3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
Maasdam is the oldest vessel of HAL. I was skeptical about the condition of the ship. I was wrong. The ship is in excellent condition, very clean and easy to navigate. The cabin is big with lots of storage .. However the TV was ... Read More
Maasdam is the oldest vessel of HAL. I was skeptical about the condition of the ship. I was wrong. The ship is in excellent condition, very clean and easy to navigate. The cabin is big with lots of storage .. However the TV was disappointing, very old and usually there was no signal in in port like Yokohama. There is only one outlet and we had to ask for an extension cord. Food in the dining is good. We had dinner one night in Pinnacle Grill. It was good but not much better than the dining room and we didn't go back. Canaletto is of good value. We had extremely hot weather, 35 plus degrees in the first week, except in Korsakov, Russia which I think is a waste of time. There is absolutely nothing interesting there. Japan was hit by two storms during our trip. In Hakodate we had to sail early to return to Yokohama . Hakodate is an interesting little town. Five hours is absolutely not enough. We enjoyed all the entertainments especially the lady pianist. We love HAL. We will definitely return soon Read Less
Sail Date: July 2019
We have cruised HAL in a number of locations but really wanted to try one of their smaller ships. We also were very interested in the EXC program and the itinerary around Japan. As always HAL knows what its doing-embarkation, ... Read More
We have cruised HAL in a number of locations but really wanted to try one of their smaller ships. We also were very interested in the EXC program and the itinerary around Japan. As always HAL knows what its doing-embarkation, disembarkation were fine. The captain did an excellent job of avoiding (as much as he could) typhoons which caused him to shorten our time in the last port. The lectures/talks were good. Dr. Kam was excellent and covered a variety of topics related to Japanese culture, art, customs. He explained much about Japanese society, habits and norms. The ship is a bit 'tired' and needs some renovation especially in the cabins. There were scratches/mars all along the baseboards, there was a crack in the sink, a dent in the tub and signs of rust/wear in many places. Wallpaper was beginning to peel. Public spaces seemed to be okay but cabins not so much. HAL personnel were friendly,helpful and efficient (except when they got to chatting with customers and ignored other customers). Entertainment-the jazz quartet was very good; the piano/violin not quite as good and the other singer in the lounge was pretty bad although he attracted a large following. Shore excursions-we took 2 HAL excursions for Shimizu and Otaru. They lived down to our expectations. The guide on the bus for Shimizu was not very good, did not give us good instructions (like wait for her to pay for our admission to the shrine) and that was disappointing. In Otaru-the guide was marginally better and the Herring Mansion was well worth seeing but I'd recommend grabbing a taxi and doing that on your own. We used "Tours by Locals" for Osaka, Vladivostok, Hakodate-they were great and that is definitely the way to go. While the HAL tours sped by, we were getting in depth information as well as seeing things the tours missed. In Kanazawa we used Kanazawa Tours and they also did a very good job. HAL ran shuttle buses in a couple of ports and that was very good. In some of the smaller cities, the 'passenger terminal for ships' was located far from the downtown or other areas of interest. But many of the cities were clearly delighted to see the ship and sent out bands, entertainment,balloons to welcome us which was fun. The other issue with the cruise was the weather especially in the Southern Japanese ports. It was hot and Very humid-to the point of sapping energy and really making it difficult to enjoy doing much of anything. I realize that HAL was running this cruise as part of a trip from the West Coast of the US but perhaps it should consider doing it in the spring or fall when the humidity might be more manageable and less chance of typhoons/cyclones. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2019
We like Holland America. And we selected this cruise because of the itinerary. We were on the ship for 8 weeks starting in San Francisco on June 18. The Maasdam went to a lot of ports in the first 3 weeks. Namely Ketchikan, Sitka, ... Read More
We like Holland America. And we selected this cruise because of the itinerary. We were on the ship for 8 weeks starting in San Francisco on June 18. The Maasdam went to a lot of ports in the first 3 weeks. Namely Ketchikan, Sitka, Anchorage, Kodiak, Valdez, Homer, Haines, Juneau (where we did a helicopter flight to 2 glaciers), Wrangell. We saw Hubbard Glacier up close and also College Fjord. Then we did the Inside Passage and went south to Vancouver (the only rainy day) and on to Port Alberni and Astoria before returning to San Francisco. This was the end of 3 weeks. We then started north again and went to Seattle, Victoria BC, Ketchikan, Sitka, Dutch Harbour (and Unalaska), and then on to Nome. This port even the captain hadn't been to and he still hasn't because the seas were too choppy for a safe tender journey. So we missed it unfortunately. Then we went on to Petropavlovsk in Russia and from there to Kushiro in Japan. All brilliant places. Our second 3 weeks ended in Yokohama, Japan. And so the last 2 weeks of our cruise started. Yokohama is a very modern city and it is quite easy to get around. Our next port was Shimizu, then Kobe, Takamatsu and Kochi where it was market day. Very hot in Japan in August though. Kanazawa was lovely. Then we went back to Russia to see Vladivostok and Korsakov. From there back to Japan. Otaru is a lovely town with great shopping. Our last port before returning to Yokohama was Hakodate. Also really nice. So all in all a great cruise with lots of very different ports to visit. We really enjoyed it and we met great people on this cruise. We would certainly do this cruise again if we could. We did not use the ship's shore excursions as they are too expensive. We went on independent tours with local touring companies and they were great. Some were booked by us (and listed on the relevant Cruise Critic Roll Call pages)and some by other Cruise Critic members Embarkation went very smoothly, disembarkation was also great as long as you waited until the last moment and most people were gone. The Maasdam is an EXC ship and therefore hasn't got the production shows that other ships in the fleet have. There were lots of lectures relating to the areas we sailed through. But we enjoyed that. We especially enjoyed Naturalist Gloetta, she is a marvel and so enthusiastic. Everyone loved her and at the end there was standing room only. But still, every night there was some show, either singer(s), piano players, violinist, even a rock and roll band and a hip hop group. Plenty of things to do We especially liked Lee the piano man. We sat most nights around the piano and sang our hearts out. Really great fun. Dining was hit or miss. Some meals were absolutely fabulous and others so so. Breakfast and lunch were mostly good. The crew is fantastic, from cabin stewards to bar staff to Lido staff and also the dining room. Laundry was done perfectly. Were there any hiccups? Sure, there always are small problems, but they were overcome and we all learned from it. Would we sail Holland America again? Absolutely. Our next cruise will in December, again on the Maasdam. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
Maasdam cruise to Alaska 2019 Positive Experience: Our Holland American Line (HAL) cruise consultant, Amy, was a great help to us in managing our cruise including a cabin upgrade. The ship is beautiful, very clean and in excellent ... Read More
Maasdam cruise to Alaska 2019 Positive Experience: Our Holland American Line (HAL) cruise consultant, Amy, was a great help to us in managing our cruise including a cabin upgrade. The ship is beautiful, very clean and in excellent condition. The HAL staff in all areas was very friendly, competent, and professional. Our cabin stewards UGIH and Deni were the best we have had on any cruise we have taken. For a pleasant change, the internet, while expensive, was the fastest we have ever experienced on a cruse by a factor of ten. Boarding and disembarking was fast and efficient. Negative Experience: The TV news stations, CNN, BBC, Fox were not available most of the time and on an unpredictable schedule. The “no signal available” message was even on all day while moored in locations like Anchorage & Juno AK and Vancouver & Astoria OR. With all the electronics that is on that ship, they can’t find a satellite signal?. On a Maasdam cruise two years ago they found a signal in places like Pago-Pago, New Caledonia and Vanuatu. The food in the main dining room deteriorated since our last Maasdam cruise in 2017. I ordered prime rib that was so tough that cutting it with a table knife was difficult and I could not chew it enough to swallow. I doubt that it was even prime rib. My wife had strip steak that was very tough and four others at our table had similar problems with their strip steak. My wife and I are not “meat and potatoes” people but it appeared to us that the chief tried to outdo himself with mostly “gourmet” offerings every night. An example of some choices in one meal: Foie Gras with Apple Tarte Tatin, Sunchoke Soup, Lemon Grass Coconut Tofu Curry, Pan-Seared Cobia. Additionally, at least four times per day we would be approached by a staff member trying to sell us on the pay restaurant Canaletto. We had dinner there one evening and the food was good but not as good as our two previous Maasdam cruises or our neighborhood Italian restaurants. The laundry service was poor. Anything that we sent that required pressing had to be sent back because it was wrinkled. My wife and I are both retired corporate executives and strongly suspect that there was a change of management or operating budget on the Maasdam since our last cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2019
We picked this 21 day cruise, longer than most Alaska cruises, because we love Alaska and the ship went to ports not often visited by cruise ships. The Maasdam is a relatively small ship that has a great variety of decks to view glaciers, ... Read More
We picked this 21 day cruise, longer than most Alaska cruises, because we love Alaska and the ship went to ports not often visited by cruise ships. The Maasdam is a relatively small ship that has a great variety of decks to view glaciers, etc. Cabin was standard but we loved that the bathroom door had a magnet that would hold door open so you don't have to turn on a light at night to use the bathroom. We only ate at Lido - Food was OK, but "hot" food was almost always cold. According to the crew, the salmon served were pink salmon - the second least flavorful of the 5 species of Alaska salmon - I expect a premium cruise ship to serve quality salmon - at least they were Alaska salmon, not farm raised. This cruise was an Exc In-Depth cruise - the program was basically in disarray; only Kent Syverson, a glacier geologist, was excellent; others provided little of value. The evening entertainment was mostly very good - there were no ship singers and dancers - a good move. The sound system/speakers in the showroom were excellent - much better almost distortion free sound than on the other 3 Holland America ships we have been on. Housekeeping service was very good. Lido service was friendly but seemed to be understaffed - most of the time we got our own coffee, tea, and refills. The ship had some problems with managing tendering - it was such a long time to get ashore (about 2 hours) in Juneau that we decided not to even go ashore. In the crew's defense, they did better on some later tenderings. Cruise director Lance did a credible job of providing Port information. The woman in charge of Shore Excursions gave a couple of briefings on available excursions that showed she knew nothing about Alaska or what a National Park was - after the 1st week she didn't give more briefings. Weather was wet much of the trip but that's the chance you take in Alaska. We would go again. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary. As with most HAL cruises, it was port intensive. On board were a geologist, naturalist, a chief of the Tlingit people, an indigenous wood carver and a couple who shared their music, stories ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary. As with most HAL cruises, it was port intensive. On board were a geologist, naturalist, a chief of the Tlingit people, an indigenous wood carver and a couple who shared their music, stories and experiences living in Alaska. We were able to learn from these presenters and interact with them daily. In addition, there was evening entertainment, including, singers, comedians and magicians. This cruise was an opportunity to visit small ports that were more authentic, without the multitude of jewelry shops lining the sidewalks. We were able to support local businesses and speak with the people who lived in these communities. Of particular interest and enjoyment was Port Alberni, British Columbia. We sailed up the Alberni Inlet and were received with the warmest welcome that we have ever had in another port. To begin with, a group of indigenous people canoed to our ship (which was tendered) and sang a welcome song. On shore, the local people were there to greet us and assist us in any way. The Book Club participants dressed in period costumes, the indigenous peoples did a welcoming dance, volunteers offered rides to see local attractions. As it was a Saturday, there was a wonderful Craft Market on the Quay. There were offers of free local tours. When we admired the restored logging trucks at the Quay, we were personally driven to the Industrial Heritage Centre, where they have restored numerous vehicles and machinery from the logging hey days of the area. There were vintage trucks and antique machines that have been restored over the past 35 years by a group of dedicated, enthusiastic volunteers. The volunteers showed us around the various vehicles, giving a history of each one. Unfortunately, their steam train is currently out of service. When it is running, it goes from the original train station to the Historic R B McLean Lumber Co. site. If this attraction is restored, it would be a wonderful addition for cruise visitors. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
I had been to Alaska on a one week guy;s fishing trip on the Kenai Peninsula, and a one week family, adventure small ship cruise in SE Alaska. The itinerary for this cruise caught my attention, as well as the smaller size ship, and EXC ... Read More
I had been to Alaska on a one week guy;s fishing trip on the Kenai Peninsula, and a one week family, adventure small ship cruise in SE Alaska. The itinerary for this cruise caught my attention, as well as the smaller size ship, and EXC In-Depth program. I was not disappointed. Indeed, in many ways, my overall experience exceeded my expectation. True, the zodiac excursions did not come about, and the SE Alaska weather was rainy and cold, But, the quality of the In-Depth programs and presenters, the less frequented ports of call, the scenic cruising (especially Hubbard Glacier and College Fjord), and the on-board entertaintainment and activities made for an exceptional cruise. In the dining room, food quality was good, presentation excellent. The Pinnacle Grill dinners were excellent in both quality and presentation, though the service was slow at times, due, I believe, to understaffing. Overall, however, HAL's signature service was in evidence throughout the ship. The Maasdam is an older ship, but has been well-maintained, and the tasteful refurbishment of the public areas last year makes for a pleasing environment. Though very comfortable and well-serviced by our fantastic cabin stewards, our cabin could use some updating, and the bathtub replaced by a walk-in shower. Neither, however, got in the way of our enjoying a memorable time in Alaskan and Pacific Northwest waters. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Here is our secret for a great cruise. Prior to embarkation and having read all the wonderful marketing material, we discount the hype by 20 per cent. Now let's be honest. Have you ever had a burger or sandwich that looked as good as ... Read More
Here is our secret for a great cruise. Prior to embarkation and having read all the wonderful marketing material, we discount the hype by 20 per cent. Now let's be honest. Have you ever had a burger or sandwich that looked as good as the one on the T.V advertisement? Of course not. The Maasdam is now the oldest ship in the fleet but all public spaces are well maintained. In fact we believe the Rotterdam dining room and the Theatre/Showroom are beautiful. The size of the ship is a plus as there are plenty of seating in quiet places. We never waited more than a a couple of minutes for the elevator. During this 24 day crossing from Auckland to San Francisco there were about 11 sea days and this was when the library was appreciated. It is a great place to read about the American founding fathers American politicians and presidents, American sportspeople, and well known American authors. I particularly appreciated the stories of the American heroes of the integration of black Americans. Well, we must understand this is an American owned company. For the same reason we gave up on Trivia. Our cabin 140 on deck 9 was a disappointment. It was past being tired, it was exhausted and it was dominated by a four seater settee in dark brown vinyl that most likely could fold out into a bed. It looked like a refugee from a Salvation Army charity shop. But get this. Its unwanted presence in our tiny space now placed us in a Vista Suite which raised our gratuities to $16.00 U.S per day per person. The redeeming feature was the large covered balcony. Our total gratuity bill was around the equivalent of $1,100 Australian dollars. To the rest of the world that pays a livable wage to all workers this is a hangover from the days of the 18th century English Poorhouse where the poor were dependent on charity to survive. Meals in the Rotterdam dining room were very good, and while we avoid the rugby scrum of the buffet we were forced there when the dining room was closed. The food was surprisingly good. staff were better than good, they were wonderful. Entertainment was soloists such as a guy playing the flute while jumping all over the stage, a magician, a girl playing the piano accordion etc etc. And get this one. One evenings entertainment was a nature movie with the ship's talented musicians playing mood music. There were lots of complaints when usually the best nights entertainment is the crew, was relegated to 11.00pm. the Cruise Director known as K.K was the best we have ever seen. So here is the bottom line. We enjoyed this cruise and we love so much about HAL. Our 20 per cent discounting of the marketing hype was about right for the ship in general, but we should have discounted the cabin by 30 per cent. ps The guest lecturers saved us from being bored to death. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
When we booked last year we didn't know it would be an EXC cruise. We thought we'd give the new product a go but it seems to be a cost cutting venture. We went to the major ports of Noumea, Port Vila and Auckland on sundays when ... Read More
When we booked last year we didn't know it would be an EXC cruise. We thought we'd give the new product a go but it seems to be a cost cutting venture. We went to the major ports of Noumea, Port Vila and Auckland on sundays when everything is closed and the other days to beaches where it didn't matter. The cruise hopped around with no order or reason to be in these ports on sunday....maybe cheaper docking charges? Entertainment was very poor with nothing organised for sea days other than lectures on photo, computers and upcoming ports given with no enthusiasm. The were lots of BBC wildlife documentaries on both the main stage and on the Tv in cabin. We have yet to find what the cruise director KK did other than make introductions on stage. Entertainers were " more classical than fun" and their appearance times were hard to fit in with dinner in the dining room. There were no fun activities and you felt you were in an old folks home although they have more organised for them! Everything was dead after 11pm. Food was plentiful but tasteless. One night after a drinks get together at 7 and then going to the show until 8.45 we found the restaurants were closed and we were told to order room service to get anything. The Explorations coffee shop closed at 9pm and you could only get tea or coffee from the Lido if you were lucky enough to find some milk. The whole cruise lacked atmosphere, not what you want on a long awaited holiday! The ship is old but spotlessly clean. The cabins are large and well equipped. The crew are amazing, always helpful and smiling. They made the trip worthwhile! The ports visited were Ok but as I said some would have been more enjoyable if they were open. The beaches and snorkeling were wonderful. HAL excursions were over priced and much cheaper and better bought on shore run by the locals. Come on Holland America pick up your game and give us back what we came to expect from you. There were a lot of us complaining about this voyage and we hope all cruises will not become EXC. We will be watching as we have booked South America and Antartica for next year and if it's an EXC we will be cancelling. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
Because of the ports of call around the Pacific and previous cruises with HAL had been quite good. Embarkation at Brisbane was fine. Our Neptune suite felt like the same as previous on the other HAL cruise, very comfortable and ... Read More
Because of the ports of call around the Pacific and previous cruises with HAL had been quite good. Embarkation at Brisbane was fine. Our Neptune suite felt like the same as previous on the other HAL cruise, very comfortable and immaculately clean. How ever, the joy seemed to stop there! It appeared that the staffing levels had been reduced and things just took that little longer for serviceand attention. Prices have certainly increased and being in US$ for an Australian NZ Pacific cruise was a bit of a pocket hit when the service charge was then added. As we're the tours. This resulted in many of the passengers taking local tours upon going ashore. Including several US passengers. I will blame ourselves for not realising that it was an exploratory cruise with lectures mainly for entertainment. The result was a very dull and boring onboard cruise. At least during the day there could have been some life around the pool area. Nothing! People sat around bored looking at each other, looking at each other. If it wasn't so sad, it could have been funny. Then there's the food!! Oh dear!! The food was the worst I've had on the past 23 years of cruising. I am sure they constitute left overs in an attempt to make a curry. The curries were so bad, twice I attempted and had to bring to the attention of the food manager. The lunchtime pizza's were so heavy with grease, they were stuck to the pizza pan! I think the cheese was not pizza cheeses? Dining room food was OK, but the standard certainly has dropped. OXTAILS! My Lord, my mother served that on tight money days and it is now served as cruise cuisine. No more veggies served on the side, all piled under the meat selection and often not hot as the over run servers can't get it to you in an acceptable time. I do not fault the servers, they are marvellous, just not enough of them. As for the food quality and selection, again no fault of the kitchen hands, this come from above them. Being mainly Indonesian or Indian in the kitchen, they know how to make a good curry or Indonesian food, but cook what they are told to. The evening entertainment in the bars mostly were over before evening dinner was finished and the crows nest entertainment was a recording DJ when there was some passengers to try and entertain. The passengers were an older interesting mix but they were still alive and they were also disappointed in the lack of entertainment Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
We did a Auckland to Sydney cruise on the Maasdam just prior to Christmas last year. Needed to go to sea again(yes I am getting hooked) and found a great deal for a Brisbane to Auckland via South Pacific so jumped at it. Booked a ... Read More
We did a Auckland to Sydney cruise on the Maasdam just prior to Christmas last year. Needed to go to sea again(yes I am getting hooked) and found a great deal for a Brisbane to Auckland via South Pacific so jumped at it. Booked a outside cabin and a few days before we left we’re given a free upgrade to a balcony suite.woopee. Embarkation was as smooth as we had come to expect,this was our 6th HAL cruise and we were on board and enjoying lunch by 1.30pm. Cabin was great,level 9 forward. Nice size plenty of space and storage. HAL might want to upgrade the tv as the sets are getting a bit old. Quickly slipped into a routine. Cabin stewards introduced themselves that day and as usual greeted us by name thereafter. A few sea days in the cruise but days went quickly between talks workshops trivia etc. Blessed by good seas and weather throughout. The 3 excursions we went on ran like clockwork. The islands we visited were interesting and in most part beautiful. The colour of the water wow. Friendly locals. No complaints at all. Really appreciated the Mariners presentation and lunch. It’s just one of the things that HAL do that puts them above others in my opinion. It was only a 14 day cruise but we covered nearly 4000 nautical miles. Would recommend to anyone especially those thinking about doing a long voyage to test their ability to manage sea days. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
The exotic itinerary and smaller port destinations made this voyage our choice. Papua New Guinea, 3 stops including the Trobriand Islands and Conflict Islands; Timor Leste, 2 stops on Borneo. Palawan in the Philippines to see the ... Read More
The exotic itinerary and smaller port destinations made this voyage our choice. Papua New Guinea, 3 stops including the Trobriand Islands and Conflict Islands; Timor Leste, 2 stops on Borneo. Palawan in the Philippines to see the underground river. Starting from Singapore, a favorite city of ours, allowed us to take a few days before leaving to explore the wonderful Gardens by the Bay and delicious multicultural city, on to the night zoo and Jurong Bird Park. We also enjoyed staying on in Brisbane at the end. Outstanding! What made this cruise truly exceptional (besides our most excellent large cabin) was that it is on the Maasdam which is now an EXC ship. That means in depth destination lectures and shore excursions. Every sea day there were multiple experts giving interesting lectures on South-East Asia, history, culture, ecology, coral reefs and the danger they are in, sea life, photography, local cooking demonstrations. For once there were more enrichment lectures than I could manage to get to, because sometimes you just want some quiet time to enjoy the sea and the ship. Now I can say I know something about this area and it's extraordinarily diverse marine life, and the ancient cultures that still live a natural life. This is really different and I hope Holland America keeps up EXC cruises! I can't wait to go on another one. There were also more traditional fun events like a St. Patrick's day bar crawl with silly games for those who aren't interested in more in-depth destination knowledge. Also the association of BBC with Holland America had BBC specials shown, such as about Birds of Paradise and those who chase after them, behind the scenes specials and more. Plus a live-orchestra showing of BBC Earth. Very special. It was rather awe-inspiring to see the 5 tribes of Kitava Island sail away at the end of the day in their hand hewn ships after lining up to sell us carvings and other crafts. We also rode in one of their craft from the beach to a small island, Nuratu, where we snorkeled a bit despite a bit of rain. A view of another life that you don't often see. How often do you get to islands with no banks or hotels? Also the Conflict Islands, owned by an Australian and now a center of research on reefs and marine life. Excellent snorkeling there. A real paradise. I do wish the shore excursions were more reasonably priced. But we were able to get together with others on cruise critic for some tours ahead of time, also I arranged private tours for the 4 of us in our party at some stops. Plus taxi tours and local parks make good destinations. As for onboard experience, the food was very good, better than some other cruise lines I've been on. Is there the occasional miss? Sure, but also dishes that were creative and delicious. (I didn't think the French Onion soup was good for example.) But overall, good menus with a number of choices including vegetarian, excellent service from the staff throughout the ship, and always something I wanted to eat. I rather looked forward to ordering the steak on the always available menu in the dining room, very tasty with good sides. The buffet had the staff dishing up the food which sometimes created lines, but usually waiting a little bit would see a lull where you could walk right up and get what you wanted. The salads were delish for lunch, and again, if there's a line, just wait a little while or try the other side - ready made sandwiches were easy to pick up. The pool side grill had great Chicago style hot dogs (other styles available), yummy crispy fries, and good burgers too. And a taco bar. Enjoyed that! Room stewards are very good and I enjoyed the towel animals every night, and the big display they did on the last day around the pool, hundreds of towel creatures, some life sized and fully dressed. Another nice touch: the presentation of the next day schedule along with a card with a different travel quote, and other communications such as time changes placed in a nice folio on the bed. So I high recommend Maasdam especially for the EXC expert lectures. Best daily schedule of any ship I've ever been on for my taste. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary. What we didn’t know was the cruise was not only an EXC voyage but an In Depth sailing as well ( Holland America needs to do a better job marketing this product). Every sea day was packed ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary. What we didn’t know was the cruise was not only an EXC voyage but an In Depth sailing as well ( Holland America needs to do a better job marketing this product). Every sea day was packed with guest speakers and specialists in history, culture, science and nature, art, photography, food and vine for the regions and countries we would be visiting. Plus the EXC ship staff prepared us for each port visit with practical information to get out on your own or to take an organized ship tour. The staff on the Maasdam were outstanding. We found everyone to be warm, friendly, professional, and service oriented. To mention several exceptional staff, Florin, the Hotel Director, John and Frances from Guest Services, Best, Evi, Christopher, Sara Jane, Nutdawana and Robert provided an excellent experience in the Lido as well. Because of our wonderful experience, we are now Holland America loyalists!! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
WE took this cruise because we were interested in the ports of call. If we had known in advance that HAL was only interested in the passengers going of EXC tours we wouldn't have taken this cruise. Most of the stops we out of the way ... Read More
WE took this cruise because we were interested in the ports of call. If we had known in advance that HAL was only interested in the passengers going of EXC tours we wouldn't have taken this cruise. Most of the stops we out of the way at some large container port. The cruise director failed to inform us in advance about possible shuttles our of the port. At some of the ports they offered no free shuttle and you could only get out by expensive taxi. As 5 star mariners we have known better cruises with HAL. When in Hongkong they forgot to inform their staff that ONLY the people who went to Macau were not allowed to get off the ship after returning from Macau. We still had half a day left to explore. After a big row with the staff the cruise direction eventually gave out a message that we could leave the ship again. Bad work!!! The entertainment was not exsistent or poor except for the Chinese lady playing the accordeon.On seadays there was NO entertainment except talks for the EXC people. There was no music band on the deck and elevator music played the same music every day. Our cabin was good and spacious as it was a suite and the staff their usual friendly self. Everything was clean. As there were many people with bad cold including me we expected staff to make sure people didn't touch the food or fill their water bottles at the macine themselves.This did not happen. What happened to the coctail party for the past mariners? We didn't get one invitation although we are 5 star.All in all I would say this was not the best cuise we have been on. We will think twice about booking HAL again. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary, particularly Sri Lanka. We had a wonderful time. The Maasdam is a beautiful, elegant ship. My husband and I like the size, even though the ship doesn't offer all of the variety of a ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary, particularly Sri Lanka. We had a wonderful time. The Maasdam is a beautiful, elegant ship. My husband and I like the size, even though the ship doesn't offer all of the variety of a larger one. We stayed in a Neptune suite, which was very nice with exceptional cabin stewards. We did develop a periodic leak close to the door. The staff was very concerned, but never could seem to solve the problem. Eunice in the Neptune Lounge was excellent. As always, the food on the cruise was very good; my husband and I could always fine a delicious choice. We chose the later fixed seating as always, in part because we enjoy going to a bar before dinner to listen to music but also because we enjoy getting to know the dining room and wine stewards. Speaking of music, we mainly went to the Ocean Bar where the ship had an excellent band from South America that performed a wide range of music. Otherwise for entertainment, we didn't mind the shift from entertainers to informative lectures. We did attend a few of the 10 o'clock performances in the showroom, but mainly we caught many of the historical/scientific/cultural presentations as part of the EXC program. They were very interesting and helped us better appreciate the cultures and environment of the stops along the cruise. The gym had a great variety (and good numbers) of equipment and programs, and the spa is always wonderful! We only went on three shore excursion from the ship, but they were great. We typically find our own local guides, but since several of the sites we wanted to see were some distance from the ship, I elected to stick to the safe side and go with the ship. The excursion to see elephants in the national park was exceptional. We saw scores of elephants, water buffalo, crocodiles, birds in the wild. The lunch spots were excellent too. On two of the excursions we stopped at gorgeous resorts with 5 star buffets for lunch. I do think that the information about the ports that is posted on the website could be improved. In many of the ports, there was nothing to see or do immediately off the ship; it would be disappointing if you planned to get off the ship and just walk around. There were stops at industrial ports, where it was a bit of a trick to even find the street with all of the taxis. These were minor problems for experienced travelers, but it would be nice to be forewarned. Overall the service, the food, the ship, and the activities were terrific. We are already looking at our next cruise on HAL. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2019
We have travelled on the Maasdam 9 years ago. Everything about the cruise (Panama Canal) was A+. This cruise in S.E. Asia was terrible. Embarkation was very slow (11/2 hour wait). The ship has gotten old and run down. It should be ... Read More
We have travelled on the Maasdam 9 years ago. Everything about the cruise (Panama Canal) was A+. This cruise in S.E. Asia was terrible. Embarkation was very slow (11/2 hour wait). The ship has gotten old and run down. It should be taken out of service. The cabin was nothing special, run of the mill outside cabin. The food in the dining room was was way below average, worse in the buffet. Not as much selection, and the quality well below Holland America standards. The entertainment was sub par whenever there was any. Mostly movies and talks. This was an EXC cruise. Don't go on these cruises. The service was below Holland America standards. The excursions were expensive and not worth the price. Many passengers hired a taxi for half the price. In our opinion, Holland America standards have depreciated considerably. We did a Celebrity cruise after the Maasdam. Infinitly better. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
We chose this cruise because we loved the itinerary. I always wanted to see the Maldives and we hadn't ever dreamed of seeing many of the ports. The Maasdam is a partially refurbished old lady but the crew are always great and we ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we loved the itinerary. I always wanted to see the Maldives and we hadn't ever dreamed of seeing many of the ports. The Maasdam is a partially refurbished old lady but the crew are always great and we prefer the smaller ships. We don'r like arriving in ports and waiting in huge line ups. The cabin was a pretty basic twin porthole outside cabin on deck at the front. Unfortunately it was right above the thrusters so it got noisy when the ship was docking. A small enough problem when taken in context with a 40 night voyage. The other issue is the ancient TV set in the room. I know the whole point of travel is to get out and do things but some days you want to watch TV. We thought the food was great overall. We had any time dining but ate three quarters of our meals in the Lido where the selection was great and the staff friendly. A big shout out for the delicious burgers and fries at the Dive In Bar. The best on the ship. The speakers they had on this cruise were some of the best we have seen on a cruise ship. Terry Greenberg was thought provoking and entertaining and that goes for a few others as well. He gave talks on Asian history and culture in various countries and helped us to see the world through a different perspective. The evening entertainment was hit or miss. The band on the ship is consistently great and we enjoyed the BBC Earth series. We did not suffer from a lack of entertainment though a couple of the entertainers were definitely a miss. I found the service top notch. The crew on this ship seem genuinely happy to see you. From the room stewards to the dining room staff to the Lido deck staff they were all friendly and helpful. The only misstep they made was putting a strange menu on for the Mariner's Loyalty luncheon. I can't understand why they thought providing a two entree menu of stew or pollock would be considered a special lunch by loyal Mariners. We actually walked out on the lunch and went to the Lido for better food. We did not participate in the shore excursions so are not able to judge that but a couple of ports could have been better arranged. Two ports in Sri Lanka had a shuttle to the gate and then nothing but overpriced Tuk Tuks and taxis at the gate. Another port in Malaysia had a shuttle to the gate and then there were no taxis or anything else. The police at the port gate started phoning private cars for passengers but a lot of cruisers just got back on the shuttle and went back to the ship. They got a lot of complaints and by the time we got off the ship they had made better arrangements at the industrial ports. We embarked and disembarked in Singapore. What a great place. Other than their need for additional landing cards the port itself is attached to a mall and we even took the MRT from the airport. It was a breeze. We didn't stay there because the first night the ship stayed in port. If we go back there we would definitely spend a few days. It is a spectacular place. We would go and do another one on this ship any time. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2019
Chose this cruise for the time of year and itinerary. Malaysia, Maldives, Sri Lanka and more and combined 2 back to backs for a total of 40 days. Love the ship, hated lack of good entertainment and better ship activities other then ... Read More
Chose this cruise for the time of year and itinerary. Malaysia, Maldives, Sri Lanka and more and combined 2 back to backs for a total of 40 days. Love the ship, hated lack of good entertainment and better ship activities other then lectures 3 and 4 times a day. Zodiac expensive tours part of this new program. Would not do another. Ship is our favorite, were on it last year. Stewards and waitstaff best ever. Hope this program doesn't make it and we go back to normal with dancers and singers and craft classes, pool acitvities. Change is not always good. We are 4 star and hope this does not happen to all Hollands ships, as we only cruise on the small 1800 and below. Not a fan of floating Malls. Food has gotten better at least more vegetables at dinner. Always ate in dining room and very happy with meals and services, ever wine steward was great. Pinnacle grill was very good, we ate there twice. Tendering sometimes too long having waited for 1 hour and 20 minutes at one stop. Made tendering a lot quicker and more efficient when they hired local boats to help out. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
Cabin BA201- Can’t get the cabin temp below 72F. Have asked four times with no luck. Never accomplished. Cabin temp in direct line of AC flow did get to 70 at times if kept the balcony store closed and curtains pulled ... Read More
Cabin BA201- Can’t get the cabin temp below 72F. Have asked four times with no luck. Never accomplished. Cabin temp in direct line of AC flow did get to 70 at times if kept the balcony store closed and curtains pulled - Aussie sized (half size) whirl pool bathtub with high sides. Tub has rusted water drain, marked, and needs to be replaced. If you are 6 ft 2 in height and want to lie in the bathtub your feet will be on the wall. - Good shower - Marked toilet seat and needs to be replaced - Felt engine vibration, but not a problem for sleeping except when docking. Will wake you up if light sleeper - Counter space tight in bathroom but workable - No hot water during the night after 11:00 or 12:00 (last few days of cruise this problem was corrected) - Clothes Closet with safe tight but got everything in. Suitcases store under the bed - very nice decor - Otherwise good cabin which we enjoyed and would use again if they solve the AC problem and make required replacements Food- Reservation mistake. Ended up early fixed but was easy to change to open, deck 7. Staff very accommodating i.e. Hery main dining room, open sitting excellent, allowing us to change each night seating 2, 4, & 6 seat table. Met many interesting enjoyable passengers - Room service is excellent but coffee table for eating is tight - Mainly using dining room for dinner and lunch. Lido for breakfast and each time go on tour have breakfast in cabin. Food very good - Main dining room choice in menu is limited, often going off menu to french onion soup and salmon, both of which very good. - Had two dinners and one lunch in the Pinnacle Grill. Excellent food and service - Had one dinner in the Italian restaurant. Good service but not my preference in food. Cancelled our second reservation - Service in dining room ranged from very good to excellent Wine- I could not believe it. Limited Aussie wines and continually running out of wines. We are lucky and enjoy the New Zealand Kim Crawford, our favorite at home. Some of wine stewards attentive/ excellent. One or two were not and needed prodding $$$ - Ship nickels and dimes you i.e. purchase bottle water, purchase coffee lattes, extra charge for lobster even in Pinnacle Grill, expensive internet but is unlimited usage= did not have to worry about time spent, a huge feature for me since I needed to keep in touch with family company Reception staff- needs better training. Are pleasant but often without answers. Exception is Vanessa Digital Workshop- Unable to connect my laptop to the web. Written instructions provided by ship do not work for my Dell. Had to use Vanessa to set up computer. Good instructor on first leg but did not have the desired depth of knowledge i.e. could not set up my laptop for internet. Second leg instructor more knowledgeable and was great Entertainment- Ship has moved emphasis from shows to lectures, many of which were good to excellent - Piano man in piano bar was very good. Had several enjoyable evenings - Entertainment in Crows Nest Good - Good shows- i) Chinese lady playing special accordion was excellent. ii) Jersey Boys had good voices but needed a program manager. iii) Comedian good iv) musician playing several instruments was very good v) Magicians not to our liking Wake up call- always have a backup. One time did not work. One day unable to make wake up call. Line just ring busy. Staff who made a difference • Vanessa Christopher- Supervisor front desk • Rinato- Person in charge of room service • Adhy & Sigit- Persons who looked after cabin - Gym- fully equipped. Excellent. Had an air conditioning problem and had to use an industrial fan to attempt to lower temperature. 360 degree promenade for fast walking exercise or just casual walking at sea. 4 times around is a mile Rain water penetration- encountered a couple evenings of heavy rain, resulting in water getting into several cabins (rumored 35?) Sanitation- for both legs of the trip many passengers including myself came down with a heavy cold. I had to go to ship doctor for medication but still took 1.5 weeks to fully recover. When a ship has such an attack, normal experience is that procedure in buffet restaurant is changed from self serve to staff behind the counter serving you while you are in line for food. Not the case on the Maasdam. Only concern. Ship, which is old, was clean at all times Ship air conditioning- needs to be upgraded if they plan to use this ship in hot climates Ship decor- well done Ship layout- no problems except when coming out from deck 7 main dining room you have to either go down one deck or up one deck to walk to theater at front of ship Embarkation & Disembarkation- good Ports- we are on board because of the itinerary and tied in with our two months in Perth escaping Toronto winter - getting off the ship when ship tendered was backed up; but not a problem. We never missed our many private tours - many times docked at an industrial port and only a few times were there a ship shuttle into city/ town. Was never a problem since we were always on private tours Cruise Critic- there was approx 100 of us on the first leg. HAL missed an excellent opportunity to have officers attend the Meet & Greet, which was often our experience on other ships. Ruth did an excellent job in running the Meet and Greet, and web site on Cruise Critic allowing us to arrange private tours in almost all of the ports, with more tailored itinerary than Hal excursions and saved money. Great memories and wonderful passengers met Conclusion- good very interesting cruise notwithstanding the high temperatures. If you can take high temperatures would recommend, assuming ship solves the noted problems. Many sea days in itinerary were great for sleeping in and relaxing. Still looking for a holiday cruise where ship arrival is 9- 10 AM and departure early evening allowing me to be on holidays, not having to get up early for excursions Further info- drop me a note at deangayle@rogers.com and will try to provide i.e. private tours Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
I have sailed on Maasdam 4 times over the years, the last time just before she was refurbished in 2016 on a Caribbean cruise. Selected this cruise for its ports along the Western Australian coast and Indonesia and initially good value, ... Read More
I have sailed on Maasdam 4 times over the years, the last time just before she was refurbished in 2016 on a Caribbean cruise. Selected this cruise for its ports along the Western Australian coast and Indonesia and initially good value, bought this cruise at last minute. Writing from the value for an Australian (myself) and Canadian (wife) passenger costing point of view passengers. As a last minute booking we only had the choice of an inside cabin “guarantee” this was not a problem as usually that is what is usually offered and although we prefer a balcony or non obstructed outside cabin which are rarely available last minute. Always looking for different Voyages. Over last couple of years on last minute on MSC Divina as her ports of call of overnight in New York City, overnight in Bermuda (due to bad weather was missed and replaced with Madeira) overnight Ponta Delgada and overnight in Lisbon plus day stops in 4 Mediterranean ports to Genoa and TUI/Marella from Tilbury via Brugge,Amsterdam, Cherbourg, Lisbon and Corona Portugal, Gibraltar to Malaga. The ship is secondary to us. The ship was sparkling clean, cabin and servicing staff of Indonesian and Filipino were faultless, always greating you while passing you in hallways, always a smile on their face, especially if you developed connectionl with them, asking where they are from and thanking them for their service. Food overall very good, could not fault it for the choices selection. Ships deck staff and officers also greeting you, Captain very personable, as commented in other posts surprised that the shipping line now degrading his position by advising linking him to onboard sales. Come to the shops and meet the Captain on a jewellery sale. Entertainment was different from my last cruises, no cabaret dancing girls and boys, what a blessing. Overall it was very good. The Cruise Director on this cruise (believe she was the assistant who was filling in at that time for the actual cruise director), she didn’t have the finesse of cruise directors compared on past cruise such as introducing acts, her accent was hard to understand over the public address, and her comments over the public address and in person were sometimes cut and dry. Example at Komodo Island some persons were throwing objects into the water for the children in boats, her comment was “It was not allowed (or forbidden)to throw things in the water”, no mention of why ie we were in a national park, did not wish to encourage children begging, wanted to keep the oceans clean etc. Another occasion my wife asked a question regarding a matter not connected to the entertainment onboard, her answer was that was not her department, gave no other advise such as go to the front office, just not my department. Also her uniform was always a monotone colour, the same for every occasion and did not reflect her important position overall satisfaction with passengers on the cruise. Port visits wer a highlight of this cruise. Shore excursion were overall very expensive on this cruise not only for Australian, Canadian’s US and other nationalities. Example of a couple which for the Australian and Canadian are very expensive in equivalent AU$ and C$. Geraldton the lowest price excursion was “City Highlights and Maritime Museum” at US$79.95 or approximately AU$112.00/CA$105.45 while a city hop-on-hop off bus operated by city from the terminal was offered at AU$10.00 plus entry into the Marine Mureum AU$ 20.00 = AU30.00 would be appropriate US$21.45/Ca$28.25. Komodo Island Lowest shore excursion was US$104.95 onboard equivalent to AU$146.90/CA$ 138.44 on an upcoming cruise with P&O Australia on a exactly same excursion onboard was AU$104.00 or US$65.45/CA$97.70. This was the same pattern forall the shore excursion, some like Kuri Bay where one could only take a shore excursion or stay onboard. Celukan Bawang Bali where the port was on the north end of the island where their was no town highlights the e lowest price shore excursion Was called Munduk Highlights was a whopping US$229.95 equivalent to AU$321.50/CA$303.05. The only other option is doing things on ones own. Such as in this port a close by beach resort some 2-3 hours away. The next cruise by the ship to Sri Lanka and the Maldives the shore excursions offered by the ship were also excessively prices. My point is if you are an non US or EU passenger such as Australian and Canadians be careful selecting a cruise such as this one make sure that the cost of excursions are taken into account of the overall cost of the cruise or that you can do your own thing in port with the allotted time. Unlike Europe, Mediterranean and Caribbean where it is easy to hour on ones own. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
This will be my first review on Cruise Critic, but after meeting some CC people aboard MS Maasdam (Jan 6 2019 Freemantle-Singapore), I thought I’d contribute. This was a birthday/Winter getaway with apparently interesting stops, our 20th ... Read More
This will be my first review on Cruise Critic, but after meeting some CC people aboard MS Maasdam (Jan 6 2019 Freemantle-Singapore), I thought I’d contribute. This was a birthday/Winter getaway with apparently interesting stops, our 20th cruise and 4th on Holland America. We loved our previous HAL cruises (Zuiderdam and Prinsendam X 2). Sadly, this trip did not meet our expectations from HAL. The question is whether it is this particular ship or a new marketing model. Overall, the first impression is nickel-dime’ing. Quarters to use the laundry washers and dryers? Second impression, max effort to ‘sell’ something/profit incentive (I’ve never seen a captain appear and host a jewelry store sale event, speaking to shoppers - more so than at various Mariner events and meet-the-captain galas). This begins with surprisingly high excursion fees, often over double the cost for the same excursion online. Particularly galling is contracting with a local operator to sell ONLY through HAL excursions, i.e. blocking independent online or walk-up bookings; example - Dili East Timor: Hop On Hop Off is advertised at $45, with a stop at the cruise port. HAL contracted to do the booking for $79.95. They were not allowed to sell tickets to anyone not on a HAL excursion. Entertainment: cruise director was brand new (reportedly third in recent months). There were no “shows/productions”. There were individual entertainers, some quite decent, but not every night. Some ‘science/wildlife’ lectures were informative for those interested. Event scheduling seemed haphazard, e.g. captain’s reception and festivity at 7:55 PM, show start at 8:00 is only one example. There were many. Seems they are trying to appeal to a ‘younger’ clientele (average age still appears to be 70, with lots of older folks with walkers/canes/wheelchairs). The introduction of Zodiac inflatable excursions is new, and from reports (can not verify), some were disasters, acknowledged by the zodiac drivers that a monetary adjustment should be expected. Selections of cruise stops - sounded off the beaten track, and they were, not necessarily all bad but certainly raise some questions. Geraldton, Exmouth, Broome? Interesting introduction to relatively barren Western Australia (Exmouth often the hottest spot in the world - we saw 113* F). Komodo Island was a highlight and a big factor in selecting this cruise. It was worth the effort. Assumed (wrongly) that th Bali stop was the ‘known tourist destination. Actual stop was at a North Coast port, out of reach of any better known or advertised sites (e.g. Ubud). Probolinggo? Surabaya? O.K. Expensive, long excursions to Mt. Bromo were highlights available, but not sure how many took advantage. We did not, arranging our own private tours. An advertised 10 hour excursion from Semarang to the ancient temple of Borobudur was offered, and many booked it. They arrived back at the ship almost an hour late. Mixed reports,some loved the visit, but all mentioned huge crowds and difficulty getting pictures (including a professional photographer). The ship: getting OLD. Our vista suite had numerous wooden shims in the sliding glass door, presumably to stop it from creaking/rattling. They did work, if looking a little flakey. No complaints about our cabin/Port side. starboard side Vista suites had water (strong rains puddled on verandas) seep under sliding doors, wetting carpeting and personal items/luggage on the cabin floor. Food: no issues, and generally decent. Some local/Indonesian offerings were excellent. Very little local fruit offered - small plates purportedly put out at 11:30 were gone by 11:45, too bad if you weren’t there. Almost none in the evenings. We are not picky or demanding foodies, and more often than not eat at the Lido/buffet. Surf and turf (one night) in the dining room was very good. Overall, mixed emotions. May or may not give HAL another try (not on Maasdam). A little disappointed with this cruise, being a HAL fan. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
For fellow Aussies If you get in this cruise ship: - make sure you got with you a travel adaptor for Australian and New Zealand appliances for use in Europe. You are not going to find any of them on the ship and you will not be able ... Read More
For fellow Aussies If you get in this cruise ship: - make sure you got with you a travel adaptor for Australian and New Zealand appliances for use in Europe. You are not going to find any of them on the ship and you will not be able to use or charge any of your electrical or electronic devices. - bring a calculator with you mate. The dollars you pay and see on the receipts, everytime you fancy a drink or purchase an item, are american not australian. - in case you missed that, there is a "hotel service charge" $15 US for every day and every passenger. Are you still got the calculator with you mate? - dreaming about the buffet? Sorry mate, but there is not much difference between the ship buffet and your local takeway. At least the ship crew is serving your food in small portions so you will not get fat during the cruise. - at nights, there are a few singers and a music band who are going to entertain you, especially at the show room. What do you expect? Moulin Rouge? In your dreams mate. - the tv in our cabin was small. I had to stay close to watch a movie during some boring days and nights. - it was so exciting to get out of the ship in every port. - the shower shampoo in the cabin smell nice. - a few exciting nights playing with puzzles and readings books. - some magnificent sunsets. - sometimes I had a feeling that I was in a retirement village. That's all for the moment. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2018
We chose the cruise for a couple of reasons. Firstly it covered Christmas and New Year. secondly we live in Fremantle so only had to fly one way then cruise back to our home port. We enjoyed the ports although most of them we had ... Read More
We chose the cruise for a couple of reasons. Firstly it covered Christmas and New Year. secondly we live in Fremantle so only had to fly one way then cruise back to our home port. We enjoyed the ports although most of them we had visited previously. The one big disappointment on this cruise was the dire entertainment programme. There wasn’t a single production show. On 2 evenings a film was shown in the theatre. Most of the entertainers were not what I would call top class - second rate mainly. We were not the only people who were surprised at the standard of the shows. It would certainly put us off choosing Holland America again without doing some serious research into the on board schedule. Overall the food was good and varied. Wine prices, like most cruise ships, are too high. Drinks packages are not an option for us as we don’t drink enough to make it worth it financially. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2018
We chose this cruise because we wanted a quiet restful trip. We did our research and discovered that Holland America are aimed at an older age group with not so many families/children on board. We found the Maasdam suited us perfectly. The ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we wanted a quiet restful trip. We did our research and discovered that Holland America are aimed at an older age group with not so many families/children on board. We found the Maasdam suited us perfectly. The Service and quality of food on this ship was excellent!! We didn't make use of the Casino as that's not our thing. There were plenty of bars and areas to sit and read or just relax. We mostly ate in the Main Dining room or had room service. We sat in the open dining on Deck 7 on the Port side and our waiter Imam & Wine Steward Iyvette were both lovely and looked after us very well. We enjoyed the Burgers at the Dive In Burger Bar on the Lido Deck.We did our sums and decided to take our own Wine on board as we weren't prepared to pay $827Usd each for a drinks package and we are so glad we didn't. We bought 13 bottles of Wine and 1 of Champagne on board and paid the $18Usd Corkage on 12 of them and it was still much cheaper to do this than get 2 drinks packages. We only had a couple of beers during the day from time to time and drank wine with our dinner each evening and occasionally in our room and had a cocktail/beer after dinner a few times plus the odd coffee - with the cost of our Alcohol purchased before boarding and all other drinks we still only spent about $650Usd. We made use of the free water refill at the Lido bar. The Itinerary was fabulous as we got to see parts of Australia we had never visited before and the parts we loved we will visit again. We haven't cruised a lot before and found the continuous up selling a bit annoying but you can always say no. The entertainment was just ok. We spoke to some people who said it was average and others who thought it was ok. We didn't do any shore excursions as we have been to some of the places and hired a car and did our own thing in other places so I cant comment other then to say we thought they were expensive. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2018
Many lovely happy and pleasant dining and cabin crew. Food was really excellent. We tend to use the Lido more but the dining room was good too. Enrichment programs did not meet standard of previous cruises with HAL either in subject ... Read More
Many lovely happy and pleasant dining and cabin crew. Food was really excellent. We tend to use the Lido more but the dining room was good too. Enrichment programs did not meet standard of previous cruises with HAL either in subject matter or knowledge and standard of some presenters. Nor did the port presentations by HAL staff or the evening entertainment (with one exception) meet our previous experiences. Many very elderly passengers on board which did slow shore excursions down. Idea of having cooking demonstrations by Australian chefs was excellent although only one class by each of two chefs wasn't enough when you consider America's Test Kitchen is on most days on other ships. Chefs included interesting recipes using Australian produce. Some port tours were very good but tours which simply go to the shopping area in Margaret River WA and to quite uninteresting sites on Eyre Peninsular need reviewing. Read Less
Maasdam Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.1
Dining 3.0 4.0
Entertainment 3.0 3.7
Public Rooms 4.0 4.3
Fitness Recreation 3.0 3.7
Family 3.0 3.7
Shore Excursion 3.0 3.7
Enrichment 4.0 3.6
Service 4.0 4.5
Value For Money 4.0 3.9
Rates 4.0 4.1

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