was very sweet. Returning to the ship, of course the GPS encouraged us in a wrong off ramp and we ended up at the entrance to the navy base. I had to let them inspect my driver license before they'd let us make a U-turn, and then the guard talked animatedly about Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure and what a great film that was (San Dimas connection.) For Lahaina, we tendered ashore and went on a whale watching cruise. We did see some whales and heard them, too, thanks to their microphone thing. Then we just stayed around town, ate, and went to Hilo Hatties, where we did our part to support the economy. For Kona, we chickened out and did not tender ashore. It was rougher than the day before and I wasn't too happy about the tender into Lahaina. In Hilo, we rented a car, drove to the Short and Sweet Bakery and bought some food for a picnic which we enjoyed up at Volcanoes National Park. Visiting the volcano was the highlight of the trip for me. On the way back, we stopped at the Mauna Loa Macadamia Nut farm. Then it was five days back to Ensenada. We got there nearly two hours late due to the swell the first two days out of Hawaii slowing us down some. We were back in San Diego by 5:30am (the walkway attached immediately above our cabin. Wakey, wakey!) We needed to be out of our room by 8am, and were instructed to wait in the Rendezvous Lounge. It was SRO so we found seats at the Cova Cafe and we finally disembarked after 10am. We got on the wrong Best Western shuttle, so I had to take a cab to the other one, collect the car and go back for Mom and the luggage. We were home by 2pm to 97 degree heat in the shade. But, you know, it was a dry heat! While Hawaii was lovely and the people were so very nice to us, I just don't do well in the humid heat. I think this has cured me of visiting anywhere else that is tropical! Maybe we'll go back to Fairbanks to see the Northern Lights. I very much enjoyed our time on the Century and was never bored or restless. I'm glad for the experience of sailing to Hawaii at 20 miles an hour! I came down with a bad head cold/chest congestion three days after the end of the cruise. It seems that there were others that were sick with this on our cruise, and that on the cruise after ours, a lot of people came down with it (as mentioned on the BB.) Sue Read Less
Sail Date April 2012
The first time we did a cruise it was a 9-day Mexican Riviera on the Spirit. This time it was on the Spirit again, but with the 5 kids ages 16, 15, 15, 13, and 12. Also with 3 grandparents, 2 nieces, and 1 sister-in-law. My wife and two ... Read More
The first time we did a cruise it was a 9-day Mexican Riviera on the Spirit. This time it was on the Spirit again, but with the 5 kids ages 16, 15, 15, 13, and 12. Also with 3 grandparents, 2 nieces, and 1 sister-in-law. My wife and two girls stayed in room 4195 which was on level 4 with french doors and an obstructed view. We could see a little between the life boats in this room. Having fresh air is a MUST for me when I cruise. I love to have the door open at night to hear the sounds and smell the air. The Spirit allows for this pretty cheaply with the obstructed view. You can't walk out on to anything, but you do get the fresh air. When researching I noticed that manly of Carnival's ships don't have this obstructed view. You can get a window down lower, but the window doesn't open. The room had the double twin beds pushed together with a Pullman style bed pulled down and the couch made up as a bed. My 13 and 12 year old daughters occupied these. There is PLENLY of enough storage room in the cabin. Between the two closets with hangers, the wardrobe thing, the drawers, and under the bed we had more than enough room. I should have brought additional hangers though. My three sons, 16, 15, and 15 were 2 doors down from us in two twin beds separated and a Pullman style bed above the couch. Two grandparents and a niece were on level 4 as well, but further down and had a balcony. The sister-in-law and another niece where farther down on the opposite side. They were in an accessible cabin. She had a scooter type wheelchair. This room was plenty wide enough at the front door and the bathroom door. There is extra room in the cabin and bathroom. She had a window that didn't open with an obstructed view as well. This was GREAT for her and allowed her to cruise. There are a very limited number of these rooms, PLEASE don't book one of these unless you really use the wheelchair to get around. The last grandparent was up on the 8th level in an extended balcony cabin. It did have an adjoining door that locked. The sound came through the door a little and the neighbors where noisy from time to time, but this grandparent was hearing impaired so it didn't matter. This room was the same type of room my wife and I had the first time we cruised on the Spirit. We did not have a locked adjoining door in our room and never heard our neighbors. If it were me I would try not to get an adjoining door if I didn't need it. I am sure that you will find the rooms basically the same for all the Spirit class ships (Spirit, Pride, Legend, and Miracle) Well that is the room report and experience. Being a spring break cruise it had good parts and bad parts. Firstly, and most importantly, being spring break we were actually able to go on the cruise seeing the kids had school. Another good thing was that the kids has plenty of "friends" to play with in Club O2 and Circle C. Club O2 is for 15 to 17 year olds and Circle C is for 12 to 14 year olds. The kids were able to check themselves in and out of there as they wanted to and used it as they wanted to. The bad thing about spring break were all the college age kids getting smashed and puking on the decks. Ok, I only saw that once. But the college age kids seemed to think everything was about them and were often rude in their behaviors. They were crazy down on the beach in Cabo San Lucas. One of the kids workers told me that security was caught off guard the first few nights with they college kids and that they were "out of control." It wasn't a drunken orgy fest, but it kicked the stress factor up a little and made the cruise a little less relaxing. The shows were ok, nothing super special, but you can find some good stuff according to your taste. They really push this big New Orleans dance thing that I really didn't like, nor did anyone else in my group. I didn't like it the first time I saw it on the last cruise. They need to come up with something else. The direct service staff couldn't have been better. The room steward was great and from the first meeting he knew who we were and called us by our names. He must have studied the security photos they take when we get on, or he has a GREAT memory. Andrea in the dinning room and Putu her assistant where the BEST. My kids wanted her to come home with us. I feel like whatever I write will not do her justice. If you are on the Spirit get seated for breakfast or lunch with tall Andrea from Romania. We purchased quite a bit of Inch of Gold in the shops. I know it isn't all gold, but it looks just as good, it is stronger and much cheaper. No gambling this time, we lost too many quarters on our first cruise. The ship recently came out of dry dock for some upgrades. Things added in the year since our first cruise? The new 21 or older only Serenity area. This is out on the old fantail back deck. They said they don't even allow kids to go find their parents there. They have to send a message with a crew member. There is a new water slide that is very exciting. You get in this vertical tube that closes, you hear this count down from 3, then the bottom drops open, you get "flushed," you circle around in this tube (out over the edge of the boat) and end up in a landing area. One of the crew members told me it is the fastest water slide on any cruise line. There is also a whole water experience up where this slide is. Lot of water splashing around with buckets dumping for the kids. I am sure more things where done to the ship, but nothing that I noticed. The food was good during our dinning time and in the buffet area. Better than I normally eat at home. I am NOT a food snob so everything, except the scrambled eggs on the buffet, was great. We didn't do the Carnival soda program and that was fine as our family only drinks water at home. You get lemonade, unsweetened tea, water, hot tea, and coffee anytime of they day. You get fake orange juice and some other corn syrup juices at breakfast in the buffet area. You can get real juice in the sit down dinning room. This ship does not have a movie theater. I understand some of the larger classes of Carnival ships have outdoor movies. This is something that I would enjoy. Come September the Spirit is headed to Australia, never to return so if you are going to cruise on it you better do it soon. The Pride is out of Baltimore, and the Legend and Miracle are out of Florida. Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
After some 15 cruises with Princess we have recently become unhappy with some of the changes be made by them and decided we would reach out to HAL and see if we could find a new home with them. We thought that they catered to an older and ... Read More
After some 15 cruises with Princess we have recently become unhappy with some of the changes be made by them and decided we would reach out to HAL and see if we could find a new home with them. We thought that they catered to an older and perhaps a more sophisticated demographic which we found to be quite incorrect. We looked forward to our Chirstmas cruise on the Oosterdam but unfortunately we left the ship quite disappointed. Likes: Friendly officers & crew Well trained and friendly PSD staff Easy Check in Meals generally tasty Breakfast dishes excellent Good buffet lines Complimentary after dinner specialty coffees albeit not brewed Linen hand towels in public restrooms Gents being handed jackets on formal nights Santa Gifts for children on Christmas Balcony furniture Table fully set in MDR Size and shape of coffee cups in MDR Brewed coffee in MDR and throughout the ship....free No steward carts in hallways Very comfortable beds Towel animals on bed each evening Full hot breakfast available from room service Wine stewards in MDR Not being hustled for drinks around pool areas Scooped ice-cream available free Juice available free in buffet Fully tiled cabin bathrooms Medicine chest in bathroom Glass holders in bathroom Adjustable table in cabin Coffee, tea, cookies set out for bridge players and CC meeting Dislikes: Tables in outdoor bars and buffet areas left un-bused and dirty for long periods Unexciting production shows Lack luster entertainment No Laundromat Closing of MDR on sea day for Mariner's luncheon MDR closed on port day, no help for H/C person in Lido buffet Very crowded MDR for dinner Dinner service extremely slow; dinners took full two hours each night Number of out of order fixtures in public restrooms bathroom Small atrium No refund of FCC after 4 years Very small accessible cabins No onboard wheel chairs for disabled; must rent at cost of $200 for 7 days Very limited shops and boutiques Crow's-nest Lounge used for too many activities...coffee bar, library, dance classes, trivia contests, internet lounge, meeting room...... Large columns blocking views in Vista Theatre Glasses and bottles in pool area Poor condition of Lido poolside lounges. Very limited cabin closet space Bath soap, shampoo and conditioner in dispensers Limited drawer space Very small ice buckets....ice melted before happy hour Cabin fridge used for mini-bar Wines more expensive than other lines Running out of pool towels in late afternoon Dinners often cool Meat often tough Smoking including cigars permitted Onboard activities poorly organized and equipped No note paper in cabin Dirty glasses not removed from cabin in evening. San Diego is such a poor terminal non US Citizens, including Canadians MUST report to USINS at 0645 with passports, not withstanding HAL and INS having passport and NEXUS information months ahead. Gentlemen allowed in MDR at diner in shorts and t-shirts. Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
We had previously flown to visit all the islands in Hawaii but never attempted this many days at open sea to cruise to Hawaii. We brought along a transport chair for my husband in case he needed it but once on board, he did just fine ... Read More
We had previously flown to visit all the islands in Hawaii but never attempted this many days at open sea to cruise to Hawaii. We brought along a transport chair for my husband in case he needed it but once on board, he did just fine walking. In fact, with so many seniors on board with walkers, scooters and wheel chairs, it was so much faster to simply walk down the stairs to get to the Vista dining room. However we purposely choose a veranda room at the back of the ship for that reason. We started our cruise with a preplanned CRUISE CRITIC Meet and Greet. It was pleasant but I think it needed to be in a private room. The Cruise Director, Michael, was there but he never got around to our section and we did NOT hear any real suggestions or organization within the group. I don't believe the group ever meet again, it just slowly disbanded after an hour or so. Maybe we missed something - we are not sure. But other Meet & Greets we have attended on other cruises had more "structure" to the meetings, but I am not complaining. What people we did meet were very friendly. We found the Oosterdam comfortable and very clean. There were hand sanitizers everywhere! We had sailed on the Oosterdam 6 years ago and laughed when we saw the very same highly ornate (actually very very gawdy) benches and chairs throughout the ship. The style just did not appeal to us but ship was very clean and spotless. Our cabin was nice but we did find the cabin furniture old, dented and looking dated. The couch & toss pillows were badly worn. Jezzyebelle's review was right on - toss the toss pillows! Kudos to Holland America for having the best mattresses. Sealy Posture Pedic Euro top mattress was heaven to sleep on and every night we had the darling towel animals on our bed. I can't rave enough about having our own veranda as people HOG deck chairs and Room 5186's veranda was wind protected. Room service was wonderful and on time every time plus our breakfast always came HOT! With so many seniors on board, we found the early show very crowded each night plus seniors save seats and to be honest, it did take a bit of a patience on our part to deal with so many people demanding instant service and the endless saving of seats. Vacations are what you make of them, so I'll not let these minor things ruin our vacation. We came to relax and chill out, but we did overhear many people complain about the littlest things. Yes, there were constant lines for elevators and you had to be way early to get a seat for any on-board event. After a while we just dealt with it - but because there was so many lines we started to choose to NOT attend many events the last few days of our cruise. It began to be easier just to read a book. Oh yes - as a side note - I attended many FREE Tai Chi classes as I had an interest but the instructor and her pace was annoyingly SLOW. And I am disgusted that they charge extra for YOGA and Pilates. Tsk Tsk. Shame on them. The daily formal teas were lovely. All the food at all meals in general, was good and it is easy to simply overeat because it is there. However, we found most prepared desserts items to be lacking in taste - they were either all too light, moussy or boring. Simple ice cream was the best. One important note - LUCKILY we were prepared for rough seas. I am SO GLAD I read several reviews about traveling on OPEN SEAS. We had a prescribed patch to wear behind our ears, the sea bands for our wrists and Dramamine tablets and we used everything and we felt fine. But many others were sick and the main dining room was near empty the first night heading out of San Diego and the last few nights heading back. Coming back we were a rocking and rolling and just walking down the halls you had to hold onto the rails. HEY! Why do people hang out by Deck 1 and 2 on Disembarkation Day? Is it a senior thing? Disembarkation was a BREEZE except for trying to make our way thru the sea of people just sitting all over the place waiting to get off. We were all told we could wait in our staterooms until our number was called. That's what we did and enjoyed a glass of wine and laying on the bed watching TV until time to get off. By the way, Holland America has a wonderful policy about allowing wine to be brought on board and ok to drink in staterooms. It's a good policy and I hope they always keep it. The entertainment was good and there was certainly enough venues of music to listen to throughout the ship. We liked their free DVD rental policy and their selection was good. The library on deck 10 was very nice and cozy. I was able to read 3 novels on this cruise and really relax. Holland America offered some interesting seminars on computers and photos editing which were great - but once again, you had to get to the event way early to get a seat. The tech instructor was very FAIR - he insisted everyone leave the room after his event to wait in line for the next seminar. I so wish all events could be handled like this to avoid people CAMPING OUT on deck chairs, library spaces, LIDO Deck spaces, etc. We enjoyed all Hawaiian Islands and went on 2 tours. We toured the crater and lava tubes on the Big Island - very interesting. In Honolulu, the Pearl Harbor tour and the tour of the might MO battleship was fantastic. On Kauai, we simply took a free shuttle and shopped. On Maui, we took a free shuttle and went to the beach although the waves were rough. Latter, it felt good to have a lunch OFF the ship. On this trip I did not utilize any services in their SPA. So our recommendation on this cruise is favorable as long as you plan for potential sea sickness and plan to chill out. A couple of bottles of wine would not hurt either! Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
We are a married couple that celebrated our thirteenth wedding anniversary aboard the Hawaiian sailing of 2 October 11. I use a wheelchair, so I can tell you of my experiences as a disabled guest. On this cruise, there were several ... Read More
We are a married couple that celebrated our thirteenth wedding anniversary aboard the Hawaiian sailing of 2 October 11. I use a wheelchair, so I can tell you of my experiences as a disabled guest. On this cruise, there were several people besides me using wheelchairs, scooters and canes; I hope they all write reviews also. We stayed pre-cruise at the Beach Hut B&B in San Diego, and I highly recommend it, although the property is NOT wheelchair accessible, there are a few steps, which I can do without much pain. The property is listed on a Trip Advising website, where you can read more about it. For me, a wheelchair user, the embarkation was smooth and fast. My husband and I got separated because he had to go return the rental car while someone from the Century whisked me up the ramp and onto the ship. My husband got stuck in the long line when he showed up, stuck in the hot sun that was cooking everyone like a greenhouse, on the up ramp, while the machine at the top of the ramp that checks in people's seapass cards was being repaired. My husband thought that some of the older guests would faint in the heat. I got a nice beverage and waited at the hot tub for my husband to get there. Our cabin was wonderful, large (wheelchair accessible of course) and very clean. We didn't meet our room stewards until the following morning. Our first dinner included prime rib and was delicious. The onboard activities were plentiful and geared toward Hawaiian arts, crafts and music. We made orchid leis, ribbon leis, kukui nut leis and bracelets, learned to hula dance and hula exercise, and learned to play the ukulele.There was also daily stretching in the fitness area, trivia at least once a day if not three times per day, liquor tastings, cooking demos, and more. Plenty to keep oneself busy if you wanted to be busy. We had exceptional service from all the staff with a small exception of the breakfast and lunch service in the Grand main dining room, which was just awful. Servers who did not know us from dinner took orders out of turn, gave people the wrong plates of food, and were generally slow and unfocussed. Perhaps they were tired from the night before because I know how many hours they work and how many miles they walk per day with those heavy trays on their shoulders. After two tries at the Grand restaurant for breakfast and lunch failed, we just ate at the buffet for the rest of the cruise, with great results. Especially superior was the service at Murano's restaurant, where we dined for dinner three times in our 15 day cruise. I can't say enough nice and appreciative comments about Murano's staff. The food was exceptional too; I had lobster in some way all three times, and my husband had Chateaubriand, filet mignon, and more filet mignon. As far as the buffet goes, we enjoyed the food and even special requests for things not on the menu were happily honored if the ship had it in stock. I did not go through the buffet in my wheelchair; I decided to walk a few steps to save time, but I did see other people who used wheelchairs, walkers and electric scooters try to go through the buffet line by themselves. The great majority of the time, I saw Century employees offering to help or helping those guests by holding the tray while the guest made selections from the buffet. I hope that others on this cruise who use wheelchairs, etc, will post a review of their personal comments.We went on 2 ship-purchased excursions in Kawai, one excursion in Hilo on the Big Island and one excursion we bought ourselves in Honolulu. The ship-purchased excursions were not over priced and were of high quality. All of our excursions, even the ones we made by ourselves, were top notch. We snorkled and did off-roading by a four wheel drive van. We had to skip the port in Maui because our ship had to rescue three men on a 48-ft. sailboat, one of whom had been injured in a fall, breaking five vertebrae and cracking a rib. The newspaper article describing the details of the rescue was in the Hilo newspaper, and you can do a search online to read all about it. I am certainly proud that my cruise ship saved three lives. There were only five children on my cruise, for which I am very happy. I can't comment on the children's programs, but the kids were all well-behaved little angels. The entertainment was wonderful; we had a great magician, a pianist, musicians who played throughout the ship daily and nightly, acrobats and even a segment from our cruise director on his life as a stuntman in movies and television shows. The last morning in San Diego we had to be at the customs desk between 6:15am and 6:45 am. We, all 1800 of us, had to be there at the same time, so as you can imagine it was a messy, unorganized and infuriating line all the way from the Celebrity Theatre, to the back of the ship and to the front of the ship again, with all those wheelchairs, scooters and canes, walkers and people who can't stand up or walk very far, all in line for more than an hour. We all were angry. Disembarkation was delayed because a small handful of people did not go through customs, and none of us could disembark until everyone had been through customs. We were all angry again. Overall, this was my favorite cruise, even with the problems. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011

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