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Sail Date: August 2019
Choose this cruise for its itinerary. Ireland / Iceland / Greenland, wow. All cruises have their plus and minuses. Major plus was the limited passengers (under 1700), and the route. Minuses was the disappointment in the food. ... Read More
Choose this cruise for its itinerary. Ireland / Iceland / Greenland, wow. All cruises have their plus and minuses. Major plus was the limited passengers (under 1700), and the route. Minuses was the disappointment in the food. Signature suite 6055 was nice and roomy. Entertainment good, services great (go find David in the Oceans Bar for the 4-5pm happy hour, he has great personality). Cabin stewards & Dining stewards were all great. Ports - 3 ports in Ireland all great, 2 ports in Iceland (somewhat disappointed), 2 ports Greenland - Prince Christian Sund is amazing. 2 Ports in Newfoundland, and 1 port in Nova Scotia. Embarkation in Rotterdam was the easiest I have ever had, Disembarkation in Boston was somewhat confusing ((no clue where/who to ask about wheelchair assist, managed to get off on our own. Then had the bus driver who could not help with luggage & did NOT know route to airport? Read Less
Sail Date: July 2019
We recently completed a 17 day cruise across the North Atlantic aboard the Zuiderdam, billed as “Voyage of the Vikings” from Boston to Rotterdam. This is actually first part of a longer 35 day cruise that returns to Boston, visiting ... Read More
We recently completed a 17 day cruise across the North Atlantic aboard the Zuiderdam, billed as “Voyage of the Vikings” from Boston to Rotterdam. This is actually first part of a longer 35 day cruise that returns to Boston, visiting different ports coming and going. We were among the minority of guests who departed halfway through. Many guests don’t enjoying flying and dealing with jet lag and a voyage that begins and ends in the US is attractive to them. This cruise is only done once a year, and many people have apparently done it multiple times and sign up for it months in advance. Despite that the ship was not full. You want to learn about Vikings? If so, this is the cruise for you and there are quite a number of talks and presentations about the Vikings as explorers, plunderers, and traders, along with history of the various countries visited. This was reinforced by shore excursions. Cruisers should note that it's a rather expensive voyage, and that is also true of the shore excursions. At the last minute we were pleasantly surprised by an upgrade from the signature class cabin we had booked to a Neptune suite, a much larger cabin (#7073) with various extras, including a dedicated lounge. So that got the voyage off to a rousing start. Service met the usual high HAL standard whether we are talking about cabin stewards, dining room staff or concierges for the lounge. The concierges were quick to handle any minor issues we encountered, and were proactive in trying to be of help. I remember one rather rough night where they called and wanted to make sure we were not sea sick. On this voyage, we noticed the continuation of a trend we’ve perceived on HAL which is to make their voyages more “authentic”, which means substituting more “live” music for the traditional cruise song and dance shows, presentations by experts, and shore excursions that are more about exploring local cultures. HAL continues to go down this road by announcing they are bringing in more artistic dancers and local chefs. This is clearly how HAL seeks to differentiate itself from other cruise lines, including others in the Carnival Group. Given the age and economic status and propensity to travel of the average HAL guest, I can’t fault them for the strategy (and I very much appreciate the strategy myself, for this is my vision of what a cruise should be) but this is not a cruise for people who want an experience with games and pool parties and sports and late night entertainment on board, particularly if you have children. We ate in the dining room most nights, but also in the Pinnacle grill twice and once at Sel de Mer, which exists as a “pop up” restaurant only opening one or twice during the voyage. All the food was very good, though there seemed a little less variety than previous voyages. Though we frequented many of the music venues and enjoyed them very much, the other entertainment on board left a great deal to be desired and we hardly went to any of the shows. Entertainment is the weakest aspect of the HAL experience, but it is also the aspect of cruising I care about least. We took part in six excursions coordinated by HAL. There was the usual level of good organization, though as noted they were rather expensive. Weather was not particularly cooperative but that is not HAL's fault. This is something like our 11th cruise with HAL. We think of ourselves as quite experienced cruisers, but many of the travellers on this trip have hundreds and hundreds of cruise days to their credit, and travel to all corners of the world on multi month voyages. It’s a completely different kind of passenger than you find in the Caribbean or Alaska and you can learn a lot from them. I cannot say enough about the professionalism, positive attitude and courtesy of HAL personnel but in truth this is nothing new, for this has always been our experience with HAL and why we continue to use them exclusively for ocean cruising. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
As always, this review will try to focus on the little things that might be missed, along with the details that may be overlooked in a broader review. This is especially true for the independent travelers who may wander off and do things ... Read More
As always, this review will try to focus on the little things that might be missed, along with the details that may be overlooked in a broader review. This is especially true for the independent travelers who may wander off and do things on their own in each location. Rotterdam Pre -cruise/ Embarkation: We flew into Amsterdam and took the train to Rotterdam. Sine there were four of us, I took advantage of the group discount tickets available online at the Dutch Railways website. This came out to 8 Euros per person instead of 13 euros per person if booked separately. The train station is inside the Amsterdam Airport and very easy to find. We stayed at the Hilton Rotterdam which is only a few blocks from the main Train station and centrally located for walking around Rotterdam. Rotterdam has a Saturday farmers market near the Markthal that if you are there on that day, is a worthwhile shopping event. The central shopping district and pedestrian streets were all close by. The RET Stadhuis metro station was right outside the back door of the Hilton. Only 4 euros one-way. There were escalators at both Stadhuis station and Wilhelminaplein station and the luggage was easy to roll-on roll-off the cars. It was three stops to Wilhelminaplein from Stadhuis and about 800 feet from the metro station to the Cruise Terminal. After dropping our bags, we went through security. I had a wine bottle in my bag for consumption in the room, and security never even checked it. My wife had a bottle of wine and a six pack of soda and security looked in her bag to ensure she didn't exceed the alcohol allowance. Note: In Reykjavik, my wife asked if she could take on a beer, and they said yes, as long as it was not more than six bottles. At other ports, I brought on beer and others were bringing on cans of soda with no problem. We arrived just after 1pm and received boarding group 9. Luckily Boarding group 8 was just finishing up so we were checked in within 5 minutes and walked aboard. Ship- overall very good- there were some spots in need of touch up/repair such as a broken bed lamp, a balconies badly in need of paint, and far too many cracked windows, but public areas were in good shape. I assume they are foregoing cosmetic maintenance items until dry dock. Even though we had some choppy seas for the first ten days the ship was very stable. Service was one of the best we have had on recent cruises. The HAL Navigator App (free WiFi on board for the App and HAL websites) had the daily menus in each dining area, including the Lido, posted. Also each day, an interactive activities list was available which duplicated the daily program so you could review and save your favorites. You can also book shore excursions on the App. No morning show. Never saw the Cruise Director until day 8. Jessica, our travel host was the face of HAL entertainment for the majority of the cruise. Most EXC lectures were scripted and did not provide a lot more detail than could be found online. Most of the port talks filled up the Main Stage at least 10 minutes prior with standing room only after that. Port Lectures lacked details regarding where we would be docked until the lecture was almost over so it was hard to reference the locations discussed during the lecture against the port area where you would be disembarked. The Orange party was at 10:30pm in BB King’s the day after the second gala night. Of course I fell asleep and missed it so can’t provide details. The Movie theater had comfortable lounge chairs but only played the same movies that were also on the In-room TV, so never saw the need to attend. The Gym was smaller than similar sized ships on other lines. There were plenty of treadmills, elliptical machines, and Dumbbells, but very little in the way of weight lifting equipment. One thing I really appreciated was Captain Bart Vaartjes announcing when Whales or Dolphins were spotted from the bridge. He also had a great sense of humor. About four hours out of Islafjordur on our way to Greenland I noticed in the room that it was suddenly very quiet. No engine noise and no air conditioner. Dead silent in fact.....30 seconds later the lights went out so we were now also in total darkness. The Capt. came on the speaker and said an engine had shut down and engineers were working on restoring power. After a few minutes power came back. For about 20 minutes we were drifting, but eventually the engine and air came back. We did not take a delay arriving in Greenland due to the outage. There was no real danger but it give us a little excitement as we drifted “powerless” for a short time. Upon leaving St. Pierre, the Captain announced that due to a Canadian law regarding the speed of ships in Canadian waters to protect the Right Whales that had changed June 24th (a month earlier) we would be arriving into Halifax two hours late. We were scheduled from 8am- 11pm so it did not infringe much on the time available in port, and we were not impacted since we didn’t have a shore excursion, but it was annoying that HAL didn’t mention this or adjust the itinerary when they knew about this over 30 days earlier. Food- Much better than my last HAL cruise. Lido Market (Cafeteria). The many individual food stations kept lines down. The only station that consistently had a line was the made-to-order pasta bar. Otherwise I never saw more then four people waiting in line at any food station. Most of the food items available each night in the MDR ( including Gala night) was also available in the Lido. There was hand dipped ice cream during lunch and dinner time. Typically there were three flavors available. Also soft serve was available on random days. Breakfast stations: The Bistro had made to order eggs, meat, and potatoes; Two Omelet stations, one with waffles and crepes, the other with a vegetarian and non-vegetarian Frittata each morning; Pastries; an Express Breakfast that was the same as the bistro but with no made-to-order eggs other than poached eggs and eggs Benedict, but also Fried Rice and occasionally Beans, Fried Bread and Tomatoes. Tip- any item can be put back on the griddle in the Bistro if you want it a little more done. This was especially popular in the morning for those that preferred crispy bacon. The Central Market in the morning had a selection of fruit, smoked salmon and cereals and Hors D'ouvres for lunch and dinner. Complimentary Drinks were ice tea, lemonade, coffee, hot tea, and water. The ice tea and lemonade were the typical flavored concentrates. However I thought the coffee was above average. Most days breakfast hours were 0700-1030 Lunch stations: Made to order pasta; The Bistro (one on each side) where you find the main courses, pre-made sandwiches plus a specialty sandwich each day, and two soups; Made to order Salads; Breads, Cheese, and the “Central Market” opposite the drink stations with small plates and hors d'ouvres. The Pasta and Salad stations stayed open until 5, although the Lido was only open for lunch from 11:30-2. MDR- Those with anytime dining were seated on deck 2. We never waited for more than a few minutes before being seated. I noticed that the 7:45 seating on deck 3 was consistently sparse with lots of open tables and many empty seats at tables with diners. Each meal was three courses. I am posting sample menus for MDR and Lido. In room dining was available from 1100-2300 with a selection of sandwiches, salads, soups, sides and desserts. There was also a limited selection after hours. Breakfast room service was a choice of omelets, scrambled eggs and meat/bread, pastries or cereals, with salmon Benedict or steak and eggs at additional cost unless in a Suite. Burger Bar items were also available for a $4.95 delivery charge. We had breakfast one morning and it showed up exactly on time, although lukewarm, which honestly can be expected for a delivery up to deck 7.. Typical mix of liquor and wine on board. Beer on tap was Heineken and Tiger. Bottles were the standard Bud, Heineken, Corona, Miller, plus Sam Adams and Lagunitas. We never ate at Canneleto or Pinnacle grill. There were two specialty nights towards the end of the cruise: Surf and Turf on the last Gala night, with Lobster available in both MDR and Lido, and New England night in the Lido when we were in Halifax with Salmon cakes, Lobster Mac and Cheese, Lobster rolls, and Pork pies. Finally, there was a late night spread from 10:30-11:30 with pub-type food such as pot stickers, chicken wings, egg rolls, nachos, potato chips, desserts, and the remaining Hors D'oeuvres. 'Dive In” Burger Bar- Made to order burgers and hot dogs. Place your order at the window and receive a pager for when your order is complete. Both the Burgers and coated fries were hot, fresh, and very tasty. Next to it is a Taco Bar, with beef or chicken and all the fixin’s and occasionally including fresh made guacamole. The only downside was the limited opening hours for both: 11:30am-5pm. This meant neither was open after returning from most ports. Summary: In the past, I have chosen HAL due to the itinerary, since they tend to stop at ports not visited by other cruise lines, and I just assumed the food and service may not be as good, but just considered this a fair trade-off. However, this cruise was head and shoulders above my last two HAL cruises. Until now, I couldn't understand based on previous cruises how Holland America was ranked as high as it was in some polls. Perhaps it is the inconsistency in service mentioned in some other threads, or perhaps it is just the Vista class ships have higher service standards. Ports: Lerwick- Tender port. We had to show our passports to Scottish Customs as we disembarked. Tender arrived at Victoria pier which is downtown across from the Anderson Wool store and Captain Flints Pub. We were scheduled to be there from 8-4, but the last tender back to ship was at 3. However, six hours was enough time to explore the town independently.  Most of the shops in town are close to the tender port, and easily walk-able from Victoria Pier. There is a Tesco Supermarket a mile and a half away along the water side trail where you can stock up on snacks. The Broch of Clickimin is close to the Tesco. This same waterside trail in the opposite direction also runs out to “The Knab” which is a nice walk with some great views. Reykjavik- Docked at Skarfabakki port about 2.5 miles out of town. There is a oceanfront walk from the port to town. Both Enterprise and EuropCar are within walking distance of the dock. If you overnight and have a rental car, there is ample free parking in the dock area. There is a large Icewear souvenir store at the port with prices similar to what you will find in town. We checked prices here first before going downtown, then did some last minute purchases here before leaving port. We never needed Kroner. Credit cards were accepted everywhere, and there was no problem accepting most US credit cards. There was a Port-provided shuttle to/from town for $20 round trip. We opted to rent a car and drove the Golden Circle, plus we also did the town Vik and the black sand beaches there and also made it to the Bridge America-Europe on day one. On day two we drove into downtown Reykjavik for some shopping. There was no problem finding parking downtown. Parking meters took credit cards and were in English, as was the self serve gas stations. The cost of the car, fuel, added insurance (which seems to be a “thing” in Iceland), was about the same as the cost of a private tour plus the town shuttle. The difference was flexibility and the options for additional stops. Driving in Iceland was easy for those who normally drive on the right side of the road. Lots of traffic circles/ roundabouts for those who struggle with such things. Akeyuri- docked downtown about a five minute walk from the Visitors Center. Just like in Reykjavik, there was another Icewear gift shop at the dock. If not doing a tour, most tourist shops are close by and it took us about 3 hours to browse most of the stores. We opted not to do the tours here as we had done the Golden Circle and Vik two days prior. (and have been to Yellowstone and Rotorua so this wasn’t our first volcanic area ). We found lots of spare time after doing the main shopping street so just wandered around the rest of the city until time to return. It was rainy, windy, and cold until about 2pm, then cleared up and became sunny. Islafjordur- Tender port, Very small town with some shops in the downtown. Tendered in at Njardarsund st., which is one block from the local microbrewery, Dokkan Brugghus. Like Akeruyi, it was cold and windy in the morning then was sunny in the afternoon. The shops were small and only one of these had “Islafjordur”-branded items. The whale bone Arch on the hill above town made for a nice picture and also provided an opportunity for a photo of Islafjordur with the ship and mountains in the background. Nanatolik- Tender port. We were dropped off across the bay from the visitors center, at the Havnevej industrial port, not the cruise dock next to the visitors center, so there was a bit of a walk for those with limited mobility. Most of the souvenirs in town were at the same visitors center so the small room filled up almost immediately and stayed that way all day with lines forming outside. The visitors center also sold tickets for several presentations by local entertainers. The Brugseni supermarket across the street also had some limited souvenirs. The Ravnefjeldet mountain directly behind town can be hiked up to different levels depending on ability. To get to it, follow the Tunuliaritseq road which turns into Islafjordurip road past the picturesque cemetery. The road ends at the trail. Reserve about an hour for going up and back to get some good panoramic pictures. On the sailaway, several Humpback Whales were feeding just outside the port. St Johns- Docked at Pier 10. Most shops and pubs are within the first three blocks away from the ship. We walked to the Quidi Vidi Brewery. It was a long 45 minutes walk through the suburbs. Nice to have a beer made with water from an iceberg, but not sure it was worth the time to get there. Signal Hill was encased in low clouds all day so there was no point in climbing up for a view. One odd thing was pushing our clocks back 30 minutes to match the local time zone, instead of the usual hour. St Pierre- Tender port. Dropped off at Quay Eric Taberly. Nice visitors center tent upon arrival with a band, free WiFi, coffee, OJ, danishes, and croissants. Most small shops were within three blocks of where we arrived. Point aux cannons lighthouse, The Battery, and Place Du General De Gaulle are all within a few minutes walk. Note that many stores close between 12 and 2. Sydney- Docked at Cruise Pavilion which had souvenir shops and a craft market. Nice waterside walkway that starts from dock with some shops and food trucks. There are several blocks of early 19th century houses across the street from the Cruise Pavilion. There are some small museums in several of these houses for only a few dollars admission. On Saturday there is the Cape Breton farmers market/ craft fair at the intersection of Esplanade and Falmouth streets. Halifax- Docked at Pier 20. Lots of shops inside the Cruise Terminal, plus a Farmers Market at the end of the Terminal building. There is a booth inside the Cruise Terminal as you walk in that sells HoHo bus tickets and various tours. There is also a visitors center booth as you walk in that can provide maps and suggestions for the day. They provided a walking tour map that we used to go though the high points of areas close by such as the Citadel, Maritime Museum, landmarks, and shopping areas. The boardwalk along the water was lined with shops, bars, food trucks and restaurants. We were here until 11pm, so there was ample opportunity to check out the local nightlife, but the Captain announced all passengers were onboard early, so we departed early as well. Boston- Disembarkation Customs was set up onboard the ship on deck 3 so there no need to clear Customs after disembarking from the ship. Consequently, we stayed in our room until just after our 9am group color was called and we went down to deck 3, showed the Customs official our passports, had our room key punched by HAL, and walked off the boat. It was a total of five minutes from leaving our room to arriving in baggage claim. Once in the cruise terminal, we located our bags that had been grouped by tag color, picked them up, and exited the Terminal. For those without a post-cruise Hotel, there were bus stops on the other side of the BCD building, or at the end of the Cruise terminal. The taxi line was directly ahead as we exited the Cruise Terminal. The taxi line was very long so we used a ride share which arrived within a minute. Nine minutes later we were at the Boston Airport. This was one of the fastest, most painless, disembarkation's ever. We left our room at 9:05, and were checked in and through security at Boston Airport by 9:55. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
Ten years ago, 2009, my very first longer cruise was the HAL Voyage of the Vikings. It was 35 days RT from Boston on the Maasdam. It was exciting, and being from Florida, a real delight to escape the heat and see the North Atlantic. So ... Read More
Ten years ago, 2009, my very first longer cruise was the HAL Voyage of the Vikings. It was 35 days RT from Boston on the Maasdam. It was exciting, and being from Florida, a real delight to escape the heat and see the North Atlantic. So when I wanted to go back and do it again, I found that this cruise had become one of HAL's favorite and pricest itineraries, too rich for my travel budget. However, the Zuiderdam's 17 cruise from Rotterdam to Boston, which in fact was 1/2 half of the V of the V cruise, was a good deal. I booked an inside room, as most outside and better were sold out, and it got us there, thank you. With almost midnight sun part of the trip, the dark inside room wasn't so bad, but "it ain't no verandah" either. This review will be brief; This cruise was a dream. The Zuiderdam, at the ripe old age of 17, one year older than the Maasdam was at the time 10 years ago, is showing her age in places like the vista windows on the mid ship elevators, but was still very satisfying. Our room was fine. The MDR, we had assigned dining at 7:45 with a window side table, was excellent. Our waiter explained the offerings every night and his assistant remembered our preferences. Holland America has improved the food over the years and our seafood and beef selections were 5 stars. One complaint: the flowers have disappeared from the tables both in the MDR and the Lido. The enrichment lectures were excellent on the first half, not so good on the second. The officers greeted us at the gangway Portside on returning to the ship, unusual on a 1900 guest sized ship. They also were at every Gala night MDR entrance. We made every port this cruise and Captain Bart and Hotel Director Darren were visible and helpful as were many of the officers. We met a lot of wonderful people on this cruise, most of whom were well traveled and educated adventurers, some young, many older, from all over the world. 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
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Avoid at all costs. While 2 larger ships just hours ahead of us made it across the Atlantic to Lisbon, we sat for 3+ days in the Azores and then headed to Rotterdam for disembarkation. We traveled 15 days from Tampa, FL to Rotterdam to ... Read More
Avoid at all costs. While 2 larger ships just hours ahead of us made it across the Atlantic to Lisbon, we sat for 3+ days in the Azores and then headed to Rotterdam for disembarkation. We traveled 15 days from Tampa, FL to Rotterdam to spend 1 hr in Europe, and that was on the bus to the airport. There was nothing much interesting to do on board. We put lots of jigsaw puzzles together. Food all tasted alike after a few days...same gravy on all the meat dishes, desserts had no flavor....We found the chocolate mint ice cream they had occasionally the best dessert and we can get that at the local grocery store. Casino was smoky, entertainment stale, internet access was $25 for 1 day use, fitness classes area to small for more than 10 people...rust around faucets, overall worn out ship. After missing the entire Europe itinerary for this Normandy Expedition, we were give $100 compensation and 15% off a future (never to happen) cruise which was just a blatant promotion. When your gratuities are $30 per day, the $100 covered about 3 days of tips and that's all for wasting 15 days on this trip. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Outdated décor, but clean. Cabin was fine, except for several problems - a broken balcony door lock, missing remote control, and the granddaddy of them all - the shower. (a broken faucet with scalding water which couldn't be turn ... Read More
Outdated décor, but clean. Cabin was fine, except for several problems - a broken balcony door lock, missing remote control, and the granddaddy of them all - the shower. (a broken faucet with scalding water which couldn't be turn off - and alerted the fire department, who came pounding on the door). I made 2 attempts, with the same results - so went without for 2 weeks! They suggested I use the Spa shower. Food was usually bland or tough, and very repetative.. But the ice cream was the best. What entertainment they offered was fine, except there were no Shows. Highly unusual for a cruise of 2 weeks. Activities were repeats of the same old, same old. There were lots of movies, if you need to catch up on the oldies. Service was hit and miss. Some looked exhausted. Others were trying so hard, they soon would be too. My young cabin steward was friendly and cheerful. The older one seemed to have the need to bully me. Ports - missed 4!! - We saw the Azores, which are lovely. The rest of the time we bobbed around in the Atlantic. Other ships crossed to the English Channel, but we didn't. Reasons varied and weren't clarified. ( a death, waiting for people at the airport, and "other reasons") For me, that meant $4,000 down the drain - with little compensation. Would I travel with Holland America again? They'll have to pull up their socks! Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Because the oasis got canceled. I still wanted a transatlantic cruse and this was still available last minute. It is a small ship with little to do. Entertainment is the worst at sea. The ship is clean, safe and comfortable. Average age ... Read More
Because the oasis got canceled. I still wanted a transatlantic cruse and this was still available last minute. It is a small ship with little to do. Entertainment is the worst at sea. The ship is clean, safe and comfortable. Average age is 70 plus. Embarkation was horrible as we were kept waiting at the airport so no porters at the port and were told to take all our luggage on board ourselves. Ship had an air maintenance issue that took several hours to resolve. Disembarkation was easy. Due to rough seas we had 3 days in the Azores. But we missed the two ports in France and then Belgium. Compensation was below other cruise lines. I know as I just got the RCCL credits. My room stewards were excellent. The food was repetitive and the fruit rotten more often then not. Most don’t go to the dining room so service is fast at dinner. Overall a boring cruise as I read 10 books. Dining overall was average, cabin old with a bathtub and kept clean by great room stewards. No library, no production shows, Astro physics ,history and port talks were repeatedly full as nothing else to do. The movie theatre small so you needed to get there twenty minutes early. If you want to sleep go on the Rotterdam. Given I now have a future cruise credit, I will go on holland America again just not this ship. Not much to say as there is not much to review on this ship Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2019
As we live in Florida and all ports are close to us, we selected this cruise for our second Transatlantic on Holland America. We loved the crossing last spring and wanted to repeat it with friends onboard this year. Also we had never been ... Read More
As we live in Florida and all ports are close to us, we selected this cruise for our second Transatlantic on Holland America. We loved the crossing last spring and wanted to repeat it with friends onboard this year. Also we had never been to the Baltic countries and this cruise continued on from Rotterdam, the Netherlands to several Baltic ports of call. This was a wonderful experience, our third cruise on HAL. We love the size of HAL ships and boarding was easy. After lunch we explored the ship and found it to be beautifully appointed. The only thing we found lacking was enough interesting books in the Library. We had some reading material with us and the ship provided lots of comfortable spaces to relax and enjoy it. Our inside Stateroom 3342 provided plenty of storage room and the bathroom was more than adequate. Our room Stewards did an amazing job keeping it in perfect order. Dining was as great as we expected. Whether meals at the Lido Buffet, Main Dining Room, a quick snack at New York Pizza or Room Service, we were always pleased. The enrichment programs onboard were wonderful. We attended many lectures on our ports of call, America's Test Kitchen and others. The programs presented by various members of the Staff & Crew were quite varied and interesting. The musical groups were top notch as well. The service on the ship was beyond 5 Star. We found every person on the ship eager to help and answer questions. We had a little rough weather on both cruise portions but the Captain and Staff worked out details for alternate routes and stops and gave us future credits as well. Ports and shore excursions booked through HAL were wonderful. We were pleased that the Hotel staff offered special in-room meal options in St. Petersburg, Russia as our tours ran back-to-back our first day. Returning from our second excursion, trays arrived in the room, a most appreciated bonus Planning the next cruise on Holland America now! 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
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Just got back from a Holland America Cruise on the Rotterdam. One of the last from the Port of Tampa. Not sure if the staff onboard is starting to get tired or what but some of the services were less than favorable. Embarkation & ... Read More
Just got back from a Holland America Cruise on the Rotterdam. One of the last from the Port of Tampa. Not sure if the staff onboard is starting to get tired or what but some of the services were less than favorable. Embarkation & Disembarkation Very easy. They have this process down very well . Rotterdam ship: Very nice ship, Teak wood upkept very nice. You see the improvements they have done over the years and it looks very nice and clean. Cabin: We had an outside Cabin which seemed very roomie for what it was. Very supprised with all the closet space. nice Touch with the free safe in the room. Bed was very comfortable and the Stewards always kept the room clean and always supplying us with clean towels Dinning: Lido Deck food was very good. Nice that the HAL buffet is served by staff and not a bunch of people reaching in and grabbing food. Food was always fresh and hot. Never needed to add salt to anything we got from the line. Burgers & Hot dogs were good from the Dive Inn grill as long as you didn't get the burger well done.. There Pizza grill did a great job with the NY style pizza. They did keep strange hours on the burger and Pizza service, as neither was 24 hours. Pinnacle Grill- In my opinion, the Main dining room food was better than here. We spent over 2.5 Hours in the Grill. Appetizers were good and hot. Main course I got the Porterhouse and Wife got the Strip Steak. We both asked for Medium Rare and both came back very Rare. I ate mine, but we sent hers back. We cut a piece off right away to check the temp. They took her's back for about 15-20 minutes and brought back the same piece of meat still under cooked (but hot this time) All of the sides came out at room temp initially. When they brought back her steak, they never refreshed the sides for her. For Desert we decide to bring back to the room as we were already there for over 2.25 hours. so she got the lollipop desert cakes along with the chocolates from the table. The waiter put them in aluminum foil and twisted the top.. It looked like one of those weights used to hold down balloons. So when we got back to the cabin it was just a big ball of chocolate. We had a 4 top table come in when She got her second try and they were getting dessert at the same time we did.. Ship services did eventually refund us the up charge and the Pinnacle manager called us to apologize and offered another try on the last night, but we already planned the evening. Entertainment and Activities: Comedians were very good. My wife Participated in the Americas test Kitchen and had a blast!! She said she would do that over and over again... Also, did the bar hop with Jeremy and that was an awesome time. There was never a shortage of things to do. Services: Room Stewards - These guys are great, never needed anything... Spa Services: Very Disappointed with spa services. First, My wife got a manicure. Her nails were chipping after 1 day.. Spa did redo the color, but talked my wife out of the color she wanted and the top of her nails by the cuticle look as if they were 1 week growth and her skin was peeling. The Facial she received left her with bruising and a sore/scar on her nose. She received the facial on the 1st sea day, so had the embarrassment the rest of the cruise. When addressed with spa manager she gave her a discount on the facial. She then gave a third chance for a massage and the tech kept going to deep after she said something several times. This left bruises on her back. Then the spa manager accosted her after her massage, because I had brought these issues up with the Ship services counter. They eventually took off the price of the facial. But during dining one evening another guest complained about being under the kitchen and got a 150 on board credit, so needless to say that was more upsetting to me. Ports and Excursions: Guatemala - We only went thru the bazaar. Prepare your self as they do not take no easily. You must walk away and not feel you are hurting feelings. Honduras: We went with Victor Bordon's Sloth and Monkey Tour - This was a lot of fun getting to touch the animals and see all the birds.. Relaxing at the resort was a really nice addition. Costa Maya, very nice and very clean port.. We didn't do much here as it was really windy ( 7-10 foot waves) made getting back on the boat a real challenge. Summary: Loved the ship and would probably give them another try. Hopefully the managers get a little training so that they stop trying to explain why there staff was making their errors and just fix things.. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Love this ship. The fact that they haven't changed alot of the public spaces made me pick this ship. I like the crows nest as is....not a coffee shop.... The casino was smokey all the time e en tho they kept announcing it was a ... Read More
Love this ship. The fact that they haven't changed alot of the public spaces made me pick this ship. I like the crows nest as is....not a coffee shop.... The casino was smokey all the time e en tho they kept announcing it was a smoke free venue... except for one corner...that corner filled the place with smoke. I woulda stayed longer but for that. The food was good as usual...the service was better that we had on the statendam. The entertainment was adequate...not great,but not bad.... I met several people that had pretty bad cabin problems...I hope they were rectified...our cabin was awesome...I also noticed they were bigger than the larger ships.. I did also notice the staff was less stressed out on this ship than on the larger ships. The level of service in the Neptune lounge was incredible and quit helpful with any request that we had. 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
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
We chose this cruise because we had a great 21 night Caribbean cruise on the Koningsdam in 2018 and because we were looking for a longer duration European cruise that included a transatlantic crossing. Outstanding aspects of the cruise ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we had a great 21 night Caribbean cruise on the Koningsdam in 2018 and because we were looking for a longer duration European cruise that included a transatlantic crossing. Outstanding aspects of the cruise included the very high quality of onboard services and food quality. While not seeing the rationale of Holland America reworking some areas to provide private space for Club Orange, we did like other changes made during the late 2018 dry dock, including addition of the Rolling Stone Rock Room (good quality rock music performed several times most nights by an onboard cover band) and conversion of the space outside of the former Culinary Arts Center to nice tables for couples with great ocean views. We missed the early evening a-la-carte menu formerly offered in the Culinary Arts Center but tried and were impressed by the Nami Sushi area added to the Tamarind restaurant. The free onboard dining options, for the most part, offered very, very good food. The Lido Market was generally good but was overcrowded at times, some of the staff there were a bit aggressive, and I did get a reheated and overcooked steak there one evening. While the quality of espresso drinks at Explorations Café and the Grand Dutch Café remained very good, it was disappointing that the extra cost of standard tall drinks had increased by about 40% in just over a year. We noticed that the crowd seemed to be younger this year, than last, which is probably good news for the future of Holland America. This was particularly true on the second part of this back-to-back cruise which included younger families and a number of kids. The room stewards were absolutely incredible, consistently delivering superior quality service with a smile and friendly comments. We were a bit disappointed with the evening shows at times as there were no Broadway/ Los Vegas style shows (or onboard dance/singing troupe) as in the past. We found it strange that during the second part of the cruise, EXC port presentations were offered instead of evening shows and on days with late evening departure times, there were no shows at all. This may in part be the price of a music walk with 4 different acts. Overall, Koningsdam is a lovely ship and delivered a consistently high quality cruise experience. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We chose the cruise for the ports. It is very Port intensive and did enjoy the experiences . Could use a few more sea days as it’s quite exhausting. The older people had a lot of trouble navigating on the tours as there was a lot of ... Read More
We chose the cruise for the ports. It is very Port intensive and did enjoy the experiences . Could use a few more sea days as it’s quite exhausting. The older people had a lot of trouble navigating on the tours as there was a lot of uneven ground. The food in the main dining room is awful and is quite repetitive. A lot of fried unhealthy foods. Choices are also limited. The restaurant is very good. The staff in every area is excellent. They greet you with a smile even if they are not in direct contact with you. They are very accommodating with whatever your request. Also the laundry is very fast and efficient. The HAL tours have been good but only chose a few as they were very overpriced. Choose to do mainly private tours at a quarter of the price. Was very happy with this decision. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
Had sailed on Prinsendam 10 years ago and many other HAL ships since, but always intended to come back to the Prinsendam. When we heard it had been sold we got on with booking (travelling with friends we had met on the ship 10 years ago ... Read More
Had sailed on Prinsendam 10 years ago and many other HAL ships since, but always intended to come back to the Prinsendam. When we heard it had been sold we got on with booking (travelling with friends we had met on the ship 10 years ago and travelled with many times since). We enjoyed the trans-Atlantic and western Mediterranean cruise, especially 3 ports in Morocco. Pretty much everything was up to the usual HAL standard though there were obvious aspects of changes already underway for the ship's handover on July 1st. The food was almost invariably excellent and on the sea days there was no shortage of things to do, so much so that they were decidedly busy at times. It's sad to see the Prinsendam leaving the HAL fleet, her small size has plenty of appeal as she's small enough to feel intimate but big enough to include most activities (as long as you don't want a climbing wall or an ice rink). That said, the demographic on particularly the TA was decidedly in the over-70s group. We're sorry to see her go but look forward to seeing some of her lovely crew on future cruises. Read Less
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