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4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
Loved the Westerdam. Great cabin 10018 with excellent location. Good viewing when on a southbound cruise. Entertainment great and went late into the night. BB Kings good. The 2 piano players in the Billboard Bar were also great. ... Read More
Loved the Westerdam. Great cabin 10018 with excellent location. Good viewing when on a southbound cruise. Entertainment great and went late into the night. BB Kings good. The 2 piano players in the Billboard Bar were also great. Food good. Only disappointment was lunch in the Pinnacle Restaurant. Not worth the extra $. Not sure why a Coconut Trifle would gave 2 layers of rich chocolate that overpowered the taste of anything else...inedible. Strawberry pavlova...better pavlova in the Lido. Crab cakes for appetizer were excellent. Entrees (mains) pretty ordinary. Dinner may have been better. Santos and Otto did a great job in looking after us in our stateroom on Deck 10. Recommend this Stateroom, in particular location. Great service with a smile everywhere. Plenty of updates from the Captain. Smooth sailing. Embarkation was easy and we were able to board earlier than designated. Disembarkation needed more signs for lines of group colours. Easy to look up everything on TV in cabin, e.g. account and dining menus for the day. Good movies too. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
I found this ship lacking in many areas. Needs updating and some maintenance as well. The things I didn't care fore were as follows: Lido deck pool area was covered with a glass dome. Only one small panel was open. We are cruising ... Read More
I found this ship lacking in many areas. Needs updating and some maintenance as well. The things I didn't care fore were as follows: Lido deck pool area was covered with a glass dome. Only one small panel was open. We are cruising the Caribbean, not the arctic. I like to get some sun on my pasty white body while lounging by the pool on sea days. The aft-Lido deck pool was more a ditch - not a pool. It was barely 2 feet wide and about 30 feet long with maybe 6 inches of water in it. This is not a pool so why advertise it as such. Cabin entrance was very narrow with a bathroom door on the left and several closet doors on the right upon entering the cabin. You can't open both at the same time and if someone is standing near the closet doors when someone else comes out of the bathroom, someone will get hurt. The tub in the bathroom was also very deep and difficult to get in and oRust was visible here and there and other cosmetic things. The crew, for the most part. was great. Very responsive to customer needs. There were some servers in the buffet at breakfast who were a little cranky and this was also seen at the Sea View Bar a couple of times as well. Otherwise, all were very customer focused. The food was generally very good and Holland Am. has finally fixed their Pizza parlour :) They used to have some sort of odd cornmeal based crust but now have a nice thin crust model. It was very tasty and always made fresh for you. Oddly enough. I found the bed uncomfortable. Not sure why as it felt soft and plush but each morning when I woke up, I felt stiff and a little sore for awhile. The entertainment we saw was quit good. We enjoyed the comedian and the magician shows. Getting on and off the ship was efficient and quick. We didn't really take advantage of any excursions offered through the ship so I can comment on those. Overall, we had a great holiday. We always do but this ship was lacking in a number of areas. I understand it is going to Europe soon and I hope they do a little maintenance work before launching over there. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
Second spring break in a row doing this particular cruise, same ship, with two of my three kids (this time my 8 and 5 yr old boys) while my wife and daughter attended to family business elsewhere. Picked it again for the same reasons ... Read More
Second spring break in a row doing this particular cruise, same ship, with two of my three kids (this time my 8 and 5 yr old boys) while my wife and daughter attended to family business elsewhere. Picked it again for the same reasons we picked it last year: classic ship feel of the Rotterdam; quiet, clean familiarity of the surroundings; low hassle way to get out on the open sea. Crew did even one better by getting a live feed of the NCAA regional finals, and then doing the muster drills in port in between the two Sunday games. The only downer: Devils losing to Sparty during our first two hours at sea . . . My boys loved it (my 8 yr old's first time aboard, my 5 yr old's second), particularly the pool, and the towel origami from our stateroom attendant Rifky. Ate Lido the entire cruise - given the number of different main courses each night, it is possible to go a seven night cruise and not eat the same thing twice for dinner - and the food as always was top flight for us. Did dolphin watch and snorkel in Key West - got a good up close look at a pod of 6-8 dolphins then did some snorkeling with my boys; we did the waterfall hike and splashed in a couple freshwater pools at the Cerro San Gil Nature Reserve in Guatemala (kids ended up playing with frogs and snails); spent the day at Mahogany Bay Beach in Honduras (my five year old caught what I thought was an eel - till he put it back in the water and it turned back into a sea horse); and did the Mayan adventure water park in Costa Maya. My wife was amazed at how uncrowded everything looked both on the ship and during our excursions. Biggest crowds in fact were in Clearwater, where we spent Saturday doing the marine hospital (made famous by the Dolphin Tale star), then cycling to Clearwater Beach. Spent Sunday before the cruise cycling the Tampa Riverwalk from the Barrymore Hotel to the cruise ship terminal and then back before boarding. Embarkation and disembarkation in Tampa is always easy. Scuttlebutt is that Rotterdam is being repositioned back to Europe at the end of April, and that HA has nothing out of Tampa scheduled for the time being for 2020. I sure hope that changes, because these weeks aboard the Rotterdam have become a true highlight for my children and myself, and I dread having to haul down to Ft. Lauderdale, which I understand is the total opposite of Tampa in terms of ship sizes and crowd density. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
Our family has cruised with HAL a couple of times before and really loved our experiences. Our two daughters are now between eight and eleven, and love formal nights, fine dining and afternoon tea. They also love the traditional kids ... Read More
Our family has cruised with HAL a couple of times before and really loved our experiences. Our two daughters are now between eight and eleven, and love formal nights, fine dining and afternoon tea. They also love the traditional kids activities and hanging out at the pool. My husband and I like to have a good time too, and the quality of food and service is important to us. Our HAL experiences are generally a win win for all four of us. While the Nieuw Statendam is a beautiful ship, it is quite apparent that HAL is reducing staffing levels. For example: For the whole of embarkation day, it was nearly impossible to get a drink on the pool deck. Instead of smiling servers attending to our needs, we had to stand in line at the bar for every drink. For the remainder of the cruise, tables in these areas were equipped with a service button to call a server over to you table. Let's just say our bar bill was higher on previous cruises. The dining room staff at our assigned table were very pleasant and really made an effort but the service was not nearly as good as previous cruises. It is obvious that they are understaffed to maintain the wonderful dinner service that we have come to appreciate. We dined with friends in open seating a couple of times and the service was really frustrating. I'm not sure why that is but, after raving to them about the food and service on HAL, we were embarrassed. The real failure of this cruise was the last day of the cruise on Half Moon Cay. We have been there before and loved it. This time, HAL booked the two largest ships in the line in and out of the Cay at the same time, totally overwhelming the island. There was a long wait for the tender ride to shore. Once ashore, there was absolutely nowhere to sit or shade to be found. The shade we had booked in advance was oversold and we had to stand in line back on board later for a refund. The beautiful beach was absolutely packed and the lines for the lunch buffet were unreasonable. We just didn't eat. When some angry cruisers gave up their shade chairs, we simply took their spot. We got in line about an hour ahead of departure to return to the ship. The shaded tender lines were assigned to returning passengers for the other ship, and we had to stand in line in the blazing sun for over an hour, to then sit atop a crowded tender back to the ship. Not once were we offered shade, water, cold towels or sunscreen. We were all sunburnt from the experience and no one was happy. It was a horrible experience on what should have a been a beautiful final cruise day. With few, exceptions, the food on the Nieuw Statendam is wonderful and keeping to the high HAL standard. Our cabin was lovely and the cabin staff did a great job. The entertainment was very good as well. We will likely cruise HAL again but hope this and other feedback encourages them to restore elegant service and experience that we so enjoy. * Note to family cruisers * On HAL spring break cruises there are plenty of kids for your kids to befriend and interact with, but not so many as to overwhelm (or annoy) the adults. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
Living close to Tampa, I enjoy being able to jump on a ship just to cruise. The Rotterdam reminded me of why I like HAL. It is a smaller ship with fewer people and more room to just sit and relax. During the day there was always a place ... Read More
Living close to Tampa, I enjoy being able to jump on a ship just to cruise. The Rotterdam reminded me of why I like HAL. It is a smaller ship with fewer people and more room to just sit and relax. During the day there was always a place I could go and sit to read my book. This ship has the old library setup, separate from the Crows Nest. I much prefer this, as it still has books you want to read. The staff has mingled the paperbacks that passengers donated with the hard backed books first set up by The New York Times. Although the Eames chairs are gone, there are six recliners. One was broken but if you got there early, you had a comfortable seat. Of course, games are set up here and it did get a bit noisy. It is spring break and we had lots of children, some rowdy. The Ocean Bar was another quiet place. The staff was exceptionally friendly and helpful. Every morning in the Lido, coffee and juice was brought to the table. Our room steward was very attentive and could not do enough for us. Dinners were good but you never knew what size/portion you would receive. The wiener schnitzel was huge but the scallop brioche was one scallop and two shrimp on rice. Too small! Of course you can always ask for more. The things I miss are shows with singers and dancers, more than just three or four flavors of ice cream on the Lido deck, ice sculptures, and eggs benedict with crab, etc. It seems like HAL is cutting back on the small extras and nice touches from past years. I am getting old, I remember Midnight Buffets! All in all, if you like smaller ships, the Rotterdam will meet your needs. I enjoyed my cruise but will not pay for the Spa's relaxation room again. There were just too many people booked. I could not get a heated lounger twice, and the room only has a small hot tub that is not jetted. I don't use the Steam Room so I don't feel it is worth the cost. I will miss HAL when it leaves Tampa at the end of this year. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
We've generally had good cruising experiences on HAL. Our first cruise with the line was more than 10 years ago on the Eurodam, which we sailed on again more recently after its refurbishment. We've sailed the Koningsdam, ... Read More
We've generally had good cruising experiences on HAL. Our first cruise with the line was more than 10 years ago on the Eurodam, which we sailed on again more recently after its refurbishment. We've sailed the Koningsdam, Westerdam and others as well. Overall, each provided us a solid, enjoyable experience that kept us wanting to stay with Holland. This cruise experiences on the Nieuw Statendam was different... some good, some not so good. THE GOOD: As expected, the ship was beautiful. It's new, so - as expected - public areas and the cabins were clean, fresh and sparkling. HAL's newly expanded music theme was evident in its interesting hallway art and with its new Rolling Stones venue. BB King Blues band rocked the house. Good, energetic vibes. The overall demographic was much different too. Not sure if it's because it was Spring Break, or because of expanded music entertainment choices, but there was a different (and, IMO, better) "population" mix on this cruise. The passengers on most previous HAL's we've been on seemed quite old/elderly. No so at all on this cruise. THE BAD: Service on the Lido Deck has slipped noticeably. We often had to track down staff to get: tables cleared, silverware, coffee, water, etc. Not good. The food on Lido seemed to decline in quality too. Glad I like Asian/Indonesian food because that became my "go-to" choice pretty much every day. Desserts looked pretty, but weren't all that tasty (except in the Dutch Cafe - mmmm). Another oddity: the ship was full, yet invariably food in Lido was only available on one side. The other side was closed completely. Led to long lines on occasion. Also, it seemed odd to us that a Lido would close entirely after lunch until dinner. I believe HAL used to offer at least fruit and small sandwiches for those wanting a mid afternoon snack. No longer! Cocktails in the BB King Blues Club were a joke. We ordered a drink ONCE because the quantity of liquid in our drinks barely coated the bottom.of the glasses. We had a cabin with a balcony. It was nice, though it sermed smaller than the same class of cabins we've had before on Holland. We had to walk through the Casino to get to various places on the ship and the smell of cigarettes was nasty. I thought that Holland was a non-smoking line. Wrong. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
We loved the music venues at night! We loved the ship! It was beautiful, our balcony room was amazing on the 11th floor. The showers with glass doors are revolutionary..mostly we loved the lido market! We NEVER usually eat in the buffet ... Read More
We loved the music venues at night! We loved the ship! It was beautiful, our balcony room was amazing on the 11th floor. The showers with glass doors are revolutionary..mostly we loved the lido market! We NEVER usually eat in the buffet on cruises but we ate there very often ! We actually enjoyed the food choices there more than the dining room..... which means I think they need to work on the menu in the dining room. The boat was very quite ... everything started early and ended pretty early. We would’ve liked a little bit more excitement on the boat but they cater to an older clientele. I have to say it was the most well run for getting on and off the boat ! Absolutely no lineups at any of our ports ... in hindsight we wondered if the majority of the cruisers didn’t get off the boat. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
We chose this cruise because the itinerary fit our spring break schedule. The ship was very nice and well maintained. Customer service was excellent. The food was very good and dining staff were excellent! The waiter was very ... Read More
We chose this cruise because the itinerary fit our spring break schedule. The ship was very nice and well maintained. Customer service was excellent. The food was very good and dining staff were excellent! The waiter was very accommodating to our 8 year old grandson and even made him an origami animal each night, showed him magic tricks and made sure he had something to eat from the kids menu that he liked at each meal. Our grandson adored him! The ventriloquist and comedy shows were very good and we enjoyed the Discovery Earth production (warning - if you don't like snakes, don't watch the first segment - could be scary for young children - our grandson did not attend). My husband enjoyed the Lincoln Center performances. The other music shows were fair - we passed on the second performance. BB King's nightclub and performances were very enjoyable. The "chocolate surprise" evening was very disappointing. It lasted about 3 minutes and if you were not in the right place at the right time you didn't get anything! Club Hal for children was fair - there were games and arts and crafts. There were video games available and my grandson enjoyed that. He attended about 3 times but quickly became bored and stayed with us the rest of the time. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
This was out first cruise so we were not sure what to expect. We had heard from our friends that Holland America was a very elegant and relaxing cruise line... and they were right! We loved having a relaxing atmosphere. The staff around ... Read More
This was out first cruise so we were not sure what to expect. We had heard from our friends that Holland America was a very elegant and relaxing cruise line... and they were right! We loved having a relaxing atmosphere. The staff around the ship was extremely friendly and polite. Our stateroom stewards would greet us by name, even when they saw us out and about on the ship! They always asked how our day was going and if there was anything they could help us with. Everything across the ship was sparkling clean, the food was amazing and a nice selection of entertainment. We preferred to go to the later evening shows, because the earlier shows filled up quite quickly. This ship definitely has a classic feel to it, and it appeared to cater towards an 'older' crowd, although all age groups were present. My husband utilized the spa services and raved about his experience. We recommend spending the little extra to get a balcony room- ours provided spectacular views and was a nice place to take a nap or enjoy a few quiet moments. We would definitely book another cruise with Holland America Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We recently returned from a partial Panama Canal transit aboard the Zuiderdam. This was our tenth cruise on a Holland American vessel and as always we were very satisfied with the voyage and especially the service. On the one occasion ... Read More
We recently returned from a partial Panama Canal transit aboard the Zuiderdam. This was our tenth cruise on a Holland American vessel and as always we were very satisfied with the voyage and especially the service. On the one occasion when we complained of an issue, after resolving the issue, Holland America staff made multiple attempts to follow up to ensure we satisfied and even sent a complimentary bottle of wine as an apology. We had a very large Vista suite cabin #6076 midship on the port side. From our spacious balcony we seemed to always be on the side with the port view so the view was much more interesting. I also must note however the continual creaking of the boat when there was any sort of sea motion. It did make a good night’s rest a little harder. Highlights of this trip was the cave excursion in Aruba and the train trip across the isthmus of Panama, which included a stop at the visitor centre for the new larger lock complex. We appreciated that the captain periodically opened the bow area for passengers to get a better view of what was ahead when sailing. Food and service were up to the usual HAL standard. We were a little disappointed with the entertainment as many of the shows were the same as we saw on our last cruise a year ago. However, I must single out the steel band that performed twice during our trip as being excellent. We very much enjoyed the performers on the Lincoln Centre stage, though the Billboard pianists were nothing special. There were many other interesting shipboard activities during the several sea days, most particularly America’s test kitchen and the lectures done by members of the excursion team. As always, the excursion team themselves functioned extremely well for the duration of the voyage. We ate most nights in the dining room, with two nights at Pinnacle. All meals were very tasty but in most cases not too much food. We used the Lido only for breakfast and lunch but most times went outside as the inside dining areas are both crowded and noisy. I heard some people complaining about the relatively sedate nature of evening activities during the voyage, but if you want dancing and late night entertainment, you are best served by a line such as RCC or Disney that caters to a younger demographic. HAL has changed their internet packages to be based on data used rather than time online. I liked this approach better as our data needs are low. Prices have also been reduced though response time still needs improving. We have booked three additional cruises on HAL ships over the next 18 months so I think that tells you all you need to know about our ongoing satisfaction with this line. Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
We are a couple in mid 40’s with 2 teen girls, our 10th and 11th cruise. Previously sailed with: Costa, MSC, Holland America, Carnival, Princess, Celebrity. Have already explored about 90% of Caribbean islands, so now mainly sailing for ... Read More
We are a couple in mid 40’s with 2 teen girls, our 10th and 11th cruise. Previously sailed with: Costa, MSC, Holland America, Carnival, Princess, Celebrity. Have already explored about 90% of Caribbean islands, so now mainly sailing for the ship, not for destination. Year and a half ago, we decided to check both ships (being under construction at that time), and booked them right after the tickets become available. We were so excited to cruise again with our 2 favorite cruise lines, and check both brand new vessels back to back. Expectations were set very high. We sailed on Nieuw Statendam first. Best food ever, including buffet, Dive-In, and MDR with delicious lobster, prime rib dinners, and mouthwatering desserts. One of the nicest looking MDR we ever saw (see pic), our waiter Sudiatmika was above and beyond. Great laid out buffet never crowded, so many healthy options to choose from, individual deserts or fruit portions (no mess). We did not try up charge restaurants, Grand Dutch Café, or New York Deli & Pizza, no casino, or spa. There are tons of great music venues: performers at Rolling Stone Rock Room were the best, best, best we have ever seen, great couple at Billboard on Board, talented Lincoln Center Stage and BB King Blues teams! Nieuw Statendam is very easy to navigate ship. We would like to re-christen her to “Nieuw Cozydam”. The most friendly and most professional crew, mainly Indonesian / Filipino. Very polite passengers, and yes, bit older, but worked perfect for us. Most technological advanced theater with LED screen around. Areas around both pools never crowded, several free loungers. Here are other small premium touches not found on competition’s vessels: orchid plants on every single table in the buffet, live flowers in MDR, tons of live floral arrangements through out the ship, our cabin has 2 bathrooms (family ocean view stateroom 1030), received beautiful “diploma of finished cruise” signed by Captain on the end of journey. For disease prevention no self service in the buffet (very smart). Thinking about any room for improvement.... and simply can’t find any. Right after disembark from Nieuw Statendam, quick stop at the garage’s rooftop where we parked (see pic), exchanged clothes and supplies, and hopped on the Edge. I must say that Celebrity built a state of the art terminal (yes, matching Edge design), and it is the most beautiful terminal we’ve ever sailed from. Since we did all the paperwork in advance, the embarkation took 5 min. We had a blast from the first moment we stepped on board and were welcomed with champagne. Better name for this cruise liner would be “Celebrity WOW”. Very modern, stylish, impressive, spacious vessel we’ve ever been on, or we’ve ever seen including futuristic computer mock ups found online. Well-designed contemporary ship inside and out. Impressive atrium, theater, beautiful pool area and Rooftop Garden. We actually love the controversial infinite veranda concept (had 2 Concierge Class Infinite Verandas 11131, 11133 – it was a free upgrade from Celebrity, had originally 1 ocean view quad cabin booked – thank you Celebrity). State of the art cabin/bathroom/infinite veranda, all these light years ahead of any competition (seriously). Shows were great, food too. We did not try up charge restaurants, no casino or spa. We loved our waiters at Cosmopolitan Suphawan & Bundhoo, they worked in tandem, and were the most professional, quickest and beautiful looking team ever served us (see pic). Stateroom attendant Tania, she worked by herself, and also I would say she was the best, and very hardworking room keeper out of all 11 cruses. “Next generation” elevators, so modern and very efficient, biggest we’ve ever seen. There were so many new things for cruise industry we loved: non stop playing “mysterious” music on the stateroom hallways, two story high ceiling in the buffet, extra large staircases, multiple decks running track, amazing chandelier in the atrium, bizarre Eden, and even more bizarre Eden’s performers (we actually liked the controversial smell there), silent disco experience, professional and dedicated cruise director, spacious public areas, every single furniture well made and designed, very high quality materials allover, specially loved premium velour fabrics used on almost all chairs in all food venues. Tons of beautiful art and décor through out the ship. Since this is a band new product, there are minor things we would like Celebrity to polish: all shops on board are on high end side. Deserts and cakes at buffet some times were tasteless. There are designated areas with sink vases when entering the buffet, but no crew posted to encourage passengers to wash their hands. Sticky tongs in the buffet. Cakes were not individually portioned on plates, caused bit of mess at dessert stations. Too many restaurants located directly in the atrium area made this impressive space very loud (kitchen noises), and food smells. Final conclusion: Both these cruise lines, and both these ships are our favorite to date. As we mentioned earlier, our expectations were set very high, and we waited with a heart beat 1.5 year to both these sailings. What happened was we ended up with best vacations ever! Celebrity Edge is unique, most beautiful and most modern, truly a ship of the future. We really enjoyed photographing and exploring her. We had 3 stops, but in the event we have zero port of calls during 7 day cruise, we wouldn't complain. On the other hand, when we are looking from the distance at Nieuw Statendam, what we immediately see, it is an icon of premium and quality. Nieuw Statendam offered best music experience, best food quality, and the most friendly crew in the industry. This cozy ship makes us feel so special, like we were guests at our own resort. If you are not paying attention to all the bells and whistles other lines offers to attract families with children and younger crowd, both above vessels will fit you perfect. If you love dancing, great music, relaxing atmosphere, great food and service definitely do Nieuw Statendam. If you are décor person, would like to sail on the most modern ship in the world, sleep in “next generation cabin”, definitely Edge is a must to see! Now Scarlet Lady, and Edge’s and New Statendam’s future siblings are on our radar. Happy sailings! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
It was a good cruise. Our main attraction in selecting this cruise was to go through the Panama Canal. The ship goes through the first lock. We bought a ship tour that took us through all the locks. It was a great experience! Wish the tour ... Read More
It was a good cruise. Our main attraction in selecting this cruise was to go through the Panama Canal. The ship goes through the first lock. We bought a ship tour that took us through all the locks. It was a great experience! Wish the tour took us to see the Panama City also, as the tour was not cheap. The service, food was good. I would like to recognize Gede, Eko, KD and Mauro for their excellent service and taking care of us during dinner. Our room was serviced by 2 pleasant people. Computer classes were a hit, the instructor was pleasant and wonderful. But the space was limited. 5-10 more computers would help. Shows and entertaining was good. Enjoyed the drums show. Went to all the bingo games, thought it was a bit expensive. Adding one or two more ports would have made the experience a bit more fun. We were at sea for more than 2 long stretched days, Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
My husband and I traveled alone for our 30th Wedding Anniversary on this cruise. We booked a veranda cabin on the Navigation deck via Holland and not a travel agent. Embarkation was very easy. Although the woman taking care of us ... Read More
My husband and I traveled alone for our 30th Wedding Anniversary on this cruise. We booked a veranda cabin on the Navigation deck via Holland and not a travel agent. Embarkation was very easy. Although the woman taking care of us had to be reminded by us on the procedure!! She was also lacking in English communication skills! The wait time to board the ship was longer than usual since this was the first time Nieuw Statendam had entered an American Port so she had a lengthy inspection by the Coast Guard. Understandable. No worries! The Nieuw Statendam is a beautiful ship. It’s very well thought out in its design. You notice this as you walk around the decks, small things like handwashing stations in the Lido...Great idea!! I like how you are served your food in the Lido by the staff and not self service. This kept the germs down and the floors cleaner! The food was protected from the passengers behind a glass partition. We never had to touch a serving spoon or wait to be served. The selections in the Lido did not taste like cafeteria food. It had more of a gourmet flair to it! I Will say that the only item that was lacking on the ship was the self serve ice machine in the Lido. If it worked it all, the best you could hope for was a slow drip of watery slush! The no touch sensor on this ice machine didn’t work properly and I saw passengers putting their hands and used glasses all over the dispenser area trying to get it to work. This was not sanitary! The servers had good ice available in their pitchers, so ask for it instead. The food was excellent everywhere we ate on the ship! Our night in the Pinnacle was enjoyable with amazing meal selections. Our evening at Canaletto was a bit of a disappointment. An area of the Lido is transformed into Canaletto for the evening. The same staff that serves you in the morning and daytime in Lido are also serving you in the evening at Canaletto. I just didn’t feel like I was in a special venue. There wasn’t a feel of specialty dining that one would be willing to pay extra for. The food was good (not excellent) but timeliness of delivery was lacking. We had a late reservation which we will not do again anywhere on any ship! It wasn’t the service of the waitstaff that caused an issue but there appeared to be a back up in the kitchen that caused our entrées to be served over one hour behind our appetizer. Gala night in The Main Diningroom should not be missed! Service was outstanding as was the food. As always with Hollard America the main dining room is something to behold. Our favorite dinner while onboard was in Tamarind. This venue has the best view for dining and ambience on the ship! The half round booth facing aft is by far THE BEST SEAT IN THE HOUSE! I recommend an early reservation for this venue. We watched the sun set and saw the venue lighting change to a soft romantic tone. There was a WOW factor here! Service was amazing!! Be aware when purchasing ahead of time the Signature Dining Package that only two of the five specialty restaurants are included.....The Pinnacle and Canaletto. I made the mistake of assuming all specialty restaurants were available for selection. This is not the case! FYI...Rudi’s Sel de Mer is al la carte pricing. All menu selections are priced separately. The entertainment on board the ship was outstanding. Lincoln Center Stage, Billboard and the Rolling Stone venues. Our favorite was The BB Kings Allstars direct from Beale Street at BB Kings (the club venue that was transformed from Lincoln Center Stage after 9pm) with lots of fun dancing! This band Rocked! The veranda cabin we had #8022 was comfortable with 2 cabin steward‘s Wenjoldy and George that were always available to us with smiles! Service was impeccable! There were 6 electrical and USB outlets. We took a ships approved multi outlet with us and didn’t need it! There is plenty of good lighting in the cabin with reading lights and electrical outlets of each side off the bed. The cabin door is metal but if you want to decorate it, heavy duty magnets need to be used! The bathroom was very well laid out with a large full shower and glass door. The Bollini Bath Fixtures were easy to use and quite beautiful to say the least. There are handholds and a foot rail in the shower that were strategically placed for safety. One thing that was new to us was having to put your cabin key card in a slot by the door inside your cabin to activate the interior lighting. A couple of times I was caught in the bathroom and my husband went for coffee with his card and 30 seconds later the lights went out on me! Something we had to figure out on our own if someone stays behind in the cabin. Beds were comfortable. There was a large hanging closet with plenty of room and a huge television at the foot of our bed. I highly recommend loading the NAVIGATOR program onto your phone, laptop or iPad once you’re on the ship. This program is for your easiest way of getting in touch with Guest Services if you have a problem. It’s much easier than making a phone call, telling your Cabin Stewards or being on hold forever or standing in line at guest services on the third floor. Your problem will be handled in a timely manner. This program also gives you up-to-date information on entertainment food venues, making reservations and many other necessities while on the ship . You do not need to have a purchased the ships wi fi to activate this. There are directions in a bifold paper on the desk when you arrive in your cabin on how to access the NAVIGATOR. But remember, this cannot be accessed until you are on the ship. The price for BLEND the wine blending and tasting venue is $79.00 a person or $99.00 a couple. We did not partake! There was a self service beer and soft drink dispenser that you paid for by the ounce near the indoor Lido Pool Bar. No waiting! At NOTES, the brown liquor tasting venue, one can have a shot of the overly rated 20 year old Pappy Van Winkle for up to $207.00. OR the 12 year old Pappy for $109.00 a shot! There are other brands available more moderately priced. I did not visit the spa on this trip. Our cruise just was not long enough! If shopping for Liquor aboard the ship, the prices are not posted on the bottles. You get the price list from the shop attendant. The ships artwork had a modern feel to it which was very interesting. Every elevator lobby had some sort of avant-garde art piece which was worth seeking out on a self guided art crawl. Our Captain Sybe de Boer was professional, personable and approachable. Our safety and comfort was his NUMBER ONE concern! Our Cruise Director Ross McTaggart was easy to understand and always ready to give information. The Hotel Director Don Habets saw that the few issues we had on the ship were IMMEDIATELY taken care of. Thank you Don!! Adriana Strugala in Guest Services is the person to reach if you have a complicated situation to address! Thank you Adriana. Disembarkation was very easy for us since we brought only carry on luggage for this short voyage. We were given a color coded departure tag to exit the ship when called. In spite of the fact of the Government shutdown, there were a few TSA Supervisors working to assure entry. I (we) would recommend this ship and its crew for future voyages. I would like to be on a longer one next time. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
Enjoyed H.A.L some time ago and decided to join friends on this 12 night cruise around New Zealand and to Norfolk Island. Most of the cruise en counted bad weather for the time of yearn around New Zealand. Well we never got to land on ... Read More
Enjoyed H.A.L some time ago and decided to join friends on this 12 night cruise around New Zealand and to Norfolk Island. Most of the cruise en counted bad weather for the time of yearn around New Zealand. Well we never got to land on Norfolk Island , the swells too big, a shame but nothing you can do to change that. The ship has H.A.L. new E.X.C. ,we were not a fan of this as it cuts done the amount of entertainment on the ship. Staff told us this is the only ship in the fleet with EXC and it appeals to limited folk from what we heard from others. The ship had only 972 on board this cruise and as it takes 1250 , tender times were good for the most part. Entertainment was very limited and some sub standard.The Cruise Director seemed to do everything with no helpers. The ship is old , but staff excellent in all departments. Our first cabin 545 had so many noises (sounded like steel on steel in the outside wall) we could not sleep.We were moved to 555 , this also had unacceptable noise ! We were then shifted to 556 which was fine apart from the shower control. Dining Room and Buffet both had cheerful and excellent staff as was the cabin staff.. Not 5 star by any mean,s , not even a fridge in the cabin, however the ship is kept clean and tidy by the crew at all times (with a smile) Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
An early Mediterranean touch of Spring on a the latest HAL ship. Cabin was fabulous 8091 with a happy steward and assistant who created toweled animals every night for our amusement with a hanging Monkey on the final night. The rest of ... Read More
An early Mediterranean touch of Spring on a the latest HAL ship. Cabin was fabulous 8091 with a happy steward and assistant who created toweled animals every night for our amusement with a hanging Monkey on the final night. The rest of the ship was bland compared to our earlier voyages on Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Westerdam. The itinerary was fine with eight ports in 10 days and for our USA, Canadian and Australian colleagues on board it must have given them a fabulous overview of European culture - well done HAL. The food offering in both Lido Market (serviced counters) and the main Dining Room (Waiter service) was disappointing. It was plain fare and never very hot. At Breakfast a freshly made omelette was OK and fresh toast too. Everything else was warm not hot. The serving staff were quite brusque at times rather than jolly and helpful. Best atmosphere and coffee was in the Dutch Cafe in the Atrium - thanks guys for our nightly visit. There were several speciality restaurants for extra charges but as we cruise frequently they are best left for special occasions. You should not have to pay extra for good hot food on a five star ship. World Stage is a creative platform that was shown off to its best with Musicology and Planet Earth with Orchestra. Very creative and much appreciated. The theatre is not as large as usual so there are three showings a night - seems hard on the performers. A Comic was outstanding. The smaller music venues on earlier ships were much missed. As we choose our cruises in the main for the ports of call so we would go again on Koningsdam but probably not our first choice. Our cruise was a last minute booking and so we had fabulous value for what we had paid, thank you. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
Wanted a relaxing cruise with family for Spring Break- got it! But very disappointed with boat and selection of activities on it. Boat is very old and needs updating. They still have bathtubs in the showers! All food is served from a ... Read More
Wanted a relaxing cruise with family for Spring Break- got it! But very disappointed with boat and selection of activities on it. Boat is very old and needs updating. They still have bathtubs in the showers! All food is served from a buffet line, but you have to ask for them to put things on your plate, different from other ships where you can just get your own amounts of whatever you want. The main dining room was nice and servers were great, but food selection was a little unusual. If you like to eat duck and try new dishes you’ve never heard of, then the main dining room is for you. We found the food to be bland almost every night. The boat is very old, about 30 years, and does not have a huge atrium like other boats. There are a couple of little shops. The casino is very small, with only three $1 slot machines, three 25 cent slot machines, a few tables, and about 20 penny slots. The staff is very nice with all workers being very polite, but do not go above and beyond. The ship also has issues with plumbing. There were several announcements made about plumbing issues to everyone on the boat. Be prepared to have to call the front desk for a plumber to visit your room! The cruise director always says “let’s rock it until we dock it”, but not many activities are planned. Some activities included the art of flower arranging, movies, talks with port info, trivia, and art auctions. Many young people on the boat went to trivia to do something fun. We are used to having drinks of the day specials and a little send off party when we leave the port, but there was nothing like that on this boat. When we went into other ports and other cruise ships were there, they had music playing, but our ship was silent. People say that Holland America cruise line is mostly for older retired people, and we did find this to be true. So in conclusion, go on this boat if you like a nice relaxing time on a small ship, but avoid it if you are younger or traveling with family because there is not much to do. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
Second lifetime cruise for me and my 4 yr old (our first cruise was Alaska two years ago aboard the Westerdam with him, my 7 yr old and my father for his 80th birthday), first cruise for my 9 yr old daughter. My awesome wife can only ... Read More
Second lifetime cruise for me and my 4 yr old (our first cruise was Alaska two years ago aboard the Westerdam with him, my 7 yr old and my father for his 80th birthday), first cruise for my 9 yr old daughter. My awesome wife can only handle one kid on vacation at a time, meaning our 7 yr old drew the Europe straw with her this past week, leaving me, my oldest and youngest to go exploring the western Caribbean. I went budget this time (compared to the Westerdam), reserving an ocean view cabin (instead of a verandah, or as they are termed on the Rotterdam, a suite), and choosing to sail out of Tampa - a relatively easy drive from Atlanta at any time other than the start of spring break. The kids absolutely loved the OV window, and I didn't have to stress with my four year old toddling up on a deck table to look over the balcony (as he did on the Westerdam). Two big reasons I'm a fan of HA: every ship in their fleet appears to have a basketball court on the top deck, and every ship has a teak wood deck on their promenade level, which gives them a "classic" ship feel (not unlike WWII era battleships like the USS North Carolina or Missouri). We stayed at the Barrymore Hotel the night before next to the Straz Performing Arts Center, and reserved parking at the Skyhouse Garage - $56 for the week, a half mile tops from the HA terminal. We were able to take our time visiting the Florida Aquarium the morning of the cruise and eat lunch there, before walking back to the garage, grabbing our luggage, and wandering to the terminal for boarding. I've only done this twice - in Seattle and in Tampa - and to me, Tampa seemed like a big spacious terminal, and our embarkation was incredibly fast and easy. Enjoyed sailing down the Hillsborough River. Didn't eat a single meal other than at the Lido (we did the first night dinner on the Alaska cruise when my two younger kids were 2 and 5, and it was way too long and late for them; have never eaten anywhere other than the Lido since). There's enough variety with each meal - 3-4 appetizers, 4-5 entrees, 3-4 desserts, with made to order salads and pastas - and the menus vary enough that even if you eat every single meal there, you can go an entire cruise week without eating the same thing twice. First stop was in Key West, and because I hadn't yet bothered with Club HAL (it had been a bust on the Alaska cruise with my two kids being two of only five kids in the club) and had assumed I would have to do excursions with a 9 and 4 yr old, I booked events geared to the lowest common denominator - my 4 year old. We did the Land and Sea tour - an hour on a trolley train sightseeing Key West, followed by a two hour glass bottom boat cruise - which turned out to be a hit, since my whale loving 4 year old (which ironically took root two years ago on the Westerdam) got to see a pod of 6-8 dolphins up close just goofing off - which apparently does not happen often. Key West harbor was the least charismatic of any of the ones we visited - we had to go through the Truman Naval Base to get to town and got searched on the way back in - but even the least interesting harbor visit beats the best day in an office. NCAA basketball championship was that night, but since HA doesn't get TBS, I'd resigned myself to missing it for the first time in 40 years. So, imagine my surprise when I flipped on the ESPN Internat'l Channel that the boat does carry - and hearing Dick Vitale doing color for the game (which ironically, turned out to be a dud unless you're from Philly). I always dig the "at sea" portion of cruises - much boat exploring, much time spent in the ship's well-appointed Explorations Cafe (found an encyclopedia about ships which kept my four year old entertained and quiet while I taught my daughter how to play chess), and of course much time spent in the main pool with my kids mid-ship . . . Roatan was okay - the only I thing I booked for us that day was the "Magical Flying Beach Chair" which was just a ski lift from the pier to the beach - but which kids will love. The walk would've been nice too. Spent the entire day with my kids on the beach - ample equipment for rent - snorkels and floats - but cannot claim to have done anything truly "Honduran." Santo Tomas, Guatemala was memorable. Booked the Ak-Tenamit/Livingston river cruise - long boat ride up the bay and into the river, but it was worth it. I'm not a birder, but the river was dominated by water fowl everywhere. The Ak-Tenamit settlement, which included a visit to a local school with students was a hit with my nine-year old. Had a good lunch, though if I'd known how bony the fish would be, I'd have ordered the chicken. River ride out was also good; the ride back was broken up with a stop at the town of Livingston - with two kids, I never made it past their playground by the dock. The Santo Tomas harbor is a real life working harbor, and we were mesmerized watching containers being loaded and unloaded off of 18 wheelers before sailing off. What I will always remember about Costa Maya was the water clarity. The "harbor" there, is just a concrete walkway in the shape of a "T" - when we arrived, the Norwegian Pearl and I think Rhapsody of the Seas were already backed into the dock. The port area is easily the most well furnished. Would have liked to have done a beach, but with two small kids, I ended up rewarding them with a visit to the water park - which they both loved. Sea day back was relaxing - my daughter discovered Club HAL and asked if she could go - and both my kids ended up in the 9-11:30 am and 1-4 pm sessions. It was almost weird having an unexpected day to myself like that - so I did what any kidless dude in that situation would do - went to aft deck smoking area, found a chair in the shade, and lit up a big fat stogie . . . We arrived back in Tampa early the next morning - we ordered room service for 6 am, which turned out to be the right call - even though we were slotted for an 8:15 "expedited" disembarkation, the Captain released us an hour early - we were literally on the road home by 8:15 am - we got to the Fla Turnpike and I-75 so early, that for the first time I can remember, we didn't even have to stop . . . Shout out to Teguh and Anita for keeping our cabin clean, to the tall, brunette Guest Relations officer who found my kid after he ran off exploring the ship's elevators, and to the Lido dining staff who for the most part, actually seemed to enjoy my kids. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
We just returned from an absolutely amazing cruise of the Panama Canal. Before we left, I confess I was apprehensive because of some of the reviews I’d read that said the boat was old, that the itinerary wasn’t good, and that the ... Read More
We just returned from an absolutely amazing cruise of the Panama Canal. Before we left, I confess I was apprehensive because of some of the reviews I’d read that said the boat was old, that the itinerary wasn’t good, and that the activities were too few. I couldn’t disagree more, and I honestly have no idea what all the whining is about. Of course, it could be that before the ship was dry-docked last November it was shabby, but it sure isn’t any more. The furniture in the rooms was new, the doors and carpets all appeared new, the public spaces were well-maintained, and the beds were more comfortable than ours at home. That said, if you’re into glam and glitz, huge ships with entire shopping malls and bowling lanes in them, then, true, this is not the boat for you. But what the Zuiderdam does have—and which is way more important—is high-quality, healthy food that isn’t just sugar, salt, and fat rearranged into different shapes; impeccable service in the rooms, dining rooms, kids’ club, spa, casino, and more; quality dance, comedy, music, and magic acts by talented people; almost no lines for anything; and just enough excitement to make each day fun and relaxing. We stayed in room 6017, a balcony room on the Upper Veranda deck. It was perfectly situated for viewing the canal and its feats of engineering as well as the breathtaking jungle canopies filled with toucans and parrots on either side. Our friendly room steward Gede and his assistants did an amazing job of servicing the room in a timely manner and leaving all sorts of whimsical towel-animal creations for our 8-year-old to enjoy. On the canal tour day, we even had breakfast delivered to our room so that we didn’t miss any excitement. (Do work on those scrambled eggs, though.) Our boy was one of probably only 30 kids on the whole boat! Before you decide that this cruise isn’t good for kids, let me tell you how awesome it was for him to have gotten to know the majority of the others by name and be able to play with them in and out of Club HAL throughout the trip. Besides, he enjoyed the Club HAL activities immensely and appreciated all the love and energy the staff members, like Allison and Amanda, put into organizing enriching things for the kids to do. By day, we took advantage of a wide variety of activities. We played lots of bingo, ping pong, and music trivia, all of which the assistant cruise director Alice made super fun, we hung out by the pool, which is the only cruise pool I’ve been in that wasn’t frigid, we gambled on the wide variety of slot machines, and we had spa services. In particular, the hot stone massage and the acupuncture treatments I got from the knowledgeable Lauren Steigmayer were great ways to start the trip off relaxed and healthy. We also took five excursions, two by Holland and three through our booking agent. We enjoyed all the ports of call except for Colon, which was pretty sketchy. But Holland offered excursions from Gatun Lake that made it well worthwhile to stop in Panama. Don’t miss the opportunity to see Panama. You can read detailed reviews of the excursions we took—the Panama monkey island tour and the Everglades airboat tour--on Holland’s web site. The other tours we took were through prestigecruises.com. The photographers did a great job of capturing all our comings and goings without being pushy. By night, we loved having dinner in the dining room with our excellent waiters Dindin and Asep, who were so welcoming to our son. Thanks to the variety of healthy choices, decadent options, and ethnic dishes, we never tired of the food, which we usually do. (I’m on a special diet, so imagine my pleasant surprise on learning that the Lido deck offered gluten free pasta and bread!) The Pinnacle Grill had amazing crab legs, and when we dined there a second time, they were out of crab legs but made up for it with free lobster tail, instead. The entertainment, which I’m usually not too excited about, was surprisingly fantastic. As a former ballet dancer, I’m a tough critic, but I thought the dancers were quite technical and fun to watch. As music goes, we especially enjoyed Billboard Onboard, featuring the dueling pianists Danny and Ian. Ian was so kind to my son, Cameron, playing his requests and encouraging him to stick with piano. We also really liked the BB King All-stars band, the comedian with his dry sense of humor, and the magic act with the adorable Pomeranians. Nick, the cruise director, did a great job of organizing the activities and getting us excited about them. Zuiderdam, we love you and think you deserve this praise. Keep up the great work! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
DH, DS, DD, DB (DD's Boyfriend) and I (DW) cruised on the Eurodam over the spring holiday break. Although the ship was reported to be full (nice eclectic passenger group), we never noticed any crowds, perhaps because we spent much of ... Read More
DH, DS, DD, DB (DD's Boyfriend) and I (DW) cruised on the Eurodam over the spring holiday break. Although the ship was reported to be full (nice eclectic passenger group), we never noticed any crowds, perhaps because we spent much of our time lounging in our Retreat and Lido Cabanas. We all enjoyed the cabana experience more than we thought and it was money well spent! I was quite concerned about excessive motion since our veranda cabins were more forward than I would have preferred, but honestly we were never uncomfortable. The location was especially convenient when getting up to our cabanas and he Lido. We enjoyed great room stewards but they are desperately overworked with 26 rooms between the pair. Since the ship was going into dry dock following our sailing, I was worried that construction projects might be started early, effecting our experience. The only sign of the upcoming rehab were the new rolls of carpeting stored in a corner of the promenade deck! Sadly, our MDR experiences weren't consistently good and we noticed a dramatic decline from our last Eurodam cruise 5 years ago. We all enjoyed our Tamarind dining experience the first night, with the service as delightful as the food! On the second night, we arrived at Table 57 (nice location) for our early seating and met our stewards, Alex and Dadi. While they both did an excellent job, the food was generally lackluster and appeared to have been plated too long before serving. We reluctantly expressed our concerns to the head waiter when he asked for our comments. After that, poor Alex appeared to be jumping through hoops trying to please us but the menu choices and food quality were beyond his control. We did seek out his nightly recommendations (which helped) and repeatedly praised him to his supervisors. The quality of the entertainment on the ship varied from extraordinary to deplorable. The Billboard Onboard musicians (Megan and Michael) were among the most talented performers we've experienced. Gifted pianists and delightful vocalists, they took requests, put on themed shows, and encouraged audience participation with infectious personalities. We actually planned our evenings around their schedules! Even our young adult children became huge fans. We would book a cruise if we knew they would be onboard. (Lucky Oosterdam passengers, they are in for a treat for the next 3 months.) The audience (not nearly enough seats) usually lined the hallway and spilled over into the casino. Shame on HAL for not providing a better venue for these superstars! The Main Stage entertainment was not consistently good. While the Eurodam singers and dancers seemed enthusiastic, their shows were not memorable or particularly pleasant. Yes, the nature film collaboration with the Lincoln Center musicians was wonderful and shouldn't be missed. The male comedian, Anthony Padilla was atrocious. Not only was he just not funny but he crossed the line from "edgy" to completely offensive and we walked out in protest. Sadly, others did too which depleted the audience for the next act! In planning our port activities, I scoured the Cruisecritic boards as well as TripAdvisor forums for suggestions. Amber Cove was far more enjoyable than we expected. The perfect weather made for a laid back few hours of zip lining, swimming (really lovely pool), and sliding (great water slides) before we headed back for a late lunch. San Juan was as hot and humid as predicted, especially since we arrived in port after 10am. My plan was to hop on the free trolley to tour the forts. We waited in the designated spot for 35min but no trolley so we opted for a nice, air conditioned mini van taxi for $20. We enjoyed our walk and the beautiful vistas but were eager to return to the ship and our cabana oasises. In St Martin, I had arranged for a snorkeling trip for my family with Capt. Bob. Our boat captain, Sam, made the experience memorable for us all. We had great swims (saw a wonderful variety of fish and sea turtles swimming just inches away) and an exhilarating speed boat ride, but we also experienced, first hand, the devastation on the island through Sam's descriptions. Hopefully, tourists will continue to offer support for the island's recovery. We had another perfect day at Half Moon Key. Although we preordered a clamshell, there were plenty of loungers in the shade so it might not have really been needed. The BBQ lunch was pretty good but try to eat early to avoid the long lines that form. The tenders were efficient but we noticed that several passengers with mobility issues had difficulty negotiating the steep stairs. Disembarkation was as smooth as embarkation. We had a leisurely breakfast in the dining room and chose to manage our own luggage. The "global entry" lane wasn't open but there was no need since we zipped right through customs. Outside the terminal, we called Alamo for the shuttle pickup and within 30 min, we were headed to the Everglades for an airboat adventure. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
We have previously sailed on Oceania and Crystal and choose HAL as an alternative to the luxury lines we've sailed on previously. We loved the newly updated ship and the size of the Neptune Suite. The Caribbean waters were ... Read More
We have previously sailed on Oceania and Crystal and choose HAL as an alternative to the luxury lines we've sailed on previously. We loved the newly updated ship and the size of the Neptune Suite. The Caribbean waters were wonderfully smooth and a brilliant blue. The Retreat cabana was a perfect retreat and the service in was fantastic. My only complaint was the food in the main dining room was salty and bland thankfully we spent the rest of the cruise eating in the specialty restaurants. The entertainment is exceptional and we went to the main stage every night for the late show. We'd cap off the night with a visit to the BB's Blues Club. The musicians were amazing and we enjoyed watching them. Finally, the private island, Half Moon Cay was perfect. We loved being alone on the island and had private bike/hike tour along with a relaxing day at the beach. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
A bit of a belated review of our cruise. This was posted on my travel blog Please see the link in my signature if you would like to read more about our cruise and view the pictures and the Ports we visited!!! This was our first time ... Read More
A bit of a belated review of our cruise. This was posted on my travel blog Please see the link in my signature if you would like to read more about our cruise and view the pictures and the Ports we visited!!! This was our first time sailing on Holland and I must say I was very pleasantly surprised. I had expected the demographics to skew much higher in age. I don’t know whether or not it was because it was Easter that were far more children aboard than expected. It seemed as though there were many family groups and not nearly as many older people on this trip. Despite being platinum on Carnival, I was not happy with how the dining experienced has been cheapened on that line. I love the white tablecloths, charger plates, extra services etc and that does not happen on Carnival any longer. I was feeling like I was eating at Chili’s or someplace similar. That is not the experience I want on my vacation. I want that ‘extra’. Carnival has also increased the number of cabins a steward has to clean and the last cruise we were on, we were asked to choose either morning or evening cabin service and Ice is now a special request. So, we were searching for a line that still provides the level of service we want on our vacation. Cabins: We had two inside cabins, aft on Deck 6. I would highly recommend this location. Three floors up to the Lido and three down for dinner. I didn’t notice excessive movement in this area but then I don’t notice it unless it’s really bad. The cabins themselves were nicely appointed. Large bed, 2 nightstands, a desk/dressing area with chair, the mini bar to the right of the desk area—built in and a small table. Closet space was ample and I loved the fold-down shelves in the closets! I also loved that there were USB ports on either side of the beds! No need to fight over outlets on the desk. The bathroom was a standard cruise ship design—our rooms had a shower and no tub. The shower was equipped with Spa shampoo, conditioner and body wash and also had 2 grab bars. The sink was wide and had glass shelves on the right side. One thing I noticed in all the hallways were the bars on one side of the hallways to the cabins. These would come in handy for those not so steady on their feet. The Lido Market We ate here many times and enjoyed the variety of food that was served. The thing I liked the most is EVERYTHING was served by employees. That appeals greatly to my germophobic personality and has got to cut down on the spread of Noro-Virus. There are also hand sanitizer placed in the entrances. Back to the food though. We loved the cooked to order eggs station. It was very organized and the line moved quickly. You could also get bacon, turkey bacon, sausages, hash browns, bagels and toast here. Depending on the day, they also served pancakes or French Toast too. There were self-serve plated items on chill trays such as Yogurt, fresh fruit, cereals & milk. Lunch In my opinion, lunch was the best meal. Again the Lido deck had such variety. They had one station completed devoted to fresh fruit and another making these huge fresh salads to order. They had sandwiches made up and wrapped with varied ingredients too. They had a made to order Thai food area as well as made to order pasta. The Thai food was wonderful and I ate there twice. The pasta bar should have been wonderful as well, but I found the sauces very bland despite having them add lots of garlic and some other seasoning. I think that was really the only “miss” we had. We ate at the Burger Joint and the Pizza place a few times and enjoyed the food. The French Fries were a huge hit. The Ice Cream station was also a huge hit (and this is also where you can find Bread Pudding!) They serve regular ice cream and soft serve in waffle cones or bowls. Toppings can also be added. They did have varying flavors or regular ice cream too. Late Night Snacks The Lido also provided a surprising amount of food between 10:30pm and 11:30pm. You could get an entire meal if you wanted to. Mostly my companions hit it up for the French fries! Dinner-Main Dining Room- late seating We ate in the main dining room 5 of the 7 days and most everything we ordered was good—but nothing over the top. We did not go hungry by any means, but I felt most of the food was just average. The only below average item I had was the French Onion Soup. The broth tasted like dishwater. On another night, all the croutons in the Caesar Salad were soft. Blah. The group at the table next to ours did mention this to their water and one of the Chefs came out to apologize. The one standout for me was the Lobster Tail. It was cooked perfectly and very tasty. The steak that was served with it was “meh”. I think I just prefer things a bit more seasoned. Regarding desserts—the items we chose were good, but I have to say I miss the Warm Chocolate Melting Cake on Carnival’s dessert menu every night! Pinnacle We ate here the last night and the food was amazing. Between the 3 of us we got: Filet Mignon, King Crab Legs and Halibut with Shrimp Scampi. Each main dish was excellent. The portion of Crab legs was enormous—far more than one person could eat. The sides were very good, beginning with a Caesar Salad mixed at the table. Shareable sides included mashed potatoes and asparagus. I ordered a baked potato. For dessert, the Molten Lava Chocolate cake with a side of ice cream and raspberry cheesecake. Both were delicious but we couldn’t finish them—we were too full. I felt it was worth the money and normally would tip here. However, our waiter was not the caliber we expected. Not once, did he notice our water glasses needed to be filled. And we had to ask him more than once for more water. He did not check back with us regarding our entries to see if everything was good. He just acted like he didn’t want to be there and that we were disturbing him with our requests. We did not let that stop us from enjoying the meal—we all loved it and would go back there again. Shows The only show we managed to see was the BB King Tribute. The performers were so talented and the show seemed to be full always. We enjoyed the set and at only about 45 minutes to an hour long, it was just the perfect length. Piano Bar They relocated the Piano bar and increased the space to allow more people to attend. For us, and others on the cruise, the fact that they moved it to an area directly across from the casino was rather painful. Had the dueling piano players been talented, I’m sure it would have been entertaining. However, I think I can speak for the majority of people on the cruise and report that they were AWFUL. The dealers were grimacing at the off-tone, voice cracking noises and we actually heard more than one person say they were leaving the casino because they couldn’t stand it any longer. Not good news for the casino. Casino The casino is quite small on the ship but does have a nice selection of slots. The table game area is small and they only had 1 3-Card Poker table. Most nights it was challenging to get a seat. They did not increase the number of tables yet Black Jack table were idle. Not sure about the purpose—but I did manage to spend some time at 3 Card Poker-with decent results I might add. Seaview Pool and bar area We spent most of our time in this area. The pool was a decent size and over seven feet deep. Plenty of loungers were set out each day but during peak hours you had to watch and wait for a chair. (The chair hogs were out in force as they are on every line) There was no policing by any staff that I saw despite the notice about the 30 minute rule. The pool itself is supposed to be for adults only and, again, that was not being enforced. I know the Lido pool was closed one day for cleaning due to someone vomiting in the pool so all the kids were allowed. However, on days when the Lido pool was open, I still saw children in and out of the Seaview pool all day. The starboard side of the bar area is the only place to smoke on the entire ship. (The info in the room stated the Casino would allow smoking on certain nights. However, they did not allow smoking there at all as far as I know. There were quite a few smokers onboard and, at times, it was challenging to find a spot to sit. I understand the non-smoker’s point of view, but smoking is LEGAL and they should have more than one spot for smokers to congregate. Shops There was a small area of shops on the ship but the biggest surprise for me—and others: They did not have cartons of cigarettes for sale, and their liquor selection tended toward the very high end stuff and was quite small. They did have a shop with all the cruise wear you expect, a perfume cosmetics area and several higher end jewelry stores. Ship Décor I absolutely loved how this ship was decorated. You could spend hours just wandering around looking at all the interesting art. The NYC skyline piece hanging in the atrium was gorgeous. The walls in the passenger cabin hallways were filled with black and white photos of people and places in NYC ‘back in the day’. There were comfy seating areas scattered all over the ship making it very easy to rest your tired self. The Crow’s nest area, we only visited once but it was also very nice and ‘user friendly’. There was a bar up there and lots of seating, including tables where folks could play cards or boards game or just sit and look at the ocean. Lovely area. Bars/Drinks We did not have a drink package but did indulge in 3-4 adult beverages most days. They had a nice variety of alcohol and I thought the drinks were very good. I heard people complaining about the prices, but I think $10 including a tip is about the norm on any ship. There are an adequate number of bars on the ship for the size. Service The service was excellent (with the exception of Sterling!) Most of the staff went out of their way to make sure you were comfortable and had what you needed. For example, one morning I stumbled up to the Lido deck to wake up a bit before breakfast and right there was our favorite waiter, Noel, asking if he could bring me a coffee. Ice water, iced tea or lemonade was served to you in the Lido seating area. Our cabin stewards were like genies, popping in and out of our cabins and leaving them made up beautifully even if we were only gone for 15 minutes or so. I would put this service on-par with what I experienced on the Pacific Princess 2 years ago. Conclusion The size of the ship is great. I think it’s about 2000 guests. Perfect size. The mega-ships are not for me and I’m glad Holland still has a variety of smaller ships to choose from. Overall, I felt the ship is very elegant and one I am looking forward to sailing on again. Our vacation was perfect and just what we all needed. For details on the ports, please see the lin Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2018
Booked after final deposit deadlines on a reach out from Holland America on a Casino offer. Accepted the offer for a Verandah Suite, and then several weeks later received an upgrade offer for the Neptune Suite, which we took. ... Read More
Booked after final deposit deadlines on a reach out from Holland America on a Casino offer. Accepted the offer for a Verandah Suite, and then several weeks later received an upgrade offer for the Neptune Suite, which we took. Embarkation: The Veendam arrived later than expected from the prior cruise, so when we arrived at 11:30am, most of the passengers were waiting in the hall, as boarding did not proceed until approx. noon or just after. It was not a long wait, but we had never experienced a wait in boarding in our 10 HAL cruises, so this was an exception. Cabin: SA009 on Navigation Deck (Deck 10). A standard Neptune Suite on HALs smaller ships with 575 sq ft of space including a pull out sofa, dressing room, and large deck with table/4 chairs, and two loungers. The new "suite" look for HAL had not been completed, and instead of having two sinks in the bathroom, there was one and an additional in the dressing area. Unlike Vista class ships, there was not a separate shower and tub, but instead a combined shower/tub combo. The decor was from the last revision (I believe 2009, I think) with the Hawaiian style prints in orange and browns and leather brown couch. My wife and I surmised that Veendam may be utilized soon for another Carnival brand line, such as P&O soon, which is why the Suite changes had not taken place yet. However, for being a 22 year old ship, everything was in fine working order and we especially liked the artwork in our cabin of large watercolors. The flat screen appeared to be the same size as my IPAD Pro (about 12-14 inches) was was what I would call - minimalist. Dining: We absolutely adore the Pinnacle, so we had pre-reserved every evening, except one in Canaletto for the Pinnacle. We dined at 7pm each evening and loved getting to know the staff, not only from breakfast each day in the Pinnacle, but also the same team in the evening. Ordering a la carte each evening, we worked our way almost through the menu by the end of the cruise. Service was impeccable and we appreciated getting to know most of our wait team. Lin was exceptional as the wine steward (now on to Nieuw Amsterdam) as we had brought a week's worth of wine on board, but she was eager to make recommendations based on what we had brought and shared. Entertainment: We were surprised that on Veendam, even with the venues similar to the Vista class - the branding of experiences was completely different. No Billboard, Lincoln Center or BBKings here, but the much more traditional entertainment at each venue. Also, we walked into several of the dance/singing shows and found the quality significantly below our expectations in pitch, movement and energy. While we had a great cruise, we found the main showroom entertainment not to our taste, and missed the branded experiences that HAL has moved to on other ships. A distinct exception was the America's Test Kitchen and EXC services, which were superb. Service: It is what HAL is known for, and we found that standards were maintained and exceeded. The Neptune attendants in Tyson and team were SUPERB and very ready to accommodate any need. Ports and Shore Excursions: Most of the ports on this cruise were the HAL or Carnival produced variety, with shopping centers, pools and bars in the port area (HMC, Amber Cove and Grand Turk) These were functional, but we especially enjoyed the cabana in HMC, and the "Tours with a purpose" to the Women's Cooperative Chocolate Factory in the Domincan Republic. Old San Juan on Easter Sunday was a highlight as well with many shops open as well as churches. The ship overall looks fantastic and has constant upkeep. We noticed this especially in the Thermal Suite, which looked like the day it was new and was FABULOUS. Great cruise to get away on a smaller ship with HAL, where we got to know our neighbors and saw people onboard multiple times to catch up. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2018
Last minute choice, good value, we have lots of good experience with Holland America. I don't know why someone would say beware this ship. She is not new, for sure, but well maintained. Staff was friendly and helpful. Ports ... Read More
Last minute choice, good value, we have lots of good experience with Holland America. I don't know why someone would say beware this ship. She is not new, for sure, but well maintained. Staff was friendly and helpful. Ports were great, for a typical caribbean 7 day cruise. The only issue we had was an excess of young children, often poorly supervised (BY THE PARENTS!!!) but that is the risk you take during spring break periods. I had a much worse spring break experience on a Royal Caribbean cruise a number of years ago. (Read: 13 year olds pushing ALL the elevator buttons every time, exiting after one floor, thinking that was very funny). Food was very good, typical Holland fare. Had a nice first day dinner at canaletto, which avoids the first day dining room hassles. We use the main dining room for all breakfasts, and had a lot of great table mates and interesting discussions. All in all a pretty good cruise. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
I will say that the Nieuw Amsterdam is a very well kept and a beautiful ship. Being recently out of dry dock, you can tell that they spent great energy in designing the new appointments. The staff is friendly for the most part and the ... Read More
I will say that the Nieuw Amsterdam is a very well kept and a beautiful ship. Being recently out of dry dock, you can tell that they spent great energy in designing the new appointments. The staff is friendly for the most part and the service is good. We are 55 & 52 and seasoned cruisers mostly on Celebrity & RCCL. This was our first HAL experience and we were looking forward to it after several months of anticipation. Our overall impressions of HAL and the Nieuw Amsterdam was favorable however we will not be sailing on her or HAL again. I will attempt to highlight the various aspects of our experience. Dining: We enjoy a variety of fine dining when we cruise and the food in the specialty dining areas are exceptional with the exception of Tamarind. The Tamarind service is forced, rushed and the food quality is mediocre. Pinnacle Grille was the saving grace for our cruise. We dined early in the cruise & went back for Rudi’s Sel De Mer pop up and also for lunch. It was without question the shining part of our cruise. The MDR was also very good even though they screwed up our anytime dining reservations which they would not correct - we did end up getting our originally requested time but had to sit with others. They turned out to be great folks. We also chose MDR for breakfast - fantastic service, selection and taste. We chose this option due to the buffet being the worst of any of the 14 cruises we have experienced. The design is awful, and the selection is extremely limited. Since they serve everyone individually the lines are long for a very limited selection of poor quality items. The MDR is recommended for breakfast & lunch - avoid the buffet at all costs. Even the cookies in the afternoons (cut from a log and not homemade) are limited and the “extra” desserts after dinner have one or two selections at most. I did not try Dive In (though I hear the fries are very good) or the pizza since the lines were very long and the pizza joint was located by the adult pool adjacent to the smoking area which made that entire pool deck undesirable at times depending on the wind direction. If the wind direction is towards the inner doors to the back of the buffet, it also fills with cigarette smoke. Canaletto was very nice and there are several options to share - nice option for an inexpensive specialty spot. Stateroom. We had a Signature Suite and it was just refurbished in Dec. Nice Job HAL! It was an amazing room with excellent technology and appointments. The cabin stewards were exceptional. The very large flat screen TV had many free movie options and it was an excellent add. The bathroom was very large with both a bath with shower and a separate shower adjacent. The standing shower however is not for anyone over 5’10”. The balcony is quite large and allowed for very comfortable room service breakfast options in order to avoid the buffet. Entertainment: the production shows use great video visuals however the main vocalist was not to our liking and had a very loud brash voice. We did not stay long at the two we attempted. The BBC World w/ live music concert was exceptional due to the pairing of musicians from Lincoln Center Stage. The LCS intimate venue is a brilliant add to HAL. These young musicians are outstanding, and we visited almost every performance. BRAVO! The guest vocalist impressionist was also very good however the comedian was not. We visited the guest vocalist encore performance that same evening. BB Kings had some very good acts, but it can get a bit loud and crowded. Very good though! A new addition of the Billboard on Board sounds like it would be a good fit, but it is directly across from the open casino and the slots overpower and confuse the music coming from the dual pianos. They will fix that someday, I’m sure. I did do two America’s Test Kitchen presentations and they were very informative and well done - a really cool idea on a cruise ship. The Music Walk is a winner. There is very little other music in lounges or public areas other than these 3 venues. I think this is a big miss from HAL which Celebrity excels in. Activities: this ship is just boring. I know HAL is for the older crowd but give us something to do! Each engagement segment of interest lasts only about 30 minutes and then you wait 3 hours until something else meets your interest. The pool decks are very uninteresting and open. The family pool area has a retractable roof which they do open and close appropriately. The adult pool area at the aft is very uninteresting and as mentioned prior, has the smoking area attached with detracts from its appeal. The pool decks are plain with no real activities noticed. They gym on board has ample equipment and is not too crowed based upon the older demographic of the fellow passengers. We were able to work out easily for 5 of our 7 days onboard. We did not use the spa and the excessive up-charge to the vitality pool was a turn off. Bars: This is something that I found absolutely ridiculous, in that very few bars are open during the day other than the pool bars. The mid ship lower level bars are attached to specialty dining and once dining reservations are over or not operational, these locations are not open. What a waste of income possibilities! The ship closes down at 9:30 except for B.B. Kings. Do not pay full price for the drink package since BOTH parties in the stateroom must purchase if the other wants one. We are not heavy drinkers, but it is nice to have a glass of wine and not have to search it out. Happy hours begin at 4:00 and is decent with a $2 second cocktail which they deliver together. As a side note, we did find that the Gallery Bar beside the casino was attended most days and had sports on the TV within a very nicely decorated side room - not one you would expect sports to be shown.... Go Cubs opening day! Service: Our stateroom attendant was excellent and left us alone for the most part and made the room while we were either at the gym or at breakfast most mornings. The overall feeling though from most of the crew and service people is that they just are not happy. They seldom had a smile on their face until interaction with a passenger and most of the wait staff, servers, bar tenders, and even officers looked tired. We thought that this might be the end of a contract period and they were looking forward to a break. I have never noticed this before on any of our other cruises. Another very peculiar item was that they do not push the hand sanitizer at all and many of the dispensers were empty. Maybe since they only let the staff serve the food at the buffet, that may counter this. It was a disappointment hearing so much about the HAL service. Overall: Due to the buffet design and quality, lack of activities, and missing supplemental live music options outside of the main venues, we have crossed off HAL for any future cruises. We also were very disappointed in the level of engagement from the staff and a ship with little to offer before dinner, or even on a sea day. We met many HAL loyalists and understand that not all lines are for everyone. We thought we would enjoy the traditional cursing style of HAL but we are looking forward to returning to Celebrity next March on the new Celebrity Edge. I hope this is a helpful review. If you are a MDR type for breakfast and lunch and enjoy sitting in quiet reading a book or playing games or cards with others, this is your cruise line! We enjoy a bit more action. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
7 days were all we had for a cruise. We love Holland America so this cruise fit the bill. The itinerary really didn’t have anything to do with the decision. Embarkation was quick and efficient. Our room was ready when we arrived at ... Read More
7 days were all we had for a cruise. We love Holland America so this cruise fit the bill. The itinerary really didn’t have anything to do with the decision. Embarkation was quick and efficient. Our room was ready when we arrived at 11:30. We were able to drop our carry ons and get the cruise started with a nice lunch in the dining room. Sail Away was nice with lots of waiters to take drink orders and pass hors d’oeuvres. Unfortunately there were not many places to sit so it was a lot of standing. We were three adults in a cabin and it worked surprisingly well. There was enough space for our clothing and the cabin steward was quick to bring extra hangers. The pull out bed was comfortable. The only downside to using the pullout was that it blocked the balcony door. We ate dinners in the main dining room with the exception of one meal in the Pinnacle Grill. All of the food and service were excellent. Portion sizes have gotten a bit smaller over the years and we really prefer that. Since you can order as much as you want, you will never go hungry, but with reasonable portion sizes you don’t need to feel stuffed or leave food on the plates to go to waste. The entertainment was very good. HAL has gotten much better in this department over the years. The doors to the stage venue didn’t open until a half hour before the show and there was always a line to get in. This was only a real issue on the two nights that they had only one show. The new music walk offers music for everyone. The ports were fine (Key West, Grand Turk, and Half Moon Cay). We missed Amber Cove due to bad weather conditions. Half Moon Cay with its beautiful blue waters and soft white sand was a highlight. The ship was great, service was excellent, and food outstanding, however, we would not choose a seven day cruise nor a Caribbean cruise again due to personal preference. Read Less
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