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3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
We booked this ship because it was brand new and we wanted to see the Eastern Caribbean islands. Our research revealed that HAL had a great reputation. The following is our own personal opinion after a 1 week cruise on the Nieuw ... Read More
We booked this ship because it was brand new and we wanted to see the Eastern Caribbean islands. Our research revealed that HAL had a great reputation. The following is our own personal opinion after a 1 week cruise on the Nieuw Statendam. Embarkation and Disembarkation: Flawless, speedy and very well organized. The Ship: Fabulous is the first word that comes to our minds. It is well laid out, lots of space to sit and chat. Plenty of places to find food and drinks. Servers everywhere and they even have call buttons on the tables for ordering drinks. The ship was very smooth during sailing even in inclement weather - never really felt any vibration due to her advanced operating systems. Cabin: Vista Suite with Veranda - outstanding is the first word that comes to mind. Lots of storage, elegant, both 110/220 volt outlets, large shower, lots of in-room comforting accoutrements, and a really great selection of current movies. The cabin attendants knew your name from the minute you got on the ship and they get a 100% TOP score for doing such a great job - children loved the different daily towel animals!!! Food: Main dinning room - no table reservations before 8.00 p.m. this we found to be not good especially when you have children. Service was fabulous but food delivery was very slow. Food choices are varied on the menu each night with fixed options each night (steak, chicken, etc) in case you did not like daily menu. Lido Cafe - it was without doubt always a choice for any meal of the day with something to suit any taste or desire. The Dive In - although little in space they pushed orders out very fast and this was outstanding food. The New York Deli - was also good with great sandwiches although, some of the pizza toppings ran out. Dutch Cafe- great coffee and sweets! We did not like the fact that we had to pay for the Gelato Ice cream. Drink Package: We chose the Signature Drink Package which allowed us all types of drinks under $10. This proved to be sufficient for us, unless you are a "high-end top shelf drinker" most people would be fine with this package. We did not like the 1 drink order limit restriction. Children's Activities: ZERO here because anything outside the kids play room was non-existent. Prior to the cruise we read lots of "chat" about HAL being a "retired persons cruise line". Although many people had written that HAL changed its mentality and was gearing more towards families rather than older crowds - this was not the case on our cruise - children were bored due to the lack of "kids activities and amenities". Pools: The mid ship pool is very small and the rear pool had an adults only restriction on it. OK, we get this, but then why were all the adults gathered at the mid-ship pool. So, this meant that the kids had to share the only pool with the adults - but the adult pool did not share with the kids - this was absolutely unfair in our opinion. While the children frolicked in the pool - "adults" complained about being splashed - sorry, then move your old butt to the adult pool! The Crew: Tip-Top perfect service by the crew in all areas of the ship !!! Entertainment: Yes they offered 4 types of music, but after a week of the same 4 types of music and nothing new, it gets old. Crows Nest: Great place to chill out and watch the surroundings. Bad part is all the "retired folks" hogged up the loungers at the big front overlooking windows and then fell asleep for hours. That was a bit unfair for those of us who actually wanted to sit there for their intended purpose because these seats had the best view on the entire ship. Activities: We found the "ship info, kitchen tour & the captain's talk" the best part of the activities offered. These three activities were very informative and really great leaning for all. The Captain was fantastic, and very friendly. Besides that, it really seemed like the same entertainment and activities each day. For families it was a bit boring in our opinion. OK, you had basketball, shuffleboard, ping-pong, card games, and swimming, but with short ports of call, and 2 days at sea - it got a little boring after a few days with only the same options. The cruise director could have offered much more as we have seen from our prior cruises with other companies. Overall Cleanliness: Extremely clean ship - we loved having a place to wash your hands at all the entrances at the Lido Cafe. Great job by the service crew to keep the ship in such a clean and fresh environment. Public Toilets: absolutely perfectly clean all the time. Casino: Lots of play choice - although smoking permitted - 1 day at sea was no smoking allowed - that was refreshing! America's Test Kitchen: Sorry, only one word to say here - Boring! No participation allowed just watching someone cook. Port of Calls: Found them all to be well organized, and very quick to get everyone on and off the ship. The Security team did a great job to ensure our safety, kudos to them for all they did for us! Recommendations to HAL: Offer daily info sessions about the specific ports of call. Make an area on the ship where you play some Caribbean / local music rather than the same stuff we hear at home. The weather did not permit us to make one port of call, therefore we found that we had to entertain ourselves because the Cruise Director came up with card games, and other non-fun things for us to do as a family - when you cannot make a port of call then you should be prepared ahead of time to entertain the passengers to off-set the disappoint of missing out on a port of call. Lastly, please think of ways to entertain children a little more - and I do not mean like Disney or Carnival -- we purposely do not travel on these lines because the adults need to have fun also. A big thanks to the HAL Captain and his fabulous team for a very wonderful vacation! Signed, 7 HAL passengers (mixed USA & Europe) Read Less
Sail Date: April 2019
We primarily took this cruise for 2 reasons. First we wanted to stop at Turks & Caicos and second we wanted to sail on a new ship and it happened to be our anniversary as well. Neither of these let us down. Great shore stops and ... Read More
We primarily took this cruise for 2 reasons. First we wanted to stop at Turks & Caicos and second we wanted to sail on a new ship and it happened to be our anniversary as well. Neither of these let us down. Great shore stops and beautiful new ship. The food was probably the most consistently delicious throughout the vacation. We dined in the main dining room, the lido cafe, Tamarind and experienced the food from the Pinnacle Grill. Everything was delicious. The drinks from the bar were excellent and the bar staff were knowledgeable and interactive. We took in shows from the piano quintet and from the main stage such as the mentalist and the comedian. All shows were entertaining and engaging. I have two critiques to share. Our first stop was in Turks in which we encountered some delays in approval for disembarking. For some reason, the crew only opened 1 exit at the front of the ship which made getting off a nightmare. My wife and I waited an hour to get off the ship waiting in the stairwell with literally thousands of other passengers all trying to get out single file as well. Fortunately we were the only ship in port at the time and although we booked our shore excursion through a different company than the cruise ship, they waited as our ship was there only business. It is my understanding that others were not as lucky and missed their tours. Something to be said about booking through the cruise company. This came to in handy as the weather was rough for our stop at Half Moon and we couldn't get off the ship. This time we had booked through the cruise ship and got our shore excursions refunded as they were unable to ferry us to the island. Another issue was the pre-purchase of the cellar master package. There was much confusion between us and the ship about which package was purchased. Unfortunately this came to a head on the 6th night of our cruise which was our anniversary during out dinner at the Pinnacle Grill. So much so that we ended up leaving the restaurant prior to enjoying our meal. The staff rectified the situation, but the event was really unfortunate. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
This is HA newest and largest cruise ship and we wanted to try it after having done the Volendam in December 2018. Happy that we did. Embarkation and disembarkation both went smoothly. We arrived in FLL the day before, which allowed ... Read More
This is HA newest and largest cruise ship and we wanted to try it after having done the Volendam in December 2018. Happy that we did. Embarkation and disembarkation both went smoothly. We arrived in FLL the day before, which allowed us to arrive at the ship about 1 pm when embarkation was just beginning, so it went smoothly. We miscalculated on disembarkation. We had booked a 8:50 AM flight from FLL to IAD. We took our luggage and rolled off the Nieuw Statendam at 7:30 AM, grabbed a taxi to FLL, but couldn't get our luggage checked in time, in time being 8:30 AM, and thus we couldn't get our boarding passes in time either. We got lucky; there was a 1:05 PM flight from FLL to IAD and we were able to check our luggage and get our boarding passes for that flight. The World Stage theater was very impressive, cutting edge, and entertaining. The décor of the Dining Room was somewhat spartan to our tastes. But the food and service and our table mates were all outstanding. The social interactions added so much to our cruise experience. The live music at the Rolling Stones and the B.B. King and the Lincoln Center Stage, and the twin piano players played to full houses. Our Vista Suite was obviously new and well designed. The tv screen was 55 inches. On the Volendam it was 30 inches. We missed the library that was on the Volendam, but was absent, or radically downsized, on the Nieuw Statendam. FWIW, we are Platinum members on RCCL, but now we prefer Holland America. It caters to an older demographics and Holland America knows how to appeal to us seniors really well. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
We are an Australian couple who have taken 20 cruises. Previously we have sailed 21 days on the Koningsdam and 15 on the Noordam. We chose this cruise as we were visiting the USA and realised it was holiday season and because it is a new ... Read More
We are an Australian couple who have taken 20 cruises. Previously we have sailed 21 days on the Koningsdam and 15 on the Noordam. We chose this cruise as we were visiting the USA and realised it was holiday season and because it is a new ship. We have recently tried several of the premium lines (Azamara, Viking, Seabourn and Crystal) and HAL stacks up well for a main line. Overall we had a great cruise, the weather was mostly great, the ports were new to us, HAL has benefited from having the Koningsdam before this ship, awesome music and entertainment and a great variety of dining options. Fellow passengers were much younger than a normal Hal crowd with loads of families. The cruise felt very busy but the overall vibe was very positive. We embarked in FLL for the first time. We arrived a little later than we normally do in the early afternoon and were on the ship very quickly. We had lunch in the mdr where the ugly problems from previous HAL cruises quickly reared their head ie the laboriously slow “sommeliers”. After eating the first 2 courses I left the restaurant and got our own drinks by the time I returned the sommelier was only just arriving at the table to take our order. A complaint to the manager ensured it was much quicker every time following which was good but just to be safe we still took a glass with us. Even worse than the slow ordering is the fact that if you have the drinks package your wine has to be collected from a bar and makes the process even slower, they are the only cruise line we have come across that make it this difficult. As with other HAL cruises food in the mdr was inconsistent but overall a good experience. We loved the other variety of food onboard, stand alone pizza bar, burger bar and the Dutch cafe were all very high quality. The lido is very good, the bread was top class as were the salads. We love that they serve you making it healthier for everyone. The ship is new and overall we really liked the design. Music themed modern art adorns the ship and makes it interesting to explore. A promenade and jogging track made outdoor exercise easy. The theatre with 270 degree screens was great and the new dance shows were awesome. The comedian was very funny as well. There are 2 pools, the aft pool is adult only and was a nice area (except for the smoking) but the policing of children was inconsistent. The highlight is the music venues. Duelling pianos, rock band, BbKings blues band and classical group made for amazing variety and all were high quality. One area of the ship that was a bit of a disappointment was the crows nest, we thought the one on the Koningsdam was disappointing but this is even worse. It is trying to be the explorations cafe, shorex desk, bar area and meeting room. There is not enough seating and it seemed to attract families with young small noisy children. Hal is not known for a lot of activities which we normally enjoy, there were a couple of trivia’s but not a lot else of interest to us but with such nice weather and other activities such as table tennis, shuffleboard etc there was plenty to do onboard. Service - Hal regulars always rave about Hal service but personally we find it overrated. That is not to say it is poor just that it is average. Guest relations were again poor. Our stateroom attendant was friendly but just average. Waiters and bar staff were efficient. One issue we had was when a very drunken passenger threatened me, bar staff has already cut him off and called security but they didn’t arrive in time and surprisingly no one followed up the issue with me despite taking my details. When I queried this later I was simply told the passenger was dealt with - strange that I saw him as drunk again the following day. We bought the drinks package which we think is good value with bottled water, nice coffees and great cocktails. Wine choices are very limited though. We missed Half Moon Cay due to weather which was disappointing but we really enjoyed Turks, Puerto Rico and St Thomas (seriously lucky as only ship in port!). Embarking and disembarking was easy. As the cruise was expensive we only booked an interior cabin but it was very large (it seemed to be bigger than others we saw). We really liked it but there was no couch. Overall an enjoyable cruise with high quality decor, great variety in dining and entertainment, new technology and solid service. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
I've never felt compelled to write a review but after our recent trip I must express how delighted we were. I was looking for a college graduation trip for my son and his girlfriend and had to work within certain dates and costs. I ... Read More
I've never felt compelled to write a review but after our recent trip I must express how delighted we were. I was looking for a college graduation trip for my son and his girlfriend and had to work within certain dates and costs. I first saw this trip as a reasonable prospect but knew nothing about HAL. My travel agent thought I might enjoy being on a new ship and knew that I was most recently on Celebrity (loved) and Royal (didn't love). But it's an old people's line, right? First of all, the new venue was beautiful. I'm not that much of a snob about decor, etc., but everything was fabulous. (I probably will repeat this word a few times.) The artwork was eclectic, the flowers are amazing (never paid attention to flowers before on a cruise). My 20 somethings were enthralled, posting picture after picture on IG and Snapchat. Yes, even Facebook even though it's for old fogies. We had a balcony room. It was probably a little narrower than on Celebrity but seemed longer and the storage was better than other ships I've been on. (Two closets for hanging.) The balcony had ottomans which I know is a big bone of contention on other ships. The food was great. My kids are foodies and ordered multiple entrees, appetizers, etc., which was no problem. The main dining room was lovely and since I usually have Aqua class on Celebrity I was a little concerned about this. No problem! We had the late seating and never had a problem with waiting. The only meal we weren't happy with was one fish dish that was slightly dry. Pretty good batting average on a seven day cruise. We had two specialty restaurants included and loved both Canaletto and Pinnacle Grill. The only disappointment for my son was that he couldn't order multiple dishes in Pinnacle. He got over it. The music was great fun with the Billboard Piano duo switching out with the Rolling Stone Room. Down the hall was BB King which played at the same time. I love music and thought it was terrific but I'm no music critic. We didn't spend time in the casino but I have to say that it wasn't very smoky. I really didn't mind walking through like in most ships. It's also worth mentioning that the casino bar had the only TV we noticed. We only were aware because the NBA playoffs were on and my son was searching for a place to watch other than the cabin. Smoking - always an issue because we're non-smokers. I finally asked someone where smoking was allowed and was told that it was aft. Pleasantly surprised. We paid extra for two things that we loved. 1. The Retreat - On the 12th floor is a private cabana area. My friend suggested it and I have to say it was a great hideaway. Butler service, which I am certainly not accustomed to, private hot tub, and peace and quiet. 2. Spa package - We have become quite spoiled with Aqua class but we visited the private spa area every day so we go our money's worth. My only complaint on the whole ship was that the spouts in the Thallasotherapy pool needed to be adjusted. Other people who were HAL regulars said it was a design flaw so I guess they will fix it eventually. Crowds - Where was everybody? I though the ship must be fairly empty but was told on more than one occasion that it was full. You could have fooled me. The elevator was the only place that seemed crowded. Even the Lido Market wasn't bad but I guess maybe we came earlier in the AM than most. Entertainment - If you're coming for the big shows, forget it. We attended two dance shows which were lovely. The comedian and mentalist were also first class. So, I'm sold. I have no idea if their other ships are up to par with this one but I will find out. I booked another cruise while on board. Oh, the twenty somethings? They loved everything about it. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
It has been several years, cruises and cruise lines since we were on board a HAL ship, 2016 to be exact. We chose this trip primarily because of the time frame, pricing and lazy itinerary. Had not been on the Oosterdam, and it did have Key ... Read More
It has been several years, cruises and cruise lines since we were on board a HAL ship, 2016 to be exact. We chose this trip primarily because of the time frame, pricing and lazy itinerary. Had not been on the Oosterdam, and it did have Key West in the itinerary, always a favorite stop for us. We departed from Port Everglades, utilizing a nearby parking lot not directly on port property to save a few bucks, and I have to say, the embarkation process was one of the fastest and smoothest of our 20+ cruises. No issues, we walked right on board are were able to go directly to our cabin without any wait at all. And, after the cruise, disembarkation was also a really quick and painless process. We were permitted to remain in our cabins or any of the public areas, and we got off right on time in a logical and unhurried but steady manner. What a treat! We selected a forward balcony cabin on the Observation Deck (10010) and found it to be smaller than expected. The balcony was apparently an afterthought add-on and was extremely narrow in both depth and width. The 2 chairs had to be placed just so before the door could be opened and unless you sat far left you had to get up to let a second person out of the door. Room for more than 2 not possible. Disappointing, but spent many hours enjoying the views, and the weather was great for our 7 days. Had excellent port views from here also. Cabin location suited us well. We do not suffer from any sea sickness issues and actually love it when there some rocking. While others might complain, we have never had a "too rough" cruise. Guess we have good sea legs. It was very quiet with only 25 cabins and getting an elevator never seemed to take long. We were told the ship was full, but it sure didn't seem like it, except on the Lido Deck at key dining times. The only other public area on our deck was the EXC/Excursion Desk/Observation Deck/Crow's Nest that housed a library, meeting room, coffee shop / bar and wonderful comfortable chairs to read and watch the sea from. Our cabin did have great shower pressure, plenty of hot water, great bed, and an air conditioner that actually worked really well to keep us comfortable. The ship itself, together with our cabin and balcony, were immaculate. Our room steward did a wonderful job for us and also kept us fully stocked with ice at all times. He was a joy and very unobstusive, popping in and out while we were out and about. Clearly an older ship, she was in good repair and literally sparkled. Rugs in public areas were clean and some parts of public areas were shampooed every day, especially port days. I had read criticism of her fittings being old and decrepit. Perhaps given my age, early 60s, I felt more at home than younger counterparts, but it felt warm, comfortable and a bit homey to me. I prefer the smaller ships to the new, slick & glitzy mega liners as they are easier for older legs to navigate and miss none of the action. Except....there wasn't much action. Oh, there were activities, but not much that we found suited our taste. We don't gamble, play trivia, bingo, board games, Bridge, Mahjong or assemble puzzles. We don't like Blues or jazz music much either. So that left us longing for more classical, piano, or some soft rock (nope, none of that). We liked the Test Kitchen seminars, and wished they would let us sample some of the things made, but they said they "could not for health reasons"? Made no sense. We also thoroughly enjoyed the BBC Planet Earth offerings and the live orchestral performance with one of the movies was delightful. The main stage entertainment was OK, nothing special, with the usual comic, magician and one musical dancing/singing show. Meh, the movie offerings were better than the live performances for us. The shore excursions we took were fine, and we have no complaints of the city tours taken. The food was the biggest disappointment of all. Everything looked yummy, but was lacking in taste and seasonings. Very bland. Rubbery chicken, tough steaks (even in the famed extra-cost Pinnacle Grill the Tenderloin just wasn't), the fish was fish-y tasting. Nothing was served hot, just lukewarm at best. HAL of old dining is no more. The lone exception seemed to be the breads and rolls and cookies. Coffee was plentiful and nicely stronger than average. The chocolate extravaganza looked so enticing but the reality was there was not much taste to any of it. Too many corners cut I guess. Lido Deck breakfast offerings and sandwiches and salads kept us the happiest, but only if we waited until the crowds died down. Very disappointed in the food offerings, for sure. The very best thing about this sailing was the crew and staff. Every single person we encountered seemed genuinely happy to be aboard and strived to please. That part was just remarkable! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
My husband and I have cruised on Holland America a few times. The last two were to the Caribbean although our previous trip was on a different ship. This cruise was wonderful. We loved the ports, the excursions, the crew, the other ... Read More
My husband and I have cruised on Holland America a few times. The last two were to the Caribbean although our previous trip was on a different ship. This cruise was wonderful. We loved the ports, the excursions, the crew, the other passengers, and the relaxing atmosphere. We remember the food being much tastier and more exotic in the past. This cruise had good food, but not fantastic food which is usually a large topic of our conversation when we come home. The souvenir glasses we received with the cordials (very tasty!!) offered in the dining room were high quality and the perfect size keepsake! We have never seen this option before and we loved it! The Oosterdam is on the older side as ships go and had areas of sewerage smell. Our room, thankfully, wasn't in those areas. The only thing we didn't like about our Verandah room was that the pillows really smelled. I slept with towels wrapped around mine. Other than that the rooms were great. The movie options on the television were top notch! Loved that option. During our visit to Holland America's island in the Bahama's we visited their bar only to be told that our drink package didn't include drinks on the island. We were very flabbergasted as this is Holland America's property. That was very disappointing and we left without purchasing a drink. I visited the spa and purchased "The Perfect Day" package which included a facial and massage. The facial was merely a face wash and mask. The massage focused mostly on the back and head. I was told afterward that my shoulders needed a lot of attention and I should book another appointment. Also, there was a lot of pushing of product. Not sure I would pay for that again. I've enjoyed massages at other locations during vacations that were far better. Onboarding was quick and easy. Disembarkment was easy, but the line through customs was extraordinarily long. For us it was no problem, but for anyone who has difficultly standing that long or someone who has to be somewhere quick, this is not ideal. All in all we enjoyed the cruise and would definitely sail with HA again. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
17 of us took this cruise together to celebrate my brother's 50th. While I have traveled (and even lived) all over the world and I love to travel, I had never been on a cruise and was a little nervous. I LOVED it! It was so much fun! ... Read More
17 of us took this cruise together to celebrate my brother's 50th. While I have traveled (and even lived) all over the world and I love to travel, I had never been on a cruise and was a little nervous. I LOVED it! It was so much fun! I was in a balcony cabin (smallest one) and it was perfect for me and with one other person at times. I was the only one in my room, but thought it was very roomy and well appointed and had I had someone else there I think it would have been fine. The food was plentiful and fine. Not overly gourmet, but it was good and fresh and met my needs (the point of the cruise was not the food!). There was always something available - they made that very easy. Service everywhere was outstanding! I unfortunately didn't keep track of people's names - something you should do apparently for these reviews. But I didn't have a bad moment once! Embarking and disembarking were quick and easy! No lines ever (except upon return for customs but that is not related to the cruise line). Luggage was handled well and no issues. What I liked were the loads of lounges and places to hang out. As I said we had a large group but we were rarely all together. I like to go and read so there were fun places to do that or hang with a few people. The entertainment and various activities were fun and plentiful so never lacked for something to do even with 2 days totally at sea. Here are some specific things to keep in mind (including my only negatives): 1. It annoys me to no end that they charge for sodas! I did get a soda card for $25 ahead of time that was worth $50 and that helped. I also brought bottles of soda in my carry on (which is allowed) and put those in my fridge. Soda is cheaper than juice (which was available for free at breakfast) and I think they should have free self-serve soda fountains periodically throughout the ship. 2. The info they send (know before you go) is helpful except they don't well explain the app. Before you get on the ship DOWNLOAD the app and tell anyone in your party to do the same! It's then very easy to use the chat feature with your party within the app and avoid texting charges. We didn't understand all of this and 17 people had 17 different phone carriers and plans so some were afraid to text, turn on their phone, etc. With the app, you have the ability to check the schedule, chat with each other, even check that day's dinner menus while keeping your phone in airplane mode! But it's not clear how it works and took us a lot of playing around (and ultimately not everyone in our group used it). I have since gotten my phone bill and had zero extra charges. 3. My cabin's bathroom had some chips/marks in it that I mistook for dirt at first but then realized it was minimal damage. I am fine with that and the cabin was kept VERY clean and don't expect the cruise line to fix every chip - just be warned, there may be minimal damage but look closely as it's not dirt! 4. This ship holds I think about 2000 people but it didn't feel that large. My good friend and I were on opposite ends of the ship and we could get to each other's rooms with an easy 5 minute walk. But do plan to walk a lot and use stairs whenever possible on the ship. I thought it was very easy to get around, very well marked with signage, and people were super helpful on the few times I got confused. 5. I did do some shore excursions which I really enjoyed. Most were with Holland America but did do one outside of them and all were good with no problems. Overall I loved it and plan to cruise in the future (even took advantage of paying a deposit for a future cruise to get some cruise credit). Loved Holland America and recommend this ship, their crew, and their service! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We booked this cruise because the price was awesome and the ship was new - in hindsight, a brand new ship with crazy-low prices should have set off warning flags. First the good - the ship was NEW! We had an aft-facing balcony - room ... Read More
We booked this cruise because the price was awesome and the ship was new - in hindsight, a brand new ship with crazy-low prices should have set off warning flags. First the good - the ship was NEW! We had an aft-facing balcony - room was very nice, room attendants were friendly and great. Sea Days around the pool were not stressful - complete opposite of Oasis, or any other ship we've been on. No militant record keeping on towels, food on the Lido deck was not bad, Tamarind ($25) was excellent. Not good or bad - the average age of passengers skewed toward over 65. I believe there were 200 or less, kids on the crew - I'd prefer a younger crowd - maybe that would have given us more activity options? The bad - Dining Room - everything about this was bad. Food was mundane, service was horrible - they have, what seemed to be, thousands of servers running around like bees in a hive, but for a normal sitdown dinner, it was a 1.5-2 hour process. We ate in the dining room the first night and one formal night, then avoided it at all costs. Embarkation - this was horrible. They checked you in, then they gave you a boarding group card with a number on it. Our number was 26, when we sat down, they were on number 6. So after having checked in, we sat in the terminal and waited for about 45 minutes. Half Moon Cay- we were one of two ships hosted that day- and it was obvious that they were not prepared for more than one. Full disclosure - we had a villa with a butler and were able to avoid the food lines - but we went to look and it was nuts. At least 100 people in line, and it looked like something out of a prison camp. To get back on the ship, we left at 130 (final tender was supposed to leave at 230) - from the time we left our villa to the time we got back to the ship was 1.5 hours! During this time, we stood in a line that envied a Disney Park line, with zero information from the crew, no offers of water or anything else - just a freaking nightmare. No mention of it that evening from the Captain or Cruise Director. Cruise Director - the running joke was whether he was even on the ship! We saw him one time over the 8 days we were on the ship. He came on with messages that seemed to be pre-recorded - and offered virtually zero information. On the last day, we signed up for early walk-off Disembarkation - since we had an early flight. We sat in our room until 715 with absolutely no information from any of the crew - went down to the second floor at 730 and found 90% of the passengers in line to get off the boat as well. It was a huge mess. At 745 the Cruise Director finally came on and said that they would begin Disembarkation soon and in the meantime do not congregate near the exit - we all laughed, because there were over 1,000 people listening to that directive congregated near the exit. It was fun to be on a new ship - but there are too many better choices for us to ever sail on this line again. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
This was my first time on Holland America and it will be my last. Not because of anything the cruise line did but because of the caliber of cruiser on board. If you are a senior citizen, you will love this cruise, it seems to be geared ... Read More
This was my first time on Holland America and it will be my last. Not because of anything the cruise line did but because of the caliber of cruiser on board. If you are a senior citizen, you will love this cruise, it seems to be geared more toward an older crowd. Shipboard activities leaned towards retirees I think. Games were bridge, majong and bingo. We played team trivia one day only to not play it again. The old crotchety lady who joined us and 2 other older cruisers, complained and shushed and berated us the whole time for being too loud and giving other teams the opportunity to hear our answers. And, she didn't contribute a single answer just bitched to us about,,"that's probably not right" Hello, our team got 12 out of 15 no thanks to her. The ship itself is absolutely beautiful, the artwork throughout the ship is sublime and we were always finding something new tucked away in another area of the ship. I am not sure if this is the norm for HAL but there were an awful lot of cruisers who were pushy, entitled, elitist and generally rude on our sailing. I saw several times where people with walkers or wheelchairs pushed there way into an already crowded elevator and push a floor several floors away so that the people already on the elevator had a difficult time getting off. When asked to let them through, the former, scoffed and got upset as though they were the only one on the elevator and it was for their own private use. I also witnessed at least once a day, someone berating or belittling the staff with very stupid and rude questions at the Lido Market. One lady got mad at the pasta server saying" Do you even know what your doing? You ARE going to cook that?!" Even the older gentleman in front of me rolled his eyes at the comment and said that "These are the things that give my wife and I comic relief over the next few months." The staff on board went above and beyond with their kindness and generosity and overall friendliness when ever you came across them. Half Moon Cay was gorgeous but...there were 2 HAL ships there on the same day and probably around 3000 people on the beach. Too overcrowded. If it hadn't been so overcrowded I would have spent the entire time on shore instead of just an hour. America's Test Kitchen was a fun experience and I wish they would would do it everyday instead of just twice during the cruise. Entertainment wise- the dance troupe I felt did a beautiful job, the magician was very funny and the comedian was not. I was disappointed with the Main Dining Room food. I felt that the 2 times I went there my seafood and poultry were both way overcooked and under seasoned. My creme brulee (my favorite) did not have a hard shell and barely any sugar to make it the hard shell. Tamarind is a must to anyone going on this ship. It was delicious and the servers and staff went above and beyond to make it the best dining experience we had the whole time. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
The Good: Room Steward did a great job. New ship. Clean and bright. Theatre: Dance group was very good, as well as the magician. America's Test Kitchen. Veteran get together. Nice Shower. The Average: New ... Read More
The Good: Room Steward did a great job. New ship. Clean and bright. Theatre: Dance group was very good, as well as the magician. America's Test Kitchen. Veteran get together. Nice Shower. The Average: New musical theme. Music piped in everywhere. Not a quiet public place on the ship as they don't have a dedicated library. If you like noise=great. No chairs on the promenade. The promenade is narrower, so it's walkable but no sitting area. Food: Nice presentation, but more of an Asian bent. If you're expecting a big steak or lobster you will be disappointed. Needs improving: Embarkation: SLOOOOOW. The excuse was the computers were slow. I booked a suite and there was no priority as promised. Disembarkation: The WORST. Ship arrival was late. People all standing around the single exit point. People cutting in line in front of the expedited group. Cruise director did nothing about it. CHAOS. Wine prices. Come on, 17 dollars a glass for Chateau St Michelle Cabernet? Daily Activities: Not a lot of organized activities. Comedian: How long can we make jokes about farts before it gets old. Private Island: 2 ships in at the same time. Crowded. Overall: I enjoyed the cruise, but it both started and ended on a sour note. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
Our family has cruised with HAL a couple of times before and really loved our experiences. Our two daughters are now between eight and eleven, and love formal nights, fine dining and afternoon tea. They also love the traditional kids ... Read More
Our family has cruised with HAL a couple of times before and really loved our experiences. Our two daughters are now between eight and eleven, and love formal nights, fine dining and afternoon tea. They also love the traditional kids activities and hanging out at the pool. My husband and I like to have a good time too, and the quality of food and service is important to us. Our HAL experiences are generally a win win for all four of us. While the Nieuw Statendam is a beautiful ship, it is quite apparent that HAL is reducing staffing levels. For example: For the whole of embarkation day, it was nearly impossible to get a drink on the pool deck. Instead of smiling servers attending to our needs, we had to stand in line at the bar for every drink. For the remainder of the cruise, tables in these areas were equipped with a service button to call a server over to you table. Let's just say our bar bill was higher on previous cruises. The dining room staff at our assigned table were very pleasant and really made an effort but the service was not nearly as good as previous cruises. It is obvious that they are understaffed to maintain the wonderful dinner service that we have come to appreciate. We dined with friends in open seating a couple of times and the service was really frustrating. I'm not sure why that is but, after raving to them about the food and service on HAL, we were embarrassed. The real failure of this cruise was the last day of the cruise on Half Moon Cay. We have been there before and loved it. This time, HAL booked the two largest ships in the line in and out of the Cay at the same time, totally overwhelming the island. There was a long wait for the tender ride to shore. Once ashore, there was absolutely nowhere to sit or shade to be found. The shade we had booked in advance was oversold and we had to stand in line back on board later for a refund. The beautiful beach was absolutely packed and the lines for the lunch buffet were unreasonable. We just didn't eat. When some angry cruisers gave up their shade chairs, we simply took their spot. We got in line about an hour ahead of departure to return to the ship. The shaded tender lines were assigned to returning passengers for the other ship, and we had to stand in line in the blazing sun for over an hour, to then sit atop a crowded tender back to the ship. Not once were we offered shade, water, cold towels or sunscreen. We were all sunburnt from the experience and no one was happy. It was a horrible experience on what should have a been a beautiful final cruise day. With few, exceptions, the food on the Nieuw Statendam is wonderful and keeping to the high HAL standard. Our cabin was lovely and the cabin staff did a great job. The entertainment was very good as well. We will likely cruise HAL again but hope this and other feedback encourages them to restore elegant service and experience that we so enjoy. * Note to family cruisers * On HAL spring break cruises there are plenty of kids for your kids to befriend and interact with, but not so many as to overwhelm (or annoy) the adults. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
We chose this cruise because it worked out as a back to back cruise after we got off the Regal Princess at the same port. Also, we were on the Koningsdam (sister ship) last year and we liked the ports it was going to. As always, the ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it worked out as a back to back cruise after we got off the Regal Princess at the same port. Also, we were on the Koningsdam (sister ship) last year and we liked the ports it was going to. As always, the food was excellent in taste, quality and variety we experienced before on Holland America. The ship was extremely clean in the well appointed cabin as well as all the common areas. Staff, crew and officers were so very friendly, courteous and helpful. The entertainment in BB King's lounge and the Rolling Stones lounge were very good but so disappointed in the piano lounge duo who sang off key and their voices did not compliment each other. We saw such a better duo on the Koningsdam last year. We enjoyed the entertainment in the main theatre but it would have been so much better if there had been more use of the theatre throughout the week. The movies under the stars and in the staterooms were recent and a good variety but there really wasn't a lot doing after 10:45 pm unless you went to the Casino, which we did not. We were disappointed in the embarkation procedure in the terminal waiting room, which appeared to be quite chaotic with older staff not knowing what to do and not agreeing with other staff. Even though Holland America has a very good product, we have decided that we will probably not be sailing with them again as we found the cruise to be too boring for us. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
Holland America, review of cruise 3-30 thru 4-07-19 I decided to go on a cruise for my 60th BD and chose Holland America. We drove down on Saturday with Sylvia, Michael and Mary and landed at Edgewater/New Smyrna Beach. Went to the ... Read More
Holland America, review of cruise 3-30 thru 4-07-19 I decided to go on a cruise for my 60th BD and chose Holland America. We drove down on Saturday with Sylvia, Michael and Mary and landed at Edgewater/New Smyrna Beach. Went to the Garlic for dinner, it was fantastic. The next day we drove the 3 hours to Fort Lauderdale. We made it to the ship where Heaven awaited. Rizky and Jo took excellent care of our cabin!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! They knew our names and worked so hard! We went to the Pinnacle restaurant that first night. The next day we were at Sea where I found that JR made me an excellent bloody Mary on Deck 10. Then we had the OCEANSIDE BAR, DECK 2 with Rommel, Jeorge, Reul, Bernardo ( the manager) take great care of us the next 7 nights.. The next day we were at Turks and Caicos where we went Whale watching. We saw 3 sets of whales! The next day was my BD, we sailed into San Juan and went to the Spanish rooftop bar at the top of Hotel Milano where we had Mojitos. That night we had dinner at Canaletto I spent all day wearing my Tiara and everybody calling me “Princess”. Thursday, we sailed into St. Thomas where we picked up our tour to Mountaintop. Banana Daquiris were amazing and the shopping was the best. Friday was a day at sea, we had breakfast on the LIDO DECK/Buffet which is where we had breakfast everyday. My husband jumped up and left his phone, but, Agung saw it and made sure we got it back. While we were having lunch, Nino, Assistant Beverage Manager asked if he could get me anything? I said I would love an unsweetened ice tea and he ended up getting me 3!! It was so kind and Jeff also helped as I am disabled, this meant a lot! Dinner at Tamarind Saturday was at half moon Cay where we spent time on the beach from 10 to 2. It was beautiful but it was HOT! dinner at Tamarind Sunday, we docked and were at the car by 9:00AM. We drove back 8 HOURS. Steak and Shake was lunch and we were back by 5:30pm. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
We are quite loyal to HAL (4-Star Mariners) and wanted to go on their newest ship. We also liked this particular itinerary. Our back aft suite was wonderful. I gave dining five stars ... but we only eat in the Pinnacle (and once in ... Read More
We are quite loyal to HAL (4-Star Mariners) and wanted to go on their newest ship. We also liked this particular itinerary. Our back aft suite was wonderful. I gave dining five stars ... but we only eat in the Pinnacle (and once in Tamarind) so can't say much about the dining room. The Pinnacle has added new items to their menu which were wonderful. Finally, they changed up their desserts! Yea! We just like eating in the specialty restaurants and not the dining room. Being 4-star Mariners we get it for half price. The new Pinnacle had its tables layed out oddly ... miss the nice window booths on the prior class ship. What I didn't like: this new ship (and the Konningsdam) does not offer breakfast in the Pinnacle for suite guests! They have changed it to "Club Orange" which originally was going to be Culinary Arts Center dining venue but tanked on other ships. So CO is a more casual, cafe-type restaurant. Also, anyone can use Club Orange if they want to pay $50 per day per person which also entitles them to expedited boarding/disembarkation. Don't like this. Suites guests pay a huge price and this Club Orange thing isn't right. Another weird thing: They have new scanners for luggage and my hot curlers were pulled as dangerous! Really??? The Indonesian guy kept calling them "hot plates." I don't think he knew what they were! I've been on 21 HAL cruise and never have my curlers caused a problem. They do not get very hot -- not even close to a curling iron's heat. What's next? No curling irons or flat irons or hair dryers??? Steamers were taken away, too. And, or course, clothes irons. I did get mine back on day 2 thanks to my suite concierge who explained what they were. MAJOR HASSLE! The music venues were very nice but wish the violinists had better times. We always missed them due to our dinner hour. Loved the Gelatto! Many people complained they had to pay $1 or $2 ... but we didn't mind. It was wonderful and no line because people were too cheap -- lol. Half Moon Cay (always beautiful!) was way too crowded as the Konningsdam was also there. Too many people!!! And - to get the tender back to the ship we had to wait in huge lines in the hot sun. It took at least an hour to get our tender in a long line that looked more like Disneyland. HAL does have a lot of seniors but we don't mind. Would rather have them than hundreds of kids running around. All in all, wonderful time. Ship is gorgeous! Would love to go again. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
Main Dining: food only poor to average. Always sauced up. Not very tasty. Not enough fresh fruit desert options or healthy entrees. Husband found the food poor. The only place to get a decent steak is to pay for the extra restaurants. ... Read More
Main Dining: food only poor to average. Always sauced up. Not very tasty. Not enough fresh fruit desert options or healthy entrees. Husband found the food poor. The only place to get a decent steak is to pay for the extra restaurants. Breakfast was pretty predictable, and closed early (9:00). I miss the smoked fish appetizers, fresh vegetables, and nice portion of fish or chicken for an entree. Lido Market--Pool deck: NOT always open. In fact, their hours were difficult if you were one to eat a late lunch (closed at 2, didn't reopen until 5) or breakfast (closed at 10--no sleeping in here). Only Pizza, pasta and deserts were open all the time -- again not very healthy. Entertainment: absolutely awful. What happened to the steel drum bands, and entertainment on the pool deck? None, ever, and this was a Caribbean cruise with no Caribbean flare. No musical performers on Main Stage at all during trip, only 2 nights functioning with a comedianne and a ventriloquist. Only music available was in Billboard Cafe (excellent piano duo) or Lincoln Center Live (classical music, and the musicians were not that good) or BB King's Jazz club. We ended up entertaining ourselves with trivia, bingo and happy hour. Best thing about this cruise: I got to share it with nephews and brother/sister-in-law. Without that it would have been a no go. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
We chose this cruise because the itinerary fit our spring break schedule. The ship was very nice and well maintained. Customer service was excellent. The food was very good and dining staff were excellent! The waiter was very ... Read More
We chose this cruise because the itinerary fit our spring break schedule. The ship was very nice and well maintained. Customer service was excellent. The food was very good and dining staff were excellent! The waiter was very accommodating to our 8 year old grandson and even made him an origami animal each night, showed him magic tricks and made sure he had something to eat from the kids menu that he liked at each meal. Our grandson adored him! The ventriloquist and comedy shows were very good and we enjoyed the Discovery Earth production (warning - if you don't like snakes, don't watch the first segment - could be scary for young children - our grandson did not attend). My husband enjoyed the Lincoln Center performances. The other music shows were fair - we passed on the second performance. BB King's nightclub and performances were very enjoyable. The "chocolate surprise" evening was very disappointing. It lasted about 3 minutes and if you were not in the right place at the right time you didn't get anything! Club Hal for children was fair - there were games and arts and crafts. There were video games available and my grandson enjoyed that. He attended about 3 times but quickly became bored and stayed with us the rest of the time. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
Our family (children and grandchildren) & friends eagerly anticipated HAL with its elegant charm and service for us oldies. HAL did extremely well on service, food, cabins, and efficiency on board. Our group enjoyed the cruise and our ... Read More
Our family (children and grandchildren) & friends eagerly anticipated HAL with its elegant charm and service for us oldies. HAL did extremely well on service, food, cabins, and efficiency on board. Our group enjoyed the cruise and our expectations were exceeded. We had a wonderful table and staff on Deck3 and Rudy's Fish premium dining to celebrate our 52 Wedding Anniversary. Compared to Norwegian, Princess, Royal Caribbean, Viking it was at least equal. Our balcony suite on Deck8 was larger than expected. The cabin steward was very friendly but unobtrusive, keeping our cabin spotlessly clean every day. We had our breakfast served in our cabin each day at no extra cost so we could eat in our pajamas and avoid the crowds in Lido. All this would have earned a 5*. Now the negatives. Poor communication between Call Center staff on shore and ship staff resulted in our group of 6 being split up for dinner if I had not escalated it, and then we got a nice table together. Poor organization resulted in a very late start of our Cozumel shore excursion and then we were rushed through the Chocolate, Glass bottom boat and Rum part of the tour. We had wonderful fellow passengers except for a couple of weird ones who showed up 20 mins late for a shore excursion and then demanded their money back when the only seats left were in the back of the bus. Another situation was when a family with 5 children considered it OK to let their kids aged 3 - 6 monopolize the BB King dance floor at 9 pm. preventing adults from dancing. They said there were no signs that said no kids! Another family seated their 3 young kids in the first row at the Comedienne show when they knew she would be telling adult jokes. There is no accounting for poor taste and lack of common sense. Apart from these examples, the fellow passengers were very urbane and cultured. In general the shows were OK - not as good as Norwegian. But I guess the bigger ships can afford higher quality/cost entertainers. I have yet to see any shows like "burn the floor" The Jersey Boys, Beatles, etc that we saw on Norwegian. But we prefer the quieter and more cozy atmosphere of smaller ships. So bottom line, a 4* experience! Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
This was out first cruise so we were not sure what to expect. We had heard from our friends that Holland America was a very elegant and relaxing cruise line... and they were right! We loved having a relaxing atmosphere. The staff around ... Read More
This was out first cruise so we were not sure what to expect. We had heard from our friends that Holland America was a very elegant and relaxing cruise line... and they were right! We loved having a relaxing atmosphere. The staff around the ship was extremely friendly and polite. Our stateroom stewards would greet us by name, even when they saw us out and about on the ship! They always asked how our day was going and if there was anything they could help us with. Everything across the ship was sparkling clean, the food was amazing and a nice selection of entertainment. We preferred to go to the later evening shows, because the earlier shows filled up quite quickly. This ship definitely has a classic feel to it, and it appeared to cater towards an 'older' crowd, although all age groups were present. My husband utilized the spa services and raved about his experience. We recommend spending the little extra to get a balcony room- ours provided spectacular views and was a nice place to take a nap or enjoy a few quiet moments. We would definitely book another cruise with Holland America Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
Profit hungry Head Office advertised this as a 14 day cruise (it's still shown that way in March 2020) as well as a 7 day east/7 day west. As mature, well traveled cruisers, we expected HAL to attract similar guests. Not at March ... Read More
Profit hungry Head Office advertised this as a 14 day cruise (it's still shown that way in March 2020) as well as a 7 day east/7 day west. As mature, well traveled cruisers, we expected HAL to attract similar guests. Not at March Break! With their "kids sale free" promotion. Our "neighbours" let their kids run circle through both their cabins, slamming both hall & balcony doors for 7 days, ignoring a written request from Guest Services to stop. Many adults belonged on the "party ship" cruise line, for 7 days, wondering where the Karaoke Bar or the Comedy Club were. We saw a couple more than once at the Lido Buffet in bathrobes, she was wearing a shower cap!! It was impossible to get near the mid ship pool for kids and the aft pool although adults only, permitted smoking,yuck. We were disgusted that they Casino allowed smoking most days, of course the smell lingered on non smoking days. The captain & his entire crew were professional, humorous & friendly, none of our complaints reflect on them. The food & our waiters in the MDR were excellent (breakfast & dinner). Lunch in the Lido was good. The Rolling Stone Rock Room band was great, The BB King band & especially the lead singer, were amazing. We enjoyed them every night. Enjoyed the EXC lectures too. Beware of the even # cabin corridor on deck 4 mid ship, the floor beneath the carpet has humps & dips, a definite tripping hazard. For the 4 of us in the future? It will be a long time before we sail HAL again, never in March & only for a true 14 day. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
Holland America corrected some of their missteps on the Konigsdam with this new ship, which carries on many HAL traditions while introducing some new ones. They have preserved the superb cabin and dining room service and the generally ... Read More
Holland America corrected some of their missteps on the Konigsdam with this new ship, which carries on many HAL traditions while introducing some new ones. They have preserved the superb cabin and dining room service and the generally dignified atmosphere. The balcony level of the pool area is an attractive addition. Tamarind is lovely and has very good food and service. I could get used to the whale-skeleton look of the Main Dining Room decor, but really don't like the yellow walls and chairs. I was surprised that the MDR was not open for lunch on sea days. Club Orange is a mystery to me; that restaurant is an interior space with a long glass wall along the main corridor that makes it look like a fishbowl. The furnishings look low-end rather than luxurious; the chairs don't even have upholstered backs. Why anyone would want to spend $50 a day for the privilege of eating there is beyond me.The Lido Market was OK, but the layout is not nearly as inviting as the buffet on the Celebrity Edge. Seats in the Lido were often hard to find. The Pizza place and deli have been combined on the deck above the Lido. The pizzas were excellent. The waits for hamburgers at Dive In seemed longer than I remember from other ships. I did not try Sel de Mer. I hope the idea of ship restaurants with a la carte prices doesn't catch on. I miss the dedicated theater with popcorn, although even the most recent films were available free on TV in your cabin. (On my recent cruise on the Celebrity Edge, they charged $13 for them.) Lincoln Center Stage is a very welcome addition. It's the prettiest room on the ship. A string quartet plus a pianist played a variety of classical and pop programs. B,B, King's, Rolling Stone Rock Room and Billboard Online all seemed well-attended. The World Stage is a mixed bag. It is totally devoid of decoration except for the upholstered seats (which have no drink holders). The circular thrust stage brings the performers close to the audience. The walls are used for high-tech projections. In the case of the first dance show "Humanity," the projections were quite artistically coordinated with the choreography. It was one of the best shows I have seen on a ship. The other dance show was good, but not as impressive. There was a comedian and an illusionist who, in addition to their own shows, encored on the final night. I was surprised that the World Stage was dark for two nights. The atrium is a disappointment. Unlike other recent ships, it provides no sense of occasion and is useless as a focal point for passengers to gather. The wait for an elevator was often long. I am sorry that the shops are still permitted to clutter the passageways with racks and tables for bargain sales. (The Celebrity Edge eliminated this entirely.) I miss people-watching from a deck chair on the Promenade Deck. That's my biggest complaint about all the new ships. I was disappointed that HAL dropped the Indonesian/Filippino crew show, which I always enjoyed. The cabin was well laid out and the bed was very comfortable. The bathroom is a bit small. I was pleasantly surprised that I heard nothing from the cabin on either side. The itinerary wasn't very exciting for experienced cruisers. HAL should really try harder to come up with new excursions for repeat travelers. Transfers from FLL airport to the ship were a mess. I had to wait over an hour for a bus and there were others who had waited even longer. The return transfer was timely. The main negative was that the ship lost power on the next-to-last night and we had to skip Half Moon Cay to assure a timely arrival back at Port Everglades. It was nice of HAL to offer a $50 shipboard credit, but it is still a bit alarming that a brand-new ship would mysteriously lose power. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We sailed back-to-back on Nieuw Statendam , March 2019 Eastern and Western Caribbean cruises, which we booked a year in advance as a balcony guarantee. We were assigned a VF cabin, 4017 in the front of ship which had an expanded balcony. ... Read More
We sailed back-to-back on Nieuw Statendam , March 2019 Eastern and Western Caribbean cruises, which we booked a year in advance as a balcony guarantee. We were assigned a VF cabin, 4017 in the front of ship which had an expanded balcony. The ship is beautiful, very easy to get around and the cabins are light bright, well appointed with enough closet and drawer space. For news hounds MSNBC and FOX news are shown as well as BBC news. Also, a lot of "free ", latest movies, are offered on TV and poolside in the evenings. Bathroom shower is enclosed and quite large. Beware, it has slate floors which can be slippery ... bring a rubber bath mat or throw down a towel when you shower to avoid falls. At the end of this review I will include a short summary of Celebrity Edge which we went on directly after this cruise.Both ships were anchored right next to each other and we walked off one, right onto the other. All food venues ( and there are many) are located mid to back of the ship and all entertainment venues from mid-ship, forward. Either way you are in for a lot of walking. The main dining rooms are on decks 2 and 3. Except for breakfast, and the second dress-up night when they served 5 oz lobster tails/filet, we were disappointed with the menu selections in the main dining room, although the food was well prepared. Better fare is at Deck 9 Lido for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Large variety of foods, prime rib and other roasted meats daily, terrific breads and baked goods, fairly good desserts, ice cream/cones. What is special on this ship is  the smaller dining venues which do not charge for food: Dive-In burgers, dogs, made to order burgers/great coated fries (Deck 9 just outside the Lido); NY Deli/PIzza Deck 10, just above the Lido pool. Great custom made personnel pizzas and very nice grilled sandwiches. Do not miss the Dutch Cafe deck 3 mid, with a wonderful personal 6" quiche/mescaline salad, pea soup, terrific apple pie, enormous "round" eclairs,  and many other free items that they serve until 8:30 pm. They charge for coffee and other drinks. The second week we bought a five pack of restaurants for $95. It includes Pinnacle Grill , Tamarind, Canaletto which have open menus and Rudi's Sel De Mer and Nami Sushi which are ala carte and are limited to $30 and $15 pp credit. We had a lot of trouble in the last two restaurants as they do something that is not logical .... they charge your account  for the whole meal ( not just over and above thementioned credit limit limit) and tell you they will give you a credit back. THEY DO NOT. I had to fight with customer service to get the credit applied and ended up requesting a meeting with the hotel director because it was not happening. I read about this from other cruise critic writers and sure enough it was true. That said, the specialty restaurants are quite good, especially Pinnacle ( don't miss the broiled Alaskan King Crab [ a full pound], or the 18 oz Rib eye or 23 oz Porterhouse. Unfortunately our sever Rimco gave us terrible service at Pinnacle. Tamarind was the least of the restaurants, with so-so oriental ... food. Canaletto was surprisingly good, great service from Astrid. Rudi's 12 oz lobster tail ( @ $32) is pretty good. At Nami, since we are not sushi lovers we had a great Miso soup and a wonderful tenderloin entree with fried rice, great sauteed mushrooms. It was superb. Overall, given all the venues and surprise foods at many ( bavarian pretzels, carmel pretzels, popcorn) for the movies below in the evenings at NY Deli/Pizza) you will not be disappointed. There are just not enough major shows on this ship.There are only two major shows: Humanity and Step Dance Show. Humanity was superb - dancing, costumes, terrific graphics that encircle the whole stage. It was so good we saw it twice. The other show was just not as good. The only other shows are a magician - Kid Ace very good and a Comedian. First week Rodney Johnson was very, very funny. Not so the second week. But there is a saving grace. The alternative entertainment are 4 music venues on deck 2, all near each other. BB Kings ... blues and soul which HA has on every ship  is always excellent. A Rock n' Roll venue, Billboard 100 hits and Lincoln Center classical combo ... also very good. The latter does classical concerts in the afternoons, which were lovely.. As is the case with many ships the pools, Lido (mid) and Sea View, (rear) on deck 9 are too small. Kids take over the Lido pool and it is almost impossible to swim. No supervision by HA at all, especially when parents are remiss in letting their kids splash everyone. Seaview pool out in the open in the back of the ship is always breezy ( under the canopy ) and has NO KIDS. Just big crowds. HA has relatively good computer connectivity, a very diligent computer manager on duty and  a small, but well appointed computer room with five computers for people like me without smart phone or IPads. It also has free printing. Computer usage for two weeks including email was $160. Not a bad price.  We noticed that HA ships are no longer geriatric as they had been years ago. The age is quite mixed and yes, there were children aboard. Comparison to Celebrity Edge: Edge also came out in December 2018 as did Nieuw Statendam. But the ships are very different in design, feel. We paid more for one week on Edge than we did for two weeks on HA NS. However, Celebrity bundles in a lot of amenities .... for which you end up paying. On Edge we booked one of the new, state of the art "Infinity Balconies", where the glass bi-fold doors can stay open and the balcony is part of your room, giving the feel of a longer, bigger room. The balcony has a panoramic double hung motorized window which goes half-way down. As you look out, you see nothing but the sea. We liked it. We did not dine at any of the specialty restaurants, since they were $55 pp and up which we thought was ridiculous. We ate in the four, included dining rooms which have the same menus, but also have regional specialties: French, Italian, Mediterranean, Cosmopolitan. All were very good with excellent service. The Windows Cafe (buffet) on Edge was a major disappointment for breakfast and lunch. There were only a few shows and comedians .... a deficit for this ship. In fact there is not enough to do in the daytime, given the 3000 passengers. The overall decor/art work  in Nieuw Statendam was much nicer. Edge is very modern, almost industrial looking. It is not a pretty ship. Overall we preferred Nieuw Statendam, hands down, although we were glad we tried Edge. Word of caution about Edge. There are indeed way too many steps, and many of the venues are located a half a floor up or down. What were the designers thinking? Very difficult for Seniors. Even the main pool on deck 14, required everyone to go up 8 steps to reach it. Why??? One thing that was out there on Edge is "Eden ( multi-floor entertainment venue) that has jugglers, "fairies": acrobatics, aerialists and generally many "odd" entertainers walking around in what seems like a "daze". It's different and should be experienced at least once in your life. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We booked this cruise with 2 other couples to celebrate 2 Birthdays and for the itinerary which included 4 port days. This is our 7th cruise on Holland America. We had praised up our previous cruises and the quality of service, cuisine ... Read More
We booked this cruise with 2 other couples to celebrate 2 Birthdays and for the itinerary which included 4 port days. This is our 7th cruise on Holland America. We had praised up our previous cruises and the quality of service, cuisine and attention to detail with our friends. It soon became apparent, that this cruise was not going to compare in any way with our previous experiences. Pros: The Oosterdam was in very good shape in all the common areas having recently undergone a refurbishment. Many of the hard working staff we encountered were very pleasant and smiling. We met many wonderful folks on the cruise, but sadly, most of our conversations were regarding this cruise compared to others. The ports of call were wonderful, providing lots to see and do and wonderful beach time! We enjoyed the ports and the time spent with our friends. Disappointments: It began at embark/check-in. As we entered the port area, there was a gentleman "hearding" people thru the line calling out "Passports!!! Get your passports out" As we approached him, he hollered at me "Where is your passport?" I explained that we held Enhanced licenses from the state of Vermont. We were pulled from the line. He then proceeded to tell us that we couldn't sail that day without a passport. I explained to him that I had called Seattle and researched the website and that we could indeed travel with an enhanced license and a Birth Certificate if needed. He then let us back in line. Our friends had also stepped aside to wait for us. We proceeded to check in where the woman never asked for our BC or wanted them even when I offered them. We checked in and proceeded to board and were told our staterooms were ready. All 3 couples had inside staterooms side by side- 8125, 8129 and 8133. We went to the cabins to leave off the items we had carried on board. I went into the bathroom and found numerous hairs on the vanity and floor and upon leaving the bath, saw and empty water bottle under the edge of the closet. Since we were meeting the others for lunch, we proceeded to the Lido deciding to try and talk with our cabin steward later. Upon meeting up with our friends, we learned their bathroom had also not been cleaned sufficiently. They had to ask their steward twice to clean the bathroom. We actually had to leave a note for our steward as we never saw them for the first 2 days- that our bathroom needed to be cleaned and the cabin vacuumed as we found nail clippings, hair and other small objects on the carpet. We also had a remote for the TV that was difficult to use due to worn buttons, but as we never saw the steward, it was impossible to get it replaced. We had ordered a gallon of distilled water for my husband's bi-pap machine and that also wasn't delivered. During the course of the week I was called down to Guest Relations 4 times for issues with my Birth Certificate information which no one wanted to see when we checked in. I was denied getting off the ship the first day in Key West and had to take my ID to Guest Relations before disembarking. They then said that when I returned to the ship that afternoon, I had to come back with my BC! Which I did. However, I was summoned 3 more times to Guest Services regarding my BC. Other issues: $25 beverage cards we were all "comped" never were activated. We had to go to GR and have them activated, then they still didn't work. When I returned to GR, they said it did work and a drink had been charged to it. However, that same drink had also been charged to our cabin. For the duration of the cruise, every attempt to use the beverage card was denied. Tall tropical drinks were served without straws. If pressed, the bar staff would finally give you a straw cut in half. Bar staff coverage in the Sea View pool / bar area was almost non-existent. They seemed to cater to the smoking crowd on one side of the pool - who also had all the very nice comfortable chairs for lounging, cards and reading. If we wanted to order a drink you had to stand and wave a server over, and then it could be up to a half hour before they returned. They were not familiar with the bar menu in regards to non-alcoholic drinks, but if you ordered the daily special or a beer, they knew those. I ordered the same exact non-alcoholic drink 3 different days and got a different drink each time. Only the first one was as described in the bar menu. Entertainment: one of the biggest disappointments. Our previous HAL cruises had wonderful, quality shows, and entertainment. This cruise had one musical show that actually played 2 nights, a comedian whose show lasted all of 45 minutes and he played entirely off the first row of the audience, and didn't seem to have an act other than that. There was a magician who also had a short show. One evening was actually BBC photos shown on a screen along with the orchestra type music. BB King's was always packed as there wasn't much else going on. Their sets were short with frequent breaks. The dueling pianos were stuck in the hallway next to the Casino and very loud. The male singer/player was OK, but the woman singer was definitely not the caliber of entertainers we had seen previously. We miss the other piano bar. There really wasn't much to do in the evenings, the casino games were not as plentiful or entertaining, no place to dance, no Karaoke or guest involved activities such as games etc. No pool games during the day. We did appreciate the movies in the cabin, as this is the first cruise we have spent any amount of time in there! Normally there is so much going on, we just shower, change and sleep there. Years ago, they did away with the Hal Cats- the live music at the pools, but last cruise they did have a steel drum player. This cruise nothing. There was some DJ played music during sail aways, and on St. Patrick's Day, but not the same atmosphere at all. My husband did attend the Windows Workshops which he enjoys, but he was very disappointed to find the last one (that we came back from Half Moon Cay early for) was cancelled. No notice, just a hand written sign on the door when he got there. We were very disappointed that the Sea View Aft pool is no longer Adult only! The pool and the hot tubs were crowded with kids even though the signage stated children needed to be accompanied by and adult. They weren't! Young boys were throwing a Nerf football and running and jumping, splashing and such every day. Small children were in the pool with arm floaties on with no adult with them. We asked several times for ship staff to do something, but they just shrugged their shoulders and did nothing. We seldom ate in the Lido- the different stations mostly featured ethnic food choices, other than deli sandwiches and the salad bar, not much for american cuisine. We actually felt like we were a minority in this area! Sushi, Thai, Chinese, etc. There was always a long line for the ice cream station, and our friends stated that on other cruise lines, it is set up differently so it doesn't cause a clog in the Lido line movement. We noticed a distinct difference in the menu offerings in the main dining room as well. The line for the Dive In hamburger stand was extremely long, but we attributed this to the large number of children onboard -225 we were told. Though we cruise this same week every time, we have never encountered this many children on board our cruises. The ship doesn't have all the water slides, and bells and whistles other kid-friendly ships have, so I'm sure the kids were bored as well. We had originally had fixed dining at 8 p.m. some of our party didn't want to eat that late so approx a month before sailing I called Seattle and relinquished our fixed seating and they assured me we could make dinner reservations "at any time". They advised we make 2 days at a time, as we boarded. As soon as we were in our cabin, we called to make dinner reservations for 7:00 p.m.. We were told that reservations were only for 5:45 and 7:45 p.m. We were told to go to the diningroom at 7:00 and get in line. We did get a table around 7 that first night. However, we didn't leave until 2 1/2 hours later! 4 other tables around us sat, ordered and ate before we got our entrees. We also had requested 2 Birthday desserts for that evening for the birthdays in our party. They never arrived. We missed the show that first night, and advised the Dining room manager and thru the app Navigator about our issues. The Diningroom manager more than made up for the first night the rest of the week and other than my getting an allergic reaction to Cilantro, the rest of our dining experience was good! We were surprised to see shrimp cocktail only offered one evening and none of the cold soups we had loved on previous cruises. Also, no baked Alaska, no chocolate extravaganza or parade of the diningroom staff. In all our HAL cruises, we have never encountered the issues we had on this cruise! We saw our cabin steward 2X - after leaving a note for him. The woman in Guest Relations was not pleasant and not helpful in anyway. She seemed peeved that I asked for the drink charges to be compared/reviewed, and that I questioned an onboard credit that wasn't showing. There seemed to be far less staff than previously, and those that are there have more cabins to care for, more guests to serve. It seems HAL is cutting corners in all the wrong places. I think passengers would be willing to pay the going rate for the quality of service we used to receive. This is the first cruise we have been on, where I didn't feel like I was a special guest of Holland America. We were unable to attend the Mariner's luncheon as it conflicted with 2 other events we wanted to attend. Previously, we have received our HAL tiles in our cabin. This cruise nothing. We had saved up for our cruise, we have to fly down from Vermont, and it was my first vacation in 2 years. Though we enjoyed the ports, our friends and the fun we made ourselves, it was not the typical Holland America experience for us. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
Ship was dated and not attractive. Very crowded because it was spring break so lesson for me don't cruise the Caribbean during the March/April time frame. Cabin was verandah on the 8th deck and noise came from decks above and ... Read More
Ship was dated and not attractive. Very crowded because it was spring break so lesson for me don't cruise the Caribbean during the March/April time frame. Cabin was verandah on the 8th deck and noise came from decks above and below us. Complained to HAL since I asked if this would be noisy and was assured no prior to booking - gave me a $150 credit when I complained. Cabin was not cleaned properly prior to our arrival - bathroom floor was nasty. Noisy and dirty cabin. Entertainment and activities were minimal. The same Planet Earth has been on every HAL cruise I have taken in the past two years. Service in the Dining room was great. Dining was good but small portions. Ports OK - Half Moon Cay was great but Amber Cove was a disappointment. Will not be sailing HAL for awhile. Used to be great - this cruise was a wake up call that the line is not keeping up its previous standards. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
I am HIGHLY DISAPPOINTED in what I describe as a lack of concern in the area of customer care! I would like to review the excursions: Half Moon Cay: We had a blast. This was definitely one of our favorite spots. We chose to do the ... Read More
I am HIGHLY DISAPPOINTED in what I describe as a lack of concern in the area of customer care! I would like to review the excursions: Half Moon Cay: We had a blast. This was definitely one of our favorite spots. We chose to do the Jet Ski excursion (I believe it was called the Aqua Trax....). We were somewhat apprehensive since we had never been on a Jet Ski. The guides were incredible. Our daughter was much more apprehensive than even my wife and I; she moved very slowly, but one of the guides stayed with her for the entire hour!!! My wife and I were able to go at our speed, have a great time and not worry about our 19 year old daughter. Ocho Rios: We went on the Dunn Rivers Falls and Dolphin Encounter excursion. This was a blast!!! The Dolphin Encounter was so worth the money. The trainers and life guards were incredible. They made this a very memorable experience. The only thing I would caution against is the PRICE on pictures! We paid $200 for a group of 3 (aprox 197 pictures) that was on a disc. If we had it to do all over again, we WOULD NOT do the pictures...or we would have negotiated price (we heard some people negotiated). Dunn Rivers Falls was INCREDIBLE, however my wife and daughter did not climb the falls; they watched from observation decks. If you have physical limitations DO NOT climb the falls! Georgetown: We went on Land and Sea Excursion. This was very nice. Not the highlight of our cruise, but I would say it was worth it. The getting to see, hold and learn about the sea turtles was neat. My wife enjoyed the Submarine. This was our first cruise with Holland America. We chose to give the cruise line a try under the recommendations of friends who have cruised multiple times. I would say that overall we really enjoyed our trip; however there were a few things that left us with mixed feelings and reviews. The ship was beautiful and very easy to get around in. Our cruise was March 10-17, 2019. We were in a suite, Cabin 6119. Overall, we were satisfied with our cabin steward. He was very friendly and did a fairly good job (not the best...not the worst). We did notice that as the week progressed, it seemed that the quality of the cleanliness diminished. Although our cabin was extremely crowded when we let out the couch sofa for our daughter, the cabin was comfortable at other times. The restroom was great and the shower was excellent. The balcony was very nice and comfortable. A MAJOR concern pertaining to our cabin was that we had $400 go missing!!! This money was in the safe, but we are 99% certain that the money went missing from our cabin!!! We do not want to falsely accuse anyone, but we feel that this matter should be looked into; especially if other guest have reported similar concerns! Dinning: We chose to eat at the Lido Market; overall the food was very good. However, there was some things that disturbed us. We found it almost impossible to get service. We had to ask for drinks, ask for refills and many times never received what we asked for. We felt that the overall cleanliness was sub-par at times. Tables that had been cleaned were still dirty; in fact I took a few pictures of tables we sat down at; one actually had hair on the chair. It seemed that the chairs never were cleaned between guest. We were EXTREMELY troubled by the fact that the servers would take silverware and glass ware from tables that had not been cleaned off and give them to us to use. We watched several guest examine their silverware and glass ware for cleanliness. THIS IS AN AREA THAT NEEDS IMPROVEMENT! Entertainment: We THOROUGHLY enjoyed the ship entertainment. The highlight of our cruise was the performances on the Lincoln Center Stage! We also enjoyed the BB King Blue's Club performances and the the performances on the World Stage. Guest services / Explorations Central: This was another area of concern for us; we felt that the ball was dropped. On the second day of our cruise, we went to Guest Services and expressed our concerns in the area of customer service (i.e. things mentioned already in this review); in the process I inquired about gratuities. I expressed that we did not feel that we were receiving the quality of service worthy of $45 a day in gratuities. After not receiving a satisfactory explanation from the agent at Guest Services, I requested that gratuities be removed from our bill. I explained to the agent that it was not my desire to not pay gratuities, I simply wanted some explanation. On the form that I filled out, I requested that someone contact me concerning the matter; unfortunately, I was never contacted. In an effort to ensure that I did the right thing, I did go back to Guest Services the day of disembarkation and added $350 gratuities to our bill. However, we still have a negative impression in this matter. I will say that we had other encounters with Guest Services and all of those encounters were very positive! Two different times we went to Explorations Central to inquire about shore excursions. Prior to our trip, we had purchased excursions in every port except Cozumel. We were having a hard time deciding about Cozumel. So both times we were inquiring about Cozumel excursions; we WANTED TO PURCHASE a Cozumel excursion! We felt that the agent (young lady with long blond hair) was less than helpful in this area. All that she did during both of our visits to Explorations Central was open a book and say here are the excursions. No recommendations, etc! Needless to say, Cozumel was our biggest disappointment when it came to ports. Read Less
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