Year Started: 1873
Ships in Fleet: 15
Summary: A high quality upper mainstream cruise line with smaller ships and value prices. A cruise line for people who want to step up from mainstream at great value prices.
Regions:Alaska, Central America, Transpacific, West Coast, Erope
Good for: Teens. Seniors. Group.
Regions:Caribbean Eastern, Caribbean Western, Eastern Seaboard, Mediterranean Western
Good for: Teens. Seniors. Group.
Regions:Caribbean Eastern, Caribbean Southern, Eastern Seaboard, South America
Good for: Teens. Seniors. Group.
Regions:Caribbean Eastern, Caribbean Western, Mediterranean Western, Transatlantic
Good for: Seniors. Overall Service. Teens.
Regions:Caribbean Eastern, Caribbean Southern, Caribbean Western, Mediterranean Western
Good for: Value for Money. Teens. Seniors.
Regions:Alaska, Australia, Oceania, West Coast
Good for: Children`s Programs. Group. Families.
Regions:Africa, Caribbean Southern, Mediterranean Western, South America, Transatlantic
Good for: Group. Families. Luxury Travelers.
Regions:Inland Waterways, Mediterranean Western, Scandinavia, The Orient
Good for: Seniors. Group. Families.
Regions:Caribbean Southern, Caribbean Western, Mediterranean Western, Transatlantic
Good for: Overall Service. Value for Money. Seniors.
Regions:Alaska, Hawaii, Mexico, South America, West Coast
Good for: Seniors. Group. Families.
Regions:Caribbean Eastern, Eastern Seaboard, Hawaii, Mexico, South America
Good for: Seniors. Group. Families.
Regions:Alaska, Australia, Oceania, The Orient, West Coast
Good for: Seniors. Overall Service. Teens.
Regions:Alaska, Caribbean Eastern, Central America, Hawaii, West Coast
Good for: Overall Service. Children`s Programs. Seniors.
Regions:Alaska, Central America, Hawaii, Mexico, South America, West Coast
Good for: Overall Service. Value for Money. Foodies.
Regions:Alaska, Caribbean Eastern, Caribbean Southern, Caribbean Western, Central America, West Coast
Good for: Children`s Programs. Group. Families.
On July 26, 2014 I wrote a review on how disappointing was my shore excursion. I have just received a long letter of excuse, where they explained me how they have to rely to third party providers, from which they expected to uphold the high standards. At the end , they also reimbursed the all excursion, even though I had asked for only 50% reimbursement. I was very surprise because I considered myself just one of the 2000 passenger who to that ship every two week. It is clear that was not the case, and I must admit that Holland America has shown an outstanding care for its customers, that is in line with the overall excellent service I got on board. Thence, I have to amended my previous comment.
Excellent ship, However I joined the "An evening to the Hermitage" in St. Peresburg. It was advertised as 3hr tour. We spent 92 minutes in the museum only. The museum is 15 minutes driving far from the ship, there was neither traffic nor queue at the custom. A 1,5 hours wasted is simply not acceptable. I asked for reimbursement and the answer was that the visit was supposed to be 90 minute long. However, this is not what people expect looking at the excursion description. I contacted Holland America by email and I did not get any reply. Holland America just cheated to get profit of a expensive excursion.
Our 5th cruise, This was 3 weeks mediterranian may 2014 from Barcelona to Venice. Everything was Perfect, We were on the 5th level which has slightly bigger balconys (the lowest balcony level). The boat was full but never had any waits except a few times for dinner (we had open seating). The buffett was not bad but we loved the normal restaurant. Most always all was perfect- When you order a steak medium rare it is always so. There was always room at all shows and pool areas and whirlpool. We like Celebrity a tiny bit more. I can not say enough that this was way excellent in all aspects.
We took the Ryndam on a 14 day cruise of the Baltic hitting St. Petersburg, Helsinki, Stockholm, Tallinn, Rostock, Copenhagen, and Aarhus, the typical ports. First let me briefly mention the ports. St. Petersburg was overwhelming. We took a two day tour as you can't go out on your own without a visa, which we didn't want to do. Good choice. I would never go out into St. Petersburg on my own, not because of safety but because it is so large and there is so much to see. We were exhausted after the two day tour but it was worth every penny. The other ports are fantastic and don't need any hype. We were surprised by Estonia as it was a delightful place and the historic area was a photographers delight. Let me add that we have been on almost 20 cruises and rank this overall as one of our best and favorite. It was nice not stopping in third world countries. In fact the quality of life is much higher in most of the countries we visited than it is in the United States, but the prices aremuch higher also. Bottom line, we bought very little to bring home. Overall though, you just can't beat these ports. As a seasoned cruiser I want to focus this review on the Ryndam. We loved the ship.
When we arrived at Dover I was surprised by how small the Ryndam was. Our last three cruises have been on ships that are in the 130,000 ton range and the Ryndam is less than half that size. That is what made it so great. We walked down one deck to our dining room. We walked down one deck to the balcony of the theatre. We walked up two decks to the buffet and the pool. Everything else was in that 3-4 deck span. With only about 1200 passengers we never felt crowded, anywhere. Even in the buffet at peak times we could always find a place to sit. The passengers on the ship were mostly Americans, Canadians, Brits, and Aussies. There are nationalities that I don't like cruising with because they are pushy and rude. This combination was great. If there were open seats at your table people would just join you, a very friendly group. Holland American caters to an older crowd. I'm 69 and felt I was below the mean age. Maybe that is why the passengers were so relaxed and friendly. Back to the ship.
The food was very good and we had a nice variety. The hamburgers were they best we have ever had. They take your order and give you a buzzer so you can get it when it is done. They are smashed on the griddle and are just fantastic. They don't sit in a pile in a pan for a couple hours. The dining room menu was quite good and it seemed the portions were a little smaller which is perfect for a bunch of seniors. You can always order an extra meal which I did when I had the lamb chops. The service was as good as it gets, ship wide. The Captain lives in the Seattle area and was highly visible. His explanations of what was happening were clear and understandable. In Stockholm we anchored in the harbor and during the afternoon there was a brief microburst type storm that started pushing the ship harder than the anchors and side thrusters could handle which required a tug boat. He clearly explained the situation and we moved to a dock about 1/4 mile from where we were anchored. He also shared that this was the first time he had sailed these waters so it was a new adventure. We shared that adventure and had 100% confidence in his ability.
There were two other couples at our dinner table and they both booked another cruise on the Ryndam with the on-ship salesperson. We were told the ship would be in service only one more season and then would be retired. Running the smaller ship with older technology was not cost effective. My wife and I are looking at where we can squeeze in another cruise on the Ryndam before she leaves service.
So, what are the negatives? Small ship, so the entertainment cast isn't large so don't expect extravagant major productions. However, the individual acts they brought on were very good and well appreciated. hey do three shows most nights so the shows are only 45 minutes long, but that was OK with everyone. That's about all I can say negative. I hope they don't let it get to worn out by the end of its run, but right now I would rank it in our top three favorite ships.
If you want a great cruise experience, take the Ryndam, anywhere it goes. Glitz? No. Excitement and energy? LOL. Lavish entertainment? No. Non-stop excitement? NO. It was just a relaxing, uncrowded cruise with a great staff. Try and sale this ship before she goes. This type of cruise experience is being lost to the mega ships. Experience it before it is gone.
The Maasdam was the only cruise ship in Port Everglades May 2 and was indeed the only ship in port at every port on our 15 day cruise. Such is the advantage of doing a cruise on Holland's reposition from the Caribbean to Canada. The ports were also great: Charleston, Newport, Bar Harbor, Halifax, Saguenay, Quebec, Montreal. You can't do these on a regular cruise. The Maasdam with only 1200 guests is "mid size", but compared to most of the newer ships is even small. She is still a jewel! The service, the lack of lines, the ability to walk into the main dining room without waiting for a table, crew remembering your name and what you like, all of these are why the Maasdam still shines. The ship looks good; new elevators, new coffee servers and Canaletto chairs, new cafe pool side (Dive In) since last drydock. Dining room is excellent. Lido is very good. Enjoy this ship as I'm sure Holland will be loosing her soon as the newer/mega ships arrive.
On may 20 we went from seward ak to Vancouver, Had a window room (beware some window rooms have view of walkway then sea, ous fortunatly did not. The boat was exellent all in all , no compalints, In fact almost up to celebrity standards with food- exellent. This is a great ship, has nice movie theater and library. Higly recommend
We just left this wonderful ship today and all was wonderful. Best staff ever! Food was great and we loved every moment.
Room was hot from day one. Desk kept making excuses. First said temp was within range. Then said would be fixed after next port stop. Talked to other people on ship, and found others had same problem during whole 10 day cruise to Panama. Happening on decks 5,7,8,1 that I know about. Some people got compensated from $100 to $800. Others did not get compensated. Guess it depended on how loud you yelled. Desk kept lying about problem, at least they could do was admit it was a problem they couldn't fix and compensate everyone. But they kept on denying the problem even though most passengers knew it was ship wide.
This is a too lengthy review of only a short (seven-day) cruise, but it reflects our enjoyment and satisfaction from it.
It was a cruise in the Ionian and Aegean Seas, roundtrip Piraeus, the seaport of Athens, Greece.
We boarded the ship at 11:00 a.m. and our cabin was already ready. Ryndam belongs to the Statendam-class of ships, noted for its exceptionally well-designed cabins. Our outside cabin (no.728), actually more a hotel room than a cabin, was indeed one of the most spacious, airy and bright that we have ever been in and its bay-window one of the widest ones. Storage space was ample, with many drawers, and the closets had folding shelves for even more storing capacity. The beds had adequate space under them to store a medium size luggage. The mattress was out of this world and accordingly we had a heavenly sleep (I remember they used to sell it "Mariner's Dream" for $900 plus transportation costs, but I don't know if they continue). The sofa in the sitting area was not the more common 140cm, but a full 200cm, and so was the vanity, with a large mirror. Thestateroom was perfectly outfitted with flat TV with DVD player, magnifying mirror and of course the usual safe. Bathrobes were also provided.
The spacious bathroom was equipped with a full bathtub (almost every outside cabin on the ship has one). The "Elemis" toiletries here surpassed those of more expensive cruise companies: "Refreshing" came spontaneously to mind whenever I made use of them.
Although the cabin was near the staircase and elevators, it was very quiet. It was quite soundproof, too.
Our stewards, Mingki and Ali, whose kindness and efficiency we can only praise, held the cabin in immaculate condition.
We like traditional seating in the Main Dining Room, but this time we chose"As You Wish Dining" for a change (you can come to the restaurant and dine whenever you wish and with your preferred company). We were not disappointed. Contrary to what we had heard about long queues, we were able to enjoy every night a table for two (so difficult to obtain in other companies) as soon as we entered the restaurant; only once we had to wait ten minutes before one could be found. Perhaps this was because we prefer to dine late.
The variety in the Main Dining Room was one of the amplest we have encountered and the presentation and taste were excellent. Actually the taste had improved than on our last HAL cruise, a few years ago. Portions were similar (or larger) to more expensive companies. Service was as we remembered it, friendly and efficient. We were so happy with food and service there, that we did not eat at any alternative restaurant, although many fellow passengers spoke enthusiastically about Pinnacle Grill.
We had both breakfast and lunch in the Lido Restaurant, satisfied again by the variety and taste. Of special notice were the Asian food and the desserts. The tables were cleaned quickly for the next passenger to sit. Pizza also and Mexican food in the Terrace Grill were very satisfying when coming back late from the ports.
We ordered room service once, a full lunch with appetizer, soup and dessert, and it was delivered without delay. Room service is free 24 hours a day (unlike some other cruise companies) and offers a wide variety of choice.
A nice touch was the fresh squeezed orange juice in the morning.
A nice treat was also the Indonesian Tea held in the Main dining room.
Kindness, friendliness and effectiveness characterized the crew everywhere. I have heard that Holland America has a training school in Indonesia, and this could be true, as they were certainly well trained. It was a welcome surprise to be called unexpectedly by name or have your preferences remembered.
I think it is well noting that the Ryndam was honoured with the 2013 5-stars Diamond Award of the American Academy of Hospitality Sciences.
Being of a medium-size (56,000 tons) and currying just 1,260 people the ship had an air of intimacy and never felt crowded. She was built in the 1990s, so perhaps a bit old now, but it was impressive how well-maintained and clean she was; we have been in newer ships that looked older than her.
Being especially sensitive of the visual environment, I was suspicious of what to expect, but the interiors of Holland America is a rare instance where photography does not do justice. They were especially atmospheric during the night due to the right lighting, used frequently mix-and-match and good-quality textiles, and had evident attention to detail. According to Dutch tradition flowers were everywhere with impressive flower displays here and there. What was admirable were the numerous works of art, from the 3-deck high sculpture in the Atrium to 17th century paintings or 18th century consoles. We were told that works of art aboard a Holland America ship could reach a $2,000,000 total value. It was a pity that the dress code was not more formal (something like Cunard's for example) to complement such elegance.
Of special notice was the Explorations, a spacious combination of a nice library and internet cafe, ideal to sit and handle your business in the PC or relax with a book. The theatre also was designed partly as a night club, which added to its atmosphere.
Usually we do not watch many shows in the theatre in other companies, as we prefer late seating and after it we are not in the appropriate mood, preferring the bars or dancing. However, 'As you wish dining' enabled us to watch fairly many shows earlier in the theatre, all well-taken care of, and we were particularly impressed by the talented singers and dancers.
Ryndam is one of the relatively few ships offering separate theatre and cinema, and my DP was impressed with the popcorn provided in the latter.
Congratulations go to the employee who designed the itinerary, as he/she managed to incorporate much of the essence of Greece in a short package "Homeric Quest" was the name of the cruise). As far as I have noticed, itineraries are a strong point of Holland America. Our previous cruise on ms Rotterdam involved a detailed circle of Western Europe, including famous capitals, historic sites, beautiful sceneries and shopping opportunities, absolutely the best itinerary we have ever had in any cruise. Now we felt we savoured a carefully designed taste of cosmopolitan Greece - ancient and modern.
Corfu and Rhodes do not need any recommendation. Both have been extensively held under European occupation, Corfu mainly under British, Rhodes under Italian domination, and this has arguably helped them to become well known to international tourism. Strolling in the old towns of these ports is a must and shopping opportunities abound, prices being even more attractive due to the current financial situation.
Kusadasi (the "island of the bird") owes its importance to nearby Ephesus. Interestingly, Efesus is presented as a Roman city, based on its ruins from this period, but ask any student of Ancient History in an American or a British University and they will tell you that Ephesus was built by Greeks and was already flourishing centuries before the might of Rome entered the historical stage here; it scorned the Latin language and retained thoroughly its Greek character. So its inclusion in this particular quintessentially Greek cruise itinerary ("Homeric Quest") was perfectly justified. Of special interest also is the house where, according to the Catholic religion, Virgin Mary lived and died.
Contrary to the other ports, bargaining in Kusadasi was absolutely required when shopping. An officer of the ship jokingly forewarned us in a friendly talk: when a local asks $10, you must counter-propose him $1, and the bargain starts from this point!
Katakolon is the port to ancient Olympia, a must-see as the birthplace of the Olympic Games, more than seven centuries before Jesus was born. Katakolon itself is a surprisingly picturesque little port, where you can have a meal or a drink two or three feet from the sea - at low prices.
However, the highlight of the cruise for us was Santorini, acclaimed the most beautiful island in the world by â€˜Travel Leisureâ€™. Here history meets a unique landscape in a dramatic way. Birthplace of the Cycladic civilization, the first European one along with the Minoan in Crete, the island was torn to pieces by the eruption of its volcano 1,650 years B.C.. The result is that, after climbing to the top of the steep coast by means of a cable car or a donkey, you can have lunch or drink enjoying a tremendous panoramic view of the sea-flooded caldera.
Back in Piraeus, a smooth disembarkation ended a great cruise.
Overall, from all aspects it was an excellent cruise and a great value for money. Accommodation, food, service, entertainment, itinerary, all were exemplary. Holland America is one of the rare instances in the market where we found a motto coming true: â€˜A signature of Excellenceâ€™ indeed. We would fully recommend them and we are looking forward to return.
I've read some of the reviews here that are less than flattering for the Westerdam, and I feel I must step in and say something. I've also noted, however, that some reviews are a bit outdated. So hopefully my review will help a bit, since my husband and I have just returned from a cruise in September of '13.
I will start with the cons of the Westerdam, as that won't take as long to describe. In the description of the formal evenings we were told that the men "sometimes choose to wear jackets" in the Vista Lounge. When we arrived at the Vista we were told that jackets were "required." So that was a bit of a surprise because my husband didn't bring a jacket. Fortunately they had jackets there for him to borrow. Also, there was one fellow in the Lido cafe who I noticed never smiled. Okay - those are my two "cons" with regard to the entire trip and the whole cruise line and the Westerdam itself.
Now the pros - the ship was clean, shiny, beautiful, well appointed and just plain incredible. (This was our thirdcruise and also the third cruise line we had tried.) The staff was beyond helpful, always smiling (except for that one guy in the Lido) and our steward even called us by name! Every single one always greeted us with a smile - every single time! There was ALWAYS a "Good morning madam," or "Good afternoon, how is your day?" It was amazing. One day we requested a banana for our room, and for the rest of the cruise we had bananas every single day. The food was wonderful, plentiful, and just plain terrific.
There were always great activities. "High Tea" included an amazing array of goodies that even my husband - a large eater and sugar addict - couldn't possibly finish. One night there was a barbecue featuring salmon and chicken, along with so much other fancy food, as well as a marzipan sculptured eagle and so many desserts. Other outdoor feasts included a HUGE banana cream pie, an apple pie, and a chocolate bread pudding - all to die for.
And, contrary to what another reviewer said, the performers possessed the most incredible talent I've ever seen. The choreography was mind blowing, and the singing - wow!!! The lead male singer had the best voice of any singer I've ever heard - hands down. That guy needs an agent. I don't know where HAL gets these talented people, but once a talent agent sees these kids they are out of there! There was a "Dancing with the Stars" contest where cruisers could try out their own abilities at dancing, and the winner would go on to compete with other HAL dance winners. They gave away a free cruise in a drawing, and had huge jackpots at several bingo games. There's not enough space to describe the daily activities that went on - geared to every age level and type of person - active, lazy, old, young, athletic, nerdy, etc.
We have been on a Royal Caribbean Cruise, Norwegian, and now Holland American. The best by far is Holland America. Do not be afraid to book a cruise on the Westerdam. You will love it.