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5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We had experienced a partial panama canal transit and decided we had to do a full transit. The workings of the locks is just fascinating if you've never been through it. It was just a relaxing day watching our ship travel through the ... Read More
We had experienced a partial panama canal transit and decided we had to do a full transit. The workings of the locks is just fascinating if you've never been through it. It was just a relaxing day watching our ship travel through the locks and the gentleman who escorted us on the trip with his facts regarding the canal was very interesting. It's hard to believe in this day and time when something starts deteriorating it is torn down and built anew and these locks are over 100 years old and are still operating in their original fashion with the same wooden gates! Staff on board was very courteous and our room steward, Nyoman and Muss were fantastic. They usually had our room cleaned by the time we returned from breakfast in the morning and were always smiling and making sure that everything was satisfactory. Dining room staff was a little slow the first week, however, they soon learned our beverage of choice and had it waiting for us when we sat down. Menu choices were varied and could have had a little more regular items to choose from, but for the most part, the food was tasty and temperature appropriate. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
We have cruised over 30 times, but this was our first on HA. I had wanted to try HA, but had heard several times that they were boring. I wish I had listened. Since HA has so many good itineraries, we decided to give it a try on this 10N ... Read More
We have cruised over 30 times, but this was our first on HA. I had wanted to try HA, but had heard several times that they were boring. I wish I had listened. Since HA has so many good itineraries, we decided to give it a try on this 10N to NE/Canada. We booked about 2 weeks ahead and got a good price. Embarkation in FLL was a breeze and the easiest we have ever experienced. We booked an interior guarantee and were not told our cabin number until we checked in at the pier(we always book guarantees and have always been told almost as soon as we book our cabin number). Our cabin was fine, bigger than most interiors. It was on level one, and it was a sideway cabin. These are not the best because it is difficult to get into the closet, but otherwise it was fine. The ship seems to be in good shape. It is the smallest ship we have ever sailed on. It was very quiet and we never had to wait for elevators and we never had problems finding seats in the theater. At the taste kitchen you had to go early or there were no seats, also at the computer classes there were never any seats. The entertainment, or lack of, was one thing we disliked. It was BORING!! A typical day looked like it was full of activities until you see it was just sales pitches for acupuncture, jewelry sales, etc. There really was nothing to do on sea days. There were usually two trivia's a day, sometimes 3. A few computer/photo workshops. But, nothing that involved any fun really. There was a morning trivia, which we attended (we attended every trivia because there was nothing else to do). They did not even give a cheap trinket(pen, cards, magnet) for the winners!! That was shocking. The assistant cruise director, Nick, worked hard to make it fun. Tino, the cruise director, not so much. The other entertainment on the ship was rest home type. A few live music groups, but it was very sedate and could easily put you to sleep. There was a piano player, Styker, who was very good and personable, his shows were filled everynight. He was the only thing to do in the evening after the shows. They had an orange party to celebrate King's day...it was to be the funniest party ever........it was the WORST party ever. Boring, boring boring. They should take lessons on how NCL does their white hot party. The main shows were good for the most part. The stage band only joined the cruise on the 7th day. One the first day, on the main stage was a movie! Also on the last day......what kind of entertainment is that? Casino, save your money!! I never saw anyone win. There was no sailaway party, no game shows(one toward the end, totally boring), no dance instructions, nothing. Literally nothing to do at all. We ended up watching TV!!! That is a first on the cruise. Even then, they had Jaws on!! Jaws, over 35 year old movie!! Come on! The other big problem was the buffet. There was very little variety. The worst was at dinner, there would be long lines and one side of the buffet would be closed (they had to use it for their specialty restaurant that had maybe 10 people in it and make the other 200 people wait in line). One night to get a main course the line was 40 people long with one server! I complained to the manager in the dining room, he said it couldn't be helped. If they are going to insist on serving people instead of passengers serving themselves, they need to get more people to serve. I waited 25 minutes to get a salad!! Another problem with the buffet was the hours. They closed at 2pm, right when people are returning to the ship from shore. Finally, after many complaints I am sure, they kept a few areas open later, maybe 2:30, but then the lines were very long. The dive in hamburger place was good, but it was 20-30 minute wait after ordering. The taco bar was good, but it always was messy and unappealing to want to eat the food and the food was never to temperature. I am surprised we didn't get sick eating there. Then the buffet closed at 8pm! 8pm, really? Right when the show let out. So, if for some reason you wanted to see the show at 7pm, but didn't eat before the show because of the very long lines, there were no other options. I could not believe this. I complained to the hotel director in the notes left in the atrium. I never heard a thing from him or his staff. Why have the notes if you aren't going to address the problem? HA must really not care about customer service at all. There was a fire on the ship the second night. The captain came on at 1am to tell us about it. I thought he did a good job keeping us informed. We were not able to sail to Montreal, our final destination due to high water in the River and the ship could not safely sail under it. It was announced on Thursday at 5pm when we were about to sail away that we would be transported to Montreal via bus. The following day was a sea day and since we did not have internet it was hard to adjust our travel plans. I can understand not being able to sail, but it seems like the staff at guest services gave out different information to every passenger. We even got 3 different answers to the same question. So, it was frustrating to us to not know for sure what was happening and more stressful to have to get up at 4am, and take a bus to Montreal from Quebec. The port fees from Montreal were not reimbursed, which was also a first for me when missing ports and ports being replaced we have always been reimbursed. Needless to say, first and last HA cruise for us. It was all true what everyone said about HA...........boring, no fun and no customer service. I wish I would have spent my cruise money else where and will do so in the the future. You missed out HA, we cruise a lot, are young and have the money and time to cruise. See ya! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
We book the cruise from Ft Lauderdale Fl to Montreal with stops in Boston, Bar Harbour, Halifax, Sydney, Charlottetown, and Quebec City. The Ship is a smaller vessel the rooms are good and the stewards are friendly and did a good job. ... Read More
We book the cruise from Ft Lauderdale Fl to Montreal with stops in Boston, Bar Harbour, Halifax, Sydney, Charlottetown, and Quebec City. The Ship is a smaller vessel the rooms are good and the stewards are friendly and did a good job. The entertainment is also fairly good depending on your tastes. There was a couple comedians, a magician, movies as well as piano bar entertainer and Holland Americans regular entertainment events. The food was not up to the standards we expected. We experienced over cooked, undercooked, many variations on the menu. For example the menu would say polenta and we would be served white rice. The salad that was listed as beet and goat cheese had less than a teaspoon on goat cheese in it. The service in all food venues was lacking but especially in the Lido (buffet). Due to unforeseen circumstances we were unable to go all the way to Montreal via ship so we were disembarked in Quebec. This we understood and accepted however we were required to be off the ship at 6am to bus to Montreal for a 4:30 pm flight. This left us in the Montreal airport for 8 hours. They did not offer any later departures from the ship to get us to Montreal. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
My review is written from this perspective: During our forty-two married years together my wife and I have previously cruised twenty-four times. We’ve been on Holland America four times already, plus multiple cruises on Royal Caribbean, ... Read More
My review is written from this perspective: During our forty-two married years together my wife and I have previously cruised twenty-four times. We’ve been on Holland America four times already, plus multiple cruises on Royal Caribbean, Windstar, Uniworld Europe River Cruises, and once on Oceania. We enjoy cruising, especially the at-sea days. We liked this itinerary for its two up-front at-sea northbound days from Fort Lauderdale as our opportunity to decompress from our everyday lives at home, plus the anticipated at-sea day towards the end of the cruise while watching the St. Lawrence shoreline glide past. Spoiler Alert: We had a really nice cruise! Embarkation & Disembarking: Getting on the ship in Fort Lauderdale was one of the most efficient and fast processes we’ve ever experienced. Even though we arrived a bit early for our posted boarding time, we were able to get right on the ship. A great start for our cruise. Disembarkation day was unusual. The St. Lawrence River was very high and overflowing its banks because of the combination of a late snow melt from the shoreline mountains together with recent heavy rains. That kept our ship from sailing from Quebec City to its final destination in Montreal because the ship couldn’t fit under a bridge between the two cities even at low tide. So we stayed moored in Quebec City overnight instead of moving on to Montreal. Holland America had to put all of us on coaches extra early on disembarkation day for the 3-hour ride to Montreal. We saw lots of flooding along the way to Montreal, but we arrived at the airport with minimal hassles. Good for Holland America, since they also had the nightmare of getting all of the incoming passengers transported from Montreal to meet the ship in Quebec City, too. The ship: ms Zaandam is looking terrific for being nineteen-years-old. I’m not sure when she had her last major refit/refurb, but there was hardly any rust anywhere on her exterior, and the interior and outside public spaces looked great. No worn-out seats, carpets, railings, decks, pools, etc. Well done Holland America. There was one surprise. On our first night, at 1:15 AM the ship’s emergency fire alarm blared loudly: “FIRE! Passengers remain in your cabins and await further instructions!”, which was given in that official loudspeaker voice we all heard at the mandatory lifeboats drill before we set sail. My wife and I could visualize all of the passengers and crew sitting bolt upright in their beds (like we did) waiting for the next announcement. Then there was a second announcement calling for the fire crew to report to a coded location. In another few minutes the captain came over the loudspeakers to announce the fire emergency was over. He said an unoccupied smoke-filled incinerator area had a detector that set off an alarm which was relayed to the ship’s bridge. The dispatched fire team discovered there was a fire in one of the incinerator’s “silos” (whatever that is), and the automatic steam fire extinguishers had quickly dealt with the problem. The captain apologized for the early morning “inconvenience”, said the crew had properly responded to the situation as they’d been trained, and then he said everyone could go back to sleep. He ended his speech by promising to give more information in his noon announcements later in the day (which he did). Passengers and crew had lots to talk about at breakfast, albeit sleepy-eyed. Our cabin: Excellent. We were fortunate to be able to book a Neptune suite on deck 7. It had lots of daylight from the wall-to-wall windows, with enough room for a sofa sitting area. There were plenty of closets and drawers, fresh/clean fabrics, carpets, and soft goods, a king bed, a vanity area, a fully-furnished mini bar, a big verandah with table/chairs and two lounge chairs, an efficient air conditioner/heater that we could set to our preference, and a nice bathroom with a brand-new-looking Jacuzzi-style tub and a toilet that flushed every single time. (Yay!). Our cabin stewards were excellent. We were never in need of anything for the whole cruise. The Neptune Lounge, reserved for Neptune and Pinnacle suites guests, was just down the corridor. It was a great place to get a snack, coffee, check email, read, socialize a bit with other passengers, have a drink from the honor bar before supper, or ask either one of the two excellent Concierges for assistance with anything simple or complex around the ship. We were definitely spoiled with our Neptune suite. Dining: Overall very good. The Pinnacle Grill (“PG”) was the single disappointment. Our incentive package included one PG supper which was to be scheduled at HAL’s discretion. At first we were surprised when we discovered our PG invitation/reservation was set for 7:00 PM on our departure/first day. After seeing “Pinnacle Grill 25% discount first night” coupons all over the ship when we boarded, though, we realized HAL must have a need to fill seats in the Pinnacle that first night, especially with those of us who had an incentive package visit. We’ve really enjoyed our Pinnacle Grill experiences as an upgrade/extra-cost treat on our prior HAL sailings, and that’s what we were anticipating this time, too. Unfortunately, it didn’t turn out that way. Although the room was nice, and the staff was friendly, the food wasn’t up to the “Wow!” quality we’d experienced before. Our filet mignon entrees were “okay”, but our side dishes weren’t served hot. That wouldn’t have been a problem if someone had come to check on us after our entrees were served, but nobody came back until our plates were being pulled at the end of our meal. It seemed as though the PG’s galley couldn’t keep up with what was required, which was surprising because the room was only half occupied when we were there. We politely thanked our servers as we left, but we never returned to the Pinnacle Grill for the remainder of our cruise for a supper (or for no-extra-charge breakfasts offered to suites guests). To be fair, the PG manager later heard of our experience that first night, and offered to comp us another supper to make up for it, but we chose not to return, mainly because we were more than happy with everything in the Main Dining Room. “Open seating” for supper in the Main Dining Room (“MDR”) initially seemed to be problematic when we first tried to phone in a 6:00 PM seating request for the night after our Pinnacle Grill supper. “Unavailable” we were told. When we showed up at the MDR check-in desk on deck 4 at 6:00 PM that evening, though, we were immediately seated at a 2-person table as requested. Our server, assistant, wine steward, floor manager, and food that evening were all excellent. On our way out of the MDR after this first supper we asked if we could be seated at the same table at approximately the same time every evening. “Absolutely” was the response. We enjoyed our suppers at the same table with the same staff every evening after that. What a terrific time we had. There seemed to be something on the changing daily menu for each of us, but even when there wasn’t, we always had the “available every day” alternatives. Our server, assistant, and wine steward were cordial, professional, conversational, and happy every single supper. They certainly made us feel special and welcome. Well done, MDR. The Lido Market was, well, a typical Lido. Always crowded, as anticipated on at-sea days, but even at breakfast and lunch on port days when we tried it. The food was good with a nice variety. There’s always the same passenger confusion on where to enter the buffet food service lines, but that’s to be expected. We enjoyed the made-to-order omelets and Belgian waffles at breakfast plus salads at lunch, and the soups and breads at lunch. The room seemed short-staffed for clearing tables and offering water/coffee/tea/lemonade/etc., but staff did their best. After a couple breakfasts here we decided to just awaken a bit earlier every morning, and we had really nice breakfasts served in the MDR. On this cruise we didn’t take advantage of any of the several other places around the ship to get food, or try around-the-clock in-cabin service. Maybe next time. Activities around the ship: We enjoyed most of the evening entertainment in the two-decks-high The Main Stage. Our MDR suppers were completed most nights in plenty of time for a leisurely stroll through the ship to the 8:00 PM shows. Get there before 7:30, though, if you want to easily find a pair of seats together. There was some of the usual, “These seats are saved” going on, with one person showing up to grab six or eight vacant seats together for their last-minute family/friends, but it wasn’t too bad. We didn’t make it to any of the well-attended lounges/clubs around the ship, although we did stop to enjoy the classical piano/violin duet one evening. Because we both brought our Kindles, after the evening entertainment in the main show room we instead read either in our cabin or in the Neptune lounge. The weather: We anticipated two seasons, a warm beginning at our embarkation in FL, and getting cooler as we sailed north. On our second at-sea day the huge sliding dome cover over the Lido pool was closed for the remainder of the cruise. Then it turned really cold, (upper 30s F to low 40s F) and windy (20-25 mph) beginning with our first port call in Boston, but every day had clear blue skies and full sun. At each port there was at least one local who told us it was the first time they’d seen the sun in weeks. Only our last port call in Quebec City was rainy. Our seas weren’t overly active, but the winds did blow pretty hard a couple of times, which gave the ship a gentle rocking motion which we enjoy. One overnight there was heavy fog, which meant the ship’s loud fog horn boomed every few minutes for hours on end, but only that one night. We were so lucky with the weather on this cruise. Ports and Shore Excursions: Holland America offered a good variety of (mostly-expensive) excursion choices in each port. We discovered beginning at our first port stop we were the very first cruise ship from any company sailing a US East Coast and Canada itinerary this “summer” season. That was both good and bad. The good: there were few crowds/tourists anywhere except for Boston, which is a busy city in any season, and in Bar Harbor it was really easy to find a warm jacket on winter clearance sale to wear on this cruise. The bad: everywhere other than Boston it was still “winter season”. That meant most store fronts and tourist/excursion sites were either still shuttered for the winter, were undergoing late-winter-delayed construction or just cleaning out the winter cobwebs and not ready for tourists, or they were significantly reduced to only a minimal operation compared to what was said to be available beginning in mid-May. For us, Boston was a fun day with lots to see and do on our own with hop-on-hop-off trolley tickets we’d purchased before the cruise. Our Bar Harbor excursion was cancelled by Holland America, but that was okay with us because we’d been there before, and we enjoyed just strolling around the Norman Rockwell-like streets while stopping in one of the local pubs for a delicious lobstah roll. Halifax was a very long day due to our choice of a 7-hour coach excursion to Peggy’s Cove (beautiful but mostly closed for our less-than-an-hour stop), Lunenberg (also a beautiful waterfront village but still mostly closed for the season during our hour-long stop), and Mahone Bay (beautiful, too, but really closed during our forty-minutes stop). In Sydney we went to the restored Louisbourg fortress which was historically interesting, but disappointing because only three of the many buildings were open, and only a small handful of reenactors were around. We absolutely loved the Charlottetown/Prince Edward Island excursion for its drive through rolling hills, expansive farmers’ fields, and the Anne of Green Gables House stop. Quebec City was interesting even in the rain. On our walking excursion around both the old and new parts of the city there was a constant drone of loud construction and traffic noise, along with competing noise from other early-season tourist groups. It was impossible to hear our excursion guide, but it was still an interesting port stop. Conclusion: If you’ve survived to the end of this too-long review, you’ve seen why overall we had another great cruise experience. Zaandam and her crew/staff were top notch, and this itinerary had interesting ports. Will we be more aware of the potential good and bad characteristics of a “shoulder season” cruise in the future? Yep. And we’ll certainly cruise with Holland America again. Cheers! Read Less
Sail Date: April 2019
We choose this cruise because it was a transatlantic combined with the Baltic ports, which we wanted to see, besides we were twice before in the Zuiderdam and had a fantastic time with great music and entertainment. This time in 26 ... Read More
We choose this cruise because it was a transatlantic combined with the Baltic ports, which we wanted to see, besides we were twice before in the Zuiderdam and had a fantastic time with great music and entertainment. This time in 26 days we had music at the Ocean Bar twice, one great show with Ikos Lakis and his Saxsophon which was as always magnificent. The rest of the shows were comedians than couldn't make anyone laugh, a piano player which was just o.k.. The Pinnacle Grill was the best food in the ship, as always. Excellent food and service. The dinning room food was o.k. twice I had to send my salmon back be cause was not even half cook. The best part of the dinning room were the servers, as always excellent service. My husband went a few times to the Lectures which he enjoyed. I went to American Test Kitchen which was very good. The ports. Bermuda was o.k. Pria de Vitoria was empty, not much to do. The Baltic stops were fantastic Amsterdam, Sudden, Belgium, Cherbourg France, Tallin, Berlin, Kiel, and the best by far 2 days in St. Petersburg, all amazing ports. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
I wanted to express that this was a relaxing cruise, the activity was limited , but the food was excellent, excursions were good, entertainment was okay, the room was spacious, loved being on the top floor, the wait staff ... Read More
I wanted to express that this was a relaxing cruise, the activity was limited , but the food was excellent, excursions were good, entertainment was okay, the room was spacious, loved being on the top floor, the wait staff "Herman" any time dining located on floor 2, Herman was a wonderful server with a big smile, very helpful and tentative to me, the bartenders were wonderful. The candy man who was the greeter he always had a smile. The pasties were delicious and nicely displayed; Oliver in the bar was excellent he knew what I wanted to drink before sitting down. Oliver works in the Crows Nest. The towel staff and the pool area was supreme. The piano bar and BB King great music and dancing all night long. I learned a lot during the cooking demonstration well presented and demonstrated. The crew members who help you on and off the ship are great. The photographer Andrew was wonderful and Wayne in the Jewelry shop was full of hugs and smiles. Sung who worked in the perfume store beautiful girl. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
I want to start off my saying the cruise wasn't bad. I met a few great people and had a good time. Did I like the new ship, Nieuw Statendam? Not really. I knew when I signed up for the cruise I just might find it too crowded, and I ... Read More
I want to start off my saying the cruise wasn't bad. I met a few great people and had a good time. Did I like the new ship, Nieuw Statendam? Not really. I knew when I signed up for the cruise I just might find it too crowded, and I did. We were a full transatlantic, which doesn't happen often. In 2014, my husband and I did the Nieuw Amsterdam transatlantic to Barcelona and loved it. I loved the ship and have been on her again and plan to go again next year. Our ship was probably at most half full, so that made it nice. One of the typical perks of a transatlantic. But a few weeks before sail date, there was an accident with the Oasis of the Seas in the Bahamas, and their transatlantic was canceled. So the ship went from being I will guess about 60% full to sold out overnight. It also gave us a bit of a different mix than normal. There were a lot of die hard Royal Caribbean fans, and those that like Oasis of the Seas aren't really the same people that love Holland America. Not sure if related, but it was the first time I actually saw three incidents on the ship. One could have been potentially bad. It started because the Lido closed at 8 and then reopened at 10:30. It seemed like a really dumb thing to me, but this guy in the Lido decided to take it out on the dining room staff. He screamed very loudly at one of the dining room female staff to get him food after the dining room closed. She said she couldn't. He began to scream very loudly at her, that she was the same girl that wouldn't help him the night before. She and her coworker, who looked nothing alike but were both from Indonesia, both shook their heads no. The other female said the night before, he had yelled at her. It got very heated as he continued to scream at both of the women. Then another passenger came over and started shaking his finger in the guy's face, so I went for the manager and he was able to cool down the situation. The staff and managers were all super nice and very good. I had no problem with the staff. The other two incidents were just loud, obnoxious people making a lot of rude comments etc. I have never experienced that on HAL before. The ship to me, as I said, felt very crowded. They have added 600 passengers with only 40 more feet in length and a few areas on the top. I really enjoy Holland's signature class ships (Nieuw Amsterdam and Eurodam) and the Vista class ships. They are the right size for me and the vista class has the most space per passenger of all HAL's ships. The cabins on NS (Nieuw Statendam) are much smaller than the ships I am used to going on. I ended up doing an upsell to a Vista Suite, which put me in a cabin the size of a typical balcony on most of the ships I favor. The cabins were very nice, except I was shocked to see so much wear on the loveseat in the cabin. The ship had only been sailing for four months at that time. I did mention it and the next day I had a new loveseat cushion. The lobby/atrium area has lost all the seating due to the Grand Dutch Cafe. We enjoy the famous Dutch pea soup and hot chocolate typically on the promenade deck, but now we have to sit inside. The Promenade deck has no loungers, as they now have the lifeboats on that deck that block the view. The walking the deck that was always my favorite past time was kind of ruined by the narrow pathways front and aft and the lifeboats. I still walked but it felt more like a chore than a pleasure. It was also a bit stressful as I am short and older, so I don't walk that fast. There are many areas that are so narrow, only one person can fit and I was constantly looking back to see if somebody was behind me. I was startled more than once. The lobby chandelier if you can call it that is this odd, metal thing that is just different. I did not feel any of the wow factor I felt when entering the Noordam or the Eurodam when new. There is a lot of modern, music themed art. Some of it is quite nice and a lot of is just seems inexpensive. The areas by the elevators is almost bare, no bench to sit at like before. But to me, the worst part was the overcrowding in many entertainment areas. The World Stage holds 800 people. We were 2,600 so with 2 shows, I guess one had to go at least an hour ahead to get a seat. We got a seat fo one performance by climbing over other passengers. The theater seats are so close to the ones in front, there is no other way to get by. The Rolling Stone Rock Room was always jammed. I never once found a seat at the Lincoln Center state performances. I stood for those. They were great, but it would have been very nice for what I paid for the cruise to have a seat at least once or twice. The transatlantic was 14 days. I felt like I did not get good value for my money, which was the first time in all my 16 cruises with Holland America. There were many poor choices, for example, the light color Lido carpeting that was always dirty. The manager told me they have to shampoo it once a week. The staff was great and I will travel with HAL again, just not on this size ship. The embarkation and disembarkation could not have gone better. The cabin was well laid out and nice. It was too cold and windy to use my balcony for most of the cruise, but our destination was Amsterdam. I did not like the main dining room on Deck 2, anytime dining. Tables very close together but the manager was kind enough to get me fixed seating on Deck 3 and it was wonderful. Overall, I had a great time and met new friends. But this ship and I assume the other Pinnacle class ships are just not for me and is not what I have come to expect on Holland America. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
We had never cruised on Holland America but chose this one as a new ship with a great transatlantic itinerary including Azores, Normandy, Brugge and ending in Amsterdam in time to still see the tulips in Keukenhof. Our cabin was a ... Read More
We had never cruised on Holland America but chose this one as a new ship with a great transatlantic itinerary including Azores, Normandy, Brugge and ending in Amsterdam in time to still see the tulips in Keukenhof. Our cabin was a corner balcony on the 7th deck and was very nice. Not that big but laid out well including the bathroom with a nice large shower. We chose any time Dining and found the choices in the main Dining room good and service pretty good although don't get a table for 10 as can be very slow. We also loved the Pinnacle Grill and also went to the Italian restaurant as well.We also enjoyed the Dutch cafe in which the food is complimentary. Entertainment at night was good as saw great dancers (One Step) who used the 180 degree screen which incorporated a very high tech show.We also enjoyed the music venues especially BB King Blues Club. There wasn't that much to do on sea days if you didn't go to the lectures or the Test Kitchen shows. They have a great sports court when not too windy was able to play Pickleball on one of the 2 courts on most sea days. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
My last Translatlantic being five years ago, I decided to one again. The previous one was to Rome, which is a far better route. By heading for a Mediterrranean final destination you stay in the good weather zone. After Ponta Delgado we ... Read More
My last Translatlantic being five years ago, I decided to one again. The previous one was to Rome, which is a far better route. By heading for a Mediterrranean final destination you stay in the good weather zone. After Ponta Delgado we have increasing cold with a hail storm in Brugges in a freezing cold city. HAL better go to Rome or Barcelona first, do some cruises in that part of the world and than do a one way to Amsterdam/Rotterdam/Copenhagen. I found the quality of the service at all levels and in any place outstanding. Very friendly, helpful dedicated staff that seemed to enjoy what they were doing. Excellent team spirit, The interior is beautiful. Nothing garrish, instead everywhere subtle hints to the musical theme. And no faux paintings, but modern interesting art pieces. Cabin is slightly smaller than on other HAL ships. A wardrobe has gone missing. Instead there is an air vent there, which is a good idea. As single traveller I do not need all that space, but I can imagine that others will miss that wardrobe. Well there is always your suitcase under your bed. After all it all fitted in there, didn't it? I never visit shows, as I prefer MDR late dining. MDR has good seating procedures. Never had to wait for more than a couple of minutes. Very unlikely the other HAL ships who seem to have problems seating a single person. Food in MDR is very good. The occasional glitch, but I love the quality of the meat and the service is impeccable. Lido food is excellent and of enormous variation. Tamarind has raised the price and changed the formula slightly. Less choice for more money. Crow's Nest has been butchered up in a community room in a day care centre. The view given by the curved windows in the centre has been blocked by two huge screens showing cruise information. Which idiot is responsible for that? The bar has been reduced to 5 stools and closes at 9 pm. So no more long evening drinking at the bar in the crow's nest, which as far as I can remember has been a main feature of taking a cruise. There is always a late bar for that very specific set of people. Not so on Nieuw Statendam which becomes a dry county after 11.30 pm. Finally, the prices of alcholic beverages is ridiculously inflated. 11 US dollars for a glass of white wine coming from a screwcap bottle is prohibitive on the consumption of drinks. HAL happily distributes drinks packages for free, and you see the difference between the passengers who do and the ones who do not have a package. Everything is duty free and bought in massive quantities. So why so expensive? Fewer flower arrangements, no chocolate party, no baked Alaska, but wonderful movie selection in cabin. You win some, you loose some. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
We chose this cruise for the itinerary. The extra bonus was this new sparkling ship. The crossing was warm with calm seas. The ship is beautiful. It was fully booked but not crowded. Staff was professional and attentive. The food ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the itinerary. The extra bonus was this new sparkling ship. The crossing was warm with calm seas. The ship is beautiful. It was fully booked but not crowded. Staff was professional and attentive. The food options were delicious. We would choose this ship anyday. Visiting Normandy and the other ports were the highlights of this crossing. We enjoyed all the public spaces, especially the Crows Nest. The Dutch Cafe is a great place for coffee and pastries. We enjoyed the covered pool area and often ate our Lido food at one of the poolside tables. Wish they had offered a one day thermal spa pass. We felt $299 pp was excessive for the cruise. Many times the hydro pool and spa appeared empty. We enjoyed open dining and usually ate at the same table. This is one of the most beautiful ships we have cruised. It ranks as our favorite and was our 7th Transatlantic cruise. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Booked this 14-day transatlantic repositioning cruise at a great price -- our balcony stateroom had an obstructed view but we still had a view and it was just fine. Knew there would be many more at-sea days that port days, which was okay ... Read More
Booked this 14-day transatlantic repositioning cruise at a great price -- our balcony stateroom had an obstructed view but we still had a view and it was just fine. Knew there would be many more at-sea days that port days, which was okay with us. Embarkation in Ft Lauderdale: Stayed at Four Points by Sheraton Fort Lauderdale and took advantage of their port transfer kiosk in the lobby. We also liked their on-site bar and restaurant. On our sailing day, we chose to ignore our assigned boarding time (1:30) and went to the port a couple hours early. Practically walked right on to the ship! The ship is absolutely beautiful! The décor, the art, and the music theme all played well together. The Lido pool area (with the retractable roof) was very thoughtfully done with different seating and lounging options. Stateroom 4070 was fine and the storage was more than adequate. At night you could hear the music from the venues below but we were not bothered by it. We had the twin bed configuration but I don't think the beds are regulation twin sized -- narrower. The bathroom had a walk-in shower, which was great but the toilet was placed at an odd angle and it never really "felt" right. Storage in the bathroom is lacking -- only one bank of shelves instead of the customary two. That meant using the shelf under the sink for what you could and storing other toiletries elsewhere in the cabin which wasn't really very convenient. Food in the Lido Market Buffet was presented well, and the very few times we ate there, we enjoyed the food and the service. I do appreciate that it is not self serve - and perhaps very related -- we had no illness breakout either. Ordered room service breakfast most days and, except for the day we got double of everything we ordered, we were happy with the quality and temperature of the food. Main Dining Room for dinner was fine -- food was sometimes great and sometimes not. Some days the menu offerings were not very cohesive and we laughed that they must be cleaning out the fridge. For lunch we alternated between the salad bar in the buffet, The Dive In for burgers/hotdogs etc., and The New York Deli and Pizza -- all were very good. The specialty restaurants really shine on the Nieuw Statendam! We went to the special De Librije Dinner with wine pairings presented in the Pinnacle Grill and it was fantastic and well worth the price. Ate two other times at the Pinnacle Grill steak house and both times were marvelous. The Sel de Mer, the French seafood restaurant, was exceptional and we would have eaten there more than once but we could not get in again. Tamarind, the Asian restaurant, was just delightful and I think you need to go more than once, as we did, to really experience the diversity of the menu. Canaletto, the Italian restaurant, was just okay -- not nearly as stellar as the other restaurants. We did not experience the Grand Dutch Café but others told us how much they enjoyed the coffees, sweets and other offerings there. Also, we did not eat at the Mami Sushi Bar. There was another restaurant, The Culinary Arts Center, which they closed down prior to our sailing. They replaced it with Club Orange, which was a dining venue for suite guests and others who were willing to pay an additional $50 per person, per day fee -- we were not willing. Entertainment: The BB King Blues Club was considerably larger than I have seen on other HAL ships, and with the wonderful band they had there, you still had some trouble finding a seat -- They should offer that band a life time contract! In the Rolling Stone Rock bar there was a live band but they just seemed loud to me. I certainly recognized all the music they played, they just didn't play it, or sing it, all that well. And then there is the Billboard Onboard which featured dueling pianos. One of the artists played well but all of his vocals sounded like Elton John was singing (even if it wasn't an Elton John song). The other male artist played well but did not sing very well -- his renditions of female vocalists was just sad. I think hiring male vs female dueling piano artists would be better. We never managed to time going to the World Stage for shows very well -- always packed. Lincoln Center Stage artist performed early evening and were delightful. We went to bingo once, enjoyed the daily trivia games and even worked on a couple of jigsaw puzzles on cooler at-sea days. The casino was extremely tight. Miscellaneous: There are many bars on this ship and, because we bought the beverage packages, we sampled a little something at all of them! The beverage package works for us but it may not work for you -- do the math. WiFi charges continue to be outrageous on this ship, and on all cruise lines -- shameful. Best deal? Unlimited laundry! The cost is per stateroom, not per person, and knowing you can have things washed, pressed and hung up, really changes how you pack for a cruise. Shore Excursions: We only had 4 ports of call on this trip - two port stops in the Azores, one in Cherbourg France, and a stop for a visit to Bruges in Belgium. Weather wasn't our friend on this trip and it was rather windy and cold at a couple of stops.. We reserved ONE HAL shore excursion, and it was dreadful. A total waste of too much money. HAL has to stop gouging people on excursion prices. Service: Everyone aboard the Nieuw Statendam was friendly, helpful, and I can not think of even one negative thing to say about my interactions or the service. Disembarkation in Amsterdam: I knew the smoothness of this trip was too good to be true -- disembarkation was a cold, long mess. Honestly, I don't think it was the fault of HAL. I don't think they had enough personnel at the EU entry point and the line to get there moved glacially. Used Rudy's Taxi Company for port to hotel and hotel to airport transfers -- excellent. Stayed one night in Amsterdam at the Hotel Estherea (great location if a bit pricy) and flew home the next day. Would I like to cruise on the Nieuw Statendam again? Absolutely! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2019
We chose the cruise in large part because we wanted to experience the still-new Niew Amsterday just a few months after it had been christened. Embarkation and disembarkation were flawless and user-friendly. Once aboard, where we had a ... Read More
We chose the cruise in large part because we wanted to experience the still-new Niew Amsterday just a few months after it had been christened. Embarkation and disembarkation were flawless and user-friendly. Once aboard, where we had a standard verandah stateroom, we enjoyed almost every moment of the cruise from Fr. Lauderdale to Amsterdam in late-April, early-May 2019. The stateroom was fresh, nicely decorated, clean and comfortable. Our stateroom was at the very front of the ship and yet we never felt any untoward motion despite some rough seas along the route. Much to rave about: 1. Public spaces are beautiful and punctuated by public art so plentiful we seemed to discover something new every day. 2. Entertainment options were outstanding, as seems to be consistent across all of Holland America's ships. Great singers and dancers, two marvelous pianists, sizable casino (at which I won a $1200 jackpot (playing a penny slot machine, at 300 pennies per pull), duplicate bridge on every sea day and many more activities too numerous to detail. The main stage featured a new 270 degree screen, which utilized technology in ways that greatly enhanced not only lectures but also integrated technology into singing and (especially) dancing in a mesmerizing way. 3. The ship moved rapidly yet smoothly. Even in the English Channel, with some awesome swells one evening, the ride remained smooth. We never saw, experienced or heard of anyone being seasick. 4. The water in the two swimming pools was about 84 degrees, very comfortable, and each pool had multiple jacuzzi's, with water cascadomg from the top ones to the middle ones and then the bottom ones, a pleasant sight to see and experience. 5. The retractable roof over the main pool and largest outdoor sitting area was open in the daytime, weather permitting, and closed at night so free full length movies could be shown outdoors 6. Free popcorn topped off the free movie and blankets were plentiful on the chillier nights. 7. Food was outstanding in Rudi's Sel de Mer (upcharge) and also in Tamarind (upcharge), which we enjoyed two and three times, respectively, on this two week cruise. Two other upcharge restaurants (Pinnacle Grill and Canaletto) were good, but not great. We tried each one once, and ate in the main dining room the other nights. Main dining also was good, but not great food. Service was excellent, however. 8. Serving staff and cabin stewards were friendly, wore genuine smiles, and unfailingly wanted to please. Service was excellent everywhere on board. Little to criticize, but here is a short list: 1. With just two swimming pools, one mid-ship and one aft, the ship allows smoking adjacent to the aft pool, and of course the smoke wafts everywhere. Consequently, the main pool (non-smoking area) was much more heavily used than the aft pool. Moreover, the prime outdoor viewing/sightseeing area is aft, around and behind the aft pool, and it effectively has been co-opted by smokers (a minority of total passengers) at the expense of non-smokers (the clear majority of passengers). 2. Similarly, the casino apparently allows smoking on alternating days, which is just as unpleasant and just as silly (catering to the smoking minority of passengers) as is the smoking area by the aft pool. On the no smoking days the casino still reeked of tobacco smoke. One suggestion: All employees wear their name badges on the left sides of their clothing, chest high. Which means that when the shake hands (always right-handed), their name tag is turned away from the one whose hand they are shaking, making it difficult to read the name tag. Employees should wear their name tags on their right sides, so that when shaking hands they are turning the name tag closer to the other person and making them much easier to read. Simple suggestion, powerful results, I can assure you. In Washington, D.C., where everyone wants to meet everyone else (in power, but that's another story) and know their names, almost everyone has learned to wear their name badges on their right sides. Holland America should check it out and make the same small but significant change. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Panama Canal was on the bucket list, so we pulled the trigger. The price on the Volendam from Fort Lauderdale to San Francisco was to good to pass up. This was a 17 day cruise in April so there were kids on board at all, and the average ... Read More
Panama Canal was on the bucket list, so we pulled the trigger. The price on the Volendam from Fort Lauderdale to San Francisco was to good to pass up. This was a 17 day cruise in April so there were kids on board at all, and the average age of the cruisers was probably about 75. My wife and I are in our early 50’s so we were some of the youngest on board. We are very active so this review, especially the port stops is geared to the more active types. Volendam is now 20 years old and she shows her age a little bit but it is well taken care of and still very luxurious. It was below capacity (about 1200 passengers) so there were rarely lines anywhere and it is a very spacious considering it’s a small ship compared to most of the big beasts out on the Caribbean. There were plenty of activities on board to keep us busy on the sea days. America’s Test Kitchen was very cool and the EXC port talks and historical talks were fantastic. Pools and hot tubs were never crowded. Our room was an Outside View right on the promenade deck. We were right next to a door leading out to the wrap around promenade, so it was almost like having a balcony…. We loved the accessibility of the room to the walking deck. The had plenty of storage space even with all the clothes we brought for the 17 days. We used the $20 laundry bag service 1 time in the middle of the cruise. The bathroom had been remodeled and the new glass door shower was the largest we’ve ever had on a cruise ship and the temp and water pressure were always consistent. Embarkation in Fort Lauderdale took only about 20 minutes once we got to the terminal which was only a couple miles from the airport. Debarkation took about 30 minutes in SF. Sailing under the Golden Gate Bridge in the morning was also quite spectacular. All in all, with ship, the canal, calm seas, and 9 port stops, it couldn’t have been better. Every part of the cruise exceeded our expectations. The food and service in main dining room was fantastic and even the buffet was quite good. Room service was also excellent, with a different towel animal every night! That’s 17 different animals…. Cartagena: We took a taxi to the old walled city and walked around for several hours. Beautiful architecture and very Caribbean looking. The port had a shop and a nice aviary for no charge with many parrots and other exotic birds and animals. Leave a half hour to explore this area. Panama Canal: Awesome piece of engineering and history. Very cool to see the lock systems and the many other big ships transiting the canal. Costa Rica: Did a HAL zipline excursion. The place was near the coastal town of Jaco and we rode an aerial tram to the top then zip lined our way down the mountain. There were reptile and butterfly displays at the base that were very interesting. Sadly, we didn’t see any wildlife other than iguanas. Very fun tour though. Nicaragua: Took a peddle taxi tour of the little port town. The place was very poor, but our driver was very cool and spoke good English, so we learned a lot about the country and the politics. Not much to see, but made us appreciate what we have here at home. Guatemala: Took a HAL bus for a “on your own” tour of Antigua. It was about an hour bus ride through the countryside with guides giving some history of the area. Antigua itself was very pretty with many fabulous churches. We walked all over town and it was very nice. Puerto Chiapas: Took a HAL excursion to some Mayan ruins and then to a demonstration of how cocoa beans are grown and processed into chocolate. Nice tour but we thought a little over priced at $100 per person. Huatulco: Our favorite stop. Excellent swim beach right by the pier. We took a $5 taxi to Playa La Entrega a couple mile away and it was great. Excellent snorkeling and many restaurants right on the beach. We were there on a Sunday so many locals were there with us which actually made it more fun. The vendors pester the locals too….. Manzanillo: Ship docks right downtown. Lots of shops right there. We took a grueling hike up to the cross on the mountain to the right of town. We were hot and sweaty but the view was amazing. Puerto Vallarta: Did another zipline tour through HAL. This was a great excursion but only for the very physically fit. Right of the ship we boarded a little speed boat that whisked us about 30 minutes south to a bay where we switch to Unimogs to drive to the Zipline. Basically like an Army truck. Perfect for the crazy dirt road. Then after getting geared up, we rode mules up to the top of the mountain. And then it was more than just ziplines. We also repelled down a waterfall, did 2 giant waterslides, and then a new roller coaster zipline to end the tour. Very awesome!! This was our favorite zipline ever. Cabo San Lucas: Went parasailing then walked all over town. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
We booked this ship because it was brand new and we wanted to see the Eastern Caribbean islands. Our research revealed that HAL had a great reputation. The following is our own personal opinion after a 1 week cruise on the Nieuw ... Read More
We booked this ship because it was brand new and we wanted to see the Eastern Caribbean islands. Our research revealed that HAL had a great reputation. The following is our own personal opinion after a 1 week cruise on the Nieuw Statendam. Embarkation and Disembarkation: Flawless, speedy and very well organized. The Ship: Fabulous is the first word that comes to our minds. It is well laid out, lots of space to sit and chat. Plenty of places to find food and drinks. Servers everywhere and they even have call buttons on the tables for ordering drinks. The ship was very smooth during sailing even in inclement weather - never really felt any vibration due to her advanced operating systems. Cabin: Vista Suite with Veranda - outstanding is the first word that comes to mind. Lots of storage, elegant, both 110/220 volt outlets, large shower, lots of in-room comforting accoutrements, and a really great selection of current movies. The cabin attendants knew your name from the minute you got on the ship and they get a 100% TOP score for doing such a great job - children loved the different daily towel animals!!! Food: Main dinning room - no table reservations before 8.00 p.m. this we found to be not good especially when you have children. Service was fabulous but food delivery was very slow. Food choices are varied on the menu each night with fixed options each night (steak, chicken, etc) in case you did not like daily menu. Lido Cafe - it was without doubt always a choice for any meal of the day with something to suit any taste or desire. The Dive In - although little in space they pushed orders out very fast and this was outstanding food. The New York Deli - was also good with great sandwiches although, some of the pizza toppings ran out. Dutch Cafe- great coffee and sweets! We did not like the fact that we had to pay for the Gelato Ice cream. Drink Package: We chose the Signature Drink Package which allowed us all types of drinks under $10. This proved to be sufficient for us, unless you are a "high-end top shelf drinker" most people would be fine with this package. We did not like the 1 drink order limit restriction. Children's Activities: ZERO here because anything outside the kids play room was non-existent. Prior to the cruise we read lots of "chat" about HAL being a "retired persons cruise line". Although many people had written that HAL changed its mentality and was gearing more towards families rather than older crowds - this was not the case on our cruise - children were bored due to the lack of "kids activities and amenities". Pools: The mid ship pool is very small and the rear pool had an adults only restriction on it. OK, we get this, but then why were all the adults gathered at the mid-ship pool. So, this meant that the kids had to share the only pool with the adults - but the adult pool did not share with the kids - this was absolutely unfair in our opinion. While the children frolicked in the pool - "adults" complained about being splashed - sorry, then move your old butt to the adult pool! The Crew: Tip-Top perfect service by the crew in all areas of the ship !!! Entertainment: Yes they offered 4 types of music, but after a week of the same 4 types of music and nothing new, it gets old. Crows Nest: Great place to chill out and watch the surroundings. Bad part is all the "retired folks" hogged up the loungers at the big front overlooking windows and then fell asleep for hours. That was a bit unfair for those of us who actually wanted to sit there for their intended purpose because these seats had the best view on the entire ship. Activities: We found the "ship info, kitchen tour & the captain's talk" the best part of the activities offered. These three activities were very informative and really great leaning for all. The Captain was fantastic, and very friendly. Besides that, it really seemed like the same entertainment and activities each day. For families it was a bit boring in our opinion. OK, you had basketball, shuffleboard, ping-pong, card games, and swimming, but with short ports of call, and 2 days at sea - it got a little boring after a few days with only the same options. The cruise director could have offered much more as we have seen from our prior cruises with other companies. Overall Cleanliness: Extremely clean ship - we loved having a place to wash your hands at all the entrances at the Lido Cafe. Great job by the service crew to keep the ship in such a clean and fresh environment. Public Toilets: absolutely perfectly clean all the time. Casino: Lots of play choice - although smoking permitted - 1 day at sea was no smoking allowed - that was refreshing! America's Test Kitchen: Sorry, only one word to say here - Boring! No participation allowed just watching someone cook. Port of Calls: Found them all to be well organized, and very quick to get everyone on and off the ship. The Security team did a great job to ensure our safety, kudos to them for all they did for us! Recommendations to HAL: Offer daily info sessions about the specific ports of call. Make an area on the ship where you play some Caribbean / local music rather than the same stuff we hear at home. The weather did not permit us to make one port of call, therefore we found that we had to entertain ourselves because the Cruise Director came up with card games, and other non-fun things for us to do as a family - when you cannot make a port of call then you should be prepared ahead of time to entertain the passengers to off-set the disappoint of missing out on a port of call. Lastly, please think of ways to entertain children a little more - and I do not mean like Disney or Carnival -- we purposely do not travel on these lines because the adults need to have fun also. A big thanks to the HAL Captain and his fabulous team for a very wonderful vacation! Signed, 7 HAL passengers (mixed USA & Europe) Read Less
Sail Date: April 2019
We primarily took this cruise for 2 reasons. First we wanted to stop at Turks & Caicos and second we wanted to sail on a new ship and it happened to be our anniversary as well. Neither of these let us down. Great shore stops and ... Read More
We primarily took this cruise for 2 reasons. First we wanted to stop at Turks & Caicos and second we wanted to sail on a new ship and it happened to be our anniversary as well. Neither of these let us down. Great shore stops and beautiful new ship. The food was probably the most consistently delicious throughout the vacation. We dined in the main dining room, the lido cafe, Tamarind and experienced the food from the Pinnacle Grill. Everything was delicious. The drinks from the bar were excellent and the bar staff were knowledgeable and interactive. We took in shows from the piano quintet and from the main stage such as the mentalist and the comedian. All shows were entertaining and engaging. I have two critiques to share. Our first stop was in Turks in which we encountered some delays in approval for disembarking. For some reason, the crew only opened 1 exit at the front of the ship which made getting off a nightmare. My wife and I waited an hour to get off the ship waiting in the stairwell with literally thousands of other passengers all trying to get out single file as well. Fortunately we were the only ship in port at the time and although we booked our shore excursion through a different company than the cruise ship, they waited as our ship was there only business. It is my understanding that others were not as lucky and missed their tours. Something to be said about booking through the cruise company. This came to in handy as the weather was rough for our stop at Half Moon and we couldn't get off the ship. This time we had booked through the cruise ship and got our shore excursions refunded as they were unable to ferry us to the island. Another issue was the pre-purchase of the cellar master package. There was much confusion between us and the ship about which package was purchased. Unfortunately this came to a head on the 6th night of our cruise which was our anniversary during out dinner at the Pinnacle Grill. So much so that we ended up leaving the restaurant prior to enjoying our meal. The staff rectified the situation, but the event was really unfortunate. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
This is HA newest and largest cruise ship and we wanted to try it after having done the Volendam in December 2018. Happy that we did. Embarkation and disembarkation both went smoothly. We arrived in FLL the day before, which allowed ... Read More
This is HA newest and largest cruise ship and we wanted to try it after having done the Volendam in December 2018. Happy that we did. Embarkation and disembarkation both went smoothly. We arrived in FLL the day before, which allowed us to arrive at the ship about 1 pm when embarkation was just beginning, so it went smoothly. We miscalculated on disembarkation. We had booked a 8:50 AM flight from FLL to IAD. We took our luggage and rolled off the Nieuw Statendam at 7:30 AM, grabbed a taxi to FLL, but couldn't get our luggage checked in time, in time being 8:30 AM, and thus we couldn't get our boarding passes in time either. We got lucky; there was a 1:05 PM flight from FLL to IAD and we were able to check our luggage and get our boarding passes for that flight. The World Stage theater was very impressive, cutting edge, and entertaining. The décor of the Dining Room was somewhat spartan to our tastes. But the food and service and our table mates were all outstanding. The social interactions added so much to our cruise experience. The live music at the Rolling Stones and the B.B. King and the Lincoln Center Stage, and the twin piano players played to full houses. Our Vista Suite was obviously new and well designed. The tv screen was 55 inches. On the Volendam it was 30 inches. We missed the library that was on the Volendam, but was absent, or radically downsized, on the Nieuw Statendam. FWIW, we are Platinum members on RCCL, but now we prefer Holland America. It caters to an older demographics and Holland America knows how to appeal to us seniors really well. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
We are an Australian couple who have taken 20 cruises. Previously we have sailed 21 days on the Koningsdam and 15 on the Noordam. We chose this cruise as we were visiting the USA and realised it was holiday season and because it is a new ... Read More
We are an Australian couple who have taken 20 cruises. Previously we have sailed 21 days on the Koningsdam and 15 on the Noordam. We chose this cruise as we were visiting the USA and realised it was holiday season and because it is a new ship. We have recently tried several of the premium lines (Azamara, Viking, Seabourn and Crystal) and HAL stacks up well for a main line. Overall we had a great cruise, the weather was mostly great, the ports were new to us, HAL has benefited from having the Koningsdam before this ship, awesome music and entertainment and a great variety of dining options. Fellow passengers were much younger than a normal Hal crowd with loads of families. The cruise felt very busy but the overall vibe was very positive. We embarked in FLL for the first time. We arrived a little later than we normally do in the early afternoon and were on the ship very quickly. We had lunch in the mdr where the ugly problems from previous HAL cruises quickly reared their head ie the laboriously slow “sommeliers”. After eating the first 2 courses I left the restaurant and got our own drinks by the time I returned the sommelier was only just arriving at the table to take our order. A complaint to the manager ensured it was much quicker every time following which was good but just to be safe we still took a glass with us. Even worse than the slow ordering is the fact that if you have the drinks package your wine has to be collected from a bar and makes the process even slower, they are the only cruise line we have come across that make it this difficult. As with other HAL cruises food in the mdr was inconsistent but overall a good experience. We loved the other variety of food onboard, stand alone pizza bar, burger bar and the Dutch cafe were all very high quality. The lido is very good, the bread was top class as were the salads. We love that they serve you making it healthier for everyone. The ship is new and overall we really liked the design. Music themed modern art adorns the ship and makes it interesting to explore. A promenade and jogging track made outdoor exercise easy. The theatre with 270 degree screens was great and the new dance shows were awesome. The comedian was very funny as well. There are 2 pools, the aft pool is adult only and was a nice area (except for the smoking) but the policing of children was inconsistent. The highlight is the music venues. Duelling pianos, rock band, BbKings blues band and classical group made for amazing variety and all were high quality. One area of the ship that was a bit of a disappointment was the crows nest, we thought the one on the Koningsdam was disappointing but this is even worse. It is trying to be the explorations cafe, shorex desk, bar area and meeting room. There is not enough seating and it seemed to attract families with young small noisy children. Hal is not known for a lot of activities which we normally enjoy, there were a couple of trivia’s but not a lot else of interest to us but with such nice weather and other activities such as table tennis, shuffleboard etc there was plenty to do onboard. Service - Hal regulars always rave about Hal service but personally we find it overrated. That is not to say it is poor just that it is average. Guest relations were again poor. Our stateroom attendant was friendly but just average. Waiters and bar staff were efficient. One issue we had was when a very drunken passenger threatened me, bar staff has already cut him off and called security but they didn’t arrive in time and surprisingly no one followed up the issue with me despite taking my details. When I queried this later I was simply told the passenger was dealt with - strange that I saw him as drunk again the following day. We bought the drinks package which we think is good value with bottled water, nice coffees and great cocktails. Wine choices are very limited though. We missed Half Moon Cay due to weather which was disappointing but we really enjoyed Turks, Puerto Rico and St Thomas (seriously lucky as only ship in port!). Embarking and disembarking was easy. As the cruise was expensive we only booked an interior cabin but it was very large (it seemed to be bigger than others we saw). We really liked it but there was no couch. Overall an enjoyable cruise with high quality decor, great variety in dining and entertainment, new technology and solid service. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
I've never felt compelled to write a review but after our recent trip I must express how delighted we were. I was looking for a college graduation trip for my son and his girlfriend and had to work within certain dates and costs. I ... Read More
I've never felt compelled to write a review but after our recent trip I must express how delighted we were. I was looking for a college graduation trip for my son and his girlfriend and had to work within certain dates and costs. I first saw this trip as a reasonable prospect but knew nothing about HAL. My travel agent thought I might enjoy being on a new ship and knew that I was most recently on Celebrity (loved) and Royal (didn't love). But it's an old people's line, right? First of all, the new venue was beautiful. I'm not that much of a snob about decor, etc., but everything was fabulous. (I probably will repeat this word a few times.) The artwork was eclectic, the flowers are amazing (never paid attention to flowers before on a cruise). My 20 somethings were enthralled, posting picture after picture on IG and Snapchat. Yes, even Facebook even though it's for old fogies. We had a balcony room. It was probably a little narrower than on Celebrity but seemed longer and the storage was better than other ships I've been on. (Two closets for hanging.) The balcony had ottomans which I know is a big bone of contention on other ships. The food was great. My kids are foodies and ordered multiple entrees, appetizers, etc., which was no problem. The main dining room was lovely and since I usually have Aqua class on Celebrity I was a little concerned about this. No problem! We had the late seating and never had a problem with waiting. The only meal we weren't happy with was one fish dish that was slightly dry. Pretty good batting average on a seven day cruise. We had two specialty restaurants included and loved both Canaletto and Pinnacle Grill. The only disappointment for my son was that he couldn't order multiple dishes in Pinnacle. He got over it. The music was great fun with the Billboard Piano duo switching out with the Rolling Stone Room. Down the hall was BB King which played at the same time. I love music and thought it was terrific but I'm no music critic. We didn't spend time in the casino but I have to say that it wasn't very smoky. I really didn't mind walking through like in most ships. It's also worth mentioning that the casino bar had the only TV we noticed. We only were aware because the NBA playoffs were on and my son was searching for a place to watch other than the cabin. Smoking - always an issue because we're non-smokers. I finally asked someone where smoking was allowed and was told that it was aft. Pleasantly surprised. We paid extra for two things that we loved. 1. The Retreat - On the 12th floor is a private cabana area. My friend suggested it and I have to say it was a great hideaway. Butler service, which I am certainly not accustomed to, private hot tub, and peace and quiet. 2. Spa package - We have become quite spoiled with Aqua class but we visited the private spa area every day so we go our money's worth. My only complaint on the whole ship was that the spouts in the Thallasotherapy pool needed to be adjusted. Other people who were HAL regulars said it was a design flaw so I guess they will fix it eventually. Crowds - Where was everybody? I though the ship must be fairly empty but was told on more than one occasion that it was full. You could have fooled me. The elevator was the only place that seemed crowded. Even the Lido Market wasn't bad but I guess maybe we came earlier in the AM than most. Entertainment - If you're coming for the big shows, forget it. We attended two dance shows which were lovely. The comedian and mentalist were also first class. So, I'm sold. I have no idea if their other ships are up to par with this one but I will find out. I booked another cruise while on board. Oh, the twenty somethings? They loved everything about it. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2019
We chose this cruise because it started in Ft. Lauderdale and ended 21 days later in Seattle plus we got a very large stateroom #8140 w a wrap-around deck on the stern. The first day for embarkation we felt the cruise line was not ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it started in Ft. Lauderdale and ended 21 days later in Seattle plus we got a very large stateroom #8140 w a wrap-around deck on the stern. The first day for embarkation we felt the cruise line was not organized and although our luggage was labeled "priority" it was the very last on - not that it mattered but what did is we kept wondering if it would show up at all. But note that the disembarkation was very well organized and fast. Holland America has figured out how to make money - we paid $150 for water, $300 for internet (it is just $150 if you stick to social media only) and they must have saved a lot by purchasing low quality food. The Gala Dinner with filet mignon and crab béarnaise was the worst with crab nearly too spoiled to serve a piece of meat that was not filet mignon but some grass-fed animal's "surprise." Some meals were good but spaced well apart and the Lido food began to taste the same no matter what you took. The crew was very well-trained and friendly. Our Neptune suite was ok but I do not believe this ship was updated in 2017 or 2018 as it was worn pretty well including our suite. The ports of call were good and although many were shipping ports, I understand it is hard to find dock space for a ship sized like Oosterdam. The people we encountered onshore were very friendly. We will use another cruise line for our next cruise maybe we just expected better like we got on the Ruby Princess last year. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2019
We chose this cruise because we live in the Seattle area and love not having to deal with air travel at the conclusion, also because my husband can only walk with a walker. We were familiar with all the ports (only one tender port), and ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we live in the Seattle area and love not having to deal with air travel at the conclusion, also because my husband can only walk with a walker. We were familiar with all the ports (only one tender port), and we like longer cruises. We booked the Signature Suite. We needed extra room for the walker and no accessible rooms were available. The first glitch we encountered was that there were only 3 people available to get the wheelchair passengers to their rooms so we waited an extra hour to board. Upon eventually arriving at our suite, we were distressed to find that they have scaled down their bathroom doors below standard size, so it isn't possible to get a standard sized walker through the door. He had to grasp the counter and walk the length of the room holding on to reach the toilet. There was a full sized bathtub--useless to us--and the shower was so small with only one grab bar that he could barely use it. It was just about impossible to shower without flooding the bathroom. After having paid a couple of thousand dollars extra for a suite, this was a disappointment. The balcony door is very heavy and the thresh-hold very high. The good: the showroom, The Main Stage, is great for the disabled; one could put another row of seats between the row of seats on the lower floor and access is great. They have UHD huge televisions in the staterooms and a fair assortment of late movies to choose from. However, we couldn't get enough volume to be able to understand the dialog in the movies, while on all other channels you could have blasted it high enough to hear for a half block in either direction. The Main Stage did blast all their shows that loud. We had to go through immigration twice and had a serious issue with getting wheelchair assistance to get on and off the ship. We were misinformed both times by Guest Services. Phone contact, and even personal contact with Guest Services was poor due to lack of fluent English on the part of staff and difficulty hearing them on the phone. We had a dinner in Canaletto's which wasn't any better than in the main dining room. We had lunch in the Pinnacle which was very good, except that they served instant coffee with our dessert. The "worker bees", as always on HAL are wonderful. Food was acceptable, if not great. Over all, I think many cruise lines are subtlety (sometimes not so subtlety) trying to discourage disabled passengers, while trying to appear welcoming for good public relations. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2019
We were looking very much forward to this cruise starting with 11 days in Central America and the Panama Canal. After that we did cross the Atlantic ending up in Copenhagen. When we were checking in, we were very well taken care of by ... Read More
We were looking very much forward to this cruise starting with 11 days in Central America and the Panama Canal. After that we did cross the Atlantic ending up in Copenhagen. When we were checking in, we were very well taken care of by a Norwegian man. Entering the ship was a little less pleasant. The staff showing you onboard was not at all polite. Ok we expected to have a glass of champagne, when getting onboard, but no. For the first time ever on cruises (first time with HAL) there wasn't a glass of bobbles as a welcome. Our cabin was not ready yet, so we went up for some lunch. After lunch we went down to our cabin and could get in. The first thing we did was trying to put something in the small bedside table. The top drawer. In there there was some used napkins. We were surprised, but removed them. Then we found out, the small tabel in front og the sofa was really dirty. We called the cabin attendant and he came and we told what we were disappointed about. He found a wet cloth and wiped away the dust on the foot of the table. The top of the table was sticky, so we wanted that clean as well. We then saw, there was a table knife in the chair placed in front of the desk. When we got our suitcases and was unpacking we found some chocolate under the bed. Not at all ok cleaning. We didn't feel it was done at all better than what they was supposed to do every day, yes even worse. We thought it had to be reported to the head of the cleaning of the cabins, so we went to guest relations and a very polite and helpful young man from Austria took report and said he was very sorry. Later the head of cabins came and required the two cabin attendants to do a full and complete cleaning of the cabin. He offered us a bottle of wine as compensation. Later the guy from guest relations came with some fine chocolate as well. The temperature in our cabin was terrible, above 25 degree Celcius. A man from the repair department tried to mend it, but no matter what we did with scale there was no change. He would do something with the entire system, but when we came back after dinner, there was no change. We went down to guest relations again and they regretted and would send a new man. We said that otherwise we would come back to guest relations and sleep on the floor, as the temperature was fine here. The temperature was after a couple of days better, but we could still not regulate it. And some days later, we had the same problem again with too high temperature. Later in the cruise - on the second cruise - the opposite was the case with the temperature. One day it was less than 16 degree C. We complained again, and now it wasn't easy to get the temperature higher. Finally - five days before we ended up in Copenhagen - they managed to fix the aircondition. We could raise and lower the temperature. What a relief. But like the rest of the cabins it was not possible to turn off the airconditioning. Old ship! One day while we were laying on a sunbead by the pool we saw a man in the spa. He went in with his clothes and shoes and what was even worse, he was all the time spitting in the hot water. I went and told him to stop spitting as it was a source to people getting sick, if he had a disease. It would explosively grow in the very hot water. The man started screaming, that I was insulting and bothering him. He was really screaming. There is no pool-attendants at all by the pool, only waiters trying to sell drinks. Is that ok? we don't think so. The man went up of the spa and went to one of the waiters and talked to him. What they were discussing we don't know. After a while a very polite and pleasant man came and asked what happened. I told the story and he said they would make a report and I would get a copy. They knew who the man was. Later a couple of officers came. The went to the ladies from the beauty salon and talked to them. Then they came and asked for my version of the incident. They also said a report would be made. While they were talking to me an elderly American lady went into the spa and she was wearing outdoor sandals in the spa. No-one said anything to her. For several days we did not see the man in the spa, but some of the last days on the cruise he was back. He was still wearing jogging clothes and shoes when he went into the spa, and no-one of the staff did say anything. No-one was taking any notice of what was happening in the pool and spa. That is absolutely not ok and not something we have experienced before on cruisen on other shipping companies. On the first part of the cruise there was a show team onboard. This is also what we are used to from other cruises. The team disembarked in Fort Lauderdale, but we were sure a new team would board to the next cruise. No. Only entertainers was there. Some very good and some quite poor and without any experience. Only a couple of nights impressed. The wine, beer and drinks are very expensive. A drink-package is around 50$ per day for the cheapest. Much more expensive than what we have experienced elsewhere. On for instance Celebrity the drink package is included if you have an outer cabin or veranda cabin. The staff gratuity is not included in your ticket. You have to pay 14,5$ per person per day. Take that into consideration when you compare prices for different cruises, as it is included in some cruises, for instance in Celebrity cruises. All the staff in the dinner room is from either Philipines or Indonesia. Most are very polite and helpful, but many are not good enough understanding and speaking English. Some of the wine waiters do probably never taste wine, being Muslims. How can you then advice what is good for the food? The ship is built in 2002 and it seems as if there has been no upgrading since then. It is "tired" and really needs some renovation. We will most likely not travel with Holland America line again. We will choose Celebrity or something even better. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
We had a sort of family cruise. Ended up only being 5 of us. This cruise was a good value for 11 nights, onboarding very easy, although I arrived on a red eye so first in line does help. First cruise with Holland, 10th overall, ... Read More
We had a sort of family cruise. Ended up only being 5 of us. This cruise was a good value for 11 nights, onboarding very easy, although I arrived on a red eye so first in line does help. First cruise with Holland, 10th overall, Princess, NCL, Carnival, Royal Carib.I'm mid 50s but it was like an Alaska Cruise, I felt young and thin Manicure/pedicure was great. Young gal said this was actually the youngest group she'd seen in 4 months. I did miss the energy of the other boats but Everyone was super friendly, staff and cruisers. Room was large. Ship is going in for refurbishment and that is good. It's needed. Now to food. Honestly, it was ok. I didnt like the Lido because there was a line for everything. I get cutting down on germs but it was a pain waiting to ask for most anything hot. Not just omelettes and waffles. Dining rooms always better. My favprite breakfast dining room is still Carnival, go figure. Dinners were nice, but not as good as Princess, Carnival or Royal. Similar to Norwegian. Workout area was also subdued machines weren't individual tv/music, so not at nice. Would I go again. Entertainment was nice. Not as lively again and not as much to do, but you can only do one thing at a time anyway. Would I go again. Sure. What's not to love about doing whatever you want , someone cooking for you and chocolates at night. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2019
Had never sailed with HA before (28 cruises) and had done three transatlantic crossings so were ready for another and liked the itinerary continuing on to Croatia. Things started out great as the cabins were ready when we got on the ship ... Read More
Had never sailed with HA before (28 cruises) and had done three transatlantic crossings so were ready for another and liked the itinerary continuing on to Croatia. Things started out great as the cabins were ready when we got on the ship around noon. First balcony room was fine but slightly smaller than ones we'd had on other lines. Great TV and wonderful shower. However, whoever designed the bathroom forgot to leave enough leg room in front of commode. We asked for a different room about three days into the cruise due to mechanical noise that was going on directly across the hall from our room. We did get moved after 13 nights and had nice, quiet sleeping for the last nine days. Don't know how they justify putting any passenger that has paid for a veranda room within range of that constant noise. Dining was fine in main dining room. Menu was varied and our service was good at the early seating. We use the buffet as little as possible, but found the food selection O.K. but hated the lines that were caused by the fact that there were very few things you could serve yourself. Annoying! The french fries at the Dive In near the pool were great and the burgers were fine also. Need to send the food service staff of HA a bottle of Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ sauce, however, as they certainly don't know how to make the real stuff. The entertainment in the World Stage left a lot to be desired. Too many comedians who weren't that good and the need to arrive 30 minutes or more ahead of time to guarantee a seat. The string quartet in another venue was very talented, but performed more often than needed. Have no comments about the ship excursions as we always plan our own private groups or join others that have done so and did three on this cruise. We also used the HOHO buses in Malaga and Cartagena and Kotor. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Transatlantic Bucket List with ongoing Adriatic ports. Our first cruise on HAL. The ship, staff food and amenities were on par with our other cruises but nothing exceptional. Entertainment on main stage was mediocre but HAL Lincoln Center ... Read More
Transatlantic Bucket List with ongoing Adriatic ports. Our first cruise on HAL. The ship, staff food and amenities were on par with our other cruises but nothing exceptional. Entertainment on main stage was mediocre but HAL Lincoln Center Venue was exceptional. HAL's other on-board activities were targeted toward keeping the physically inactive mentally alert. Port excursions were both over-priced and crowded. Reminded us of 6th grade school field trips. The most rigorous activity required you climb on and off the big buses. We booked all of our excursions either through ToursbyLocal or directly with the operators. For example, a sailing charter, 40 mile bike trek, another 20 mile bike trek and 6 private tours with private guide and transport at 1/4th cost of what was being offered by HAL. Overall, HAL offers a distinct product to their target market of geriatric passive travelers who value being coddled. We enjoyed our trip and met some more adventurous souls like us but overall impression was we were traveling in a floating assisted living facility Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Husband and I chose this transatlantic because of sailing dates and we had a future cruise deposit with HAL. Everything went smoothly from embarkation in Ft. Lauderdale to disembarkation (Expedited Early Departure) in Civitevecchia. Ft. ... Read More
Husband and I chose this transatlantic because of sailing dates and we had a future cruise deposit with HAL. Everything went smoothly from embarkation in Ft. Lauderdale to disembarkation (Expedited Early Departure) in Civitevecchia. Ft. Lauderdale's terminal traffic is somewhat of a bottleneck but once in the bujilding we breezed onto the ship and found our stateroom ready and luggage there soon after. The weather was generally comfortable but somewhat overcast but the waters were smooth except for about 1 day in the Mediterranean where we had a little rocking. Ship is well maintained and appears as fresh as the brand-new Nieuw Statendam which we sailed Dec. 29, 2018-Jan, 2019. Only exception is some slightly worn furniture in the Crow's Nest. We were in verandah cabin 6219 (aft)- convenient, especially for most dining locales. Wonderful shower; not fond of the closet/storage/bathroom area-too many doors banging into each other. So much cabin storage we never have enough with us to fill everything up! Food was wonderful and some was better than we have had on other ships/lines. Service excellent throughout: unobtrusive and polite. Particularly enjoyed the superb quintet in the Lincoln Center Stage and a boogie-woogie pianist in the World Stage. Also enjoyed all of the enrichment talks with EXC. Very thorough. Also enjoyed the posted times to talk to the EXC experts about all ports. Weakness of this ship and the Nieuw Statendam is the quality of musicians/entertainers isn't top-tier (based on our 2 experiences) in venues, other than Lincoln Center, particularly the World Stage-subpar magicians, singers and BBC show. We had planned our port excursion activities in advance and booked one through the ship (Granada/Alhambra, Spain) from the port of Malaga. It was a pricey excursion but worth the money considering transportation, guides and lunch. Some Staff Kudos: John in the Microsoft Room and Nathan as Cruise Director (led a wonderful book club meeting-suggest posting the book titles for the sailings on the HAL website so they can be purchased/read in advance, as Princess does).-these 2 individuals are treasures the company should give raises to so they keep them with HAL. We have been on 20+ cruises/6 lines and they stood out. Our 7 days at sea before our first port flew by with so much going on aboard (and my husband was concerned he might be bored!!!). After 2 eastbound transatlantic cruises we are now hooked and want to do a westbound so I can experience 6 25-hour days instead of 6 23-hour days during the time changes. Read Less
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