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:Caribbean Eastern, Caribbean Western, Eastern Seaboard, Mediterranean Western
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: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:Alaska, Australia, Oceania, The Orient, West Coast
Good for: Seniors. Overall Service. Teens.
Regions:Alaska, Caribbean Eastern, Central America, Hawaii, West Coast
Good for: Seniors. Overall Service. Children`s Programs.
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.
Regions:Alaska, Central America, Transpacific, West Coast, Erope
Good for: Teens. Seniors. Group.
Regions:Caribbean Eastern, Caribbean Southern, Eastern Seaboard, South America
Good for: Teens. Seniors. Group.
Regions:Alaska, Australia, Oceania, West Coast
Good for: Children`s Programs. Seniors. Group.
Regions:Caribbean Eastern, Eastern Seaboard, Hawaii, Mexico, South America
Good for: Seniors. Group. Families.
This was the worst cruise we had ever taken. We were to go to 4 Island only went to 3. Then there was a lifeboat in front of our window,here we are out at sea and we hear scraping and banging right in front of our window ones are working on the hanging lifeboat right there and looking in our window. I called the front and they said we'll have them move, which they did only to come back later that day. Why would they do this when ones are at sea and can be in the cabins? Then then the shore excuision thur the ship as a joke not good at all. Would never go with Holland America again.
Also beware of the casino. They will let you have $1000 a day credit per person in your room. And you will lose. So watch out for that snake pit!
By the way, we had a verandah room. The verandah, or tiny little outside deck, is way nicer than the room.
The rooms are about the size of a large walk in closet -- very tiny.
Also watch out for the constantsales pitches. They have whole channels on television devoted to selling you stuff on the ship. The shore excursions are dynamite, but my advice is for the price you pay just to get on the boat, fly to a city, and pay for your excursions, staying in a nice hotel room. You not only get a way nicer place to lay your head, but you can pay for way more excursions also. You can easily spend several thousand dollars on shore excursions off the ship, and they are expensive!
Also watch out for illness. Way easy to get sick on this ship.
Holland America devotes a whole channel on the stateroom tv to selling you jewelry.
They have seminars on the ship just to sell you stuff.
My wife and I completed a cruise on Holland America's MS Amsterdam on 06/13/2009 and were very disappointed. The inattention by the crew/staff to the needs of the passengers was apalling.
We had previously cruised on the MS Westerdam, which was virtually ideal, so we opted to repeat the cruise because it was so enjoyable the first time. (Big Mistake.)
Upon embarkation in Seattle, we were told to watch a safety video on the T.V. Unfortuneately, there was no remote control to turn on the T.V. It took FOUR HOURS and numerous phone calls to get a replacement. Same scenario to get a ballpoint pen to fill out the complimentary postcards. Finally, we had a high intensity florescent ceiling light that became defective and cycled on and off at a frequency of once per second. There were three other lights on the same switch, so if you turned the switch off to correct the problem, you were sitting in the dark. It took THREE DAYS and innumerable phone calls before the light was finally replaced.
The food was good, but not great. The Asian food was excellent, (not surprising, given the makeup ofthe crew). The Italian food was bland to the point of being inedible. The steaks were well prepared, but were of an inferior cut, certainly not Choice or Grade A.
Overall, I would say we were quite disappointed in the cruise and in the crew/staff's tendency to ignore/minimize legitimate complaints with virtually no attempt at problem resolution. We will think long and hard before we cruise with HAL again.
We recently completed our 8 day cruise on the Eurodam. At the outset, let me offer two points. One, I think we are fair and reasonably objective people. Two, I have always appreciated people who have taken the time to write a review and help us have a more enjoyable vacation. So, we really wanted to return all the effort others have taken on our behalf.
Embarkation The embarkation was as smooth and efficient as we have every had on a cruise. Our time in the line waiting could only have been 5 minutes. Holland staff members were very pleasant and helpful,truly the easiest part of the cruise. Holland can be very pleased at their staff
Cabins We opted for a deluxe veranda. Upon entering our room, we immediately felt claustrophobic. Rather than an modern elegant feel, the room had unattractive bedding, cheap cardboard prints on the wall and poor lighting. The balcony was decent sized but we were left feeling very very disappointed in the room. It was impossible for two people to pass each othter between the bed and the door to the veranda. The Eurodam reports to being oneof the newest ships in their fleet but "reads" like a Holiday Inn circa 1984. Certainly not "luxury" cruising. The public areas below the main deck were not much better. I'm not sure who was making the design choices for the ship but the overall effect was not good.
Food There is good news and bad news. The good news - the speciality dining was very good with Tamarind (their Asian fusion dining) being excellent. We're from NYC and this could hold it own with any restaurant in NYC. Pinnacle Grill, their steak house, was solid. The maining dining was acceptable with one or two high spots, but mostly just pretty average. Holland should be embarrassed about the Lido. The theme seems to be substitute quanity for quality. What you end up with is alot of really really really bad food. Room service was so bad that we almost enjoyed seeing what would be offered. We used room service for coffee in the morning to wake up on the veranda
Excursions I have to respect Holland for cancelling our Power Snorkeling. They weather was iffy and rather than have people have a bad experience, they cancelled. We ended up just enjoying the sun in Turks and Caicos.
There was much to much emphasis on shopping on St Thomas. What the shopping winds up being is a seemingly ending string of jewelry stores...literally over a hundred offering essentially the same thing. Shop for an hour, then jump in a cab and go to Megan's Bay. Truly one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. There is inexpensive food and changing areas, so just bring your swim suits with you.
San Juan was lovely. We enjoyed just walking around Old San Juan much more than I thought we would. Others who had taken the tour in the rain forest loved the tour but hated having to travel almost 1 1/2 hours in each direction. Just get off the ship, and walk one minute to old San Juan. It's impossible to not be charmed but this part of town.
Half Moon Cay Their private island was one of our favorite parts ot the trip. The beach is one of the most beautiful we had ever been on. It requires a tender to get to the shore so go before 8AM or after 10Am. The line to get to the tenders is very very long between those hours.
Our fellow cruisemates We were truly shocked at the average age on the cruise. The average age was easily over 70. People under 65 were VERY few and far between. I'm not against crusing with a varity of ages, but wished it had been a little more balanced. We felt very much in the minority.
Overall I can only say that we were very very disappointed with the cruise. We had previously cruised with Holland (Zuiderdam)and were excited about a newer ship. I would never suggest people cruise with Holland and wished we had chosen to go with Celebrity or Princess, as what we had orginally planned to do.
Boarding the Eurodam was fast and easy. The ship was very beautiful. After everyone got settled in the ship did not seem crowded except for the aft pool area. The food in the Main Dining Room was very good.
The lido buffet was average. Our veranda room on deck 5 was very good with lots of storage. Half Moon Cay was nice even though it rained that day, then on to Aruba then Curacao. The New Years Eve Party was great with food stations placed all over the ship and champagne handed out to the adults and sparkling juice given to the kids. Good Job Holland America and crew. My family will be back soon.
We went on a 7 day cruise over New Year's on Holland's Oosterdam. The crew was very helpful and extremely friendly. Our balcony cabin was a joy and it was nice having the sunshine in the middle of winter sitting on the balcony - well worth the money difference. We went to Mexico and were in Cabo on New Year's Eve. Although we didn't make it till midnight on the 31st, we heard it was delightful. The dinners were good but we like the food better on Princess. The live flowers everywhere were a nice plus. It was easy boarding and not so easy disembarking, only because we didn't want the fun to end. If we were to change anything it was the fact that breakfast was cut off way before we were scheduled to disembark. They hadn't told us the day before and there were some mad folks. We had a wonderful, memorable time for bringing in 2010!
This was probably the best cruise we've taken out of about 10 and on everything from Independence of the Seas to Emerald Princess, NCL Pearl and Carnival Liberty. The ship was very clean, the cruise had 2200 folks on board which is full, and no problems with lines or getting a lounge chair at the pool or any inside/outside deck. The food was excellent and you could get anything served in the Rembrandt dining room (formal) at the buffet for dinner without dressing up. Ice cream and dessert selection were outstanding. Crow's nest library and coffee shop was outstanding. Movies on board were excellent in the best appointed screening room at sea. Broadway shows and singers and dancers were excellent. Rooms were very nice, most with bathtubs. Excellent value for the money and very relaxing time. Easiest on and off the ship so far in 10 different cruises! Some older folks but generally a good age range of fellow guests. Very user friendly gym. Love the ability to close in the center pool whenever necessary, which makes it useable in any weather.
Holland America Line Prinsendam by Mike Newburger Eastern Mediterranean October 28, 2009
Our itineray started in Athens, and went to Egypt, Israel, Turkey, Greece, Croatia and Albania. This was a continuation of a cruise that included Rome and other destinations.
The ship is the smallest in the HAL fleet, but the size was perfect for our itineray. Only 750 guests were on board, and after travelling on larger ships, I felt that the size and capacity fit our needs. There were, because of the length and timeof year, virtually no kids on this cruise, Our cabin was quite spacious, and we loved the walk in closet, which was fully used by my wife and I (mostly her!!).
We had A/C prblems for the first 4 days of the cruise, but we weren't alone--a whole section on our deck suffered similar problems, and by the time we got to Israel,the sauna like effect in our room had been solved.
With regards to service, we've been on 6 other HAL cruises, so we knew what to expect. our cabin steward was just OK, in that he couldn't figure out whe to do our turn downssince wwe liked to eat early for dinner. We lucked out in finding a great dining room team, but when we requested them on the 3rd night, somehow we got another team who had to start from sqare one to fin out about our likes and dislikes.
The evening's activities were varied, and we took advantage of some of them. We had two-2 day stops in Egypt and Israel, and would recommend them highly, even though they were expensive. The shore excursions were very thorough, except for the 1/2 day in Albania, which is not set up for tourists by any means.
The staff on the Lido cafeteria deck was very helpful, and we ate many meals there. The food quality was B+/A- and breakfast room service was prompt and very good. The captain kept us up to date wiht current weather and destination information, and was accessable during the cocktail party. Oursocial director did an outstanding job getting groups organized and off the ship in a timely manor as well as hosting evening events.
I now have crossed off my bucket list things like seeing the Pyrmids, going to Bethlehem, and and taking a cruise on the Nile. It was a trip of a lifetime, and even 2 months later, I'm still organizing my pictures on the computer. I think the staff on and off the ship does an outstanding job of making their guests feel like family, and that is a bar set very high.
I and my husband (we 30 and over) took this cruise based on itinerary. It’s our fifth cruise so we knew what to expect, we knew how it should be.
We booked cruise shuttle from airport to the ship (only one thing which we booked through the cruise, because everything overprice). People in airport was slow and confused, did not know what to do with extra luggage event it was not full bus, but we got to the ship fine, embarkation was very quick and we were in a ship in10 min. We got there maybe 12:30, waited for room maybe 20 min.
Room was nice (a little old fashion, but its older ship so we expected that),enough space for luggage, nice size balcony. Then looked around, ship was clean, small compare to previous cruise ships, atrium tiny. A lot of hand sanitizers all over the ship, we liked that, because we have been on the ship with norvovirus (no fun), but sad is that not a lot of people using them. Luggage came quick to the room. We packed 2 bottles of wine and wine opener of course. This way youdon't need to pay any opening charges.
We had open seating for dinner, I think that's the way to go, because some days cruise leaves from ports after nine, this way you choose when to eat. Most of the stuff was Indonesian (mostly guys) and not all with the best manners.
Barcelona. We stayed overnight there. We walked first night to La Rambla street, it's about 30 min walk. A lot of young people there, a lot of scary people (you afraid that they will steal something and something like that), trying to sell some cans or who know what. But city itself very nice. Next morning we went back to La Rambla, this time took port bus (3 Euros round trip or 2 one way).Then we took the Hop on hop of 2 deck bus (21 Euros per person one day), we took blue route, then I wanted to take red route but it was long line waiting to get on them and route take about 2 hours, so we didn't have enough time to do that (time change mixed our plans, we slept too long that morning). We just walked around, we used McDonald’s restrooms for free, and then walked back to the ship (didn’t want to wait in line for port bus).
Before that I gave my Hop on hop of bus tickets away to one couple, they gave me 10 euros, so it worked well. When we walked we saw already people attending drill with the wests, we didn't go. How silly to do that, when people still ashore. I am Europe union member so I got letter that I need to bring my passport to front desk. We did, but front desk not helpful we heard so many different stories from them why they need my passport. Next day they where collecting U.S. and Canada citizen. My husband didn't give them, so they did a copy and said they will call in a room in case they would need to check original, never did. (It’s good idea to have certified copy, in case somebody would lose it.).
Monaco, Monte Carlo That morning we got the note, that we need to attend drill, but note came at 10am, drill was scheduled for 9 am, so we missed it again . They had tender boats from the ship to shore. We got there early so they announced that we can get on tender boats early, when we got to them, they announced that now will go only people who booked excursions, cruise director Jason Venner was blocking the stairs checking excursion stickers. He was rude, he said that now we need to wait almost an hour, but the boats were almost empty, so we sneaked in them anyway. EXPECT TO BE TREATED DIFERENT IF YOU DON'T BOOK SHIPS EXCURSIONS. WHEN YOU GETTING OUT FROM THE SHIP THERE IS NOBADY TO GUIDE YOU WHERE TO GO.
In Monaco it's easy to walk (my easy means - people who fit), it’s beautiful there. We walked first up to prince palace, then down toward casino (IF YOU WANT TO GO THERE, DRESS NICE AND KEEP YOUR PASSPORT, the reason for that, they don’t let gamble for Monaco people. They have beach there (not the best one), but if you planning to go there bring water shoes (rubber shoes); all beaches which we saw on a trip had a lot of rocks. Restrooms in Monaco was free, some places had plate so you can put some money if you want. It’s just nice to walk there, peeked in Casino, and didn’t go in.
On a ship it's really not a lot what to do. We didn't go to all shows; it was enough 2 first ones. The dancers not good, not graceful, singers just ok. I liked there costumes liked how stage moves, rotates. The last show with the car was o k, but it was more like a play, not a lot of dancing. During the day most of the people ashore, then they go eat dinner, would be nice to use pool or hot tub after that (GOOD LUCK,THEY CLOSED AT 7PM ,HOT TUB AT 9PM, sometimes even earlier with no notice. Back pool supposes to be adult, but nobody controlled that.
It seemed that a lot of things cruise employees did for there convenient, it's always would be closed areas in buffet for stuff members, saw few couples of working people, I don't need to see their romances. We saw once how they where closing curtains in buffet on people heads. A lot of times I would bump in the worker, guess who needed to move ME, they didn't. Rush to eat before nine, otherwise you not find a lot, buffet after 9 will have just pizza and dessert, you can get room service (that's kind a nice thing) but menu limited, after 10 only few things you can get from them.
Internet cafe nice, together with the library, close to bar. We got 100 min for 55 $ plus 3.95 onetime connection fee. The internet really slow and in a lot of port we saw internet cafes, so if you don't need it for work better to take your own computer and go ashore, faster and cheaper.
Front desk always looked mean if you would have any questions. When our TV broke (power problems) we called them every 10 min, they didn't liked that, after over than hour they fixed the problem.
Next stop Livorno Remember, you can’t walk in port, only taxi or shuttle can be used. We didn't know that, we walked back, but then they told us to wait for shuttle (200 meters was left) we didn't pay, but usually it's 5 Euros for the day, it takes to Piazza grande.. We decided to take train to Florence, taxis from port to train 20 Euros, so try to find who would share it. I asked whoever I saw, we found one couple. Got round trip tickets (27 Euros round trip for both). Train times were on July 8:11, 9:11, 10:11 don’t forget to validate them in a yellow machine in train station, they don't have them in the train. But one couple forgot to do that; conductor said them to write date on a ticket. We got out at Firenze S.M.N. Before that stop was Firenze stop. Don’t get mix up. It’s everything so close in Florence, easy to walk. We didn't go to any galleries or museums, so had enough time to stop at Pizza on the way back to Livorno. Train times 2:27, 3:27, 4:27, 5:27 we validated our ticket, got out at pizza stop, then used the same ticket back to Livorno. From the train station you can get on bus, but it's only 15- 20 min walk, you can’t see tower from there, ask people. We went straight from the station, and then saw when to turn left. From Pizza train times where 3:45, 4:34, 5:34, 5:45
From Livorno train station took no 1 bus (that would work if you get cruise shuttle from piazza grande,but we didn't know that, so from the stop closest to ship we walked, a lot. So or share taxi, o pay for shuttle and from there no 1 bus (cost euro or something like that)
Civitavecchia From ship shuttle took us to port gate (for free, its only 5 min walk maybe 10) then we walked to train station, just few blocks straight ahead. (10 min). Got round trip tickets. Times where 8:41 , 8:59, 9:17, 9:41, 9:59. They gave without asking B.I.R.G (18 Euros for both of us), its work for buses and metro in Rome too. It’s a lot of stops in Rome S Peters close to Vatican. But you can get out on the last one, then take bus, depend where you want to go. We got out at Ostensia stop, took bus to Coliseum (bus 60 if I am fight, I just asked people all the time). We waited in line for tickets 45 to 60 min. 12 Euros per person, for Europe union members 7.50 so get your passport if you want to get discount. We went to complain about that in front desk, after talking with supervizor,they said they will put difference on our card, guess what, they didn't so last day we needed to talk about that (and it's not about 4.5 Euros it's principle) but they looked at us like we would be crazy. This entire passport situation made a lot of problem for a lot of people. They just needed to inform about that in their website, don't you think?
Then we took the bus to Fontana trevi (we asked people again, which no to take). You can't see it from the bus stop, so ask somebody let you know where to get out. It seems confusing but it's really not. Then we took bus 62, it took us to Vatican. That we saw from bus stop. Then 40 or 64 bus back to train station, we went to Roma centrale, this way more likely you'll get seat. Trains comfortable and clean, restrooms not really. Times back were2:09, 2:39, 3:09, 3:39, 4:09, 4:39, 5:09, 5:14, 5:39, 6:05.
Messina, Sicily we got in port at 2pm. We wanted to take train to Toarmina, train station is walk able distance from the ship, but we got there close to 3 o clock, next train was at 4:05, we didn't want to wait, so stayed there. Train times from Taormina to Messina 3:55pm, 5:22, 6:41, 7:13, 8:36 (it's about hour ride)
It's really nothing what to do in messina, first everything close till 5 or who knows. It's really dirty in a streets, even poop (I hope it's just dogs), my husband decided to fish there, so we bought fishing rod and all other stuff (25 Euros we spent) and he fished for hour and a half, then I started to see strange people around, one guy was using some drugs from the bag, other kid (maybe 10) was smoking, a lot of people smoke in Europe. So we decided go back to the ship with the fishing rod, no problem.
Sea day finally we can relax and not rush anywhere. It was second formal night, first was on second Barcelona day. They had crab legs that day for appetizer. Finally they had karaoke, we went there, the list of songs was a mess, not all song artists in there, one girl was singing when we got there, the cd was scratched, cruise director was laughing, next to him some employee women was laughing with him, they were really "lovie-duvie" and then he's "ok, try again, first tell about yourself, but he's not intelligent, he even didn't lift his butt to feel this poor girl better, all karaoke was like a joke. So we left. Tats it, no more karaoke nights (so don't spent time practicing).
Navplion, Greece They had tender boats there. We stayed there, its cute city. We walked by fortress and found road to beach, it was small, rocky beach, so we sat in there, had some drinks, just relaxed.
Katokolon We decided to take train to Olympia, the train station close to ship,5-8 min walk, it looks like restroom building, very small. Tracks start there. First train was 8:36am, its only 2 wagon train which goes to Olympia and back (I think it's only one train). Cost 6 Euros for both of us round trip. From train it's close to Olympia site place. Tickets 6 Euros each, 9 if you want to see site seen and museum. Then we took 12:05 train back, walked in Katokolon and back to ship.
Corfu We didn't plan anything there, just got out and walked, a lot. They had ships shuttle (16$ round trip, 9$ one way to old town.) We walked there in 30 min, then went to fortress (4 Euros each) its nice view from there. Restroom I used in McDonald, but you need code on receipt to open the door, or just wait for somebody walk in or out. Then we found tiny beach in a cafe territory, paid 1.4 Euros entrance fee, they had changing rooms, 1.5 Euros for sun beds, towers you can take from the ship. They return passports that day.
Dubrovnik Ship had shuttle 16$ round trip,9$ one way to pile gate (old town). Don’t do that, there is a public bus right there, take mokosica-pile bus,we paid 20 kunas it’s about 3 Euros for both of us. Old town very pretty, then we walked to the beach, it was one closer, but we walked more and found more quiet, nice beach, with rocks of course. It didn't cost, just rented sun beds 20 kunos each (3 euro) they took Euros. Then back to the bus and back to ship. That night ship had dessert extravaganza, it was nice, I missed strawberries dipped in chocolate, and they had a lot of cakes, crapes, some hand size desserts, but nothing too crazy.
Next day Venice We loved Venice. We stayed there one extra night after cruise, so we bought 23H bus and water bus tickets, 23euros each. We used them a lot. They go from Piazzale Roma. About 25 min. from the ship. One way would be 6, 50 Euros per person. 12h ticket for land and water bus 16 Euros per person. Gondola rides 80euros, but you can find somebody to share the ride, 6 people fit, then the price not so bad. If you just want to go one time to Piazza San Marco then just use right there alilaguna water taxi, 6,5 one way. On Venice day you can set your credit card, you can adjust tips which they adding automatically, Next morning we paid in cash what we owned to the ship, ate last breakfast and rolled with the luggage to the bus stop, took no. 5 bus to Russot hotel, then went back to the city.
We had a lot of fun, from ship we expected more, but we saw nice places, had nice room with balcony (where we spent most of the time when in ship), had decent food. So we will have only nice memories about this trip.
We flew to Boston from our home, Kansas City, and embarked on the Holland America Maasdam, with 13 of our family members for our 50th wedding anniversary. We have been planning this cruise for several years and as grandpa and I were paying for it, we wanted it to be very special.
Two specific things we asked for were cabins with balconies that could be opened up continuously between the five cabins, and a table in the dining room to fit children/grandchildren and one great-grandchild. No problem, we were told by our travel agent, who said he had confirmed everything with the ship personnel. Unfortunately the partitions to the balonies were bolted down and could not be removed and we were scheduled for the 5:15 open seating dining! This was a disappointment -- BIG TIME!
The ship personnel were able to give us a designated seating time at two tables for 5:15 -- not the 5:45 that we had requested -- but we made it work. A little too early for us to all get to dinner, but we worked it out.
However, the partitions were a big thing as I hadlooked forward so much to having that time with all of my children and grandchildren on the deck together. As it was, we couldn't even see one another unless we leaned way over on the deck -- of course we were all together during the week at various places and we had a lovely time, but this was one of the special things I had looked forward to during our time together.
The itinerary was wonderful as we traveled to the North-East up through parts of Canada and the weather was great.
Don't know if I would recommend Holland America because I feel they lied to my travel agent who adamantly said they told him the deck partitions could be opened. Oh well, it was still a wonderful trip and after 50 years my husband and I continue to love to travel and spend time with our children!
My favorite vacation is a cruise. Sometimes I take a grandchild, sometimes alone or with a friend. This time I brought my daughter. I have taken over 40 cruises; some on very old beat up tubs and some on deluxe luxury liners. I have always had a good time although sometimes it took an effort to ignore poor service or other problems. I think that the attitude of the cruiser is the primary determinant of the success of the cruise.
Pros: Nicely appointed cabin with large veranda. Generally friendly and efficient service throughout the ship. Long stays in most ports. Room service breakfast was on time and arrived hot every day.
Cons: Pool closed at 7:00 and hot tubs were only warm, closing at 10:00 PM. There was no craps table in the casino and very smoky air the night I was in there. The Daily Program was not in chronological order and quite difficult to see what is happening at the present time. There was an unpleasant odor in some areas of the ship.
Details My daughter and I took a pleasant Alaska Airlines flight to Anchorage from our hometown in California.The Holland America transfer by bus to Seward left soon after our plane arrived. It took about three hours to reach the ship. The ride was through beautiful scenery with a driver who gave running commentary about what we were seeing and facts about Alaska.
We were on the ship about 6:00 PM. It was announced that the normal 8:00 PM dinner would be served at 8:30 after the emergency drill. Since it had been 16 hours since breakfast and we had eaten very little while traveling, we opted to pay the $20 premium to eat NOW in the Pinnacle Grill. The dinner was nice with very attentive service. It might have been worth the extra cost for big steak eaters; but we did not find the food to be enough better than the regular dining room fare to warrant the extra charge. We did; however, appreciate the quieter atmosphere and excellent service.
Cabin By the time we finished dinner our luggage was in the cabin. It was the second voyage after dry-dock, and all soft furnishings and carpets were new. I did not like the color scheme in our B category veranda suite, but it was clean and well appointed. My daughter, Anne, thought the bold colors were fine. There was plenty of closet and drawer space in the main cabin, but the two little glass shelves in the bathroom were barely adequate for two. A pleasant surprise was the deep whirlpool tub/shower combination. For seating there was a full length black sofa and a small arm chair plus the vanity stool. The table was adjustable for cocktail or dining height. The good sized veranda had a lounge with pads, two chairs, and a small table for drinks. It had teak flooring and was very private. We used it a lot since the weather was brisk and clear the whole week. We had the cabin attendant remove the expensive items from the mini-bar and used it for the extra juice we ordered each morning. The lighting was good and the beds very comfortable. The walls were very thin so that we could hear too much from the next cabin.
Since Anne normally works nights she is a day sleeper. We seldom left the cabin before noon. The steward was very good at working around our schedule; the cabin was usually made up by the time we came back.
Dining Overall the food was good, but usually not excellent. The room service menu for breakfast included a variety of meats and egg dishes plus the usual cold items including cereals and breads. The orange juice tasted fresh squeezed. It was delivered cheerfully, on time, and was always hot. The room service menu for the rest of the day, especially after 10 PM, was very limited.
We ate only one meal in the Lido restaurant as there were no trays to carry the food, relatively poor selection, and a long line.
Meals in the dining room were adequate, but of variable quality, with ample variety in the choices. The company at our assigned 8:00 PM table was very pleasant. The servers were stretched much too thin. Our waiter served five tables with 24 guests. That is too many to do a good job with formal dinner service, but he really tried. Anne likes her coffee with her meal, but it was always served after dessert even though she asked for it earlier. We found the soups and starters to be the best part of the meal. Desserts were quite ordinary.
The grill in the pool area had plenty of tasty snack type foods available during the day: Hamburgers, hot dogs, tacos, nachos, etc. Unfortunately none of these items were available after 6:00 PM. The pizza in the pizza shop was fairly good.
Most ships hold a cocktail party for their repeat cruisers. The Veendam had a very nice lunch for us.
The Ship The ship was generally clean and attractive. I did not like the mix of carpet colors, but they were clean, mostly new. Several elevators were out of service at all times. Luckily the ship was not full or it would have been even more of an inconvenience. Sometimes only one elevator out of a bank of four was operating.
The lounges were nicely decorated with extensive artwork and fresh flowers. The Explorer lounge was my favorite place. It included many comfortable chairs, the well stocked library, the computers, a coffee bar, the jigsaw puzzle table, a DVD collection, games for checking out, and friendly staff. Anne spent her late evening hours in the Crows Nest where there was dancing and karaoke. Unfortunately there was often a bad, sewage type, odor in parts of the ship at various times. It was especially noticeable in the Crows Nest and on the lower decks. On most cruises my favorite activity is the trivia games. Although the Veendam's version of the game had a nice mix of trivia questions, the attitude of the cruise director, Jimmy, made playing unpleasant for a few of us.
The self service laundry was convenient and clean. It cost $2 to wash a standard load and $1 to dry it.
During dry-dock the craps table was removed from the casino. It was replaced with a poker table. This was a major disappointment for me as playing craps is one of my favorite evening cruise activities. The water in the swimming pool was a bit too cold the first day and the hot tubs were definitely not hot any day.
Entertainment There was a good selection of activities available throughout the day, although many of them had an extra charge. The Daily Program was not easy to follow as it was not presented chronologically, but by type of activity. This would have been great as an addition to the usual method of presentation by time, but was not good for quickly seeing what is going on now or arranging your day in the morning before leaving the cabin. The shows in the evening were average. We most enjoyed the "Encore" show with excellent singing and the Indonesian show put on by the waiters and stewards.
The movie theater was comfortable, and popcorn was served during the afternoon showing that I attended.
The Itinerary Alaska was beautiful and the towns had plenty to see. We did not take any of the ship excursions, but did our own thing in each town. We especially enjoyed Creek Street in Ketchikan and the State Museum in Juneau. The scenery and glaciers were marvelous in Glacier Bay. In Haines it was about a half mile walk into the small downtown area. Some very young entrepreneurs were selling hot chocolate and playing the violin for coins in front of a well stocked shop with local art and souvenirs. We did most of our shopping during the trip at that shop. The postcards that I mailed from Haines got to my family and friends the day before I got home.
Debarkation Our waiter did not leave a room service menu the night before so we did not know it was available. It is. When we came back from the dining room breakfast the beds had been made up for the next guests and the towels removed from the bathroom although we had been told that we could remain in the comfort of the cabin until our group was called to leave. We had left our hand luggage in the cabin so the steward would know we had not left. I know they have short turnaround time, but I would have appreciated the full use of the cabin until my time to leave the ship. On the positive side, we had a ship to airport transfer; therefore, once we put our luggage into the hall the night before, we did not have to bother with it again until we picked it up at the airport.
Overall it was a very nice cruise, and we had a good time. On my next cruise to Alaska I will choose a ship with a craps table in the casino just because I like to play.