2 San Francisco Holland America Amsterdam Cruise Reviews

While, as a couple, we may not be seasoned cruisers we are probably well past the bland point of on-board experiences. This was our fifth and shortest HAL cruise and we took it for three reasons. One, we wanted to take advantage of ... Read More
While, as a couple, we may not be seasoned cruisers we are probably well past the bland point of on-board experiences. This was our fifth and shortest HAL cruise and we took it for three reasons. One, we wanted to take advantage of the on-board future cruise offers, two, we wanted to add another HAL ship to our collection, and three, we needed to more get two more at sea days to get to the next level. All three expectations were met so the experience was an unmitigated success. If those happen to be your expectations I would heartily recommend boarding Amsterdam at your earliest opportunity. Now, if perchance you come aboard with loftier expectations I will share a few of our impressions. I have read of people upset because there was noise at sea. I would say get real. We were on a ship motoring up the coast of the Pacific North West. Heavy weather is to be expected and is beyond the control of HAL. Even my home has been know to creak and groan a bit when when the winter storms blow in from the ocean. If your complaints are from moving of chairs or music just remember who chose your room. Our stateroom was neat, well maintained and while we never met our room steward, the room was always made up in the morning and the beds turned down at night. We got both chocolate and towel animals and I never get those at home. The one detractor and the reason for only four stars was our experience in the main dining room. The wait staff were always cheerful and bent over backwards to make our dining experience pleasant. The menu just failed to make the grade. On the cruise previous to this one (Maasdam) we were treated to variety of menus that were prepared and presented in a manner that made us look forward to the next meal even after 39 days at sea. Thankfully we were always seated with wonderful table-mates that enhanced the dining experience. HAL does excel at attracting wonderful people. As usual on HAL, we barely had enough time to do the things we wanted to do during the cruise. It may be because I move slower at 75 than I did at 25 but with mornings in the gym, culinary demonstrations, art auctions, happy hour, movies, and meals we seemed to stay busy. The people at HAL that put together the HAL singers and dancers almost always do a magnificent job. This troupe was no exception. Our only shore excursion was a bus ride from the ship to the airport via Vancouver. It was a little over two hours of downtown traffic jams build around two quick dashes through the rain in the park to snap quick pictures of totem poles and Lionsgate bridge. We did not travel with children and given the choice we probably won't. There were several families on-board with children of various ages and we are so grateful to them for having raised well behaved children. If you are reading this, "Thank You." In summary, we will continue to cruise with HAL. With around 200 days left until our next one we are anxiously counting the days. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
What a shame. After a combined 320 nights on Holland America Lines (HAL), this middle class family who has earned Three-Star Mariner Society status is done with this cruise line. For the record, we are professionals in our early 50s, and ... Read More
What a shame. After a combined 320 nights on Holland America Lines (HAL), this middle class family who has earned Three-Star Mariner Society status is done with this cruise line. For the record, we are professionals in our early 50s, and our daughters are 16 and 12, all well-respected by adults and peers. We are the kind of family you would appreciate meeting on a cruise. Here is our story: Over the past eight years, we have seen a noticeable decline in the way Holland America Lines (HAL) has services our young family. When we first decided to travel HAP, we knew it was skewed to older travelers, with less young families traveling. But we thought that there was some comfort traveling with a cruise line who serves older travelers. We justified to ourselves that this was going to be a more upscale experience; that there would be less riff-raff. A better total family experience. What we have seen over this time is the erosion of services to young families. Small and important things, like taking PB&J off the room service menu entirely. Pizza which was once served in Lido dining and room service has been relegated to outside near the pool, cold, and unmanaged. It even seems like there are flies hanging out at the Pizza. But that is more image than reality. The entertainment, activities, movies, and media center largely ignore the interest of young families. A good part of the media offering is “old and inappropriate for kids. I have tried in a productive and collaborative way to get help with small things on and off the ship. I tried my best, and I can be effective at getting help. Ultimately, Holland America Lines (HAL) does not care. And for good reason – they don’t just cater to seniors, but to the elderly. Big different, w learned, in behavior. By elderly, we are talking about travelers in their 70s and 80s and 90s (we and a number of 90 year olds) who forgot to enjoy the company of young families and who find themselves treating younger passengers with bitter jealousy. I haven’t seen this many walkers and carts – ever. Not even in a skilled nursing environment (we own a couple of these buildings). There is nothing wrong with the elderly and travel. But a cruise line can only serve well one or two demographics. So the lack of amenities and services for young families, and the sometimes unwelcome disposition of the elderly passengers, say to us that after 320 family nights – we are done with Holland America Lines (HAL). More suitable cruise lines in the future will be Royal Caribbean, and Celebrity. So how did we get to 320 nights before we learned this lesson? Well, the 320 is a little overstated. Divided by four family members, this is really over 80 nights each family member. Still a great amount of travel. But these experiences and observations have taken hold very quickly over this time. The dramatic change in menu and entertainment gets to the point where Holland America Lines (HAL) is happy to take the money from young families, but is unwilling to serve them. During this last trip (17 nights through the Panama – the elderly will camp out all night to grab all the chairs on the deck for Panama Day – and they won’t let them go! God bless them and their single-mindedness.), loyalty to Holland America Lines (HAL) has its disadvantages: Like good customers, we booked early. I found out a few weeks before our cruise date that our same cabins were selling for thousands of dollars less. Thousands! I tried very hard, working each step of the way in advance, throughout, and even after the trip, to get some type of parity for our hard-earned travel dollar. Any type of parity. Anything! Even something as soft dollar as an upgrade the cabin to get us the value for the cruise. I have documentation of this if you chose to request it from me, with the caveat that although I tried hard, I am sharing our own experience and hope that yours will be different and better (but I bet not!). But Holland America Lines (HAL) refused to support our request and right-size that experience. Finally, HAL double charges us on an excursion. I pre-paid on my credit card before the trip, and then again they charged me (unbeknownst to me) on the cabin folio. I have written proof of this, which I have shared three times now. You think this would be easy to fix. It has taken a lot of work, but they are not listening to the facts and as a result I have to dispute the charge with the credit card company rather than get HAL to issue a proper credit. This is not deliberate I think. This is just sloppy servicing. Lesson: Do not prepay your excursion unless you want to take on the risk of being double charged and the time and hassle of clearing this up! Once again younger families, please do not make the same mistake we did thinking that older cruisers night be better. Older means much older than you imagine. And it means that given the choice to maximize their services to a target customer base, Holland America Lines (HAL) will underserve your young family! I am exhausted with my experience with HAL. And am hanging up our Mariner Society stars. Young families with hard-earned vacation dollars, consider yourself advised! Signed, the forgotten Holland America Traveler   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
Amsterdam Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.4
Dining 4.0 4.1
Entertainment 4.0 3.8
Public Rooms 4.0 4.5
Fitness Recreation 4.0 4.0
Family 3.0 4.0
Shore Excursion 4.0 4.1
Enrichment 4.0 3.9
Service 4.0 4.5
Value For Money 4.0 4.2
Rates 4.0 4.2

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