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1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2015
Having always previously enjoyed cruising but earlier this year been on a Royal Caribbean Cruise earlier this year which we found most underwhelming at times, we approached this cruise with a little trepidation having never sailed Holland ... Read More
Having always previously enjoyed cruising but earlier this year been on a Royal Caribbean Cruise earlier this year which we found most underwhelming at times, we approached this cruise with a little trepidation having never sailed Holland America before and also finding out that the ship was moving on to pastures new. However we found this cruise a thoroughly enjoying experience from beginning to end. Embarkation at Harwich was quick and easy, once aboard the cabins were already ready and we didn't have to wait long for our luggage to arrive. We found the food in both the Main Dining Room and the Lido restaurant very good. Excellent entertainment, we especially enjoyed The Neptunes. It was a pleasure following our last cruise to find lounges and bars where you could always get a seat and excellent service in all the bars, with drinks reasonably priced. Ports of call all enjoyable, we did our own thing rather than excursions, which was no problem in these ports. Disembarkation went very smoothly. I would definitely cruise with Holland America again and its a shame the Ryndam is moving on. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2015
We`d not been with Holland America before and hearing that they had already sold the Ryndam to P&O Australia with this being it`s (and Holland America`s) last cruise out of Harwich we wondered if we`d done the right thing in booking. ... Read More
We`d not been with Holland America before and hearing that they had already sold the Ryndam to P&O Australia with this being it`s (and Holland America`s) last cruise out of Harwich we wondered if we`d done the right thing in booking. Add to that the questionnable weather in the fjords in September and....We need not have worried. The ship and weather was amazing. Staff could not do enough for you with lots of little extra touches. The food in all sections was fabulous. I ask you - 6 types of Eggs Benedict in the Lido buffet breakfast bar! Every port was a joy to behold and the onboard entertainment was way better than I expected. Roomy cabin with great servicing, lovely small ship layout and so much more attractive than the huge blocks of flats they are putting out to see now. Wonderful experience - thank you Holland and America. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2015
We have cruised many times before and are also used to the North Sea because we live close by. As we left Harwich the Captain advised that the crossing to Norway was going to be rough - it turned out to be one of the worst journeys we ... Read More
We have cruised many times before and are also used to the North Sea because we live close by. As we left Harwich the Captain advised that the crossing to Norway was going to be rough - it turned out to be one of the worst journeys we have had although we have travelled in much bigger seas. We understand this was exacerbated by the lack of stabilisers on this older ship. The ship is old and in need of attention. The toilets in the Lido are ( for example) in very poor condition. Our balcony cabin on deck 10 was spacious and appeared clean. The bathroom includes a bath. We returned to the cabin one day to find the bath contained a few inches of dirty water containing lots of gunge due to the drains backing up. Eventually plumbers sorted this but we had to ask for the bath to be cleaned. Later that evening water flushing the toilet and coming from tap was discoloured. Food was mediocre although waiting staff were very good. Entertainment was ok but on sea days we didn't think there was enough to do. The shops own singers and dancers were very good but guest entertainers were dire. Ports were excellent although HAL does not provide any port information for guests. Usually when we have travelled on American ships in Europe it is possible for parents to give permission for under 21's to drink alcohol. This was apparently not available for my son who is 2 months away from his 21st birthday and lives independently. Crazy! Read Less
Sail Date: August 2015
Although this is my first review on Cruise Critic, we have cruised with other lines in the past and made use of the site in order to assist us in our planning. On this occasion, I have decided to try and leave information for other ... Read More
Although this is my first review on Cruise Critic, we have cruised with other lines in the past and made use of the site in order to assist us in our planning. On this occasion, I have decided to try and leave information for other travellers and would add it is our first cruise with Holland America Line. It is a great pity that the Ryndam is being transferred to the P&O Southern Fleet very soon now and is likely to be renamed. All the above being said, I will now commence my review. We live within one hour's travel of the port of Liverpool and had hoped to book a cruise from this location. However, an excellent deal became available to cruise on the Ryndam from Harwich to the Norwegian Fjords and we could not say no to it. We arranged car parking with the port over the telephone and they were very helpful. After a 7 hour drive, we arrived at the port on the day of our departure and I must say that I was very impressed by the smooth operation of bag drop, parking and bus transfer to check-in- compliments to Harwich International Port. Hal check-in proved to be just as good and, in our experience, is the best we have had, being very smooth and well organised. We were soon able to drop the small amount of hand luggage in our cabin and make our way to the Lido for some lunch. On our return from lunch, our main cases had been placed in our cabin, so we spent some time unpacking before we attended the welcome meeting. The Cruise Director gave an outline of the activities, meetings and events that would be on offer during the week and drew our attention to the information sheets that would be left in the cabin on a daily bases, plus the other material available also in the cabin. All this information was supplemented by a daily update by both the Captain and the Cruise Director over the ship's PA system. I think at this point rather than sound too pompous, plus go on too much ,I will sum up with some final points and, if anyone would like further information, please contact me and I will try to help. The ship is in excellent condition for its age and is well maintained, all the crew appeared to take pride in their work and the condition of the ship. After the disappointing first night on open dinning (due to waiting for staff to show you to your table), we changed to a fixed time and experienced no problems for the rest of the cruise. Our table was for just the two of us and we did not experience the slow service described by others in the same position. Note that Hal provide a free cabin service-- we did not use this, but noted that a number of fellow cruisers did. We decided to use the main dining room for all our dinners- however, please note that the food on offer in the more relaxed area of the ship is just the same and, whilst I note some people seem disappointed with the menu, we found the standard, type, variation and service all to be excellent. I also note that some people had problems with Wine Waiter service and Dinner service and, again, all I can add is that we did not encounter any of these problems. As a final note, I need to add that we did not experience any "norovirus" problems- however, a fellow cruiser's comment "I do not need to use the gel as I washed my hands before I left my cabin" I think they may have forgotten about the door handle, lift button or stair rail/banister they may have used on the way to the restaurant! We found wine charged by the glass to be reasonable and had already purchased a 'Soda Card' prior to boarding, which proved to be great value. In addition, the Sip and Savour events held throughout the cruise were very informative and reasonably priced. There was no forced spending in any areas and I again wonder if we were on the same cruise as some others, but activities were available if you wanted to use them, including a Captain's talk about the ship, explaining that he had used the "Stabilisers" when he know we were going into a slight swell. Entertainment-wise, we felt that this was of a high standard and varied throughout the week. We were particularly impressed by the musicians located in the various bars throughout the ship. Our only criticism on this topic would be that the Showroom-at-Sea is not big enough to take all guests from both dinner settings, which happens twice during the week on board. Therefore, guests on the later sitting are at a disadvantage when it comes to finding an empty seat in there! As far as the scenery is concerned, it is simply breathtaking and not to be missed. All ports of call are well worth a visit and the Norwegian people that we encountered were warm and friendly. They are very proud of their country and rightly so! However, we found the prices for shore excursions organised by HAL to be grossly inflated and would strongly recommend investigating alternative tour providers, as we did. My penultimate point- the ship's Photographers were excellent. I take a poor picture and even managed to mess up some of our wedding photographs, but they managed to position us in such a way that we now have some very nice photographs (not sure his camera is still ok,though!) Final point- I hope that HAL will sail again form a UK port in the future and, even if they do not, I hope that we are able to sail with them again soon. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2015
We read so many bad reviews we were not quite sure what we were getting into. However, we all had a great week cruising to Norway and would not have missed it for anything. This was our 2nd cruise with HAL and was much better than the ... Read More
We read so many bad reviews we were not quite sure what we were getting into. However, we all had a great week cruising to Norway and would not have missed it for anything. This was our 2nd cruise with HAL and was much better than the first one. I was traveling with my husband and my brother and we were all very pleased with it. We picked up the HAL bus at Heathrow and arrived at the ship about noon. Embarkation was smooth and we were on the ship in time for lunch. About a week before the cruise we were offered an upgrade to the Navigation suites for a very low price and it was well worth it. The cabin was beautiful, very spacious, especially for 3 people, and we all loved it. We also had a huge verandah which was nice, but it was a little chilly to sit out. We also had access to the Neptune Lounge and we used that a lot. It's a nice room with Wi-Fi and snacks and newspapers and we had some fun coffee breaks with other passengers there. The two ladies who were concierges in there were very friendly and could not do enough to help us with anything. We found the staff, mostly Indonesians, were very friendly and genuinely interested in helping us with anything. Truthfully, I could not say enough about the staff, they were wonderful. The food was delicious, especially their bread and baked goods. We had breakfast in The Pinnacle a few times which was very nice. Never had a bad meal. We went to 3 shows which were OK, entertaining anyway. We saw no signs of the norovirus and were very particular about using the sanitizers which were everywhere. In Bergen and Alesund we did the hop-off-on bus and enjoyed it very much. Geiranger was just beautiful on a clear sunny day and we took a local tour bus to the top of the mountains, something not to be missed. I really can't find very much to complain about this cruise. The only things I can think of are the bathtub, which is very high and would be hard for seniors to get in and out of. Also, the Wi-Fi was expensive and very spotty at times, but I realize that was out of their control and was because of the mountains all around. All in all, a good cruise and we would have no hesitation in using HAL again. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2015
Our 7 night cruise to the Fjords was blessed with superb weather, not a single drop of rain for a good cruise. It was a shame that the Lido deck became essentially a no-go zone due to unruly children with little or no control by HAL and ... Read More
Our 7 night cruise to the Fjords was blessed with superb weather, not a single drop of rain for a good cruise. It was a shame that the Lido deck became essentially a no-go zone due to unruly children with little or no control by HAL and the smoker's at the aft area. We were glad of the lower promenade deck for some peace, quiet and clear air - thankfully only 2 seadays. The maintenance staff have done a remakeable job in keeping the ship in such good shape, definitely doesn't look 21 years old, although they can be over zealous with their toxic paint fumes. Our cabin was excellent and kept in good order by our cabin stewards. Although some cruises were plagued with GI sickness ours was trouble free, some people were coughing and spluttering, fortunately we avoided any sickness. We avoid food in the Lido, too many hands and enjoyed breakfast in the MDR every morning. Evening meals were predominately taken in the Pinnacle Grill which really has suffered from HAL's cost cutting, menus very limited with haphazard service - can't really recommend and definitely not worthy of their $29/pp charge. We enjoyed the cruise but will not be repeating our HAL experience any time in the near future but will return to enjoy the slicker more professional Celebrity experience. The Solistice class ships do rule the waves, HAL need to look over their shoulders for some guidance, they were a great cruiseline, not anymore. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2015
This was our first cruise, so we had nothing to compare it to. It was a slick operation from start to finish, well organised, pleasant & efficient staff. The ship was well presented, clean & a very nice place to spend a week. We ... Read More
This was our first cruise, so we had nothing to compare it to. It was a slick operation from start to finish, well organised, pleasant & efficient staff. The ship was well presented, clean & a very nice place to spend a week. We were reluctant to cruise as we're not keen on the glitzy dinners, casino, art auctions etc. however, there is no pressure to take part n any of that if you don't want to. The casual dining room was fine & the menu seemed the same, it was just self service. We didn't spend any time by the Lido pool as this seemed to cater for families. They had music playing most of the time & the children seemed to be having a great time, but not for us, thanks. Our cabin on deck 5, was bigger than expected & a real treat to have a bath, albeit a small one. We paid extra for the spa, which we loved & was worth the extra cost of $149. It was a great way to relax after a day's walking & exploring. Geirangerfjord is beautiful & this is the only trip we did. We took the coach to the top of Dalsnibba mountain for a truly spectacular view. The weather was kind to us & we enjoyed a week with sun & light cloud. We used the hop on hop off buses in Bergen & Alesund. They both worked well & made it easy to explore on our own. The staff worked their socks off throughout the trip & it was sad to see so many Brits at the reception desk reducing their gratuities to £0. Really? Would like to know on what grounds people thought the staff deserved nothing. Hey, each to their own. We loved the trip & would book again, but sad to see this small ship leaving the fleet. We aren't so keen on the floating blocks of flats. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2015
This is an old ship and looks it. There is a desperate need for repairs, paint, new carpeting, new furniture and various other fittings. The ship was commissioned in 1994. I found out that Ryndam will be transferred to P&O Cruises ... Read More
This is an old ship and looks it. There is a desperate need for repairs, paint, new carpeting, new furniture and various other fittings. The ship was commissioned in 1994. I found out that Ryndam will be transferred to P&O Cruises Australia in 2015 and renamed 'Pacific Aria'. Having said that, the crew is really terrific and does its best to clean and make the ship as attractive as possible. Everyone on the staff is friendly and helpful, which is unusual in an age of curt, surly service personnel (as I experienced on another cruise line). Among those that should be mentioned for particularly positive service efforts are Warman & Muh the cabin steward (cabin 801, A deck); and Sabina, the excursion lecturer. The food is of uneven quality. Some selections were mediocre (or worse): overcooked, dry tuna; tasteless and barely edible bratwurst; foie gras that had been ruined by baking; saltines to accompany a dessert cheese plate (!); average (but no better than average) lunches; the supposedly upscale Canaletto Italian restaurant; etc. A few dishes were excellent: crusted veal (on gala night); minute steaks that were tasty (the only really good lunch); yogurt parfaits with granola; salmon; a few others. I usually fixed a salad for lunch after early disappointments. Do not travel on Ryndam for gourmet food: you will be disappointed. Incidentally, do not eat on the Lido deck starboard side unless you enjoy hearing basketballs bouncing on your head. The excursions were well designed and delivered. I’ve been on other cruises where the excursions were certainly not worth the cost; on Ryndam, they provide value for the money both for the sights and the convenience. Unfortunately, some were cancelled due to a lack of participation by guests. All of the local guides were good, although our guide in Bergen was flustered by the long wait for the funicular. The fjords and towns we visited were amazing and well worth the trip. The internet connections were slow and expensive. There should be some intellectual content, such as lectures on current events, history or science. Overall, I’d give the ship 3 (of 5) stars, mostly for the efforts of the crew in attempting to overcome the ship’s own deficiencies. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2015
Very recently returned from a 7 day cruise on the Ryndam to the Norwegian Fjords (29 Aug to 5th Sept) Both my partner and I are seasoned cruisers previously with Thomsons, Royal Carribean, and P&O Embarkation at Harwich was ... Read More
Very recently returned from a 7 day cruise on the Ryndam to the Norwegian Fjords (29 Aug to 5th Sept) Both my partner and I are seasoned cruisers previously with Thomsons, Royal Carribean, and P&O Embarkation at Harwich was excellent, luggage was dealt with easily, very little queuing, everyone friendly and helpful, security very efficient without being intrusive, and we boarded the ship within half an hour of pulling into the cruise port. The ship is 21 years old, and in places, looks it. But, everywhere was clean and the crew responsible for this should be commended. Our Cabin, on deck six, was probably the most comfortable we have stayed in and as is the usual custom, the cabin staff were a joy to be around and taking care of our needs with smiling efficiency. Bad points though were, no tea making facilities and no fridge. This meant a treck to the Lido deck every morning (where inevitably there was a queue) and then back to our cabin to enjoy our first cuppa of the day. The entertainment was varied and not all to my taste, but many guests enjoyed the performances that I didn't, so the old adage of "you can't please all the people, all the time" certainly rings true. Personally, special mention should go to the pianist and the solo guitarist in the "mix" bar who, after the first evening, had built up a strong core following. The ships entertainers in the "show lounge" were of a very high standard with singing and dancing to a degree that would not be out of place in the West End. The ports of call (Bergen, Geiranger, Alesund, Eid fjord) were all excellent and we were blessed with really good weather. I will remember sailing through the Fjords to Geiranger for the rest of my life. In trying to write a balanced review unfortunately all the good points have now been covered. We dined in the Rotterdam dining room every evening with two other couples, (both of which, were terrific company, and both couples sampled the fare in the other two restaurants available, and both couples agreed with every other guest I engaged conversation with, that the food and service was grossly over priced and definitely did not offer value for money) and the first two evenings the service was slow and laboured. In fact the second evening we didn't receive our main course until over half an hour after the starter had been cleared, many people dining around us were tucking into their desert before our mains arrived. When at last they were served mine was barely at room temperature (it had obviously been sitting around somewhere for 30 minutes before being delivered to its lucky recipient). We, as a table unanimously complained and the head of the restaurant fully agreed that the service was not up to scratch and we were brought a complimentary bottle of champagne which none of us drank, it was very cheap plonk. It was not among the three bottles of champagne that were advertised on the wine list at over $100 dollars a bottle, but tasted like something bought at Poundland dished out to placate anyone who dared to complain. When the head waiter saw that the 'champagne' was not going to cut it, we were then given complimentary liqueurs with our coffee, neither of which was very nice. I then had a long discussion with the water in which I conveyed to him that complimentary drinks were not what we wanted, all we desired was that for the rest of the cruise we received the same kind of service that was bestowed on our fellow diners. After this unfortunate incident I am happy to say that the service for us and everyone else in the dining room was greatly improved. I wish I could say the same about the food. The first formal night offered the same menu that was available in the Lido, although it was heralded as a Gala dining experience, and the menu for the rest of the week (save for the second formal gala evening, when we dined on brie in filo pastry and lobster tail, excellent.) didn't fare any better. I should point out that none of this was in no way the fault of the waiting staff, who really did do their very best with the tools that were at their disposal. No, the fault lies with Holland America who's penny pinching did not allow there to be enough staff, either in the kitchens or in the dining room or quality ingredients with which to make the food for a dining experience I had expected. We breakfasted once in the dining room, a mistake we didn't repeat, and, judging by the few passengers we saw in there at 9:30am, neither did many others. Activities during the daytime and early evening (save for the quizzes run in the "Crows nest" and "Mix" bars) were geared around "how much can we fleece the guests today" with all sorts of demonstrations involving beers and spirits, wines, jewellery, clothes "Art" (none of which I would give house room) and special offers in the "on board shopping experience", and don't get me started on the never ending stream of over priced spa treatments you could enjoy if you wanted your final on board spending bill to be about double what you paid for the cruise initially. The daylight robbery of the passengers continued with the shoe excursions, around 75% of them being cancelled due to lack of numbers. Wake up Holland America, its not rocket science to see that any passenger with the nasm of a mouse could organize exactly the same trip for a quarter of the price. Example. Kayaking in Eid Fjord to be done in couples $94 per person by Holland America. Walk off ship to tourist information office, hire two person Kayak for one hour, 200 krone, about £16-00. One final thing, I read in another review that the reviewer was upset by the amount of brits refusing to pay the $11-50 per person per day gratuities. If all two thousand passengers were to pay this, Holland America would not have to dip into their gold lined pockets for three quarters of the staff wages bill. As it is, the 15% service charge on all drinks virtually pays the wages of the bar room staff. Please, please Holland America, send a trusted employee on a P & O budget cruise and see how it should be done. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2015
As Ryndam is going out of service, I will confine my comments to generalisations which could apply across the line. Boarding and reception at Harwich excellent: pity they will not be using the port any more. Parking easy, and luggage ... Read More
As Ryndam is going out of service, I will confine my comments to generalisations which could apply across the line. Boarding and reception at Harwich excellent: pity they will not be using the port any more. Parking easy, and luggage (lots of it) taken out of our hands. Facilities in the Harwich Cruise port fairly basic, but you could get a coffee and a snack, but as you will get fed almost immediately after boarding, does not matter. Boarding very efficient, and was on board 90 minutes ahead of schedule. For an old ship that had been sold on, the ship was in very good condition and could not fault the state of repair. Staff extremely helpful. We had a cabin on the lower promenade deck where the walking circuit is. Thus you need to be aware that people will be walking in circuits past your window from very early in the morning. I can only assume that there are people who are very early risers, and even at 0600, the circuit is live. Cabins very good size with sitting area and enough room to hang clothes and draw space. No problem for a two week jaunt. Nothing much provided in bathroom except wall mounted shower gel, conditioner and shampoo, but Elemis brand. This is quite typical of the low to mid range boats and I always bring my own stuff now. Cabins cleaned and tidied to an excellent standard, and cabin steward excellent. Cabin mostly made up by the time we had returned from breakfast (they clock who is moving around on any deck). Compares favourably with other cruise liners, and we had bought the cheapest cabin available. Passengers mixed, but mostly over 50. Some young couples and family groups. Avoid school holidays if you do not want to travel with other peoples' children, as the ships in the line are geared up to younger passengers. Obviously Americans are dominant which is good news and bad news. Higher general standards, but some of them are reluctant to embrace anything that smacks of foreign-ness. Some peculiar clothes - in fact the ship seemed to have given up on dress code but they did exclude someone who turned up to the main evening restaurant in shorts. Food is excellent, but the open seating dining needs careful thought. Despite what HAL might say, the restaurant will try to shoehorn you in to their convenience. So if you want to dine as a pair, or not to their notional sittings you have to work hard at it. It was achieved after written representation indicating that sitting with diners not of our choice was distressing to us, as was having to wait an unreasonably long length of time. This works, and I would commend others to ensure they get what they want. A moaning minnie at the table is not what you want. Restaurant staff were very friendly and helpful and it is true that you can have pretty much what you want off the menu, so if you want 5 or 6 courses, that is no problem. Like with so many things in life, if you make yourself clear in a pleasant manner, it ensure you get what you want (within reason). Buffet restaurants like a miniature version of what happens on Royal Caribbean. Huge choice at lunch. Seating can be a problem, and food temperature from any buffet is never going to be good. The crew of the ship kept a very low profile, and the captain was only wheeled out for big occasions. No handshaking for fear of contamination. No captains party/reception. In fact the presentation by the captain told me a lot about the business model: everything that happens on the ships is done to show a return on investment. Entertainments very much geared for an American audience, and shows of Las Vegas style, which pleased many. Could not fault the effort put into the entertainment at nights, but not to everyones taste. Beware of Park West Galleries art auctions. I cannot believe that anyone buys their merchandise after reading the terms and conditions and hearing what they say, but what do I know? Excursions were very expensive, so we mostly made our own way, knowing some of the places. Everything is pretty expensive including the restaurant wines, drinks packages, wifi, telephone connections and merchandise. As with many cruise lines, there are special merchandising offers said to be tax and duty free. Caveat Emptor. All in all, it was a good cruise at a fair price, very good hospitality, and I would travel with the line again, but do certain things e.g. dining differently. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2015
Our twelth cruise, our second with Holland America on the Ryndam. We sailed on Ryndam in 2014 and loved it so much we booked again for 2015, almost identical itinerary (only one port difference). Would certianly recommend Ryndam (such ... Read More
Our twelth cruise, our second with Holland America on the Ryndam. We sailed on Ryndam in 2014 and loved it so much we booked again for 2015, almost identical itinerary (only one port difference). Would certianly recommend Ryndam (such a shame it's being sold in October to P&O Australia) and would recommend Holland America. We travelled as a family of 6 occupying 2 cabins. 3 adults and 3 children. We travelled from North East of England to Harwich (6 hour drive) Embarkation and disembarkation were fast and smooth. We were on board the ship by 12.15, just in time for lunch ! Disembarkation was smooth and you could stay in your cabin until it was your time slot. My favourite public room was the library - so spacious. Lots of comfortable seats, fanastic views from the full length windows. Entertainment was okay. Shore excursions were a rip-off. It didn't detract from the cruise though as I'd researched all the ports prior to sailing and we did our own thing in every port. On all previous cruises we have dined on first sitting (5.45 pm on Ryndam). For the first time we chose open seating. We loved it. Loved the flexibility. We generally ate around 7.15 pm and there was never a queue for the restaurant. Will be choosing open seating on all future cruises. Shame Holland America is not sailing from UK in the near future. Flights x 6 people + 1 cruise or sail from UK and have 2 cruises. I always choose the latter. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2015
Just back from 14 nights cruise to Lerwick, Faroes Islands (best part) all the way round Iceland then to 3 ports in Norway (why always Bergen?). Rough seas for the better part of the cruise and this is the height of summer. The heavy ... Read More
Just back from 14 nights cruise to Lerwick, Faroes Islands (best part) all the way round Iceland then to 3 ports in Norway (why always Bergen?). Rough seas for the better part of the cruise and this is the height of summer. The heavy sky and bad weather was very dramatic in the Faroes. But the rest of the cruise very same. how many times can you see Bergen in a life time? Being a wheelchair user 24/7 I can not recommend HAL ... there wheelchair cabins ..we had 390 on deck 6 is a joke. no gap between end of bed and fixtures, so if you want to use the toilet you have no hope. OK after 6 days Hal changed the bed around but only after writing to the hotel director and having a meeting with him. boy talk about slow. Wheelchair user? forget it, how about disembarkation in a port for Deck 5? boy that is some ramp and steep. Normally Deck 3 is bad enough. Poor planning by HAL. Tolets backed up over and over. Norovirus was on the ship again. It arrived in Harwich for passengers getting on to be given a letter telling them that had just disembarked cases.. now I read that a few weeks back on a cruise review. HAL does not have a handle on it. Wash your hands over and over, But the crew just walk on and off the ship with no hand wash.. I complained, but it carried on. This ship has problems health wise. It is off to P & O soon so it will be there problem then. Good parts? yes the food was very good. the cakes to die for. crew helpful on the whole. But few waiters on the pool area on Ledo deck.. 2 waiters behind bar, but only one coming out to the public... perhaps he does not want to catch anything? The cafe (expensive coffee had the machine down for two days).. but the internet has to be the worse.. worse than Costa or Celebrity.. even had credit when we docked as unable to get connections. Poor tendering in Heimaney in Western Islands, Iceland still issuing tickets at 1.30 in the afternoon for people to get off from arrival at 8 a.m. and everyone back on board by 3.30? some joke. only a limited number of tenders working. Perhaps they do not need that many boats in an evacuation? but at Harwich lifeboat drill you get your cabin number called.. ticked off as present.. but the best bit this is just before sailing and coaches are still rolling up dock side full.. perhaps that is were cabin 666 was? still on the coach. not well organised and did not give me a safe feeling. They will say they were checking those late arrivals off..yep OK if that is what they say. Avoid deck 6 Port side.. noise from rolling trollies in kitchen about all day and up to about midnight... of chipping tiles off the floor on deck 7 for 6 hours solid while in Port. painting everything.. good.. but wondered where the hand rails went when taken off at start of cruise never to come back. lots of rope to stop you looking over the Starboard side. Did I mention the food? yes I did, well worth saying again it was good. expensive drinks on this ship. if you can get one... even in the Rotterdam dining room only one wine waiter? never saw him for the start of the food service, arrived about pudding time. Nice mix of passengers, some from Australia, Israel, Far east and of course the USA and the UK... even heard some South Africans. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2015
Our ninth cruise on HAL, our first on Ryndam, we were a couple from Holland, both in our early fifties. Although she will leave the fleet later this year, she is still being taken care of, with a great and enthusiastic crew. Earlier ... Read More
Our ninth cruise on HAL, our first on Ryndam, we were a couple from Holland, both in our early fifties. Although she will leave the fleet later this year, she is still being taken care of, with a great and enthusiastic crew. Earlier reports mentioned the missing tender, this is still the same, I think it is not because of the tender, but due to a defective launching equipment (do not know the proper English term). Since there are plenty of lifeboats, not an issue, although a bit of a nuisance during tendering, which was slightly longer than normal in some cases, but handled very wel, circumstances considering (relocation of anchoring position due to changing winds in Heamaey). Travelled to Harwich by ferry, arriving just before Ryndam did, a small hop-over. Noro precautions were vigorous, also during the embarkation process, but this did not delay to process in a way it was inconvenient. Excellent entertainment, especially by the talented singers and dancers of the Ryndam. The service was friendly and good, no complaints there. During the first 2 days we had some plumbing issues, but they were dealt with efficiently and accompanied by apologies for the inconvenience. We were upgraded from our partial ocean view, to an unobstructed view, slightly before embarkation, a nice cabin on deck 5, no complaints there. Dining, staff and food in the MDR (early, fixed seating) was excellent, wide varied choice. Excellent line up of beautiful ports, where we did a mix of HAL and private excursions. Lerwick, a tender port, was a bit of grey and rainy, but in all a nice little town. Torshavn, here we did a nice HAL excursion to the Vestmanna Seacliffs, weather was reasonable friendly, beautiful surroundings and lots of birds. Eskifjordur was a bit of a rainy port unfortunately, but still managed to have a reasonable excursion to see the history of WWII in Iceland. Heimaey island gave us beautiful weather on a very nice island. Here we did a great tour to the Westmann islands, home to large colonies of Puffins, which we spotted a couple of. Reykjavik, Isafjordur and Akureyri we did private tours, to the highlighted waterfalls, geysirs and nature baths, travelling through beautiful rough volcanic scenery that Iceland is famous for. A great country, with proud and well informed guides throughout. After Iceland, we made our way to Norway, where Alesund, Bergen and Eidfjord were our last ports. Some mixed weather, Bergen is not for a reason one of the wettest places there is, but our final port was a sunny and warm Eidfjord. In all a great cruise, fantastic crew and sorry to see the Ryndam go to P&O Australia, they will get a beautiful ship.! Read Less
Sail Date: July 2015
After reading some previous reviews and Ryndam's recent problem with the Noro-virus we were a little worried about what would greet us when we boarded the ship, before boarding we were given a warning notice that there had been again ... Read More
After reading some previous reviews and Ryndam's recent problem with the Noro-virus we were a little worried about what would greet us when we boarded the ship, before boarding we were given a warning notice that there had been again a small outbreak of the Noro-virus again and to make sure we washed our hands whenever possible and use the hand sanitisers whenever we were going to eat. We boarded the Ryndam with a little trepadation but from the moment we stepped on board everything turned out to be lovely, we had an outside stateroom which had an enormous bathroom and plenty of wardrobe space, we took advantage of the drinks package as I and my wife like a tipple before and after lunch and dinner so the value made sense to us. All the public rooms and bar areas are kept spotless, all the staff were friendly and always had a smile on their faces, nothing was too much trouble for them. All the places we visited were interesting, Oslo was beautiful,we were lucky to be in Krristiansand when the tall ships were in, Stavanger was another clean and picturesque Norwegian city but the highlight of the trip was the sail up to Ulvik, simply breathtaking, we have only cruised before with Celebrity and as people have said to us before the difference between the different companies is very small, all we can say is HAL didn't let us down. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2015
Arrived at embarkation to be given a letter regarding Noro Virus-on "previous" cruise. Reading other reviews an understatement. The embarkation was a shambles-queue to move to another queue and so on. Once on the ship the lido ... Read More
Arrived at embarkation to be given a letter regarding Noro Virus-on "previous" cruise. Reading other reviews an understatement. The embarkation was a shambles-queue to move to another queue and so on. Once on the ship the lido was packed-everything but everything was being "served" at a speed where yet another queue was inevitable. The first night one show for a second rate act. Next day at breakfast it was impossible to have a hot food and a hot drink to go with it. Evening meal had better food but "service" didn't exist. Cabin door kept swinging open all night-4 visits to front desk 2 staff including one officer to see the problem-but no one turned up till the morning to repair it. Things did improve in the second half of the cruise but not to any great extent. To many complaints to list but the main ones-food quality and choice in the lido poor Entertainment 3 out out of 7 reasonable acts-not a great score Limited daytime activities. Despite being happy on past trips with HA . This cruise will the very last on Holland America Read Less
Sail Date: July 2015
It is sad to read the negative reviews the Ryndam has been getting and all I can say is they do not reflect my experience. Having sailed on this ship 3 times we have always had excellent service and yes, the ship is old, but she has ... Read More
It is sad to read the negative reviews the Ryndam has been getting and all I can say is they do not reflect my experience. Having sailed on this ship 3 times we have always had excellent service and yes, the ship is old, but she has retained the class and charm of old. Our cabin was excellent. A great position reflecting the fact that if you plan where you want to be on any ship you will be satisfied. My husband and I both slept perfectly, no noise disturbance like some complain about and the ship was clean. Yes there were a few cases of norovirus but this is not rare on any cruise and if you follow the hygiene instructions you will be fine. The food was excellent in the main dining room and unlike an earlier review we were asked every night how our meal was so I am surprised by what the previous reviewer experienced because I saw how attentive staff were. We enjoyed a wonderful evening in le cirque and it was a treat we wouldn't have missed, in fact the birthday cake given to my husband was excellent and as requested delivered to our room as we were so full after our wonderful meal. Our only complaint was the entertainment was a repeat of the previous year so for us it wasn't new but it was still of a good standard. HAL have remained faithful to traditional cruising so if you want the overly modern, overly large experience they are probably not for you and I say that having travelled with a number of cruise lines including Cunard at the top end, Royal Caribbean and Cruise and Maritime for value. We will miss the old girl when she transfers to Australasia but we have always had a great time, wonderful food and excellent service whenever we have been on HAL so I hope people don't just look at the negatives people have spoken of. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2015
Ryndam Review Norwegian Fjords 18/07/15 to 25/07/15 We've cruised numerous lines including Cunard, Princess, NCL, P&O and Celebrity so I thought I would share our thoughts on our first ever HAL experience. Embarkation ... Read More
Ryndam Review Norwegian Fjords 18/07/15 to 25/07/15 We've cruised numerous lines including Cunard, Princess, NCL, P&O and Celebrity so I thought I would share our thoughts on our first ever HAL experience. Embarkation We picked this cruise for one crucial reason only! Ryndam was departing from Harwich, UK which is an approx. 10 minute drive from home. Now we've only ever left from Southampton so this was a massive bonus. Left home at 1120hrs and was checked in and on board by 1215hrs. Amazing start to our cruise. Everything went very smoothly at the terminal and no traffic unlike our usual drive into Southampton. Seems a real shame that the 2016 cruise season from Harwich as been very much cut back with no HAL, Celebrity or Royal Caribbean. Somebody please come back soon. Ryndam Now whilst we have not cruised with HAL before we did have the opportunity of a ship visit to Ryndam last year in Dover and knew exactly what we would be getting. I would best describe her as a well preserved charming old lady. Ryndam is now 20 years old and is being passed onto P&O Australia in October 2015. Significant parts of the ship have been upgraded but in other areas such as the lifts and hallways she is showing her age. Despite that she is generally very well preserved and other than some soft furnishings in Explorers which have seen better days the crew were continually carrying out maintenance. This is not a ship that has a particular 'wow' factor. No massive atrium, no waverider and no dodgems but what she has is plenty of small ship charm. Nothing is to far from any where else. A trip back to the cabin is not a two day hike and she is very easy to navigate. At 55,000 tonnes she is the smallest ship we have cruised on but certainly there is something to be said for the smaller ship experience and one that I would not hesitate to use again. If given the choice I would likely choose a Celebrity 'Solstice' class ship but for a 7 day trip to the fjords Ryndam was a perfect size and we were able to access places that i not previously visited such as Eidfjord. Cabin We picked up an outside GTY for the price of an inside and only discovered our exact cabin about 3 days before the cruise. An email pinged up and I discovered we had been allocated 569 on deck 5. Good location mid ships and not to far from the forward lift. This would be considered an upgrade on our GTY ‘H’ grade. Extremely impressed with the cabin which felt huge compared to similar cabins on other lines. Mini tub and powerful shower was to be found in the generous bathroom. It was lovely to have a decent size sofa and with the large picture window we enjoyed several cabin breakfasts which we would not normally do. Other than a ‘Aqua Class’ that we experienced on Eclipse this was probably the most spacious and stylish cabin we have experienced. She may be long in the tooth but Ryndam definitely scores on the cabin front. Our Steward was fantastic and the cabin was refreshed and made up with minimal disruption. Food As part of our booking deal we received a meal in Cannaletto which is the Italian speciality onboard restaurant and another meal in the Pinnacle Grill. These were to be allocated upon boarding. I also treated us to a meal in Le Cirque mid cruise which was my birthday. This was paid for prior to boarding at $49 dollars each. The rest of the time we were to use the MDR. We always avoid the buffet simply because I dislike the scrum and it helps avoid ant dreaded bugs. Our first meal on board was a burger at ‘Dine In’ the burger bar situated on the Lido deck. All food taken to order and you are paged when it is ready. Simply the best burger I have ever experienced on board a cruise ship! Chips were equally delicious and you are also able to enjoy hotdogs and the adjacent taco bar. Fantastic. The first night we enjoyed our free Canaletto meal which is created from the buffet area. Lovely meal for what would be normally $10 dollar cover charge. Probably our least enjoyable meal onboard but only because the menu was not totally to my taste but everything was beautifully cooked and presented. Other than breakfast in Cabin, we always use MDR for breakfast and the omelette did not disappoint. I just much prefer to be served and we chatted with several fellow quests when sharing a table. MDR was used for 4 evening meals and I was extremely impressed with the food quality. The bakery department did a superb job with the rolls and all our food was very tasty and hot. We had anytime dining and varied eating times from 1900hrs to as late as 2100hrs. Waiters all very polite and nothing was to much trouble. I can happily say this was some of the best MDR dining food I have ever experienced on this out 9th cruise. I had read some poor Ryndam food reviews but have nothing but praise for all the food we sampled onboard. Simply delicious. Le Cirque was an amazing experience where I sampled a Caesar Salad Cirque style and Chateaubriand steak cooked to perfection. Best kept secret onboard is a Pinnacle Grill lunch at only $10 dollars. The crab cakes with Orange rice were amazing! My favourite meal was probably our evening in the Pinnacle Grill where we both enjoyed the Lamb Chops. I starved myself all day as was feeling rather full and so was really ready to enjoy dinner when it came. I especially enjoyed the soup and Fries with garlic mayo. Desert was rather fabulous as well. I really can’t praise the food high enough. I had a sneaky hope that it would be rather fabulous and if anything was to draw me back to HAL again it would be the food. This is really the most important part of the cruise experience for me and it was amazing. All on board bar service was very good and the only real complaint I have about anything food or beverage related was the quality of coffee in Explores which is the onboard speciality coffee venue. Disgusting is one way to describe it. Expresso from an automatic machine and served in paper cup. Had better from a Motorway Service Station! No waiter service. I tried several times to get to the bottom of the coffee nightmare but other than other staff agreeing it was not good including fellow passengers we gave up. MDR coffee seemed to be fresh brewed and just about saved the day. Les and I are really non drinkers and always enjoy the onboard Speciality Coffee. Les was left very disappointed . Thankfully the superb quality of food just about made up for the coffee. I just don’t understand how a line as polished as HAL could get this so wrong. I have covered this on the customer survey and also emailed. Hopefully some answers may be forthcoming? Spa We loved the little spa and brought a week long pass for the Thermal Spa as well as enjoying several treatments. I was smothered in seaweed, dunked in a vat of hot water and massaged within an inch of my life. Felt very relaxed after. Many hours was spent relaxing on the ceramic hot chairs and the mineral bath. Our pass meant we could come and go as we pleased and at $149 per couple I felt was good value for money. Pools Two pools can be found onboard. The Lido pool is for families and can be covered. The adult only is rather lovely and can be found at the stern on deck ten. With were heated and I enjoyed both. Lido could become rather noisy so my fav was adult pool on stern. Entertainment The main showroom lacks some of the high tech facilities of a more modern ship but I was left feeling extremely impressed with the quality of the singers and dancers. This was their last cruise onboard and the 3 full production shows featured some of the best singing and dancing I have had the pleasure to enjoy on any cruise ship. A small group of very talented individuals. Elsewhere the ship was covered with various other musical performers who were all of a very high quality. David in Mix was brilliant along with the guitar chap. Sydney and the Halcats were great and we also had two chaps onboard called the ‘Piano Brothers’ All performed to the highest standards. The last evening featured Dancing with the Stars which was really good fun. I did not watch any onboard films in the cinema or really use the culinary centre other than one very quick demo. I felt this was a little underused and more could be done with the space. I know the Culinary Art Centre is a real HAL show case but it felt a bit flat! The Cruise Director was great and plenty of other activities took place throughout the day. Again the small ship spirit shone through. All entertainment staff and crew were so approachable that it felt like one big family onboard. Norway As ever Norway is a stunning place to visit and so easy to reach and enjoy via a 7 day cruise from UK. We went to Bergen, Gerainger, Alesund and Eidfjord. The cruise also had two sea days. We booked no excursions via HAL as very expensive as are all other cruise line excursions. The scenery is really what its all about and you are able to enjoy this so easily from the ship that there is no real need to spend most of a port day on a coach. It was raining in Bergen so we stayed onboard as we had visited before. Elsewhere we popped ashore for a decent coffee. Norway is incredibly expensive so be warned. Eat on board! We took one local trip in Eidfjord to a huge waterfall which meant we were only away from Ryndam for 2 hours. I really adore Norway and what it has to offer the cruise passenger. Stunning views, fresh air and scenery. This was my second Norway cruise and I would go again in a heartbeat. Only downside was the weather was so/so. Disembarkation We filled a form in mid week and were given Yellow 1 which was due to get off at 0830hrs. Luggage collected night before and everything went very smoothly with a last MDR breakfast at 0700hrs. We were home by 0915hrs. Cruising from Harwich is great!! Conclusion We had a wonderful week with an extremely spacious cabin and some of the best food we have experienced onboard a cruise ship. Coffee was terrible but this did not spoil the week. I loved the small ship experience and would certainly try a small ship again. Its sad that HAL are parting company with Ryndam although she is now at the point of needing a great deal of money spent if she is to keep up with the rest of the fleet. Anyone travelling on her prior to her departure in October is in for a treat. I was so impressed. Yes she does not have that big ship ‘wow’ factor but she provided the ideal home for a short Norway cruise. Lets hope HAL don’t abandon the small ship vibe! We had a full complement of passengers which included 200 kids. She never felt crowded and everything worked smoothly. The dreaded bug had been onboard prior to our sailing but other than constant reminders about hygiene we saw no real signs that anything was amiss. The Captain did mention small outbreak but we were not effected. Its a real shame no HAL ship will be based in UK during 2016. They have built a good following in recent years but we are left with no choice but to fly next year which I don’t like to do. Come back to the UK or risk losing fans! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2015
I have a number of issues I want to share with everyone, I have left it late as I complained directly to Holland America as soon as I got back, to this date no one has answered me regarding my concerns. The service actually got worse as ... Read More
I have a number of issues I want to share with everyone, I have left it late as I complained directly to Holland America as soon as I got back, to this date no one has answered me regarding my concerns. The service actually got worse as the week went on, but started off ok. I shall start with the food. I found the food to be poor at best in the main dining room. One evening we had the choice of the Roast beef. Out of 8, 6 had the beef, 6 left the beef. Not once did anyone ask us what was wrong & why we did not eat the food. Who ever choose what went with the beef I question, why would you supply a grilled tomato with roast beef & gravy? If you don't like the food in the main restaurant, forget trying to get anything from the self service, that closes early & you have to wait 10.30pm before it reopens & offers poor pizza, and other rather tasteless items. The entertainment, well it was shocking at best! The main band could not play basic tunes that most wedding bands (yes I play in one) perform week after week. The singer could not sing in tune, the band were playing the wrong chords! They were probably the worst ships band I have ever seen. I even took recordings to play to real professional musicians, they found it highly amusing that these were no better than a UK pub band. In fact, I have seen & heard better. The main shows in the theatre were drab, although we had an excellent magician one night. The ships cast again struggled to sing the correct chords to the song, not good when the backing track, yes backing track, played the correct chords. Now my hearing at 46 is not how it used to be, but far better than theirs clearly. Don't expect any entertainment to be put on if you are not able to get ashore, they provided none when we had a howler of a day with the weather, but they will try to keep selling you things instead. We had an outbreak of novo virus on board, my wife is an insulin dependant diabetic, we had heard rumours that there was an outbreak, but it was finally announced 24hrs later. That didn't stop guests who had it still going out on deck. The staff did not stop them! Back to my wife.....the virus can affect her sugar levels, which is dangerous to her, so she went and asked at reception about the virus. She wanted to know if the outbreak gets worse, could she be informed, if nothing else than for us to stay in our cabin so she would not catch it. They advised her that she would be told along with everyone else, which she responded that could be too late. The following day we had over 24hrs sail back home, so to get ill in the middle of the North Sea is not ideal. The final insult was from a member of staff who mentioned on many occasions that she wished she were somewhere else as Norway is cold. Well sorry, I didn't go for the weather, I went for the spectacular scenery. If I heard her say 'if you seen one Fjord, you seen them all' again, I would go nuts. Sorry if you have to work where I want to go & see, sorry if they don't have the beaches of the Caribbean.....I don't care, I don't like wasting my life sitting on a beach. Im paying to come here, you are being paid, tough! One last thing, never book excursions onboard, they are a rip off....as I felt was being on that ship! Holland America, you should hold your head in shame, just because you have sold this ship, does not mean that I do not deserve the holiday I am paying you for. I feel cheated & know after sailing with other cruise's, that they don't offer value for money. I will not pay to sail with these ever again, especially as they couldn't even be bothered to respond to me....SHOCKING! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2015
We are seasoned cruisers and, although Holland America is not our favorite cruise line, we like the smaller size of their ships and often take their cruises. Having traveled from Heathrow to Harwich in a hired car (247 Airport Transfer) ... Read More
We are seasoned cruisers and, although Holland America is not our favorite cruise line, we like the smaller size of their ships and often take their cruises. Having traveled from Heathrow to Harwich in a hired car (247 Airport Transfer) with some wonderful new Cruise Critic friends, our stay at the immaculate Premier Inn the night before the cruise was pleasant. Although there is not much to the town, the restaurant at the hotel had a friendly atmosphere. Several of the us Cruise Critic people staying at the Inn tried to meet in the lobby of the Inn but there wasn't much of a lobby and we were so tired from traveling, we decided to meet again at the Meet and Greet on the ship. This being our 24th cruise, we were worried about the noro virus we heard was rampant on the Ryndam. HA even brought the previous cruise back a day early to sanitize the ship and our cruise left later than usual. Holland America compensated us $50/passenger for the delay which I thought was very nice. Embarkation was a very slow process. We followed HA's request and arrived later so they could finish sanitizing the ship. The crew worked very hard finishing the cleaning. Hence, they were not available for the embarkation so it took a long time to get on the ship. As far as we knew, no one got the noro virus although for the first 3 days of the cruise, many precautions were taken. For example, there was no salt or pepper on the tables, you were served in the buffet, you could not get your own drinks at the service bars in the buffet, and we couldn't even exchange papers during the Trivia games. Yes, it was inconvenient but getting the virus would have been more inconvenient. My husband and I are grateful to HA for their efforts. After 3 days everything returned to the usual. Our Meet and Greet was the next day which was a sea day. I was surprised that no one from HA attended but, then again, the precautions against the noro virus kept many doing duties they were normally not responsible for. Our ocean view cabin was well located on the Main deck and always immaculate except for the dirty outside window. There was plenty of storage, the bed was quite comfortable, and our cabin stewards were so willing to please. The food in the main dining room was a bit of a disappointment for the few 2 days as my husband and I found the beef was stringy and a little tough but after ordering other entrees, I found that food excellent. Our waiter, Toto seemed to prefer always serving his other tables first rather than ours. We started off with 3 people at our scenic window table then grew to 5 people but none of us were 5 stars. Could that be why? The food in the Lido (buffet) was always varied and delicious. We celebrated our 45th wedding anniversary in the Pinnacle and our steaks were cooked to perfection. A group of us decided to eat in the Canaletto specialty restaurant one night and all 11 of us were disappointed in the quality and choices. My husband and I have eaten in the Canaletto on other HA ships and enjoyed it. The entertainment was fabulous, in my opinion. My favorite is always the singers and dancers and they were the best we have seen in our 24 cruises. The other entertainment was varied and well chosen. The cruise director did a fabulous job. My husband and I did take several computer classes offered on sea days. Mike, the computer tech had such patience with me for which I am grateful, not being computer savvy with Windows 8.1. As for the ports, almost all of our excursions were private through cruisingexcursions.com. We have used them before and find their excursions to be cheaper, smaller groups, and cover most of the sights in a port. Our first port was Alesund, Norway. We had been to Alesund last year on a cruise, so this was a repeat for us. I wish we had last year's weather though. This time it was rainy and very foggy. We did the same excursion as last year (Introduction to Alesund Highlights) although this year we couldn't quite see Alesund from the viewpoint because of the fog and the rain. Be sure to look for the decorative drain covers in the street as you walk along the narrow streets of this turret and spired medieval town. Next was Trondheim. We didn't plan any excursions here and decided to walk around town on our own. We walked to the Gothic-style Nidaros Cathedral which is the largest church in Northern Europe and to the Old Town Bridge. We had a pleasant walk through the shops and outdoor markets. When we arrived in Tromso, our next port, my husband and I raced to take bus #26 to the cable car to avoid the long lines. We were grateful for the free shuttle into town. Yes, we arrived at the Fjellhelsens around 8:45 just to learn they did not open until 10 A.M! So we waited. It was definitely worth it. The view was spectacular. Tromso is the largest city north of the Arctic Circle. After the cable car ride down, we walked to the Arctic Cathedral which has the largest stained-glass window in Europe. Unfortunately, by the time we got there, they were closed for a funeral so we couldn't go inside. In my research for this cruise, someone suggested taking the Arctic train. Don't bother it was a disappointment. It's a little sight-seeing train that takes you around town. Because we were only in Tromso until 3 P.M., we missed going to Polaria, the Polar Museum and the Arctic-Alpine Garden. Next time........ Honningsvag is a tiny town but everyone goes there to go to North Cape which is the northernmost point in Europe. So that is what we did. Cruisingexcursions.com cancelled our excursion a month before the cruise because they couldn't get enough people. Thanks to a recommendation by another CC person, we booked with bookfinnmark.com for the same exact excursion and it was cheaper! Unfortunately, they couldn't control the fog. The bus ride took about an hour just to see nothing but fog. Luckily the Visitors' Center is quite well done with a large cinema with an audio-visual show, a church, an art gallery, and a Thai temple along with a coffee shop, bar, and a gift shop. After our return to town, we went to a primitive Ice Bar which I highly recommend. After you put on these insulated ponchos, you enter a room to experience what it would be like in the winter time there. Your admission (about $18) includes 2 non-alcoholic drinks from shot glasses made of ice. There are ice tables, walls, benches, and an igloo filled with reindeer skins. It was awesome. When the ship left port that night, it circled around to North Cape which, by that time, was as clear as could be. From the deck of our ship, we could see the tourists up around the huge globe and outside the Visitor Center. Oh, boy! Were they lucky there was no fog for them! After another sea day we arrived in Molde. Our excursion, "Sightseeing and Scenic Drive to Atlantic Road" did not start off well. The bus driver couldn't be found. So we were given an impromptu walking tour while we waited for another driver. Molde was having Europe's biggest jazz festival so there were tents and stalls and people all over and a very festive atmosphere. Finally the bus arrived and we were off to the Atlantic Road which was a bit of a disappointment until I watched a video about the road after we returned from the cruise. We only traveled part of the road from island to island. We didn't ride to where the mainland ends and the ocean begins. In the video the ocean was washing up onto the road and over the cars. The ocean was calm when we were there so our excursion did not turn into a thrill ride. Afterward, we walked around Molde. We looked forward to arriving in Geiranger again although last summer we got to use the sea wall but this time, we were tendered. We repeated the "Eagle Road, Flydalsjuvet Viewpoint and Mount Dalsnibba" excursion but the fog stopped us again from looking down from the viewpoint atop Mt. Dalsnibba. The other viewpoints were under he fog so they were much better. We were surprised at how much snow still remained. Last year we have pictures of a beautiful blue/green lake as we climbed the mountain. This time it was all snow. After the excursion we did make another stop at the chocolate shop (Geiranger Sjokolade) and then walked around town choosing not to climb to Geiranger's 1842 octagonal wooden church. The highlight of Geiranger is the sail in and out of the fjord. Absolutely gorgeous and so picturesque. Our next to last port was Flam. I had organized a ride on the Flamsbana train (visitflam.com) for 22 CC people. We booked and paid in advance and had our seats saved (Cruise Critic signs were in the windows). The train takes you roundtrip from Flam to Myrdal and back to Flam, up the valley with incredible scenery and a stop at a fantastic waterfall for photographs. We waited for the music and watched the fairies dressed in red dance around for a few minutes. After the train ride we walked around town and took the little tourist train into the tiny town of Flam. Our final port was Bergen, Norway's largest port and our final excursion was "Bergen Panoramic Tour." It was informative. After that we were determined to ride the funicular. Not discouraged by the long line, it only took us about 45 minutes from the time we got on the line until we entered the funicular for our ride to the top of Mt. Floein. The view was breathtaking. Besides the view there is shopping and a restaurant. After the ride down, we walked through Old Bergen and Bergen's fish market. With 5 ships in port that day, Bergen was very crowded so we headed back to our ship. Our arrival back to Harwich and the end of our cruise would have been sad but we were being picked up by our good British friends whom we met on a cruise several years ago and spending the day with them. Disembarkation was right on schedule. We requested to be off the ship between 8:15 and 8:45. We were off by 8:25. Thank you HA for a great cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2015
Cruise on MS Ryndam Voyage of the Midnight Sun - July 4th We feel that Holland & America is responsible for this poor cruise.....not the ship. Holland & America were not forthcoming with the truth of how the results of a ... Read More
Cruise on MS Ryndam Voyage of the Midnight Sun - July 4th We feel that Holland & America is responsible for this poor cruise.....not the ship. Holland & America were not forthcoming with the truth of how the results of a 'sick ship', was going to affect the next cruise...ours !! We feel that we paid a full price for half a cruise. Arrived at Harwich after a four hours drive. At the Terminal, we were greeted with a letter informing us of the fact that the MS Ryndam had suffered a 'higher than usual' run of the Norovirus on its last cruise and that the ship was being put through a ‘deep cleanse’. We had received an email a couple of days earlier informing us of the delayed departure of our cruise. Holland and America did not inform us of how the 'deep cleanse' was going to affect the cruise...........the first few days were terrible. Various services were not available, ie.: the library, the video rental, the games….many other services. Conversing with one of your guests, who works in the shipping industry; apparently the MS Ryndam should not have sailed at all, on reasons of health and safety regulations. The Lido restaurant was restricted very heavily. We could not get our own tea, coffee, etc, and were not allowed help ourselves to anything. Long queues for everything. The activities also seemed restricted and there was no activities of any interest on offer. On a general overview of the cruise……not very good at all. We were informed by various people that Holland and America was 'special' and of 5 star excellence...it is not! We were also informed that there would be would be 'life enhancing activities'.....they were not! The activities were not very interesting. There were a few good shows, a couple of good talks and the rest was selling to the passengers most of the time and encouraging us to play in the Casino. Very little to stimulate the brain and entertain. The Lido freedom dining Buffet was not that good. Strange hours and very limited choice of food....not much variety, repeated meals. The roasts were always good. The food in the Rotterdam was excellent....but then again strange hours. There were certain times of the day when one could not get anything to eat or drink at all. (not even tea, coffee, etc). The cinema room was a poor choice for viewing a film. The screen was too low and people's heads got in the way. The television in the staterooms were old, poor picture, poor sound and too small and difficult to find out what was showing. Intermittent satellite coverage. Even when in Harwich the ‘satellite’ was not working for the BBC World News !! The tours were ridiculously expensive and can be arranged locally for nearly half price. The tenders/lifeboats were very tatty looking, disorganised inside and did not give a very good impression of health and safety. We resented the practice of the Spa staff informing us that a “15% gratuity has been added to our invoice for your convenience” !! We should have been asked, not told. We were also informed that to change the percentage of gratuity was very complicated and would take a long time! We not encouraged to pursue a refund. We had to speak to Housekeeping several times ref: shower head kept swivelling. Toilet flush button very hard to push. Neither of these faults were rectified. The TV stopped working, the toilet did not have enough water in it….these two faults were fixed. We also complained about the loud thumping noise above our heads….this did not diminish. We had a couple of power cuts and we had to change rooms on our last night as the air conditioning failed in our Stateroom. The Stateroom was very comfortable and clean; though showing its age…drawers were difficult to open. No fridge and no kettle!! We are used to having a fridge and kettle. The crew and staff have obviously been efficiently trained and knew their jobs well. They all worked very hard and were courteous all the time. We paid the full price for an incomplete cruise. Many of the other guests also thought that the standards of this cruise line have dropped. We will not consider going on another cruise with Holland and America. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2015
This review is to fully endorse, and even ADD TO , the woes described in the review of Barry M,.posted07/12/15 regarding the Iceland cruise of Ryndam, June 20-July 3. I waited to post ,so that HAL could respond to my submitted written ... Read More
This review is to fully endorse, and even ADD TO , the woes described in the review of Barry M,.posted07/12/15 regarding the Iceland cruise of Ryndam, June 20-July 3. I waited to post ,so that HAL could respond to my submitted written criticisms, and , receiving a "form letter" thanking me for my input, it's time to vent ! We were NEVER told the severity of the outbreak of norovirus during our cruise. We got daily tip-offs from a HAL casino employee, and it peaked at 30% of combined passengers plus crew. At embarkation we were issued a form advising us that Ryndam, having just docked 9 hours previous had had an outbreak - no details on WHEN or HOW EXTENSIVE. Given that HAL had all our email addresses, why no prior notice. The (cruise director ?) cancelled the "Dancing With The Stars" after one session, and even that session was below the norm, since none of the ship's pro dancers served as judges, no humorous critiques were given,and eventual winners were chosen by audience applause. There was no knowledgable lecturer aboard who could lecture us on the culture, attractions, cuisine, or art of the people whose ports we were about to visit - instead we got a verbal pitch on the tours which we had already perused at HAL's online site. The cruise director didn't even know the NAME of the first Icelandic port. Stage shows by the song/dance troupe were great, as always, BUT we learned in conversing with them that their company's relationship with HAL was about to be severed at HAL's wish. We usually enjoy the classical string quartets aboard our 5 prior HAL cruises, but Ryndam featur4e only a violinist and accompanying pianist. Cost downsizing? Excursions were cancelle4d, or even interrupted in mid-trip, due to norovirus. Ther crew worked very hard to sanitize public areas during the trip, and even the musicians and dancers jumped in to serve food in Lido. The cruise was cut short by one day, so the July 4 embarkation had an extra 24 hours to sanitize the ship. Maybe the subsequent cruise's passengers got better advance warning, and had a better cruise. Please post your thoughts folks ! Finally, the best laugh of the cruise was garnered at the Piano Bar when the accomplished entertainer swung into Ray Charles's "What'd I Say" and invited the surrounding passengers to throw in spoken couplets , just as Ray did on the original recording. One chimed in "'We scrub our hands with your Purel, as we take this cruise from Hell" Bottom line- it is one thing to sell a ship- as HAL is selling Ryndam to P & O in October-but quite another to let your standards slide while the ship still bears your name. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2015
We have been cruising since 1990 so are not newbies by any means. We settled on Holland as a more upscale line and in many previous cruises through Europe and all of the Caribbean we have been very happy - but the circumnavigation of ... Read More
We have been cruising since 1990 so are not newbies by any means. We settled on Holland as a more upscale line and in many previous cruises through Europe and all of the Caribbean we have been very happy - but the circumnavigation of Iceland and the trip into the Fjords of Norway was a total unmitigated disaster. This was an example of the most blatant corporate greed we have ever seen on a cruise ship. During the very first few days we learned from several crew that Noro Virus had been on the ship for the past 4 to 6 weeks yet Holland continued to run the Ryndam and continued to make people and staff very very sick. But here is the real kicker, we were told that the option to cancel the cruise had been OK'd well ahead of the sailing BUT Holland did not present this option until all passengers had flown for hours to get to Heathrow, stayed overnight in various hotels and then spent more than 2 hours on a bus to Harwich terminal to board the ship. Our boarding was delayed as we were told the ship was being thoroughly sanitized! It was only then that the cancellation letter was passed around - how cruel can they get? The outbreak got worse and worse and we then received a letter saying they had identified the problem as Noro Virus. This was misleading at best and an outright lie at the worst. They knew full well before we boarded that the ship was badly contaminated and yet they let us board. All passengers had come thousands of miles and who wants to turn around and go home? Why didn't Holland be up front and tell people before they left for the cruise that the ship was badly contaminated with the Noro Virus and they had not been able to get rid of it in the previous 4 to 6 weeks? I wish this was as bad as it got but it isn't. Passengers got food poisoning including my wife who has a Masters’ in Public Health and is a Registered Dietitian and knows what food poisoning looks like versus Noro Virus! Holland cancelled port visits, cancelled port tours and ended the cruise early while refunding only part of our cruise price. Does it get worse yet - oh yes it does - after the cruise is back at Harwich we are loaded on a small bus and driven into downtown London to our temporary hotel; the outside temperature is 28C - a record for London. You would expect to have Air Conditioning in a bus where windows can't be opened but this bus didn't! It was so hot in there passengers had sweat running down their arms and backs and the traffic was horrendous - our 2 hours trip took 3 - bad even for London. Holland America Lines owes everyone a full refund, but don't hold your breath that they will do the right thing. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2015
Visiting Iceland was on my bucket list. Being on a ship under code red for two weeks wasn't. We knew the Ryndam was an older ship and that is was already sold - we did not expect it to be in such disrepair as we found it. We have been ... Read More
Visiting Iceland was on my bucket list. Being on a ship under code red for two weeks wasn't. We knew the Ryndam was an older ship and that is was already sold - we did not expect it to be in such disrepair as we found it. We have been on over 20 cruises and have a lot to compare this to. We have been on several Holland cruises in the past and thoroughly enjoyed those experiences. Embarkation: The check in area was a zoo. In our case, we were able to bypass most of the wait because my husband has a medical issue necessitating that he not stand too long Stateroom: Our stateroom attendants were very nice and hardworking. They had a lot of extra work because of the rampant norovirus on board. It was obvious that the cabins were "tired" - our toilet leaked all over the bathroom and onto the carpet, our carpet was very loose (a trip hazard). General areas: The staff were very focused on wiping everything with disinfectant but they were not focused on general cleanliness - we saw dirt and crumbs in many public areas. We also saw that repairs/replacements were not ongoing, a prime example was a glass table in a bar area that was taped because it was broken. Dining: We ate breakfast in the main dining room almost every morning. Service was spotty at best. One morning my husband got his food a full 30 minutes before me! We only got our food at the same time once. We ate dinner in the dining room the first night and in the Lido every other night, though we usually prefer the dining experience on other ships. We ate in the Lido because we disliked the food so much that we chose to "pick" at the buffet. We found the food way, way, way too spicy for us. I went through a lot of antacids during this trip. Room service with special diet needs was very difficult to obtain - likely due to the sheer numbers of requests. Another disappointing thing was that food was on the menu and, when requested, the staff frequently had to go looking for it. Entertainment: This was a bright spot - we really enjoyed the house entertainers and the visiting entertainers (though several got sick and couldn't perform). We thought the cruise director was a non entity, rarely seen. Computer training was really appreciated and helpful Disembarkation: The ship got back to port a day early because norovirus was not under control. We were to be put up in a hotel for one night and received a letter with the assignment. The day prior to disembarkation, we got letters assigning my husband to one hotel and me to another - which we had to spend time correcting. The day of departure, we were put on a bus and sat there for one hour before someone got on the bus to tell us which hotel we would go to and then we sat for another half hour before the bus started moving. Arrival at the hotel created a line that went out the door - and could have been managed much more efficiently. The dinner meal at the Renaissance hotel was better than anything we had on the ship. Medical staff: They were definitely challenged with the number of noro cases, plus normal medical problems on any ship. They were extremely professional and helpful. The Captain did reinforce hand washing but he should have stressed the numbers of cases every day so the passengers would truly appreciate the incidence level. Ports: The Captain chose to skip two ports and we missed two more because of illness (yes, the bug hit us though we are obsessively compulsive about hand cleaning). The ports that we saw were very nice. I was very impressed with seeing so many snow/ice capped mountains and waterfalls. The scenery was everything we had hoped for. Overall: Holland has offered us discounts on a future cruise and that is tempting - BUT - we will think long and hard about it, and definitely will look for a newer ship. Unfortunately, of the 20+ cruises we have done, this is way down at the bottom of the list. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2015
We had signed up for a 14 day cruise around Iceland with several stops continuing to the Norwegian coast. When we arrived for boarding we were told the ship (Ryndam) would not be available for several hours because deep cleaning was being ... Read More
We had signed up for a 14 day cruise around Iceland with several stops continuing to the Norwegian coast. When we arrived for boarding we were told the ship (Ryndam) would not be available for several hours because deep cleaning was being done to deal with previous norovirus issue. This became a problem because there were insufficient seats. My husband has COPD but we literally had to stand for two hours. When our group number was finally called and we had gone through additional security it became apparent that it would be quite a distance to the ship. We were told no assistance could be provided, we would need to go back, through security again, etc. The first few days on the ship seemed to be okay but gradually more and more passengers became ill. My husband and I, who have never had issues on the many other cruises we have taken, became very ill. We were essentially room bound for several days due to illness then weakness. During our room bound time it was very difficult to get room service. I am sure this was because staff were overwhelmed with additional work cleaning up cabins and staff also becoming ill. Eventually the whole ship had a very "down" atmosphere. The direction and coordination to guests regarding the norovirus was inadequate. First you were told one thing, then something different. When the ship's medical officer did send a note to all guests it was clear and understandable. The food on the ship was poor to barely adequate. Many meals the buffet was the only option. The food at the buffet was frequently poor quality. Much soup was eaten as a main course. The cruise was shortened and one additional stop eliminated due to weather. Our cruise ended a day early making it necessary to scramble to make arrangements. The bottom line for us is that the primary purpose of our trip, visiting the Golden Circle, did not happen because we were both too ill to go. Holland America's compensation, a credit of 25% of the fee paid, was really inadequate. A more appropriate response would have been a credit for the cost of the trip to be applied to a future trip. I have contacted Holland America regarding this and have yet to hear back. We are very disappointed with the quality of this experience. We had been looking forward to taking additional cruises with Holland America but now are very leery. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2015
By the time my review is posted there will be numerous reviews from fellow passengers regarding the outbreak of NoroVirus on this trip and the subsequent impact whilst on board and eventual early curtailment of the cruise. The first ... Read More
By the time my review is posted there will be numerous reviews from fellow passengers regarding the outbreak of NoroVirus on this trip and the subsequent impact whilst on board and eventual early curtailment of the cruise. The first thing to say is “Did this spoil our holiday?” I can categorically say “No” My review may be biased as neither my husband nor I were affected by the virus. We kept to our own cabin bathroom and were meticulous around hand washing and sanitising as instructed. It did of course impact on our holiday as it was a bit painful to have to queue for coffee in the Lido and it was a shame that some of the touches that do make the cruise special to Holland and America (flowers on the tables, chocolates on the pillows) had to be withdrawn. The photo gallery, Library & Card room were all closed and the shops were tightly supervised to prevent contamination. The pools were closed for the first week or so but did reopen during the cruise. I must say that the staff were all tremendous throughout. We had the entertainment department regularly helping serve in the Lido along with the cadet engineers and they all provided a friendly service and greeted us with a smile. I realise that these extra shifts must have taken a toll on all concerned but I never saw one staff member lose their smile or let their personal service slip. I suspect it’s not ideal serving ice cream when you are a casino staff member, but they all chipped in and helped ensure that the trip continued. I have never seen so much sanitation taking place on a cruise – the shuttle buses were done on every return trip, decks and deckchairs were hosed with liquid frequently during the day and every piece of gym equipment was washed down with soapy fluid every 20 minutes. In my opinion, it was clear the staff were doing absolutely all they could to prevent the spread. There was extra pressure on room service and the cleaning teams (especially for the ill guests) but again, we did not see any deterioration in the service we received from our cabin attendants. This cruise did attract a high number of elderly guests who frequently and I am sure, unconsciously, touch the rails, shelves, podiums etc around the ship to help steady themselves, especially if the seas are a little rough and it must be difficult to keep on top of this from a sanitation perspective. In HALs position, they really did try to minimise the spread, kept us well informed and unfortunately had to make a difficult decision to end the trip one day early to deep clean the ship. This meant missing out the last fjord stop in Norway. We had planned a Kayaking trip there so that was a disappointment for us but we have visited the Norwegian fjords before so this was not such a blow to us as to other passengers. We also missed one earlier stop in Iceland, Heimay due to poor weather conditions and the captain wanted to avoid an area of Low pressure. This meant we had an extra overnight stop in Reykjavik. It was a beautiful sunny evening and we enjoyed 3 hours ashore there that evening plus the whole of the following day. I hope that the passengers who are on a back to back trip are honest and declare if they have any symptoms before rejoining the ship. Many guests had travelled a long way and instead of being honest and isolating themselves, they were out and about as they did not want to miss their trip. We witnessed one guest being ill in the Lido one evening and the next day he was on a shuttle bus. Our waiters Yudi, Kaka and Jeremy (on wine) were all superb throughout. Nothing was too much trouble if we wanted roast potatoes instead of rice or extra bread and butter or ice cream as an “extra” They remembered how we liked our meat cooking and how we took our tea and coffee. They were a great trio and we were treated very well every night. If they did not have our wine choice, Jeremy provided alternative options that were often a couple of dollars cheaper. Whilst some of the guest entertainers were also taken ill, we still had an enjoyable show every night and shows were rescheduled. I think there was only one lady jazz pianist and one late night comedy show that did not go ahead as planned but other shows were put on instead. My only slight grumble is that the theatre was very cold at night (some guests had coats on) and I remember it was the same on the old Amsterdam ship when we cruised to Alaska. I suspect the older ships in cold climates are tricky to insulate and moderate. I would recommend taking a wrap or jacket to wear at night. The ship is transferring to P&O Australia in September. Whilst other reviewers have mentioned its age, it is true it is an older ship. Our cabin was very clean, lots of storage space and the bathroom had been modernised recently. The bath did not drain very quickly and could not cope with the new power showers volume of water. If you take the plug out completely problem solved. We had a cabin on deck 5 (outside) and we did hear the trolley taking the deckchairs out on deck each morning (between 6.30-7.00am) it trundles along the deck so you can hear it. We are early risers so this did not impact us and it was the only noise we heard from the promenade deck above us. If you are visiting Iceland in the summer I would also recommend an eye mask as it daylight all night long and it can disturb your sleep. I took an airline one that I had kept and it did the job very well. The worst noise was when a guest played basketball. The court is directly above the Lido and the sound resonates loudly throughout the Lido. Due to our destination and age mix we only noticed this couple of times at lunchtime. The ship is small by comparison to others we have used but there was ample space and it did not feel cramped. There was plenty to do with a cinema, digital workshops and all the usual talks. The restaurant and Lido always had spare seats. There was one morning where a high number of trips were all going at around 7.15am and the Lido opened at 6.30 so it was chaotic. We chose to eat breakfast in the dining room for the latter part of the trip to save having to queue for juice and coffee and it did not take too much more time. We still enjoyed our holiday, had beautiful food, enjoyed the entertainment and seen some fabulous scenery in Iceland in pretty good weather for that part of the world. To top it off, we have been compensated beyond what I would have reasonably expected and have a cruise credit for a future trip. They had made all the necessary arrangements for transfers and accommodation for all guests and even offered to put us up in Harwich for the night if that helped our onward plans. We had our car there so we just came home a day early but had we pre -booked rail tickets we could have stayed and travelled back as planned on Saturday. They did not wait for guests to complain but were on the front foot in their plans. Read Less
Ryndam (Retired) Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.0 4.3
Dining 4.0 4.1
Entertainment 4.0 3.7
Public Rooms 4.0 4.4
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.9
Family 4.0 3.9
Shore Excursion 3.0 3.7
Enrichment 4.0 3.8
Service 4.0 4.4
Value For Money 4.0 4.1
Rates 4.0 4.1

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