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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
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
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
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
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
Beautiful Ship with and wonderful and friendly crew. State of the art precision electronic theater with great entertainment. A stately beauty everywhere you look with fresh flower arrangements and beautiful artwork. Nightly music with a ... Read More
Beautiful Ship with and wonderful and friendly crew. State of the art precision electronic theater with great entertainment. A stately beauty everywhere you look with fresh flower arrangements and beautiful artwork. Nightly music with a variety of Beethoven to The Rolling Stones. The cabins are of great design with so much storage and terrific lighting. The subdued tones of the cabins are restful and tasteful. The service is top notch. The serenity pool and quiet area is so restful and enjoyable. The dining room was a delight with excellent service and white table cloths at each meal. Fresh flowers adorned the tables and the wait staff was impressive. The buffet has excellent food stations and the breads were baked fresh each day. There was a carving station, a sandwich station, plus sushi and of course hamburgers by the pool. The best part of each meal was the iced cream with a flavor of the day along with the vanilla, chocolate and strawberry. The dessert bar had elegant fresh fruit tarts each day. My favorite menu was the most extensive breakfast selections that I have ever seen on any ship and I have been on over 40 cruises. Do not hesitate to experience a cruise on the beautiful Holland ship. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
We chose this cruise because of the new ship. We like Holland America, but some of their ships are getting old. The ship was beautiful. Not so big which made it easy to navigate We had a balcony stateroom 6090 in the center. Although ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the new ship. We like Holland America, but some of their ships are getting old. The ship was beautiful. Not so big which made it easy to navigate We had a balcony stateroom 6090 in the center. Although it was somewhat smaller than on their older ships it was just fine. There seemed to be some younger people on board which was very nice to see. The itinerary was the usual caribbean stops, not really important to us. since we have visited several before. The food was above average, as was the service in the dining room. We enjoyed the new music row, which was Rolling Stones Club and billboard (pianos). BB King Blues was a little too loud for our taste since they put it out in the open, but I'm sure many people enjoyed it. I think the horns made it too loud. Of course Lincoln Center Stage is always lovely (chamber music). The front desk people were all very knowledgeable and helpful. Room service was wonderful. Every morning we had breakfast in our room. They were prompt and very friendly on the phone as well as the person who brought it. NY Deli and Dutch Cafe were both wonderful and not to be missed. (no charge except for special coffees) I have one constructive criticism. They should have a single piano player or guitarist in a bar (Ocean Bar) just to have a quiet place for a drink before or after dinner. The dance shows were very well done. We enjoyed one of the comedians, and the ventriliquist was very good. All in all a wonderful cruise and we booked another on the same ship. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
The ship is very elegant, with beautiful artwork throughout. The crew was very friendly, seemed happy, and we’re always willing to help. The cabins were relatively roomy with lots of drawers for storage. The food was excellent in the ... Read More
The ship is very elegant, with beautiful artwork throughout. The crew was very friendly, seemed happy, and we’re always willing to help. The cabins were relatively roomy with lots of drawers for storage. The food was excellent in the dining room. The shops were understated and there was not merchandise present in the aisles. The entertainment was not as good or as varied in the mai theater as on other ships. However, there were many styles and locations for music on the ship. There were five hot tubs on the ship for which were the smallest I’ve ever encountered. Those four would not hold for adults comfortably. The ports were excellent. Grand Turk was almost like a private island. The private island was excellent. Surprisingly, we were the only ship in port at Saint Thomas which made for a surprisingly uncrowded visit. San Juan seem cleaner than the last time I visited. I would definitely sale on the Nieuw Statendam again. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
My wife and I have only taken one cruise before this one and it was 15 years ago on a 5 day Carnival cruise, budget type deal, from Jacksonville. This was our 25th wedding anniversary, we wanted to be on a more upscale crowd on a new ... Read More
My wife and I have only taken one cruise before this one and it was 15 years ago on a 5 day Carnival cruise, budget type deal, from Jacksonville. This was our 25th wedding anniversary, we wanted to be on a more upscale crowd on a new ship. Let me start by saying we upgraded to a Neptune Suite 3 days prior to the cruise which I am sure enhanced our experience. Embarkation in FLL was a breeze. From the time we hit the pier, left our Uber, we were in our cabin #7113 in 20 minutes. The luggage hit the cabin before 3:00 P.M. Every person we encountered on the cruise was genuinely helpful and service oriented. We truly felt like pampered royalty the entire cruise. From a food standpoint, we only ate one meal in the MDR and we were underwhelmed there. The service was slow, the food was not very hot, and just kinda meh. If we had to eat every meal in the MDR or Lido we would have been unhappy with the food. Because we had a Neptune Suite we had access to Club Orange. I've read mixed reviews on it and I will tell you we absolutely loved it. Would I have paid $50 p.p. per day just to get it, maybe, maybe not. But we really liked it. Food was hot, almost had a private dining room experience to it. There were dishes that were not offered in the MDR, the cappuccinos (which my wife loved) were free in CO but not in the MDR. Free mimosas at breakfast if that's your thing. You do need to wear long pants (jeans are allowed) at dinner. The first evening I came to dinner the maitre'd stopped me and politely told me no shorts at dinner. I have no problem with that at all. It was always "Mr. Hogan, Mrs. Hogan", they knew exactly what we wanted and needed. The last night they had all the signature dishes from the Culinary Council and even introduced us personally to Chef Rudy from Rudi Sel De Mer which was cool. We actually cancelled our reservation at Rudi's for the final night to eat in CO. Chef Rudi was amused but not entirely. He said we missed out and we promised him we would eat there next time. My wife and I are foodies and should have gone to Rudi's at least once. We also ate at Pinnacle Grill which was by far the best meal we ate on the cruise. The amount of food that they give you there is a LOT. Skip lunch they day you eat at PG. We ate at Canaletto which was decent. Not amazing but good. Tamarind was the weakest of the specialty restaurants that we ate at. It was not by any means bad, just not great. It was quite with a nice view though. The sushi was the same as you'd get at a regular sushi (not high end) sushi place back home. Not offensive, but nothing great. We used the Greenhouse spa which I enjoyed tremendously. It was a bit crowded on the sea days but that is to be expected. The spa treatments were nice, but definitely not worth the $$. Save your $$ there. The casino was kind to the wife, not so kind to me but it was a nice distraction. The DO allow smoking except on gala night in the casino. One night it was really awful with the smell, the rest of the time it was tolerable. BB King, Rolling Stone Rock Bar, Lincoln Center, Dueling Pianos, and the rest of the entertainment was also excellent but I will agree the volume from BB King and Rolling Stone was quite loud and I enjoy concerts and am in my late 40s. There is definitely an opportunity for HAL to improve there. Did the SNUBA shore excursion in Grand Turk which was also excellent. Didn't do any other EXC tours just did stuff on our own which was pleasant. Neptune Lounge staff went above and beyond for us making our Vow Renewal Ceremony pretty spectacular. The cabin attendants were also above and beyond! Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
MDH and I have been on more than 10 Celebrity cruises but began to feel like we were no longer the preferred demographic for Celebrity (music and entertainment were taking on an "edgier vibe"). We had been eyeing Holland America ... Read More
MDH and I have been on more than 10 Celebrity cruises but began to feel like we were no longer the preferred demographic for Celebrity (music and entertainment were taking on an "edgier vibe"). We had been eyeing Holland America for a while but were reluctant to take the leap because of their smoking policy and because we had invested so much into Celebrity. When Holland America banned smoking on the verandas we decided to give it a go. We are so glad we did!!!! There is so much to be said but in short...the cruise was fabulous. WHAT WE LOVED: - Friendliness of the entire crew. Every staff person (from officers to window washers) exchanged pleasantries when we passed and when we had a question every effort was made to find the answer. Some went above and beyond remembering names and details shared. They are in the right business! HAL has hired well. - Decor. We love the classic styling with dark woods and neutral palette. The art was tasteful and very interesting to see. - Hydro Pool. We purchased passes to use the facility for the week. Worth every penny. Not crowded, very relaxing and felt like we were being pampered. - Pinnacle Grill and Sel de Mer. I appreciate the fact that people resent having to pay for meals on a cruise but we LOVED our experience in both. The service, ambience and food were fabulous. - Music (EVERYWHERE) - From the solo piano in the Ocean Bar to the Music Walk (Billboard Onboard, BB Kings, Lincoln Center) to the music piped into the dining and bar areas and even the elevator - we loved it ALL. Every live entertainer was exceptionally skilled and we both feel that we would have been willing to pay for concerts by any one of them. - Cabana with Butler on Half Moon Cay - Definitely an indulgence but having done it once we would do it again! The service was phenomenal, the setting was postcard perfect and the food/beverage was terrific. - EXC Lounge and Ocean Bar - Nicely appointed spaces to relax, read and people watch - Beverage Service...Everywhere - Loved the fact that there were staff members assigned to areas of the Lido Buffet seating area that assisted in seating people and then provided beverage service for coffee, iced tea and lemonade, etc. The bar service was also prompt and efficient. We have noticed on other cruises that as beverage packages became popular bar service deteriorated. This was NOT true on this cruise. We wanted a drink someone materialized and made sure we got one. - Direct Luggage Service - We had never heard of this service before but what a service it is! We put our luggage outside of our stateroom the night before disembarkation and did not touch it again until our final destination airport. FANTASTIC!! WHAT WE DIDN'T LOVE: - Communication - There were a few occasions that we were asked for information about excursions or disembarkation but the information did not come back. We didn't know where to be or when. - The Main Stage - Too loud, temperature was too hot. While the talent was there, the production was not to our liking. Didn't live up to the hype of a big production. Clearly we had a great time. Looking forward to a cruise to Alaska in June on the Koningsdam. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
Holland goes above and beyond to make you as comfortable and welcomed as possible. By far it is the BEST cruise line around. The food was great. The entertainment was great. All staff personable. Our room attendants went above and ... Read More
Holland goes above and beyond to make you as comfortable and welcomed as possible. By far it is the BEST cruise line around. The food was great. The entertainment was great. All staff personable. Our room attendants went above and beyond. As did the waiters. Love everything about Holland America Cruise Line. The ship was spotless. You are treated like royalty everyday. On our last day we had a bar-b-que on the private island. It was wonderful. You would think that you would be given hot dogs and burgers. We had that plus steaks, chicken, fish tacos plus multiple salads, fruits, cupcakes and hand dipped ice cream. It was a nice change and we enjoyed it. I just wish that there was a little more shopping on their island. On the ship you never had to wait in lines. Everything moved quickly. Also you can’t forget about the bread pudding +++++++. OMG what a treat. Thank you again for a wonderful, relaxing time. I can’t wait to do it again... Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
We were on this ship in May 2018 and were impressed enough to book for this sailing in February 2019. This ship went through a dry dock in December 2017 that updated the decor. They also stopped allowing smoking inside the casino at that ... Read More
We were on this ship in May 2018 and were impressed enough to book for this sailing in February 2019. This ship went through a dry dock in December 2017 that updated the decor. They also stopped allowing smoking inside the casino at that time. I had always dismissed HAL as an option because of their smoking policy, so this was a welcome change for me. The only smoking currently allowed is now on an outside deck. The crew are very well trained, friendly, and personable. They seem genuinely happy to be on board and also appear to get along well with each other. To me, that's always a sign of good management and work environment. Dining was good to excellent in the main dining room and specialty restaurants. This ship has Tamarind as a restaurant choice, which is excellent (have eaten there four times now). The lido buffet has a nice variety of food that tastes good. As importantly, there is lots of staff around to get drinks and clear tables, which is an area where other cruise lines seem to have cut back. There are also a couple of fast casual options for burgers and pizzas, both of which serve excellent food. HAL has invested heavily in its Music Walk concept. This ship has BB King's Blues Club, Billboard Onboard (two pianists), and Lincoln Center Stage (classical quintet music). All three provide lots of entertainment with a wide variety of music. They're great. There is also a partnership with America's Test Kitchen that includes cooking demos during the day. As fans of the show, this was a great way to spend some vacation time. The infotainment system in the room includes a pretty extensive library of current movies to watch. Recent releases were also screened in the main theater and then were available for in-room streaming as well. Bottom line: HAL has a great product with a great staff for a relaxing getaway. I'm already looking forward to booking my next cruise with them! Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
Dh and I (mid 40's) and ds (teenager) are seasoned HAL cruisers (all three star). This cruise was a family cruise that included us, our newest addition, a one year old baby girl, and both of our mothers, 6 total. Baby girl is a ... Read More
Dh and I (mid 40's) and ds (teenager) are seasoned HAL cruisers (all three star). This cruise was a family cruise that included us, our newest addition, a one year old baby girl, and both of our mothers, 6 total. Baby girl is a toddler so we had to make some special arrangement for her. My mother in law has some mobility issues, so again some special arrangements. We embarked in Ft Lauderdale on Sunday 2/3/2019. Our itinerary was sea day, Grand Turk, San Juan, St Thomas, sea day, and Half Moon Cay. We stayed at the Embassy Suites ($385 per room a night) in Ft. Lauderdale as we have 3 times before but this will be our last time there. Despite getting there at 1:30pm we were not allowed into our room until 5pm (4pm is check in) and the utter chaos of embarkation morning with the 5 tiny elevators being crammed full constantly and no help for those with mobility issues was too much. We will make other arrangements when cruising out of Ft Lauderdale next year. We used GoShuttle's private van service in Ft Lauderdale for all our transport needs as they were able to accommodate our whole family, all our luggage and they were very good with my mother in law and daughter. Embarkation: Once at Port Everglades at approx 10:50, embarkation was a breeze. We are 3 star Mariners so no special priority boarding but we still only waited until 11:45 to board. Our cabin was ready immediately. Ship: The ship is a great size. The decor is very HAL, more subdued and elegant, which is our speed. We do not care for Joe Farcus' designs as on Carnival and Costa. The layout is also very much like the Vista class. The HAL wrap around wide promenade is a favorite of ours. The retractable lido pool roof is great. We never felt crowded on the ship though the lido could get really busy at lunch. Cabin: We had three deck 4 aft starboard cabins. Ours was 4155. Great cabins. We had the stewards open the balconies up for us which was very nice. The balconies on this deck are deeper and we loved being nearer the ocean. Plenty of storage. Bath is small but has a tub which is nice for the toddler. We requested a Graco Pack n Play for the toddler and it fit next to the couch with plenty of room to spare. We also needed an extension cord for dh's cpap which the steward provided and set up. 2 normal plugs on the desk. 2 usb on the desk and 1 usb near each night stand. The bathroom counter was small but we had room for all our stuff as well as a bottle drying rack for the toddler. Cabin stewards: Great!! They were there when we needed them, took our unlimited laundry everyday, they exceeded our expectations. Food: Lido... good quality, great selection all three meals. The whole roasted suckling pig with crispy skin was a nice meal. The curry and chili crusted lamb chops were even better. High chairs WITH TRAYS available on request though we did have one attendant that had to go ask someone else where they were MDR... food was very good, service was too. We ate 4 dinners and 2 lunches there. Our table stewards were always on the ball. The meal did not feel over long. A highchair with a tray was available as soon as we sat down. The toddler was catered to. Her milk and fruit appetizer was there asap. The kid's menu was very kid friendly. Mac n cheese, chicken nuggets, french fries. For the older, more culinarily advanced kiddo, you can get a half portions of ANY mdr entree for your youngins. We even ordered her a crab cake appetizer because she ate half of mine. Gala night entrees were exceptional. The veal dishes and guinea with gnocchi were stand outs as were the baked crab cakes. Room service... great all around. We did at least continental breakfast with ample string coffee everyday. Write STRONG next to "coffee" if you like it that way and it will be that way. Good stuff. If you want something not on the nightly breakfast door tag, just write it on there. Other room service ordered by our group was great. The stuff from the mdr dinner menu was hot and just as tasty as that served in the mdr. Dive in burgers and dogs.... Mmmm, great burgers and dogs, FANTASTIC french fries. Get the Dive in sauce. Pinnacle Grill.... Good as always. I know some have said they see a change in the meat quality over the years and I don't doubt their observation but my 10 oz filet was almost tender enough to cut with a fork. We paid the $70 supplement for caviar (you only live once) and it was worth it to us. Blini, egg yoke and white, chives, red onion, and shiny brown teeny tasty fish eggs. When mom, mil, and son went they tried the the vegetarian (eggplant and ravioli) options and enjoyed them very much. Tamarind.... this was the best meal of the cruise for us. Service was great as well. As a group, we tried all the soups, all good but the laksa was the favorite. We tried satay sampler, the duck, and the rib appetizers and loved them all though I was partial to the ribs. We had a sushi sampler as well as tempura lobster and dragon roll. Again all were excellent. One of us has the Korean duck breast and the rest the wasabi crusted tenderloin. The tenderloin were perfectly cooked and all but one realy enjoy the crust. The other person just scrapped off some and enjoyed the rest. The duck was tender and good as well. The mushrooms and bok choy as sides were really top notch. So much flavor. Dh and I enjoyed a flask of sake each during our meal which was indeed included in our Elite beverage package. The only miss was the dessert, we all got the Tamarind chocolate at the suggestion of our server but the ginger flavor was too bold for us. It was alright though because we were all so full and we went for ice cream in the lido later that night. Staff/crew in general: Regardless of location, they were great. They loved on our daughter and made our moms feel so welcome. There was one grumpy bartender in the Pinnacle Bar but he made the best drinks on the boat so he is excused. Holland America really does pick the best people. It is their strength. Entertainment: Main Stage:First night was the Super Bowl which was presented minus commercials on the Main Stage complete with waiters taking beverage orders and attendants with trays of yummy game snacks. We saw a bit of one of the shows in the Main Stage but we are not big production people so that was really not a focus. What we did see seemed far more professional than what we have seen on HAL in the past. BB Kings... THIS is the place to be. The BB King All Stars were unreal. Candy Graham, the lady singer, could really bring the house down. The gentleman singer, I didn't catch his name, did a Marvin Gaye medley that was out of this world. 3 sets a night, first 2 were better attended but even the last set had plenty of folks dancing the night away (I am guilty as charged) Billboard Onboard... caught a couple of these sets. The pianists are very talented but I am just not the fan of this style as opposed to the old style single piano man type (think Jimmy Maddox or Stryker). But it was a good time and very very popular. We never made it to the Lincoln Center Stage though we are very much fans of classical music. But with the toddler, not the easiest thing to manage. We did miss having a jazz trio in the Ocean Bar. HAL has had some great jazz musicians there in the past. All in all though there was more than enough great music to keep us completely entertained. Drink package: First time with a drinks package. We did the Elite package as it offered a better wine selection. We were not disappointed. We never reached the 15 alcoholic beverage limit and we did get quite a few non-alcoholic beverages too; coffees, bottled water, milkshakes at the lido bar. It was worth every penny to us. We could upgrade to top shelf liquors in our mixed drinks as well or add a shot of Bailey's, Kahlua or Frangelico in our milkshakes. We also used one of our drink allowances to do a Mixology class which I highly recommend. They never fail to be fun. We did the Quench package for mom's and son. Very good choice. Never had to worry about bottled water or soft drinks plus all the mocktails at any bar and the special coffees at the Crow's Nest were covered too. Spa: First time without the Thermal Suite package. I missed it but knew with the toddler I would not have time for it. I did get an updo for both Gala nights. The stylist did a great job both nights but do go into your appointment with an IDEA of what you want or you risk looking like Tina Turner in Thunder Dome. I always peruse the daily spa specials and wasn't disappointed this time. Mini-facial, full body massage by a very strong/talented masseuse. I got my monies worth. Good experience. Ports: Standard Eastern Caribbean. Grand Turk is no longer a favorite sadly. The port area is too crowded and Margarittaville's DJ started getting vulgar pretty early in the day. We headed back to the ship at noon for lunch. We might try Jack's Shack for longer next time or just stay on the ship. I will say though that the cruise port staff were kind and the complimentary wheel chairs they offer are much appreciated. My mother in law has difficulty with long distances and that pier is a bit of a hike. The lady that helped her was a real sweet lady. We tipped her well. San Juan was very pleasant though very crowded. We got there early thankfully. Mom had never been to the forts (mil had years ago so she stayed on the ship until later) so we walked there and did that. Then we stopped in Old Town for shopping and back to the ship by 4:30pm. It rained all night so no more venturing out. St Thomas was very nice. We got a van cab to downtown. We went to Palm Passage and ate at Amalia Cafe. The food was great. Tapas, olives, gazpacho, sangria, paella, zarzuela.. fresh fish, very very good. I recomend this place. Email them for reservations though. It gets crowded. Half Moon Cay... we had the cabana with butler. It's worth it. The food was excellent and more than we all could eat. Unlimited drinks included is a very nice perk. But even without the cabana, HMC is idyllic. It is the perfect beach day. Disembarkation: Smooth. We were off by 8:45. A porter helped us with luggage and mil wheelchair. He whisked us through customs. We were on our transfer bus by 9:15. The kids: Our son who is a teen met up with some other teens onboard. The teen club is pretty free flowing and stays open on their schedule. He had fun. We also bought him the Quench Package which is unlimited non-alcoholic beverages. He used this very well on coffees and mocktails. We will buy it again. Our 1 year old daughter was too young for any shipboard activities but she was catered too and loved on by the crew and even many of the passengers. She was the "Rock Star" and we were merely her staff. I think the whole crew greeted her by name by the time we disembarked. She was very spoiled. Of note, FLL airport is a pit. I am sorry for those that like the airport. It is the worst international airport I have been in and I have been in some bad ones. It has been horrible for years but now it is intolerable. It is a quarter the size it needs to be to comfortably handle the number of travelers that move through it several days every week all fall and winter long. We will never go through FLL again. The staff are rude, the help for those with mobility issues is nil, the seating and food options are completely inadequate. We will fly into MCO (Orlando, a great airport with tons of options and cheaper flights), rent a car, and stay at a less expensive hotel north of Ft Lauderdale, do our pre-cruise shopping in comfort, and drop off the car embarkation day and take an Avis/Budget shuttle to the port. We will do the reverse when we disembark. In summary, everything HAL this trip was great. FLL airport, Embassy Suites, and Grand Turk were the only downers and things we will change in the future. We are already booked on Nieuw Amsterdam for next year we enjoyed the ship that much! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
My sister and I chose this cruise because it was a themed girlfriend getaway cruise with O Magazine and Oprah, so we knew it was going to be amazing! I have consistently found with HAL that something extraordinary happens when I cruise ... Read More
My sister and I chose this cruise because it was a themed girlfriend getaway cruise with O Magazine and Oprah, so we knew it was going to be amazing! I have consistently found with HAL that something extraordinary happens when I cruise this line! This cruise was no different. First of all embarkation, we arrived at 1030 AM and were onboard by 11:45. Our cabin was not ready, but I was able to put my carry on bag in my cabin and we were off to have lunch and explore the ship! The ship is beautiful, with artwork all over that seemed to grab our attention and made us stop and think! I just loved the layout of the ship with many relaxing comfortable chairs to lounge around in. The only complaint I would have was the walking deck on the lower floor, the views were blocked by the lifeboats. However, the very top of the ship has a great jogging deck with unobstructed views. The crew were friendly and very welcoming! The food was delicious! We really enjoyed sitting outside near the pool and had some great pizza and salads! The entertainment was astounding. The world stage was incredible! I loved the Humanity show! Then there was all the fantastic O magazine specific presentations and workshops, all incredible! The highlights for me was the Supersoul Sunday presentation with Oprah and Tara Westover! What an unforgettable and inspiring thing to watch! Then there was the Conversation with Oprah! She is such an inspiration and I will be forever grateful I got to experience such a beautiful moment listening to Oprah with my sister! We also got to speak with Adam Glassman and he was very kind and personable! Then there was Gayle King who was everywhere, and was kind of to take hundreds of selfies with adoring fans! We saw her everywhere! The President of HAL, Orlando Ashford was out helping guests and getting the feedback on their experience on the ship! There was so many "WOW!" moments! Also, every night my sister and I couldn't wait to see what gift we were going to be given by the O magazine staff! Thank you to Jayne Jamison and her staff for being so thoughtful! We loved the little gifts and were very grateful for them all! Half Moon Caye was just beautiful! The tendering process went well. We found a nice lounger under a tree near the "I wish I could stay here forever bar" and went off to join the incredible meditation on the beach with Tracee Stanley. The beach BBQ was so good! I ate a delicious fish taco and a cheeseburger right there on the beach looking out at the pretty blue water and started humming a Jimmy Buffet song, Cheeseburger in paradise! So much fun! After that, we went for a swim, relaxed on the beach and hurried back to the ship! We didn't want to miss a thing! Our last night we got to run around the ship in PJs! It was like participating in the biggest girl slumber party ever! HAL is my favorite cruise line because they really fulfill their mission statement consistently. "Through excellence we create once-in-a-lifetime experiences, every time." I completely agree and can't wait to see what the next HAL cruise has in store for me! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
We sailed on a 7 day Caribbean cruise stopping at Naassau, San Juan, St. Thomas and Half Moon Cay. As seasoned Holland America cruisers, and having sailed on the Statendam in 1996, we wanted the larger ship experience. Being used to the ... Read More
We sailed on a 7 day Caribbean cruise stopping at Naassau, San Juan, St. Thomas and Half Moon Cay. As seasoned Holland America cruisers, and having sailed on the Statendam in 1996, we wanted the larger ship experience. Being used to the small ships, you hardly knew that there were 2,600 guests on board. The NS is a beauty. The art is music themed and quite interesting. Weather was great and she seemed to sail effortlessly through the water with not much movement. The Lincoln Center has soothing classical type music as scheduled times. Close by is the the B.B. King Blues Band as well as the Rolling Stone Rock Room and Billboard where a husband and wife played dueling pianos.while alternating with the Rolling Stones Rock band. The dining room is beautiful. Most of our meals were taken in the Club Orange, a new restaurant for guests in Neptune categories. Guests may also join by paying a daily up charge to enjoy the amenities. No reservations were needed and the food was always tasty and above average. The new Lido Market is a treat as the food is set into various stations. Seating can be better arranged as the chairs do not slide easily on the carpet and the tables are very close together. Venues at the pool feature burgers and a New York Deli featuring fresh made deli sandwiches and pizza. There are 2 decks overlooking the pool and large screen for movie/TV/game viewing Lounge "sofas" line the areas complete with piped in sound. Embarkation was a bit confusing but very quick. Disembarkation was disorganized as the power was lost in the arrival hall and there were problems getting the gangway seated properly. We chose the $99. internet which allowed one connection at a time. This was a change from our previous Maasdam cruise where the internet was limited. Service was good even while we were at sea. We were permitted t bring 2 bottles of wine onboard. We chose the $141. - 4 wine bottle package and could take our wine back to the cabin to enjoy. We opted for the Neptune Suite cabin #5223 located in the aft corner of the ship on the starboard side with the wrap around balcony and it didn't disappoint. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
This was my 6th cruise on Holland America. I am completely satisfied. I drove from Sarasota to Ft. Lauderdale and parked in the garage across from the terminal ($105.00) for the week. Embarkation and disembarkation were very smooth, ... Read More
This was my 6th cruise on Holland America. I am completely satisfied. I drove from Sarasota to Ft. Lauderdale and parked in the garage across from the terminal ($105.00) for the week. Embarkation and disembarkation were very smooth, best in all my visits. I splurged and got a Neptune Suite. It was located in the aft of the ship, and had the most wonderful wrap-around balcony (Suite 5091) Huge. The suite was very comfortable and clean. My steward (Andy) was so kind and helpful. I tipped him at the beginning, in the middle and at the end of the cruise and he was so grateful. (just a suggestion). I was with a group of retired gentlemen and we had the most wonderful time. Holland America made rooms available for us, in which to hold our meetings. Although on a ship with many people, it's hard to please everyone. Most of the meals in the dining room were good. Some hits and missed (prime rib - terrible, Surf & Turf wonderful). The dining room stewards were very attentive and helpful with suggestions as what to order. (tip them as well - please) Most mornings I had breakfast in my room, preferring to lounge in my bathroom and slippers. The breakfast was always served as ordered at the exact time. Occasionally I would go to the Lido, but too much hustle and bustle for me. Large selection of food items though. I did not attend any of the entertainment. The only thing I was disappointed in was Exec Tours. I took 3 tours, and way too much time was spent in souvenir and gifts shops and less on actual tours. In the future, I will book tours separately. Holland America seems to have gone out of their way to please customers. All the staff were very helpful with smiling faces and kindness. It has much improved from past years. This was one of the most enjoyable cruises that I have ever taken. Would like to go to Cuba next year, if only the prices for the Neptune Suite weren't so high on that particular cruise. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
This was our second Cruise on HAL and our fourth cruise in the last ten months, so we have other recent cruises to compare too. Getting on board went quickly and we were not hounded by staff selling Dining, drink packages etc. as we have ... Read More
This was our second Cruise on HAL and our fourth cruise in the last ten months, so we have other recent cruises to compare too. Getting on board went quickly and we were not hounded by staff selling Dining, drink packages etc. as we have seen previously on other cruises. Our room was ready by 1pm and our luggage arrived shortly thereafter. Our stateroom 4154 was very nice and had plenty of room. Our luggage fit under the bed at the top and there were two large drawers at the bottom of the bed, (very nice) Three large closets to handle all our clothing. Did not need a electrical adapter for USB cord. Each side of the bed had a USB port and several electrical plugs on the desk. Bathroom and balcony were a very nice size. The TV was pretty large and included FREE movies and tv shows. We enjoyed all eateries the Lido, Pizza window, Hamburger window. Afternoon Tea and was overly surprised with the food quality in the MDR dining room. Surf and Turf night was two thumbs up, serving filet mignon. Shows were very good. Areas lacking were activities at sea. (to much Trivia) need areas allowing dancing, Karaoke or shows like Quest. Micro soft classes were nice. Our ship had an older crowd, and many had a lot of cruises on Holland America. Disembarkation was a breeze. Off the ship and waiting for our flight in less then a hour. Overall, we were Quite Impressed! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
We won this cruise, loving all about her, friendly service, delicious food, our second trip on Holland America this year. Ship rides silently and smoothly, all you may hear is the ocean against the ship out on the balcony. Cabin ... Read More
We won this cruise, loving all about her, friendly service, delicious food, our second trip on Holland America this year. Ship rides silently and smoothly, all you may hear is the ocean against the ship out on the balcony. Cabin stewards perfect attentive and only around when you want them, our room was always fresh and ready (putting the door sign out is helpful) Dining room staff and food were great, we have early dining and much of the week were were the only people at the table, the dining room seemed to have many empty seats, the lido offers the same food however we like to share stories with our shipboard mates. The entertainment was great eye candy, however there is now live orchestra in the technological spectacular room surrounding vision. Plenty of room to sit, if you get there 30 minutes pre show, it does fill up. Improvements Captain should do his audio report at noon or predict in the newsletter when the report shall be made, some don't listen to the report but I like to hear the daily condition of the ship and forecast of today's weather. Cruise director should consider a morning or evening shipboard TV show Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
We sailed the HAL Koningsdam on 12/28/18 for 7 nights on the Eastern Caribbean cruise and it was so refreshing, relaxing and enjoyable. We generally sail with Celebrity (have been on 7 Celebrity cruises in the last 3 years). We were on a ... Read More
We sailed the HAL Koningsdam on 12/28/18 for 7 nights on the Eastern Caribbean cruise and it was so refreshing, relaxing and enjoyable. We generally sail with Celebrity (have been on 7 Celebrity cruises in the last 3 years). We were on a wait list for the Celebrity Eclipse and Reflection but I wasn't feeling the possibility of getting on either of these ships very good so we branched out and booked a Neptune Suite on the Koningsdam. IT WAS A HEAVENLY ROOM, to say the least! Huge King size or larger bed, nice seating area, bar, balcony, large port window in the front of the ship, wonderful bathroom with jetted tub and shower, double vanity sinks and I could go on and on. We had 2 stateroom attendants that were top notch and we ate every breakfast and nightly meal in the Club Orange. It is a restaurant only for Neptune Suite holders (and above). It was a restaurant on the way to the larger dining room, which we only experienced once since the Club Orange isn't open for lunch everyday. The Club Orange is something new for HAL and it is only being utilized on the 2 new Pinnacle Class ships, the Koningsdam and the Nieuw Statendam. The food in Club Orange is wonderful, they cater to your every whim and wish. They have the normal dining menu with additional entrees added on for more selection. If you choose the additional entrees they are cooked right before your eyes in the Club Orange restaurant. Wonderful chef, hostess, manager and servers is all I can add. They leave absolutely nothing to be desired.The sommelier in Club Orange was wonderful. Celebrity YOU HAVE LOST A COUPLE OF CUSTOMERS BECAUSE THE KONINGSDAM PUT YOU TO SHAME! Entertainment was wonderful. Their theater is small so go early or you might not get a seat. We loved every show, some were over the top! Love the Piano bars and the orchestra as well.The CHOCOLATE NIGHT IS SUPERB ALSO! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
This was my very first cruise. Embarkation in Fort Lauderdale took much longer than I expected. Other passengers in line commented that it was taking longer than they had experienced before. Disembarkation was pretty smooth. But once ... Read More
This was my very first cruise. Embarkation in Fort Lauderdale took much longer than I expected. Other passengers in line commented that it was taking longer than they had experienced before. Disembarkation was pretty smooth. But once we were on board, it was smooth sailing! I LOVED this ship and this cruise! Entertainment: The newly added Rolling Stone Rock Room was hands down my favorite evening entertainment on the ship, in fact a highlight of the cruise as a whole! Relaxed environment, incredibly talented musicians in the Rock Room Band, and a diverse audience dancing and enjoying the shows. I was also very impressed with the BB King All Stars performances. Having those solid options to enjoy almost every night was great. The Billboard Pianos were not my cup of tea, but I saw others enjoying it regularly. The Crow's Nest was also a favorite hang-out spot for me - wish the coffee shop in there was open earlier, but it was a good place to play cribbage or other games available, or just watch the scenery on a comfy chair in a spacious area with a modern, peaceful vibe. Dining: I have only one minor complaint about the main dining room. One time we were seated with strangers without being asked our preference on that - our tablemates also weren't asked their preference, and the couple was surprised to have us join them when they were celebrating a momentous birthday! We all made the most of it and made friends -- but if it is important to you to dine alone I'd recommend specifying that if it's unclear. Otherwise our MDR experience was excellent throughout. We tried one specialty restaurant, Tamarind, which was very good. Get reservations right away, there were only a couple slots open when we called on I think night 3. Excursions: We did 3 excursions booked through HAL. The process was very easy. The prices were reasonable. Each tour had its hits and misses. The one I would definitely recommend is the Panoramic City Tour in Amber Cove (Puerto Plata, Dominican Rebpublic). Definitely do a tour that gets you out of the cruise ship center at that port - the cruise ship center is beautiful, but it is very insulated from the city and actual culture. Detailed cabin comments are below - loved the Sun Deck verandah room 11031. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
This was a family Christmas Vacation Cruise sponsored by my Mother, Step Father, Sister and my 13 year old Daughter. Words can't describe the entire experience from the moment our Taxi dropped us off at the Port Everglades to our ... Read More
This was a family Christmas Vacation Cruise sponsored by my Mother, Step Father, Sister and my 13 year old Daughter. Words can't describe the entire experience from the moment our Taxi dropped us off at the Port Everglades to our ten minute total check in time!! The ship looked perfect size from outside. AS soon as we got off elevator our Steward walked us to our room, his name was Amin and his partner was Ray Ban! The cabin had a balcony and plenty of storage!!! The space on balcony was perfect! Bedding was so very comfortable! The Dining was varied and perfect everwhere...our Dining Room Steward was YanMar and he walked us to our table each night and pushed the wheel chair for us!! Activity room for teens was active and safe! Service was friendly and prompt at ALL times!! We took tender to Grand Caymen..loved the public beach. Did Dolphin Swim at Ochos Rios.....Beach Park at Cozumel and Beach at Moon Cay. My favorite was water temperature and clarity of water at Grand Cayman Seven Mile Beach. My least favorite was the taxi ride rip offs to the beaches in Cozmel which were very rocky! Cozmel seemed like a hustle...all other desitinations were more relaxed Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
I had never been on a cruise before so sailing on a brand new ship probably has set me up for a bit of disappointment for future cruises, but I was very, very impressed to say the least. The embarkation process was quick and uneventful ... Read More
I had never been on a cruise before so sailing on a brand new ship probably has set me up for a bit of disappointment for future cruises, but I was very, very impressed to say the least. The embarkation process was quick and uneventful as I was onboard and in the cabin by 1230. As I proceeded to the cabin I found the ship absolutely pristine in cleanliness as was the cabin. Ample closet space, very comfortable bedding and a great veranda. The cabin stewards quickly introduced themselves and were more than just friendly, seriously. During the next 7 days I found the food in all venues in which I ate, Lido Market, Main Dining Room, Pinnacle Grill and Rudis Sel de Mar beyond reproach. I was very, very impressed and happy with the offerings and service in the latter two. Even the Lido Market provided excellent variety and service. I never felt rushed in any sense and was extremely happy with the cleanliness in all the food prep and serving areas. Fantastic all the way around. I took this cruise alone mainly as an escape from family issues over a difficult Christmas season and was quite happy I did. I availed myself of the Greenhouse Spa even buying the 7 day Therapy Suite pass, no regrets. I also had a few special treatments within the spa and all were beyond expectations. The only caveat on that end was the somewhat persistent up selling of their products but I knew that was coming anyway. The spa itself was extremely well laid out and provided exactly what I needed and wanted, a little pampering in quiet and a subdued environment. The teacher gym was complete in every way. Again all these facilities were spotless throughout the cruise. Although I only went to 2 shows in the Theater they were quite well done and the seating arrangement along with an incredible set of LED screens were fantastic. I found the two pool areas quite comfortable with attentaive service although there were fair number of children which is of course expected over the holidays. I wasn’t that interested in the parts of call as I have traveled throughout the Caribbean for 40 years working for an airline. And again that wasn’t the point for me at any rate. I do think there was a grand mix up of sorts in Half Moon Cay as both this ship and the Nieuw Konigsdam were there at the same time. The wait times for tenders to and from were rather long I heard. Overall I was extremely impressed with the service, facilities and cleanliness of the ship. As stated I’ve been working for an airline for 40 years and Holland America puts us to shame for their service. I would highly recommend this ship and this cruise line to anyone who, like me, is new at cruising. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
We enjoyed a 14 day Caribbean cruise (it turned out to be 2, 7-day back to backs) from Ft. Lauderdale for the Christmas and New Years holidays. Overall, an excellent experience. This was our 13th cruise since we started sailing 8 years ... Read More
We enjoyed a 14 day Caribbean cruise (it turned out to be 2, 7-day back to backs) from Ft. Lauderdale for the Christmas and New Years holidays. Overall, an excellent experience. This was our 13th cruise since we started sailing 8 years ago. We've taken cruises on Carnival (5), Princess (2) and Celebrity (5) in that progression. Our last 5 cruises have been on Celebrity (typically Aqua class which is nice). We thought Celebrity was very good (but with declining conditions on their Solstice Class ships) and had heard good things about Holland. We were worried that the demographics may be a too old for us (our average age is 55 and we're very active). Since this was a holiday cruise, there was a mix of ages and we had no concerns about demographics. We saw very few motorized scooters and certainly no more than on other ships. We booked a 21 day Baltic cruise on the same ship for this summer. The Nieuw Statendam is a beautiful ship - not only because of it's new but also the quality of materials and the thoughtfulness in design. The Veranda staterooms, while a bit smaller than the Aqua Class on the Solstice ships, are very efficient with more storage and the bathroom ergonomics more than make up for the slightly smaller footprint. The public spaces are very attractive and exude a warm feeling - not a cold, austere, "heavy on the chrome" design that we've experienced on some other cruise lines. Lots of interesting, original (and nice) artwork. The staff was courteous and the cruise director, Ross, was excellent. The captain made one, and sometimes two, announcements each day with details on our progress, weather conditions, etc. very informative. Once again, even better than we've experienced on Celebrity, which we thought was quite good. The ship is active in the evening with the "Music Walk" on deck 2 hosting "Billboard 100" (two accompanying, singing pianists - good fun), Lincoln Center Stage (a classical quintet with 3, 40 minute offerings that vary daily - not to be missed), BB King Blues after 9 PM and the "Rolling Stone Rock Room" from 8 PM onward. The World Theater hosts very accomplished dancers with a visual arts presentation beyond that on other ships. We usually retire about 10:30 each evening - but there is much more to these venues later on. A note - because of this would not recommend booking a room directly above these venues. We were on deck 6 mid-ship and it was very quiet :) The food in both the Lido (9th deck) and Main Dining Room (decks 2 and 3) is good. We did not try the specialty restaurants. The Lido is by far the most attractive and well appointed "buffet" area that we've experienced and we like that the staff serves the portions onto our plates. The coffee is a bit strong for me, but hey! Since we've had several Caribbean cruises we did not disembark at each port. San Juan was good - the "Old Town" and the 16th century Spanish fort "El Morro". Charlotte Amalie did not offer much beyond the usual jewelry shops. Half Moon Cay (a private island in the Bahamas) has a beautiful beach with an extensive barbecue served by the ships crew. We had an Everglades tour (coupled with bus service to the airport) that was quite convenient. The alligators swim up close to the air boats and not to be missed (keep your hands in the boat). The gymnasium is smaller and less inviting than we're used to on the Celebrity Solstice ships, but adequately equipped for a good one hour session. Read Less
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