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4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
We took a land tour first. Our tour directer Merrin was incredible, knowledgable and very pleasant. All of the land tours we took were fantastic. We boarded in Skagway. Embarkation was fine. The first night dining experience was ... Read More
We took a land tour first. Our tour directer Merrin was incredible, knowledgable and very pleasant. All of the land tours we took were fantastic. We boarded in Skagway. Embarkation was fine. The first night dining experience was wonderful. Our waiter was pleasant and wanted to do a good job. He even asked if we had any allergies to food. I did. I told him I'm very allergic to mushrooms. The second night we had a waiter who brought me out a surf and turf. I was getting ready to eat it when I noticed a mushroom on it. I asked the waiter if I could have two lobster tails instead of the meat (as all the meat had mushroom sauce on it) He said I could. A few minutes later another waiter came back with my same food (all they did was take the mushroom off but the sauce was still there). We were eating with other people so I didn't say anything). I didn't realize that the lobster tail had some mushroom sauce on it. I put it in my mouth and took it right out I had to use my eppi-pen right away. I didn't want to get him into trouble so I made a comment about they should teach their wait staff to take allergies serious. We didn't go back for our meals in the dining room. The tour we took in Ketchikan was wonderful. It was educational and informative, I did hurt my leg while walking on gravel paths. By the time we got back on the ship I was having a hard time walking on it. The next day we spent at sea seeing Glacier Bay. We went to Guest Services to inquire about a wheelchair. We were shocked when the woman told us it would be $200.00 for the day (and we would not get the money back). We do understand that there has to be rules. We also understand that there are times in life that rules need to be bent. . I asked her if she could please have a wheelchair sent to our room the next morning for disembarkation. She said she would. The wheelchair never came. By the time we got to the disembarkation area I was in tears from the pain. People all around us were asking the crew to get me a wheelchair. No one did until i held up the line when it was our turn for disembarkation (because I couldn't walk). The wheelchair came real fast then. As one gentleman stated, "The crew tells the passengers if we need anything they will do it for us. The man then stated, If it's easy they will do it but if someone really needs help then they are on their own." Another man stated, " it's a good thing we didn't have a real emergency because then it would be every person for themselves." We did send a comment to Holland America. When they got back to us they said, "That is the policy. The person at Guest Services did the right thing." This person then told my husband that to make up for this the next time we book a cruise on this ship they will give us two vouchers for the Pinnicle Grill. Basically, they could care less. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
We arrived in Anchorage on May 24, and two-thirds of our 15-day journey was spent in Alaska and the Yukon. We thoroughly enjoyed seeing it all, despite all the travel (six hotels in 10 days, about 1200 miles). We wish there had been an ... Read More
We arrived in Anchorage on May 24, and two-thirds of our 15-day journey was spent in Alaska and the Yukon. We thoroughly enjoyed seeing it all, despite all the travel (six hotels in 10 days, about 1200 miles). We wish there had been an extra day in Whitehorse. The train ride to Denali was a relaxing day, and the Tundra Wilderness Tour was a good overview of the park. We enjoyed both Dawson City and Whitehorse in the Yukon, despite the former's touristy feel on its main street. We tended to eat at the restaurants in the Westmark hotels we stayed in (usually for convenience). (Westmark is owned by HAL.) The hotel food was usually quite good, although we ate at other restaurants three times during the trip, and especially enjoyed the Aurora Inn restaurant in Dawson City, a short block from the hotel. We enjoyed our last two land days in Skagway, especially the city museum on Seventh Street: it was a gem that would not have been out of place in a big city. We boarded Volendam just before noon on day 11, had lunch in the Lido restaurant, and spent much of the afternoon in our (reserved) deck chairs soaking up the nice weather, having the knowledge we wouldn't have to get on a bus for four more days. The ship is elegant and understated, and it was a real pleasure to arise early, get our coffee in the Explorations Cafe, and sit there watching the world go by. This was an especially nice morning location as we entered Glacier Bay on our second day on board. After breakfast that day, we moved to our deck chairs for the rest of the day. On the third day, we arrived in Ketchikan around 9am in a drizzling rain. My wife went out briefly to find the local museum, but we otherwise stayed on board that day. Our general impression of Ketchikan's main street was that it had cornered much of the world supply of jewelry and souvenir stores. Our last full day sailing was at sea through the Inside Passage and was generally enjoyable. However, a wind came up mid-afternoon, and the ship started rolling a little. This wasn't a problem until I spent about 30 minutes concentrating on a computer monitor around 4pm while trying to check in for our flight home the next day. Because I concentrated too much on the monitor for too long, I felt woozy when I stood up to go back to our cabin. I won't repeat this mistake. I was very disappointed with the ship's Internet service. Since it was based on time rather than how much was downloaded, HAL has no incentive to improve the service. It took about 30 minutes to finish our Alaska Airlines check-in, and ended up costing about $1 per minute. I won't make this mistake again. During our time on board, we ate breakfast and lunch in the Lido restaurant (with one lunch exception), and all dinners in the upper Main Dining Room. The Lido food was quite good and varied, and I appreciated the opportunity to have some Asian dishes (like congee, an Asian rice porridge breakfast, and a Malaysian stir fry for lunch). We thought the Main Dining Room dinners were exceptional, although the desserts seemed commonplace and merely workmanlike. We attended the tea service one afternoon, and were pleasantly surprised at the quality and variety of the tea cakes. Disembarking in Vancouver was smooth: we were in the first group off after some of the elevated Mariners (since we had to catch a flight at noon), but we were unhappy that we had to stand in line waiting for a bus to take us to the airport. Had we known about this, I'd have not packed our folding Walkstool to sit on (I have a problematic hip and knee). Overall, it was an enjoyable, fun, and memorable experience, well worth any of the small glitches we encountered. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
I'm curious if our Holland America cruise was typical of other cruise lines. I previously sailed Royal Caribbean to Mexico and Carnival to Mexico. The Holland America experience involved a lot of "attitude" beginning ... Read More
I'm curious if our Holland America cruise was typical of other cruise lines. I previously sailed Royal Caribbean to Mexico and Carnival to Mexico. The Holland America experience involved a lot of "attitude" beginning when we went to the wrong deck for dining and were sent down one level and continued through most crew interactions. Example: My husband tried to buy one t-shirt and the sales associate gave him a very hard time and finally told him that "if a person has a chance to get a lottery ticket for buying merchandise, then one is very foolish not to take advantage of that" We each bought a beer and the waiter gave us the very hard sell to buy a bucket (on our final night!) saying we could take it to the room. The massage therapist asked a number of personal questions about my skin care routine and sort of mocked my product choices and regime - totally ruined the experience (this happened while I was naked on the table at the end of the treatment). I don't remember any of this on my other cruises - is this the new normal or is it just the normal for HAL? Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
This was a trip that we'd planned to celebrate our 40th anniversary. The last four nights were the cruise from Skagway, Alaska to Vancouver, BC. We'd never been on a cruise before and didn't know what to expect. We were ... Read More
This was a trip that we'd planned to celebrate our 40th anniversary. The last four nights were the cruise from Skagway, Alaska to Vancouver, BC. We'd never been on a cruise before and didn't know what to expect. We were pleasantly surprised with the staff on the Nieuw Amsterdam, they were extremely helpful and pleasant. We got personally acquainted with our cabin attendant "Putu" (I hope I got the spelling of his name correct), and he was very thorough and pleasant. But, he was only one, the entire crew was fantastic and very professional. We attended a couple of shows while on the cruise and they were very entertaining. I would also say we were treated like royalty while on board. Read Less
26 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2016
For a cruise that was marketed as about seeing wildlife, the crew seemed particularly lacking in knowledge on this area with apparently no ranger on board except for the short time when we were cruising through Glacier Bay. Most of the ... Read More
For a cruise that was marketed as about seeing wildlife, the crew seemed particularly lacking in knowledge on this area with apparently no ranger on board except for the short time when we were cruising through Glacier Bay. Most of the time we simply motored around at speed and the chances of seeing a whale or any other animal showed in the marketing seemed to be extremely limited. This was a big disappointment as the cruise felt more like a ferry taking us from A to B than a cruise to see the wildlife we would have liked to see. However our biggest gripe with the cruise was the amount of shops on board and the endless focus of the staff on encouraging us to buy everything from jewellery to art. This seemed to have annoyed a lot of fellow passengers as well. In particular it was a shame that whilst trying to flog a lot of stuff we didn't need, they didn't seem to sell the basic things we might have wanted to buy on a cruise like sunhats, coats, memory cards for the camera etc. Lastly the food was very mediocre in our opinion. We will be staying away from this line in future. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
This was a very important bucket list cruise for my sister. We were very disappointed with this cruise. One of the best parts was arrival, less then an hour from airport to onboard the ship. The departure was delayed as people were in line ... Read More
This was a very important bucket list cruise for my sister. We were very disappointed with this cruise. One of the best parts was arrival, less then an hour from airport to onboard the ship. The departure was delayed as people were in line for 3-5 hours they said. We were fortunate. But from then on.. the cabin was shabby and dirty, we found a crew members private papers in the drawers, torn up pictures in the waste basket. The balcony was very rusty, for a ship that was suppose to have been updated. We saw carpet that was in horrible condition, along with small pieces of the flooring missing. No working refrigerator or Tv. The second day they found us a small medical refrigerator for her insulin. Since the ship was full they said, we were put in a small dining room on the side, away from the dining room festivities. The main theater production was cancelled, rescheduled, cancelled again. That seemed like the theme of the cruise. Excursions cancelled, rescheduled and cancelled again and again. 2 days we waited on the pier with the promise of any time now. The piers were all very nice contrary to another cruise critics comments, we were able to navigate them fine. The food was very good in the dining room, but in the Windjammer they were serving more food for the different ethnic cruisers, I did try some of it but it was not very much of it to our liking.I wish they had listed the ingredients.After talking with different passengers, the reason most do not eat in the dining room is because of the constant, you like my service from the waiters, almost coming right out and asking for large tips. I too found this annoying but just chalk it up to cruising. As usual most of the service was great. We especially enjoy the photographers they have so much fun and work so hard. Because I use a small walker, one of our excursions was told to us as to strenuous, and they persuaded us to do another. This was disappointing, but we agreed to change. Most of the excursions were fine. We enjoyed the helicopter landing on the glacier, a switch from our intended helicopter with dog sledding. The Vendors on the dock told our small group not to let RC to keep postponing and postponing our excursion. Apparently it in their best interest as they already have your money and how many people can shell out another $2000.00 to go with another vendor. We waited and wished we'd just gone with another vendor. Our land tour was very interesting, we would not take the tundra tour again in May, very few animals. Our weather was perfect for the entire cruise. At the last hotel The Denali Lodge, we had a serious medical emergency. We waited for an hour and a half for the paramedics to arrive. They said my sister could have died if her airway wasn't cleared as it did just minutes before they finally got there. They said that this medical emergencies, had happened also in the past few weeks that the hotel did not call right away.We tried to overlook most of the negative things while on the cruise and just have fun. But this is not our first cruise and it will probably be our last RC. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2015
Awful from the beginning. Rude people and nobody to help with problems. This was a trip with so much that was wrong that it would take more space than allowed. We spent extra money for this ship thinking it would be better for us as ... Read More
Awful from the beginning. Rude people and nobody to help with problems. This was a trip with so much that was wrong that it would take more space than allowed. We spent extra money for this ship thinking it would be better for us as first time cruisers, WRONG. THE TOILET in our stateroom was to the rim with water when we got into our room. They got it to go down but the next morning it was the same. They sent a plumber 3 times and could not put us in another room. All in all I had to put towels on the floor 4 different times. We took the elevator to a different floor to use the public restroom. Awful. The main dinning room was only open for lunch 1 hour every day. We spent money for formal wear for our big night, could have saved our money. This diner was a joke. The only buffet style restaurant was so small we had to wait for seats. Entertainment was employees dancing with cruise people for a contest. A piano player, a magician that is out of a county fair and tries to sell you a cheap magic kit in a Ziploc bag. There was a movie playing several times a day in the theater, free popcorn, Wow. At every turn there is someone trying to sell you something, good God art of all things. Who goes on a cruise for fun to buy art. Ridiculous. Wine seems to be the main thing they try to sell. On almost every channel on TV is a ship commercial telling you about this and that in on board store. If you play cards this is your ship. We do not. It has a very small casino. All in all this was terrible for the 3 of us. The 20 year old was bored as was myself 60 & my husband 65. Everyone that's cruised tells us to go again because they are not this bad. Just never Holland America again. We might but it will be a while, this was a very bad experience. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2015
The embarkation part of this trip felt like a cattle call. there were five or more buses trying to board at the same time. Crew members were barking orders and expecting instant obedience. On the flip side, it was the smoothest ... Read More
The embarkation part of this trip felt like a cattle call. there were five or more buses trying to board at the same time. Crew members were barking orders and expecting instant obedience. On the flip side, it was the smoothest disembarkation I have ever seen. Kudos to them for this. We only had three dinners on board the ship. the Pinnacle was good and the service was good. The Italian restaurant was ok. Our first server handed us the menus and explained the unique qualities of ordering, unfortunately, we only understood about three isolated words during her 60 second explanation. The menu did explain what she had said, but I had to confirm what I thought is was saying with the next waiter. Fortunately he was more fluent in English. In the Rotterdam the server was in between the two in his ability to speak English. It appears the great majority of the crew are from Indonesia. I love the Indonesian people and these people were delightful. Unfortunately, many of those expected to interact with the guests were not fluent in English. The more fluent ones were selling in the gift shops. That makes sense since visiting them is more voluntary than the restaurants. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2015
Spent the 1st week of the HAL organised tour on land, touring from Anchorage, through the Yukon, to Skagway for a 4 night sail thru Glacier Bay etc to Vancouver. A few hits, a few misses on the land portion of the tour (eg - bus load of ... Read More
Spent the 1st week of the HAL organised tour on land, touring from Anchorage, through the Yukon, to Skagway for a 4 night sail thru Glacier Bay etc to Vancouver. A few hits, a few misses on the land portion of the tour (eg - bus load of hungry travellers arriving for lunch at destination spot - except HAL hadn't told them we were coming - oops. Booked a quad bike tour [with others] just outside Denali National Park - they had no record of us coming - oops). Get to Skagway anticipating going straight to our HAL booked excursion for the afternoon (which we booked/paid for months earlier) - nope. After much uming and ahing - find out its oversubscribed so we were offered a trip later that afternoon. OK except that prevented us for doing any town visit. Oh well. On board - the cabins are fine, the attendants are wonderful (sling them a few bucks as you arrive [not at the end], then sit back and enjoy the service). Embarkation OK but as we (and hundreds others) boarded mid trip as it were, there was not great intro to the ship, facilities, no welcoming words - bit more of a 'help yourself'. Dining is OK - one large dining room (2 levels) at rear of ship for dinner. 'Could we have that table by the window?' No, sorry. So it remains vacant from when we arrive till when we leave ! Alternatives to the main dining room are a) paying for a specialty restaurant - "its only $10 or so". Really? - what about the thousands I paid which included food in the first place? If you want to do lunch at the dining room - be quick - its only open for an hour. How about the buffet ? Careful with that. My two biggest issues with the buffet are: a) you dont get a say in the size of your portion thats slopped onto your plate. Want steak? - you get 2. Want spuds - you get half a plate full. Want spinach? - you get a kilograms worth; and b) No self service here - its strictly 'American school canteen' style. Why wasnt this ever mentioned? Other cruise lines have self serve and it works perfectly... Ooh - and make sure you get to the food half an hour before closing time - cause that when they start closing everything down. The only food available 'out of hours' is pizza and to be kind, I wont comment on the quality. On the up side, the scenery around this part of Alaska is just breathtaking. I suggest you take this cruise, ignore most of the food (and the activities), find a nice spot on one of the decks (or your verandah) and enjoy the view. You have plenty of time to do it - its only dark for a couple of hours a day..... Read Less

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