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Sail Date: February 2010
We recently completed a 7 night eastern Caribbean cruise on the Eurodam. A few thoughts at the outset... 1) We think we are fair and balanced reviewers. If something has gone well, we are the first to acknowledge it. Conversely, if ... Read More
We recently completed a 7 night eastern Caribbean cruise on the Eurodam. A few thoughts at the outset... 1) We think we are fair and balanced reviewers. If something has gone well, we are the first to acknowledge it. Conversely, if something is bad, in all fairness to others who have posted reviews that we found helpful, we feel it's out duty to be as honest and objective as we can be in our posting. So, going forward, this is our second Holland Cruise. We had previously sailed on the Zuiderdam and were very excited at the thought of a "new" ship. Very quickly after a short walk around the deck, if there were many "upgrades" or improvements, we failed to see them. The ship looked 98% the same as the older Zuiderdam. And while some of the design details in the more public areas are nice, much of the artwork and furniture details in the hallways leading to the cabins and lesser traveled areas looks cheaply created and mounted. My partner is a designer by career and was a little shocked at how bad many of the areas were designed. Much less attractive than the Zuiderdam. Cabins We chose a deluxe veranda (cabin 6141). The cabin felt small and claustrophobic. Whatever the design and configuration, it felt much much smaller and closed in than our last cabin on the Zuiderdam. There is a needless small sofa that takes up way too much valuable space. The TV is awkwardly placed at an angle in the corner...a little difficult to comfortably see from the bed. The linens and bedspread were average quality and design. Nothing great or terribly bad. The lightning is TERRIBLE. There are no good lights by the head of the bed and even the Cruise Director frequently joked about "not being able to figure out how to turn the lights on and off". Let us be clear...you don't' need to spend a fortune to look attractive, just make some smart choices. They did not do that in the design choices for the cabins. They "read" Holiday Inn in Columbus Ohio, not luxury cabin. (nothing personal against Columbus, I'm sure you're a nice city). The veranda was a nice size with two comfortable chairs, perfect for sitting and relaxing with a good book. Our room steward Armand was one of the best staff members on the ship. We can't say enough good things about him. Embarkation Very smooth. No wait. It only took 10 minutes at most from entering the line to going onto the ship. The staff were very very professional and knowledgeable. Everyone along the way was helpful and pleasant. They should be proud of their staff. They do a great job. Food There's good news and bad news. The good news - the speciality restaurants were very very good, especially the Tamarind. I can honestly say that it was one of the best Pan-Asian meals Ive ever had. We lived in NYC for many many years and that restaurant could easily hold it own with some of the best in NYC. Truly a great meal in a beautiful setting. The Pinnacle Grill was a good choice. The food was solid, the service B+ and the desserts very very good. Nice atmosphere. The Holland line should be embarrassed about the Lido. The theme seems to be.....if the food is really really bad, must make alot of it. In the end, all you get is alot of really really bad food. Quantity will never replace quality. There were only a few items we would even attempt. I've had meals in college cafeterias that were better. Room service was pretty awful. They did a great job in taking the order and getting it to the room on time, it just was pretty bad, re-heated food. Only if you're starving would I suggest using room service. Typically, we used it for morning coffee before breakfast. The main dining room was solid and predictable. The waiters were very helpful and available...again, I think Holland can be very proud of their staff. A+ for the Tamarind, A- for the Pinnacle Grill, B- for the Main dining room and D- for the Lido and room service (the staff keep them from a solid "F") Entertainment We really really enjoyed the magician. It was as good as the top shows in Las Vegas, less production but amazing feats. We loved it. The Broadway shows were a solid college level production and entertaining. The comedian was ok. Fellow passengers We were truly shocked at the average age. I'm not anti-age but would have liked a few passengers our age (38 and 50). The ship was almost exclusively over 70. Many walkers in the dining room and several oxygen tanks. At one point, it truly felt like the pool in a nursing home. We met some great people but would have liked some people our age. Excursions We signed up for the Power Snorkeling at Turks. I have to respect Holland for their decision to cancel the trip. The weather was "iffy" and rather than have people pay for a sub-optimal experience, the cancelled. Many other cruise lines might have opted for the money. Much too much emphasis on shopping on the ports, little talk of the amazing beaches in St Thomas. Megan's Bay is one of the most beautiful beaches in the world and we only knew about it from fellow passengers. Half Moon Cay Really one of the most beautiful beaches we have ever been on. Just sit back, drink in the electric blue water and enjoy. My absolute favorite part of the trip. The tenders fill up very quickly so go before 8 or after 10. There can be long long lines. Overall We were disappointed with the cruise. The suboptimal cabin, the mediocre food and heavy pushing of shopping were not what we were hoping for. We envisioned a luxury cruise stopping at beautiful ports. The ports were lovely but the ship was much less than we hoped for. It is IMPOSSIBLE to get deck chair by the pool on days at sea. The problems with Holland had very little to do with how the cruise line spent their money and everything to do with how they organized some of the areas for their attention. I was originally a fan of Holland but doubt we would ever cruise with them again. I'm sorry we didn't go with the original thought of Celebrity or Princess. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2015
We have cruised before on Princess and Norwegian but they are not comparable to this ship and hopefully this cruise line and I plan on using Holland America again. Suits us, we are 64 years old and this is the demographic for many of the ... Read More
We have cruised before on Princess and Norwegian but they are not comparable to this ship and hopefully this cruise line and I plan on using Holland America again. Suits us, we are 64 years old and this is the demographic for many of the passengers. I saw very few children. Loved the ports except for San Juan. We planned on just grabbing the trolley and seeing the forts. OMG, nothing moves quickly and sometimes, not at all in San Juan traffic. Will book a tour next time. Loved Turks and Caicos as well as St Thomas. Half Moon Cay was remarkable. Embarkation was slow. Lots of time in line but everybody friendly. Disembarkation was faster except upper decks had trouble getting elevator. Meals were usually very good. We had any time dining and would usually get there at 6:30 and ask for any table. Only ran into one couple who were rather "cold". Otherwise enjoyed all the people we met. Service in the dining room was the best of our all our cruises. You were seated and almost immediately orders were taken. I found no hard sell on wine or drinks. We were asked once and that was it. Meals were beautifully presented and in small portions which suits me. If you want more, order it but I never went away hungry or overstuffed, just content. Meals were served at appropriate temperature. Service For our cabin was excellent. Steward soon knows want you want...lots of ice as we had a bar set up. Enchanting towel creations to amuse you. Again it was best of our cruises. Entertainment was remarkable. The only thing I did not care for was the first production by the ship's entertainers called "Ever After". This would be better suited to Carnival or Norwegian. For a younger demographic. Most of the passengers are older and this is just not appealing to our tastes. Now Island Magic! OMG they were wonderful as well as the BB King show and I loved the Piano Man. Spent at least an hour there almost every night for a nightcap, music and a few laughs! Will definitely cruise the Eurodam any change we get and will use Holland America if a choice is involved. Like many people we book based on itinerary. Would do this itinerary again for the Eastern Caribbean.   Read Less
Sail Date: December 2014
I am a single professional in my 40's what went to cruise for a conference that was on this ship. Who knew it had to be the Dances of the Stars cruise. So my fellow cruisers of almost 2000 people were mostly seniors. Average age ... Read More
I am a single professional in my 40's what went to cruise for a conference that was on this ship. Who knew it had to be the Dances of the Stars cruise. So my fellow cruisers of almost 2000 people were mostly seniors. Average age about 70s- and couples. Nice people but ..older. So I tried to stay open minded and went with the flow. I had done a 3 day cruise to Ensenada before and that ship moved too much so I thought this was a perfect opportunity to give it another chance. First day, did ok and we went to Half Moon Cay Bahamas. This island was amazing! Beautiful and peaceful and isolated b/c it was owned by Holland America. Really enjoyed it. Our second stop was St Thomas which was also nice. I took the tour around the island and enjoyed that as well. I'm not much of a shopper but there was plenty of opportunities here for that. Our third stop was San Juan Puerto Rico. I was really looking to this stop , but we had 4 HOURS total in port. I was infuriated! I later heard it was because it's an expensive port to stop in. And finally we went to Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos. Once again disappointed the island was the smallest and least interesting island in the Caicos. I attempted to take a tour around the island but it was terrible. So ghetto.. Honestly just stay in Margaritaville. We couldn't snorkel b/c the water was too choppy. And on that choppy water segway.. if you're not a "cruiser" you'll be sick on this ship. Even though it was big it was STILL moving. My dramamine didn't cut it. So when we got to land I ran off the boat! Never again.. The food was also plentiful but NOT good. I really wanted to think it was going to taste as good as it looked but NOPE. Even the sit down dining in the evenings was very subpar. The alcohol is over-priced. But you can bring 2 bottles on your own so I highly recommend you do that. The only good meal were the burgers at the grill. I'm sure this was the case when Carnival bought out Holland America. Quality is not a concern. The service was ok. Most of the staff was from Malaysia and Bali. English was so -so . They never refilled our coffee cups. Asked us if we needed anything. Just cleaned up after us. The bare minimum. And something I didn't know they charge you tips daily on your bill. So don't worry about extra tipping unless you feel they deserve it. And the shows were meh... The dances with the stars was so conceited they forgot the reason they are famous is their fans. But I'm not a fan so I didn't care.. lol So never again for me.. I heard Celebrity is better so may try that. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2014
The ship is a bit dark and the bedrooms rather small.we had a balcony which the door was very heavy and we could hardly open it. First week was fine weather great fairly quiet on board. Saturday visit to Half Moon Cay cancelled due to high ... Read More
The ship is a bit dark and the bedrooms rather small.we had a balcony which the door was very heavy and we could hardly open it. First week was fine weather great fairly quiet on board. Saturday visit to Half Moon Cay cancelled due to high winds. Sunday back in Fort Lauderdale usual carry on with immigration as we were staying on board for another week. Thanksgiving and hundreds of kids for the second week ruined things. kids took over pool and hot tubs. Very high winds for this week Half Moon Cay and Grand Cayman cancelled. Food in the lido at night very dried up ready for the bin. Hard pushed to get a seat for breakfast what a carry on. Harassed every morning with spa folk as we had to pass them to go to the lido. Would not travel again with Holland America poor credit given for 3 stops due to the weather. Restaurant food ok some nights poor choice. Wi-fi poor connection. Not a good cruise all round. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2014
This was my 3rd cruise with HAL and to me the 2 other ships had higher standards ( Ryndam & Zuiderdam) Although the service was excellent, it did not seem personal as if they didn't like their jobs. Except for housekeeping ... Read More
This was my 3rd cruise with HAL and to me the 2 other ships had higher standards ( Ryndam & Zuiderdam) Although the service was excellent, it did not seem personal as if they didn't like their jobs. Except for housekeeping attendants ( Reindra & Wayan) They were always happy, joking around and fun. They worked their butts off too! Making sure everything was great for us. Their attitude earned them extra tip money from us. Age group was younger then first 2 cruises Entertainment was alright. They could have stepped it up. Sorry but the Hal Cats singing by the pool were not the best. Comedian was great, he had everyone laughing Food.....overall good. Heard lots of people saying portions were too small in dining room. If we saw something on the menu that we liked we asked that it be doubled up, no problem. Dress code was acknowledge by everyone as far as I could tell on formal nights. But no tuxes Room service was another story. We never did get what we ordered, but it was close! (This was for the actual menu items) And I read comments that if it wasn't on the menu you could write it down and get it. That never happened. In the Lido it was tough sometimes to get a table. Good thing there were 3 of us so 1 person could hunt something down and save the table while the other 2 went for food. The food here was fairly good except for the pizza and spaghetti, not so much. We had gone down for a late night snack about 9:45 as in the program the Lido was supposed to be open until 10:30 pm for this. It was right closed down Cabin SY6087 was very good, lots of room. Huge bathroom plenty of room for the 3 of us on the veranda. Bed was oh so comfy. Sofa bed for our adult son was kind of small for him. The lighting was very dim, needs to be upgraded Time in ports was way to short, that may be something to check on a persons itinerary when picking a ship. There was (for us) only enough time to do 1 thing. It was either beach or shopping, not both. I would recommend Mullet Bay on St Maartens. It was about a 25 minute ride from port and only cost $27 + tip, great deal. 3 Lounge chairs and 2 umbrellas for $24 and the best was the beer only $2.50 a bottle. Bar b q was smelling pretty good but we didn't get any food. Water was clear with some bigger waves coming in. Beautiful white sand. We really didn't find any good snorkeling in the Carib at the beaches we were at which were Pillory (Grand Turks) Mullet Bay Ship could not go to Half Moon Cay due to winds and that was disappointing. But hey can't control the weather. Although there were lots of unhappy cruisers because of this. The Captain does his best, the line looses money but people act like the Captain was just to lazy to try and other comments Anyways after all is said and done, it will be some time before we cruise again. I think we all prefer to pick a spot and plant ourselves. But cruising does give us the opportunity to get a taste of an island and decide if that's the place for us   Read Less
Sail Date: January 2014
The charter I give 5 stars, the ship 3 stars. It was a wonderful week on the Legendary Rhythm and Blues Cruise! Review Nieuw Amsterdam Jan 19-26/14 Blues Cruise It was a gorgeous day to embark on our 4th Legendary Rhythm & Blues ... Read More
The charter I give 5 stars, the ship 3 stars. It was a wonderful week on the Legendary Rhythm and Blues Cruise! Review Nieuw Amsterdam Jan 19-26/14 Blues Cruise It was a gorgeous day to embark on our 4th Legendary Rhythm & Blues cruise. The party starts at the embarkation area at the pier – lots of talking and laughing and everyone is geared up to go on board! When we boarded, the crews were working hard getting the stage set up at the pool deck and pulling our several rows of chairs at the Showroom in order to put down the huge dance floor. The extras bars were being set up on the pool deck and showroom. Prep was soon underway to get the sail away BBQ started. Within a few hours the ship was transformed to party boat central! Some of the lineup this year: Taj Mahal, Kenny Wayne Sheppard, Curtis Salgado, Chris Cain, Debbie Davis, Otis Clay, Sista Monica Parker, Marquis Knox, Trampled Under Foot, Tommy Castro and the Painkillers, Southern Hospitality with JP Soars, Victor Wainwright and Damon Fowler. Denise LaSalle, Super Chikan, John Hammond, Ana Popovic and her big band, Eden Brent, Paddy Milner and Marcus Bonfanti, Tab Benoit, Lil Ed and the Blues Imperials, Theodis Ealey, Corey Ledet Zydeco, Selwyn Birchwood, James Hunter Six just to name a few. A stellar line up! Right after the rowdy and raucous life boat drill we all headed up to the pool deck for the sail away party with the supremely talented Curtis Salgado. The bar staff (and any other member of the serving staff from all venues) were working flat out serving drinks. It was like a giant house party! There are a huge number of repeat offenders (70%? more?) and the rest were virgins  A good number of the staff and crew were repeat offenders and some had requested specifically to be working for this cruise. It seems we have a bit of a reputation as a fun and crazy bunch with the staff and crew. 48 hour rule: didn’t exist on this cruise. The sail away BBQ had self-serve food. Salt and pepper grinders were in the cafeteria from day one. No noro on this cruise thank goodness. We are a pretty healthy bunch overall, I only heard of a couple of folks with head colds after the cruise. The ports: St. Martin, with an excursion to Anguilla. 330 of us went by chartered ferry to Anguilla to Bankie Banx Preserve. The fabulous IBC winners Marquis Knox (2012) and Selwyn Birchwood (2013) played while we enjoyed the sun, sand and sea on this idyllic little Caribbean island. St. Thomas, Mitch Woods was playing at a small place not far from the docks, but we wanted a beach day. We went to the Ritz-Carlton Resort and hung out on the beach, had lunch and yummy cocktails. Grand Turk – Lil Ed and the Blues Imperials were set up at Margeritaville, steps from the ship. The beach isn’t great there, but the party with Lil Ed was great! We donned our fezzes and danced to the music. I don’t think the folks from the Carnival ship knew what hit them there. They thought they were the fun ship! They have nothin’ on us blues cruisers! The ship: cleaner than last year, but could be better. The seriously stained carpets had been cleaned or replaced by the aft lido area. The stairs could still do with a good going over with the vacuum. I still don’t think they have enough crew to do the routine stuff around the ship. The public washrooms, oh dear. Not good. So many washrooms were out of service at any given time. At one point, every woman’s washroom on the Lido deck was out of service. Every one. Upon checking out every washroom, finding them all out of service, there was another woman who made the same rounds. I told her we could hightail it down to my cabin on deck 8 and use the loo. So we sprinted down to my cabin. What a fun way to meet someone! We had a good laugh . But the issue with the public washrooms being out of service happened everywhere on the ship. From the loos by the Tamarind to the loos by the showroom. The stalls had to be checked every time to see if it was usable. Some never seemed to get fixed the whole week. The loungers by the Lido pool had been switched from the brown woven resin loungers to the metal/mesh loungers. They relocated the resin loungers to the forward upper deck. They looked really ratty. Since the pool deck is taken over with the stage and there is only chairs to sit on, it makes sense that the loungers were moved to the lido pool. Some of the furniture is looking very tired and dirty. The worst were the white leather chairs in the crow’s nest. They need a good clean and some need repairing. Other couches and chairs need a good clean. Lots of stains on the soft furnishings. The cabin: we were in 8157, same as last year. This year no plumbing issues – yay! Again, the carpets and soft furnishings are stained and worn looking. Time for some deep cleaning or replacements. Our cabin stewards, Made and Ketut worked their butts off this week. My friend and I gave them extra work to do one day  It involved Bloody Caesars on a wobbly tray. Don’t ask. Suffice to say, we tipped Made and Ketut quite a bit extra (each of us) for the mess. They thought it was funny! Canadians losing bloody Caesars is tragic! ;) Crew and staff: everywhere to be seen. If you needed a senior officer of any sort – just hang out by the pool deck. There was often a sea of white shirts with epaulets with bars. The one tall, lanky officer (I don’t remember his name) has been on several blues cruises, he is a real fan. He has his favourite bands and makes a point to see them during the week. It is quite normal to see maintenance guys in the brown boiler suits, guys in blue uniforms (who are these guys? Anyone know?), all the spa girls, all the entertainment staff, the pinnacle grill folks in white jackets etc. at the various venues drinking and dancing in their off time. Apparently the entertainment staff was given the option of not staying on board for this cruise, but clearly they all stayed – and partied up a storm! A former ship’s doctor (he worked a few blues cruises) is now a several time repeat offender on da boat. Smoking: there aren’t too many smokers on board. However – smoking rules are sadly not enforced on the pool deck. I had to ask one the organizers to tell a particular fellow not to smoke in front of the stage. It is very crowded and he has burned me in the past. He wasn’t sober, so I personally didn’t want to confront him. He was very mellow about moving, so it was ok. The sports bar by the casino reeked. The casino reeked, even though there were very few people gambling. The smoke drifts into the piano bar, so unfortunately I can’t spend a lot of time there. That is a shame, because great jams go on in there til the very wee hours of the morning. The last day Tab Benoit, Tasha Taylor and a few others were still singing and playing at 8am when the ship was in Fort Lauderdale. Food: We ate in the MDR a couple of times, we normally never do, but we had friends with us and they wanted to try it. Well, I still don’t like the MDR. The menus were not great, the food wasn’t very good. Soggy Caesar salad. Lukewarm soup. Either chemically or mechanically tenderized meat- the always available strip loin tasted odd and had inconsistent colour throughout. Many other cruisers complained they thought the food was super salty. The sauces definitely were very salty. We went to the cafeteria for lunch a couple of times. Not good at all. Cold food. Always cold food . The taco/nacho stuff was not only cold, but needed some spices. There was only one thing that was hot. Corn fritters. They just took them out of the deep fryer, they could be better with some jalapenos in them. The cook put them as the last thing at the end of the line, I don’t know what they should have accompanied. They just put them out randomly. I got one, and was so happy to get something hot, my hubby went back and got more. The lido guy gave him the evil eye. Probably because they were so popular he had to make more! We went to the Tamarind – always great  We went to Pinnacle (only once this time, we usually eat there 3 or 4 times in the week) and were not happy with the new menu. It seems to be a big step down from the previous menu. No steak Diane, no table side Caesar salad, the substitute isn’t great. My steak was seriously overcooked for my liking, but from experience, I just used extra béarnaise sauce to make it edible. I didn’t want to send it back and not get my meal until everyone was finished. My hubby was not happy with his rib eye. We used to really enjoy dinner there. Sad that they have downgraded the meals at the Pinnacle. Our waiter Claudio was brand new to HAL, but clearly and experienced server. I don’t remember the other fellow’s name, but he was quite good. Claudio happily spoke French at our table and had a nice chat with us. He is a huge blues fan and was thrilled to see some of his favourite bands playing. We went back to the Canaletto after giving it a miss for a couple of years. We thought we would give the new menu a shot. There is no way I would personally eat here with less than four people. I don’t eat fish/shellfish/pork and lamb. The menu is limited for me. My friend and I shared a salad, the ricotta pasta and the veal piccata. The lads had the pate, mussels, clam something, the sausage rigatoni and the chicken cacciatore. The meals were pretty good, a bit salty. We brought a bottle of our own wine, and our wine attendant (Marcy) forgot all about us. I had to call over the manager to ask him if we could order another bottle of wine, since we were ignored. Canaletto was not busy, so I don’t know what was going on. I would only go again with a group. If it was just hubby and I, we would have ordered completely different things and there would have been a lot of waste. Pizza – horrible!!! So awful in fact, a whole pool deck full of people who are partying, hardly a soul will touch it. Now, that’s saying something. Burgers – they only had a limited selection of stuff. No real hot dogs, only turkey dogs all week and other stuff they didn’t get. We did have a couple of burgers, but they are unseasoned meat, so kinda boring. The hamburger guy was very pleasant though! Lunch time pinnacle and tamarind. We never go there are it is prime time for music. ***Some of you may remember there were some serious issues on my last blues cruise on the NA. A non-functioning toilet for most of the week. Bug bites at the Pinnacle. Finally, after ONE YEAR HAL responded to my complaint. I got a call from Bilal (I believe that was his name) from the front desk office. It was kind of an odd conversation. He apologized that no one responded about the issues on board last year. He implied that there were some real troubles with his predecessor and that there had been a “change” of management on board. Not like “the contract ended” kind of change, but some sort of major change. I can’t really think of the exact words, but from what he said I think there were lots of things not addressed and he knew there were unhappy customers out there. So goodness knows what else went on. Anyway….he was apologetic and offered us a dinner at the Tamarind and a bottle of wine. He also gave us an OBC. Certainly it was a nice gesture, but last year I wanted someone to make sure the toilet would work all the time and acknowledge the issue with the Pinnacle. And for goodness sake find out if the insects were in the linens or carpet and clean the darn place. I still can’t get over the fact it took a whole year to respond.*** Overall it was a fantastic week with fabulous musicians on board. It is a wonderful time to see so many folks that we know and partay ;) We have pre-booked the next two LRBC, October cruise from LA on the NCL Sun and next January back on the Nieuw Amsterdam. Our virgin friends will become repeat offenders next January as they had such a great time on this cruise :)   Read Less
Sail Date: March 2013
Our family of seven headed to Port Everglades through a massive traffic jam in our rented minivan. Port security asked two of us for identification which we provided and we slowly made our way to Pier 19. Boarding at Fort Lauderdale Pier ... Read More
Our family of seven headed to Port Everglades through a massive traffic jam in our rented minivan. Port security asked two of us for identification which we provided and we slowly made our way to Pier 19. Boarding at Fort Lauderdale Pier 19, you must have passports and boarding pass and health survey to board. Unfortunately, husband had my passport and he was returning the rental car at FLL. I was able to be seated in the terminal to wait for his return. In about one hour, he returned by taxi through the traffic jam at the port. We got into the line and moved quickly to the registration desks. Because we had sailed before, they had our photos from the previous trip in 2008. Our son had his photo quickly taken and our sea passes were issued. We were now on board and after dropping our hand luggage off in our room, we headed for the Lido deck for lunch. It was about 2:30pm and the Lido was crowded but we found lunch and a place to sit. Our ship was scheduled to depart at 4pm. We returned to our cabin located mid ship. It was more spacious than a standard balcony and the sofa converted to a single bed for our son. Our bed was a queen size bed. The bathroom had double sinks, a small shower with detachable shower head and a jetted bath with another detachable shower head. The shower was so tiny that the pan filled up with water so we found it better to shower in the tub. There were three small closets, one with shelves and safe, one where you can hang long items, and one that you can hang shorter items. There was a vanity with the hair dryer in the top left hand drawer. The remaining drawers you can use for small items. There is a media wall with TV and DVD player. There was a second desk area that my son used for his suitcase. He chose to live out of his suitcase instead of unpacking. We went down the hall to my daughter's cabin, category SB. Her cabin is larger than ours. They had a king size bed and a large sofa that converted into a bed for two persons. She had a dressing area before you entered the bathroom. The bathroom seemed to be the same size and configuration as our bathroom. The amenities include Neptune Lounge and laundry. They enjoyed the Neptune Lounge located on 7. They really liked the Concierge. The laundry was very handy for her family of 4, including two young children, ages 1 and 3. They generate a great deal of laundry. They really appreciated the extra room and bathtub for the children. Dining: We used the Lido Restaurant almost exclusively because of the young children. The menu for the Lido is different from the Vista Dining Room. There may be a couple items from the Vista that are served at the Lido. We ordered room service for a couple breakfasts and one dinner when surf and turf was on the Vista Room menu. My daughter and her family never entered the Vista Restaurant but my husband and I enjoyed the Mariner's Brunch and the final night in the Vista Room before we returned to Fort Lauderdale. The Lido Dining Room was adequate for our needs. The pasta station was excellent serving a terrific meat sauce. We found the Lido was crowded mostly at breakfast and lunch and less used at dinner. In fact they close down half the stations at dinner. We also found it inconvenient that the main buffet lines close at 8pm and because we are from the West Coast, head down to dinner late and almost missed dinner completely. After 8pm, there are limited offerings of pizza, pasta and drinks from 10:30pm until 11:30pm. After that you have to order room service with another limited menu if you are hungry. Room service for breakfast isn't that tasty. The best meal we had for room service was from the Vista Dining Menu; Filet Mignon and Lobster Tail with Escargot for appetizers. It was delicious! The service was great and they called to make sure we received our order. Room service tray had a small vase of flowers with the meal. I found that to be a nice touch. Appearance of Cabins and Rooms: The cabins were kept clean by Joko and Dewa. The cabins were well maintained and the balconies had sufficient room and furniture. We have absolutely no complaints about our cabins except we couldn't use the balconies when our neighbors smoked. Because I am allergic to smoke, I had to retreat to my cabin. I am grateful I didn't get second hand smoke inside the cabin. I wish Holland America would have a no smoking policy on balconies like other cruise lines. Appearance of the Ship: Outside of the ship, there were rusty areas but inside the ship, it was clean and well maintained. The rugs were clean and the areas kept very tidy by the staff. I did not use the exercise room but my son did and he said it was good. The public restrooms were very clean and consistently so. I appreciate the terry hand towels to wipe your hands. I have been on ships where the public restrooms were dirty and not kept up. There were potted orchids at every table at the Lido Restaurant. The staff was constantly cleaning tables so tables can be made available for other guests. Pool Area: The hot tubs were usually filled and the swimming pool outside the Lido Restaurant had children swimming. Small children aren't allowed in the pool but there is a perimeter around the pool with overflow and the grandkids waded and splashed happily. Amenities: The library is one of the better ship's libraries with some good selections to check out. There are magazines and newspapers also. The ship's computers for guests are located in the library. Outside the library is the Explorations Cafe for specialty coffees and desserts. We did not check out the DVD's or used the DVD player in our cabin. Shows: We did not attend any shows since we were sleepy after dinner. I had heard from other guests that the pianist and comedienne were very good. Final Comments: We do not agree with Cruise Critic posts that criticize Holland for bad food and a dirty ship. The food was on par with other lines and the facilities were far cleaner than other ships. This is our 14th sailing. In 2008, we sailed on Holland as part of a cruise tour and the food was superior. However, the overall experience on the Westerdam was more than adequate. It is a smaller and older ship and seem to vibrate or creak sometimes. However, we had no need for sea sickness patches that we brought because it was not that rocky where we were midship on 6. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2012
My husband and I are in our 40's. This was our ninth cruise and our third time on HAL. We expected the ship to be the similar to the Zuiderdam and Noordam which we have previously cruised on and we were not disappointed. We really ... Read More
My husband and I are in our 40's. This was our ninth cruise and our third time on HAL. We expected the ship to be the similar to the Zuiderdam and Noordam which we have previously cruised on and we were not disappointed. We really love the layout of these ships, especially the covered promenade deck that allows you to walk all the way around the ship without having to go inside and offers quiet space for reading and watching the waves. Embarkation was smooth and our room was ready upon arrival which was a pleasant first for us. Our room was an SY on the starboard side. We had never had a suite before and it was a treat to have a larger bathroom with double sinks, more space, and a larger balcony. Oddly, this cruise was shorter than our other HAL cruises and our room was bigger but I found I struggled with clothing storage. There were very few hangers and I missed the extra shelving that is over the TV in the balcony rooms. I realized on the last day that there are flip down shelves in the closets. I wish I had realized that sooner! One other minor irritation is that I have noticed on all three HAL ships that the balconies are always dirty when we arrive with the chair cushions all wet and unusable for days. Our room was cleaned timely but our room steward never introduced himself to us, in fact, we saw him only 2-3 times during the whole cruise where he called down the hallway to us to have a good day or evening but never got close enough for an introduction. Not a huge deal but we do usually enjoy meeting the person taking care of our room. It's a personal touch we've experienced on other cruises that we missed on this one. In addition to walking on the promenade deck, we enjoyed the comfy chairs in the Crow's Nest and partook in a few activities including trivia, bingo, and Mixology. Mixology really was the highlight of the activities and I can't give enough accolades to Nino, Bill, and Lisette at the Ocean Bar for the enjoyable time we had there. One thing we really loved was the surprise appetizers at happy hour. I've never had food served to me in the cruise ship bars before. That was awesome. During the cruise we participated in 2 HAL excursions and purchased one non-ship tour. The non-ship tour we took was horseback riding in Grand Turk with Sunset Rides and Tours and it was fabulous. If I get a chance I'll write a review for that on the boards as it does not belong here. In San Juan we took the El Yunque Rainforest Day Hike and I have written a review on HAL's site for that already so I won't go into detail here except to say we liked it. The other excursion we purchased was the Around the Island Art Tour which, in keeping with the 5 star rating on HAL's website, we loved. On Half Moon Cay we rented a clamshell which we needed due to our pale northern skin. Although that was a very inexpensive purchase I wasn't psyched about the clamshell as the chairs were on an embankment. The chairs sloped so steeply that I could not stay in the chair unless I put my feet on the bottom edge which quickly became very uncomfortable. We tried to adjust the chairs by digging sand out from under the legs but there were huge chunks of coral or cement under the sand and the small adjustments we were able to make didn't do much. We eventually gave up and made the best of it. At one point I moved the chairs out of the clamshell and put my towel down on the sand which was a bit better, doable at least. Switching over to food... the lido restaurant was good with reasonable selection, though fewer desserts than I remember which probably saved me some significant calories. I missed the trays because I often order my eggs over hard so they set aside my plate while the eggs cook and when they hand the plate to me it is too hot to carry. The first day that this happened I asked a nearby staff member for a tray and his response was "we don't have those anymore" so I set the plate down and went to find some napkins in order to be able to carry my plate. The next day I grabbed the napkins ahead of visiting the egg station. Finding a seat was not always easy but not the worst we've encountered. However, often there was no silverware and inquiring resulted in "it's on the table" which obviously wasn't the case or I wouldn't have gone looking for it. While this sort of service wasn't really ideal, it didn't ruin my vacation. And, I do want to credit the cooks in the buffet as they did a great job. They took my order quickly and delivered what I asked for the way I asked for it with a cheery smile and a "have a good day" every single time. For dinner we had "Select Dining". We traveled with some friends this time and seating was very efficient. Only once did we have to wait for a table. The food on the first couple days was just ok. The low point was a really really bad chocolate dessert. I took one bite and I almost spit it out because it tasted like soap. I wasn't going to say anything about it because I consider it divine intervention when I don't like the dessert, however, our friends seated with us also ordered this dessert and before I could say anything about it they tasted it and said "wow, that tastes bad" and I said "like what?" and they said "like soap!" Upon confirmation that it wasn't just my crazy taste buds we flagged someone down and ordered different desserts which came quickly and were much better. On the third day the food improved greatly. I particularly liked the wasabi crab roll which I think may have been served the same night as the turkey dinner which was also very good. There were also a few really good soups throughout the week and my husband had a hazelnut cream cake that was outstanding. We did go to the Pinnacle Grill once as well which was wonderful. I really like the experience of dining in the Pinnacle Grill, though I get bored of the menu which is always the same. The food really is awesome though, especially the spicy cream soup and the steak Diane. Regarding debarkation, we signed up for expedited debarkation and that went very smoothly for us. We were off the ship and at the airport in record time which was terrific because we were headed to visit family and had a bit of a drive ahead of us. Overall I like the older clientele and calmer vibe offered by the HAL cruises, and I really love the ship layout. We have had better service on other HAL cruises (particularly Zuideredam) but I feel my issues were minor and I'm not the type that needs to be waited on hand and foot to be happy. I was ok with what we got for the money we paid and I only mention the minor glitches here for those who need to know them as everyone has a different style and things that don't bother me might very much bother someone else, which is the whole point of writing and reading reviews. This reminds me that we did not receive an end of cruise survey in our room so I did not report anything you see here to HAL. Again, despite these minor issues we did have a great cruise vacation and I would get back on the Westerdam (or any HAL ship) in a heartbeat. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2012
This was our first cruise experience and we were very pleased. We really enjoyed Holland America Lines and will cruise with them again. We traveled with our two children (7 and 13) and all 4 of us had a good experience. Our verandah ... Read More
This was our first cruise experience and we were very pleased. We really enjoyed Holland America Lines and will cruise with them again. We traveled with our two children (7 and 13) and all 4 of us had a good experience. Our verandah room was actually roomier than we expected and our cabin stewards were fabulous! Our rooms were always clean, never lacking clean towels and we LOVED the towel animals and chocolates left on our bed each night. One area that we were disappointed was Club HAL. Our daughters were in different age groups and they wouldn't let them be together. Our daughters didn't want to be separated (and they shouldn't have to be in our opinion), so we didn't use Club HAL services at all. We enjoyed all of our dining experiences. We enjoyed the buffet on the Lido deck and the Dining Room, (we didn't visit the specialty restaurants). We really enjoyed the 24 hour pizza at the The Slice. One downside of the buffet dining was that it seemed at times that there were not enough crew to keep lines down in the made-to-order areas. The service in the Rembrandt Dining Room was excellent and our servers were always attentive and remembered our likes and dislikes. We loved the International/Baked Alaska night, and being entertained by the servers, that was a highlight. As for the pool, (we only used the pool on mid-deck as kids weren't allowed in the Sea View pool aft deck) for as small as the pool was it never felt crowded and we were always able to find seating along side. Another of the very few downsides was as soon as the servers learned we weren't ordering alcoholic drinks service slacked off for us just a bit (we watched the difference in the service for those around us that were drinking those types of beverages). But I've noticed that at most restaurants in general not just on a cruise. But cruise ships like to peddle their alcohol so it was definitely noticeable. There wasn't a lot of planned family activities going on around the ship, but we honestly didn't mind. We were happy just hanging out by the pool or playing games in the Crows Nest (one of our favorite places). We really enjoyed the night time entertainment at the Main Stage, we especially loved the magician and his dog. We enjoyed the port days. We're pretty easy to please and loved everything we did at port and just being at those place. Grand Turk was relaxing and the beach was quite lovely. We felt that we paid too much for the open air taxi to the beach on St. Thomas ($10 for each of us), but it was cheaper than the excursions and we loved the local feel and snorkeling at Coki Beach. We missed our port in San Juan because of winds but we LOVED Half Moon Cay. We thought that they do a great job of getting people on and off of the ship on port days. We loved our cruise and can't wait to do it again! Read Less
Sail Date: December 2012
Pre-cruise: We flew into FLL a day before our cruise, which I highly recommend, and stayed at the Holiday Inn Express on 17th street. The night front desk clerk and the shuttle driver were very pleasant. The hotel had a weird retro vibe. ... Read More
Pre-cruise: We flew into FLL a day before our cruise, which I highly recommend, and stayed at the Holiday Inn Express on 17th street. The night front desk clerk and the shuttle driver were very pleasant. The hotel had a weird retro vibe. Regarding the free breakfast, well let me just say, you get what you pay for. There's a small space in the lobby with tables and chairs adjacent to the buffet area. The kitchen staff seemed hard-pressed to keep the victuals stocked for the numerous cruise passengers. After a day of airline delays, I found the hotel adequate for one night. A transportation company has a desk in the lobby and provides shuttle service to the port, which is about 5 minutes away for $8 per person. Now for the cruise: DH and I are in our late 40s and this was our first grown-up cruise sans kids. Our previous 6 cruises have been on Royal Caribbean or Carnival with the kids. I'll probably make several comparisons to my last Carnival cruise (2011), and I do mean LAST. I really wasn't sure what to expect on HAL since Carnival Corp. is the parent company. I was pleasantly surprised. Embarkation was without incident. The staff guided passengers where they needed to go, and the line moved quickly. The muster drill was extremely organized and roll was taken, unlike my last Carnival cruise where the drill was unorganized. HAL's procedures, and from what I understand, those on other lines as well, are a welcome change. The Nieuw Amsterdam is a beautiful ship with nicely appointed common areas. Our stateroom on Deck 10 met my expectations. There was adequate storage and plenty of hangers for day and evening attire. The bed and pillows were comfortable. Our room steward kept our room clean, and made it a point to ask us how the room was every time he saw us. On the first night, I noticed a few spots/stains on the sheets and called for replacement bed linens. A steward arrived and was changing the sheets within 10 minutes. Spa: We spent a fair amount of time at the spa. We purchased a spa package that included the use of the hydrotherapy pool, the heated ceramic lounge chairs, and a few other amenities. The pool was never too crowded, which we made good use of, but the ceramic lounge chairs were usually occupied when we wanted to use them. There's supposed to be a 20 minute limit when people are waiting, but we didn't care to wait and went on our way. We also had a few spa treatments which were wonderful...top notch spa staff. I also got a good, morning water aerobics class in. Entertainment: The showroom entertainment consisted of the usual comedians, singers/dancers. The comedians were good for a few laughs and the singers talented. There's no need to get to the showroom early as there were plenty of open seats when we got there for 10:00pm shows. We made a few visits to the piano bar, which was usually packed. Food: The food was good. It met my expectations, and I can't say I really had a bad meal. Breakfast and lunch include the usual cruise options -- buffet or Lido deck grill (for lunch). I had pizza once. I'm not crazy about this pizza - it's ok in a crunch. I found the Sicilian-style a little more palatable. I really loved the poached pear dessert one night. We made a reservation for dinner at the Pinnacle Grill and, while the meal was good, the service was extremely slow. If you want to dine at the Pinnacle Grill, I suggest you book before your cruise. Le Cirque is also an option; again reservations need to be made in advance of sailing. Service was slow in the main dining room on the last formal night, not the norm, though. A new option for us was the anytime dining in the main dining room. That worked out well. We always had a table for two in different locations. On two nights, we had to wait for a table, but the wait wasn't long at all. We headed to Canaletto, the Italian restaurant, for our last night on the ship. Our meal was very good, but what really made the experience was the attentive and friendly staff topped only by the cotton candy surprise at the end of the meal. Excursions: We did excursions in Puerto Rico and St. Maarten and enjoyed the beach in Grand Turk and Half Moon Cay. We planned a day of snorkeling at Half Moon Cay, but due to a cold front moving south, Half Moon Cay was really cold and windy in the morning. We decided to have lunch at the barbeque that HAL provides, and thought we'd go back to the ship after that. Instead, we took a walk along one of the trails and by this time the sun was shining and warmed everything up. I recommend packing fashionable sweats or appropriate clothing for cool days like this. I was able to shed my sweats by noon and enjoy the beach in my bathing suit. Disembarkation: This necessary evil was also without incident for us. We had an excursion in FLL and were in one of the first groups to get off of the ship. I was pleased to see our luggage neatly organized in groups according to disembarkation order/tag color. On our last Carnival cruise once the ship was cleared in port, getting off of the ship was a free for all, which resulted in bottle necks on the ship. Our luggage came out on conveyor belts in the terminal building, and I would characterize that whole experience as complete chaos. Years ago, Carnival handled disembarkation the same way as HAL. I appreciated the order. Overall, this cruise was all about relaxation. In between ports, there are a lot of shipboard activities, and as previous cruisers know, you can do as much as you want or nothing at all. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2012
Although we knew that a Thanksgiving cruise would have many children we choose to sail on Holland America Eurodam at this time due to my husband's work schedule and the wonderful price being offered for this cruise. We have sailed on ... Read More
Although we knew that a Thanksgiving cruise would have many children we choose to sail on Holland America Eurodam at this time due to my husband's work schedule and the wonderful price being offered for this cruise. We have sailed on other lines, usually Celebrity, but always wanted to try Holland America. For the most part, we were glad that we did. We were told that there were over 400 children on this cruise, but except for a few times here and there, you would generally not know it. For the most part we found the children well behaved and were very happy about this. In fact the few problems we did encounter were with some fellow adult cruisers who have apparently not yet learned how to wait your turn in line, or be respectful of other people's personal space and desire to listen to the event they came to see instead of someone else's very loud and annoying personal conversations. Boarding the ship was unorganized and confusing. Apparently it was their first day in this new terminal and the staff was not briefed or prepared. They did not even know where the bathrooms were. We requested and were granted priority boarding in advance due to our adult son's special needs, but it was just one big mess at the terminal. After taking matters into our own hands and finding the right person (finally) we were able to board a little earlier. Once on the ship we proceeded to the Lido buffet where we had a nice lunch and very shortly after that were told the rooms were ready. Having travelled mostly on Celebrity we found it very convenient to have the rooms ready for everyone so early. Our luggage also arrived at the room within about an hour. Celebrity needs to take a lesson from Hal on how to get both of these things done so quickly. The room was nice. It was a VB veranda room. The storage was massive compared to Celebrity and this was another major plus considering how much luggage we had. Although not as nice as Celebrity Solstice class ships, the storage was better. The bathroom however, had problems. The tub would have been nice except that it wasn't leveled and the water would congregate by the back of the tub. We would always have to spend at least five minutes after every shower kicking the water into the drain. I also found the tub high to step into. I would think that this might be a problem for many of HAL's cruisers and am surprised they have not altered this in some way. I also found that the tub took up so much space that the rest of the bathroom seemed very cramped. Celebrity Solstice class ships definitely win in the bathroom category. They have found a way to make a cabin bathroom much more workable. The ship itself was very nice, but a little dark and enclosed in most spaces. It did not have the bright and open feel of the Celebrity ships. However, it definitely had an elegant feel to it that was admired, especially in the dining room. In fact the dining room seemed more spacious with room between the tables. This is where HAL wins over Celebrity. In fact one of the worst parts about the Celebrity Solstice ships is the very cramped dining room set-up. Another area that the Eurodam excels at is the full outside deck walking area. This was a major plus, especially for people who have a walking routine. Celebrity has continued to shorten their outdoor walking areas to make room for more cabins and specialty restaurants. A serious downside. The food review is always subjective, but I definitely found that for the most part Hal shines in this area. I found the food and pastries on the Eurodam to be the best food I have had at sea so far. This is an area I have always found lacking on Celebrity. I know that most people claim that Celebrity has the best food, but I have never cared for their food and find HAL's food much better. Again it is always a matter of individual taste. We ate in two of the specialty restaurants, the Pinnacle Grill and Tamarind. We are in agreement with most of the Cruise Critic members that the Pinnacle can be hit and miss, and the Tamarind is excellent. Unfortunately for us the Pinnacle Grill was miss in both food and service. The Porterhouse steak was pure fat and so tough I could not get my knife to cut it. We would have told the waiter when we received our steaks and started to cut into them, but he did not return to our table for about 45 minutes after dropping off the steaks. He did not even bother to see if they were cooked correctly. When he finally did return 45 minutes later and we informed him of our complaints, he said "well if you wanted a tender steak you should have gotten the Fillet Mignon." The waiter never returned to our table after that and sent another waiter for our dessert order. Of course the Fillet Mignon is the tenderest steak, however that does not mean that you have the right to serve a porterhouse steak that is shoe leather and fat to those that do not want the fillet. We will not be returning to the Pinnacle Grill on Hal ships in the future. The Tamarind restaurant was the complete opposite. The food and service was amazing. I am not a big fan of Asian food and cannot eat spicy food, but they are so accommodating that they made the food to my taste and specifications with some wonderful suggestions. It was a great meal where they made you feel special. Thanks to all the cruise critic members for their recommendations on this restaurant. The chocolate fortune cookie for dessert alone would have been worth the nominal up charge. We originally did have reservations for the Cannaletto but cancelled them after seeing the limited menu. The nightly shows were not great. The costumes were nice as well as the scenery, we found the dancers were also very good. However 3 out of 4 of the singers were really lacking in voice and pitch and made the shows seem less than professional. The shows also did not seem to have any cohesiveness to them and definitely targeted a certain age group, which I would not have minded if the overall shows were better. The comedian did not seem very funny to us and we missed the magician and his dog. This is also an area where in our opinion HAL cannot compete with Celebrity. The staff was mixed in terms of service. Some staff was excellent and very accommodating, while others were disinterested and even downright rude. We also found several times that there was not consistency in pricing when speaking with different staff members. We found this inconsistency in both the spa and the shops when they were having their street sales, as well as the Explorations Cafe. We found that overall we prefer the staff on Celebrity better. The two pools were small, but many people opted for the hot tubs. This was only a problem on sea days. We noticed that on sea days it seemed to be a problem getting a place to sit at the pool areas. We were very happy we decided to take a chance and rent a Lido cabana for the week. This cabana definitely helped make the trip for us. It was great knowing that we had a place to stay and eat when all the other areas were crowded. The service here was also very good. I know that most people prefer the retreat cabanas, but for us they were out of the way and would not work with our son. He absolutely loved the lido cabana. It did get a little warm in the cabana occasionally during port time and when the roof was closed, but it was still a good investment for us. The ports were fine, except that we do not like the Crown Bay dock in St. Thomas. If you are just staying by the ship, there is very little to do there and very limited shopping. We also missed Half Moon Cay due to high winds. This seems to be a common problem from what I have read. In summary it was a fine cruise with some exceptions. The Lido buffet is a mess. The set up is totally congested and this creates huge traffic jams at most meals. There is also way too few staff members working the Lido and this creates unacceptable long lines and waits to get your food. You never know what items to get in what area and which staff member is waiting on which person since a staff member will start with one person and continue with another. The staff was also constantly taking orders from people in line behind me which was irritating. They also continuously ran out of things and again you had to wait. It was the most unorganized and irritating cruise buffet I have ever encountered. Celebrity Solstice ships have the buffet set up with different stations for every group of foods. The food stations are in the middle and do not create traffic jams or long lines. Hal needs to take a lesson from Celebrity on this one and redesign their buffet set up. The cupcake tea in the dining room was again unorganized. The waiters kept ignoring the section of tables we were in and only came to our section once and allowed us only two bite sized cupcakes while they were going to the other sections 5 or 6 times with cupcakes, sandwiches, cakes, etc. When I complained to one of the waiters when we were leaving, he said they just had too many people to serve. Does this mean that they chose to serve the sections they wanted and ignore the others? Since this was certainly not an inaugural cruise you would think that they would be organized and have a plan to equally accommodate everyone. The muster drill although definitely necessary has to be revamped in some way or at least special arrangements need to be made for people with disabilities or health problems. We were cramped like sardines in the heat on deck and there were actually people collapsing. All they did was take roll call and show us how to put on the life vests. Celebrity does this with a film they present in different Venus at the same time and this is much more civilized. I understand that they want us to know exactly where our life boat stations are, but I am sure that they can come up with a better way than subjecting people to this uncomfortable and sometimes dangerous situation. Especially people with special needs. I was repeatedly being hit by people around me when they would move and I have bruising issues. If the water in Half Moon Cay by the beach is not too shallow HAL may want to consider investing in building a dock so that they do not miss Half Moon Cay all the times it is too windy to tender. The place Holland America shines is the food, swift dining room service, spacious and elegant dining room, rooms ready shortly after early boarding, the piano bar, afternoon teas (as long as they organize it better) the Tamarind restaurant, keeping the specialty restaurant fees down, happy hour specials, dessert extravaganza, full walking deck, nice room service menu, great cabin storage, many trivia contests, allowing us to stay in our rooms until we are called to disembark, very good pricing for third and fourth in a room (due to our special needs son we will always travel with three) and offering good specials on their pricing at certain times. In conclusion did we enjoy our Eurodam cruise, the answer would be yes. Were there areas for improvement, the answer would be yes. Would we travel Holland America again, the answer would be yes. As long as Holland America continues to keep their cruise fares down, run specials, and offer good pricing for third person in the room, we will be repeat cruisers with HAL. If Celebrity continues to raise their prices both on cruise fares and specialty restaurants they will lose us as customers. At equal prices we would give Celebrity the edge, but with better pricing we find HAL a very acceptable alternative. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2012
Just back from the Eastern Caribbean on Nieuw Amsterdam. This was our 4th HAL cruise and it is the most beautiful of their ships we've been on. Wonderful public areas. The entertainment was the very best we've seen on any ... Read More
Just back from the Eastern Caribbean on Nieuw Amsterdam. This was our 4th HAL cruise and it is the most beautiful of their ships we've been on. Wonderful public areas. The entertainment was the very best we've seen on any cruise ship - truly excellent - even one I did not think would good like the comedian, who was in fact terrific!! The service was in general good, tho they seemed to always got bogged down with the open seating which is odd as the dining room was half empty most nights. I think of lot people didn't want to bother with a sit down meal and just went to the Lido buffet, especially on formal nights. So how come service was slow and inept in the main dining room anyway? We just were on the Noordam last fall and the food was better on the Noordam than the Nieuw Amsterdam. No other way to say it. Not very interesting choices, pasta either hard or gummy, and rather poor meats. Desserts just sweet. Actually the Lido seemed better than the dining room but we preferred to be served in the evenings than do the cafeteria. Excellent book selection in the library as on Noordam but library sitting space a little tight. Still you could go next door to the lounge to read in comfort. The spa was particularly good. Best massage and treatments I've had on a ship and the most willing and courteous operators I've ever had aboard ship. Also with their specials not badly priced at all. The thermal room was totally worth it!!!! Ship excursion people went over and beyond to work with us to get on a trip that had been full - really helpful. One disappointment was that the weather did not allow us to dock at Grand Turk Island. To compensate for it, the Captain docked the next day at 8AM at San Juan rather than our expected arrival time of 2PM! Lots of cruise lines won't try to make it up like that but just kill time at sea. As always their private island Half Moon Bay is the most beautiful beach around. Read Less
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