2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
This cruise started off with a pretty big hiccup but all said it was a great vacation. We spent the night before our cruise at the Vinoy in St Pete's. We woke up to an email saying that due to fog our ship was delayed arriving and ... Read More
This cruise started off with a pretty big hiccup but all said it was a great vacation. We spent the night before our cruise at the Vinoy in St Pete's. We woke up to an email saying that due to fog our ship was delayed arriving and there would be an update at 9am. At 9am we got the exact same email with no update. The communication from HAL was lacking. The other cruise lines seemed to have done a better job updating passengers about what was going on etc. The port finally reopened that afternoon and our ship got into port around 5:30pm. They had to disembark all of the passengers and finally around 9:30pm we were able to start boarding. Because of the fog delay we spent the night onboard in Tampa and had to skip Key West. I wasn't too disappointed about missing Key West as it ranks towards the bottom of all vacations I've ever taken. HAL did give every passenger a $50 onboard credit because of the delay. We left port Monday morning and sailed straight to Trujillo the 2d port. We had just come off the Veedam the week before and I enjoyed the Rotterdam much more. The dining room had a better feel to it. They also had two sets of connect 4 in the exploration lounge which made my kids' week ;). The coffee in the exploration lounge was definitely worth the added cost. The free coffee was not good in the lido or the main dining room. The itinerary on this cruise was fantastic. I really felt like we got to see more of the "real" Central America. Cruising the Caribbean it can sometimes seem like the islands are interchangeable, but going on to mainland Central America made the trip more about culture and less a beach vacation. We traveled with our three kids (ages 10-13), but they had no interest in the Club HAL activities this cruise. On past cruises they have enjoyed it. There were lots of other kids in Club Hal though. Our favorite entertainment activity was the daily geography trivia with Aubrey. We didn't take in a lot of shows as the times for shows didn't really work with our 8pm dining time. All the shows seemed to be either 8pm or 10pm and with a port stop almost every day we didn't want to stay up too late. We've been on other cruise lines where the late dinner seating can catch a show before dinner and have enjoyed that in the past. The movie always started at 7pm which also didn't work for either dining times. Overall the service was excellent in both our cabin and dining. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2018
I don’t know what happened to the Holland America I know and loved. Food was mediocre but the breads and baked goods were quite good but even the ice cream wasn’t very creamy, and room service had limited breakfast choices ... Read More
I don’t know what happened to the Holland America I know and loved. Food was mediocre but the breads and baked goods were quite good but even the ice cream wasn’t very creamy, and room service had limited breakfast choices unless you wanted to pay more. The room service menu in general was very limited unless you wanted to pay. Really. 2/3 ports of call were industrial with no redeeming qualities. On board activities included uh uh shopping, learning about shopping, special events to buy something, learning about spa treatments to buy. The comedienne who wasn’t funny, forgot her lines, and repeated the same material both days she performed.. Didn’t stay for the magician. Did I mention I was 1 of many who spent 24 hrs quarantined due to GI problems? Cost me $140.00 for the nurse, an injection and pills. Our dinner in the Pinnacle Grill was fabulous but I didn’t buy a cruise to pay extra to eat good food. The popcorn in the movie theater was good. The crew seemed disconnected from the passengers. Not a happy lot. Our cabin Stewards were efficient but didn’t always understand our requests, like clean wine glasses. The New Years Eve party was not remarkable. And the jewel in the crown, the Prinsendam, has been sold. I took 2 wonderful grand voyages on her and was looking forward to another. Our verandah cabin on Deck 6 was spacious and had lots of storage. So sad to experience the decline of what has been a wonderful cruise line with wonderful memories. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
By far the best cruise that I've ever been on!!! The crew bent over backwards to accommodate any request and the mix of ages on the cruise made for a really energetic crowd with lots of partying!!! I thoroughly enjoyed the in room ... Read More
By far the best cruise that I've ever been on!!! The crew bent over backwards to accommodate any request and the mix of ages on the cruise made for a really energetic crowd with lots of partying!!! I thoroughly enjoyed the in room dining, the dining room, and the entertainment and the dining room attendants went out of their way to accommodate requests. The entertainment was also world class and the singers were exception for the two shows. The ports were enjoyable and my cabin was ideal with easy access to both elevators and stairs. One of the highlights for me was the wrap around deck on Deck 3 which allows people to walk completely around the ship and truly get a 360 degree view of the ocean. Other than that, the room service which was included made for the ideal way to have coffee and breakfast in the stateroom while getting ready for an excursion. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
Rotterdam Christmas 2018 We left Pennsylvania Sunday morning, Dec. 23 with a 6:05 flight time on Southwest. Arriving at the airport (after being delayed at the car park) at 4:30 with the line to check bags we were a bit concerned. We ... Read More
Rotterdam Christmas 2018 We left Pennsylvania Sunday morning, Dec. 23 with a 6:05 flight time on Southwest. Arriving at the airport (after being delayed at the car park) at 4:30 with the line to check bags we were a bit concerned. We did get the bags checked in about 25 minutes and then headed up to security. The lines were huge but fortunately we all had TSA pre-check and we breezed right through security. We even had time to get a breakfast at McDonald’s right by the gate. Just as we finished breakfast boarding began. The flight was absolutely fine and on-time. We landed in Tampa at 8:45 and had our luggage by 9:15. A pleasant Uber driver had us at the port at 9:45. We quickly checked our bags and got in line for the terminal to open at 10:00. It was a cool morning in Tampa (about 50 degrees) so they opened the terminal early to get folks “In out of the cold.” We had a nice conversation while waiting in line for security to open. We were quickly checked in and shown to the 4 & 5 star waiting area. There was nothing special about it, just a smaller more private room, and when boarding began at 11:30 we were the first to board. We have not been on the Rotterdam before but immediately felt very comfortable. We found Job, a dining room manager, at a desk on deck 4 where we were the first to discuss special dietary needs and a wish for fixed dining. He said they had just received a cancellation that morning and we were able to join a six-top, table 55, right at the aft windows. He also took all of DW’s special diet needs and promised to stop by our table (which he did) to make sure everything was good. We enjoyed embarkation lunch in the dining room. We showed our DS around the ship and attended the mariner’s welcome back reception before the muster drill. After the muster drill we found our luggage delivered and we unpacked and prepared for dinner. We visited the tour desk and arranged for an ATV adventure in Honduras for our DS. Dinner was okay, not great, but service was excellent and rather prompt. We attended the EXC guide talk at 7:30 but after that the 2:30 start to the day was taking its toll and we called it a night. Monday, December 24, 2018 – Christmas Eve in Key West DS was up early and we found him reading on the Lido. We enjoyed breakfast together in the dining room. After breakfast we went to talk to the EXC guide about Honduras. He told us that there was expected to be several local tour options offered once off the dock in town. At 10:00 a Dutch Shuffleboard tournament was held and I ended up winning with 156 points. We docked a little early and the ship was cleared at 10:50, ahead of our stated 11:00 arrival. We left Rotterdam to explore Key West. We are docked right at Mallory Square, so that is very convenient. We took photos of the old customs house, Milepost Zero, the southernmost point (but did wait in the block-long line for our own photo), the southernmost beach, and the ‘sand snow-man’ at the beach. We took the free “Duval” bus back towards the ship, stopped at CVS for a few necessities, and then headed back to Rotterdam. We enjoyed a light lunch in the lido and I had a burger from the Dive-In. The burgers are very good. DS and I enjoyed the pool and hot tub. The pool was too cold for this northerner. I guess that doesn’t bother the young folks on board. We rested up a little bit and loaded the photos onto my computer before getting ready for the evening. We made it to happy hour in the Ocean Bar. Dinner was a special Christmas Eve menu and it was good. There was a little delay with DW’s special order. We went to a special “Sheridan’s” tasting at the shops and the Piano bar at the mix started at 8:00 so we enjoyed that. We caught part of the 9:00 show, a comedian, and returned to the Piano bar until 10:45. The special crew Christmas Eve service was wonderful. That went to 11:50 and a late night Christmas Eve buffet was available in the lido. Several Dutch specialties such as Ollie Bollen and Dutch Apple Pie were available. Tuesday, December 25 – Christmas Day at Sea We tried to sleep in but even so were in the dining room for breakfast by 8:30, partly helped by an hour time change to Central time. At 10:00 we attended the “Santa comes to Rotterdam” festivities in the main showroom. That was a lot of fun, especially the video that was put together of Santa exploring the ship before he appeared in the rear of the showroom. We had made reservations for lunch in the Pinnacle. Service was challenged likely due to a combination of the venue being popular and one of the chefs being ill. Lunch ended up being quite nice but it took them bringing my meal twice. The Pinnacle manager ended up comping our meal. We were really tired after staying up last night but attempts to nap failed. The pool and hot tub were enjoyed for a while. We enjoyed happy hour in the Ocean Bar and the drinks were perfect. The special Christmas Dinner menu included roast Turkey as well as a variety of surf & turf. Christmas Ham was also an option. We attended the show, ____ Jukebox. The performers were very good although most of the songs were not know to us. After the show we were just too tired and called it a night. Wednesday, December 26 – Trujillo (Banana Coast) Honduras We enjoyed a dining room breakfast before heading out to this largely unknown port. DS has an “ATV adventure” booked through the ship and we tendered over at the same time. After he checked in for his excursion we headed out to explore. A short walk past the port gates found us at a series of restaurants lining the beach. One of these looked clean, had a sign saying “English spoken,” along with other signs “$5 chair rental; $3 ice cold beer” and others. A friendly person waived us in and after looking the place over we decided to stay here. $10 for two beach loungers and an umbrella is a good deal nearly anywhere. We enjoyed a drink each, a couple of swims, watched other cruisers brave the “Banana boat,” and had a very nice 2 ½ hours. A total investment of $22 including a generous tip was well spent. We talked with our waitress who told us Rotterdam was only the second ship to call here this year, and only two or three more ships were scheduled to call. She said the town would love to become a regular cruise stop as they had a lot to offer and port calls create employment. Their biggest local concern is the lack of employment for young people. After leaving the beach we headed to town to walk around a bit. We ran into Abrie, the travel guide who was on his way back to the tender pier. We saw several stands selling local crafts on the main square, a large Christmas tree, a manger scene, and lots of locals out enjoying the day. We headed back to the tender pier and were back on board Rotterdam at 1:30. I enjoyed a Dive Inn burger (excellent on Rotterdam) and cooled off in the pool a little. We went to the Ocean Bar happy hour and the Mai-Tai’s were not made well this day. Way too strong and attempts to make them better failed. Went to dinner and all was well. The show was a Magician and he was very good. The piano bar is ‘off’ tonight so we called it a night after the show. Thursday, December 27, 2018 – Santo Thomas de Castilla, Guatemala. It is said that sometimes “You can’t do it over again.” That was certainly true here in Santo Thomas. We were here in 2009 and had a wonderful day visiting the Las Escobas River and waterfalls, swimming under the falls, and then enjoying the afternoon at the Green Bay resort. In fact, I have two photos of this in my office at work, some nine years after the visit, as the memories were so fond. I found out before the cruise that the Green Bay resort had gone under, but the waterfalls were still there. So we arranged taxi service for $25/pp round trip, and paid $14 entrance fee to the national park for each of us at the entrance. They have certainly improved the entrance area with nature displays and our trail guide was very pleasant. The experience was such a letdown however. Since our 2009 visit, they have now built two additional pipelines taking water out of the river from above the falls for the local towns. Okay, but this leaves just a trickle of water going down the river. We did swim at the lower falls and it was refreshing, but this was nowhere near the 2009 experience. At the upper falls we didn’t even go into the pool. We walked back down to the entrance and headed back to the port. On the way back to the port we had a brief tour of the town of Santo Thomas de Castilla. We were happy to be back to the port shortly thereafter. We did peruse some of the vendors at the port market and bought some ladies sandals, men’s belts, and a gift item. Back on the Rotterdam we enjoyed lunch and some pool time. Some of the tour providers did put on a little farewell presentation on the pier; however it was nothing like the all-out sendoff we remember from nine years ago. Dinner was enjoyable and after dinner we walked around a while before calling it a night. Friday, December 28 – Costa Maya, Mexico – NOT! Rotterdam was scheduled to dock at Costa Maya at 8:00. At 7:15 we could see we were just offshore with two large ships settling into port. Going out onto deck 3 the wind was strong enough to ‘blow you over!’ We went to the dining room for breakfast and right about 8:00 we closely approached the dock. The Allure of the Seas was at the outer dock and yikes that is some huge ship! We heard the engines and thrusters straining and quite suddenly they stopped and we were slowly drifting away from the dock. I said “I guess we are not going to Costa Maya” and 15 minutes later the captain came on and made the announcement that due to the gale-force winds and Rotterdam being assigned the inner dock there was no way to safely make port. We finished breakfast and headed to the lido where we grabbed a table near the pool. We enjoyed some pool time in the “Wave pool” and then attended an 11:00 “Coffee chat” with the magician entertainer. That was a lot of fun but the assigned Explorers Lounge was overflowing and a larger venue would have been better. We checked the menu for a dining room lunch and opted to head to the lido instead. That was a great call as slow roasted turkey was featured in the carving station! We were very tired and all three of us ended up taking an afternoon nap. We went to the Crow’s Nest happy hour, and then enjoyed our second gala dinner. The evening show was the jukebox and it was okay. After the show we enjoyed the piano bar until he took his break at 10:00 and called it a night. Saturday, December 29 – At sea, gulf of Mexico Breakfast in the dining room began our day. At 9:30 was “Ask the captain” and the captain began with a slideshow of the attempted docking in Costa Maya. It was very clear from the slide show that there was no chance to safely dock, but the weather report was extremely wrong as the winds were double what had been forecast. The captain also did a virtual tour of the bridge and engine room, and then answered questions from the floor. At 10:30 was the mariner’s reception in the Explorer’s lounge. This was nice with about 10 folks receiving their copper medallion. We opted to pass on the Mariner’s lunch after looking over the menu. We enjoyed lunch poolside and a surprise lunch time happy hour was enjoyed with lunch. No “Wave pool” today as the ocean is flat and there is no wind. In fact, Tampa port has a fog problem and despite a very early arrival at the pilot station, we dropped anchor there. We packed most of our luggage late in the afternoon. We should have at least kept bathing attire for the carry – off bag but failed to think ahead enough. Dinner was in the Pinnacle Grille and we enjoyed that very much. After dinner I wondered around a little before calling it a night. Sunday, December 30 – Disembarkation? Eventually! We woke to find we were still anchored at the Tampa bay pilot station. Fog had closed the port. Yes, there was certainly fog. But why close the port? In the spring of 2017 we cruised New England and Canada and every port was fogged in each morning, and much thicker fog that what we witnessed here in Tampa. We made every port on that cruise early, despite the fog. In any case, we had a dining room breakfast. We watched a movie, Crazy Rich Asians, in the showroom. We had lunch in the dining room. We started to watch a second movie, the latest Mission Impossible in the showroom but then the captain said we had been cleared to begin our approach and we would soon pass two outbound cruise ships and sail under the sunshine skyway bridge, so we went up to the observation deck to take photos. We certainly have never passed so close to other cruise ships moving at speed as we witnessed here! The channel is not very wide so they passed less than 200 meters portside of Rotterdam. It was fun as all the passengers were waving at each other. We led in a parade of three cruise ships and eventually docked at 6:00 PM. Despite being in the first color group to be called it was 7:30 before we were clear to disembark. They did feed us dinner in the lido, and the prime rib was excellent! After dinner we waited in the showroom where an NFL game was on the big screen. We had very little wait at customs and caught a cab to the airport to pick up our rental car. We are spending a couple of days in Florida before flying home New Year’s day morning, so this is the end of the cruise log. Summary: While we’ve done lots of Holland America cruises, this was our first on Rotterdam. I really like the ship. The décor is classic, the size is convenient, and the service generally superior. We had no “Bad meals.” Some meals were really great. In fact, Job and Wayan in the dining room went above and beyond in taking care of DW’s special dietary needs. For our adult son, this was his first HAL experience. After about two days he said “I feel like I went back in time.” I asked why? He said you just don’t ever get this kind of service anywhere. His room steward remembered all our names after the first introduction! He had a really great time. There were a few issues that were never really addressed. One was the temperature in our cabin, #3431. A few times it did go down but then it would go back up again. In any case, the thermostat had little (if any) effect. Our son’s cabin (#2588) was always comfortable. Likely due to the holiday crowding with many 3rd and 4th berths occupied, there were a few times it just seemed to take a little longer to get service. On the other hand, some of the bar staff really went out of their way to take care of us. I thought the captain really went out of his way to explain why our port call in Costa Maya needed to be aborted. I also think it’s a real shame that the Tampa port closes due to what seemed like not very bad fog. I can assure all the readers that we will have to think very long and hard before booking another cruise from Tampa. For us, this was a minor inconvenience until the 90 minutes from docking until our priority luggage tag color was called (which was just far too long). We were not flying that day, but usually we do fly immediately home! Overall I give this 7 night Christmas cruise on Rotterdam 3.5 stars out of five. I hope to cruise again on the elegant Rotterdam. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
This is NOT your typical HAL cruise. We have cruised HAL many times before and this entire trip was different and not in a good way. If you want an extremely affordable cruise, I think we paid $1600 for four in one room, then go with no ... Read More
This is NOT your typical HAL cruise. We have cruised HAL many times before and this entire trip was different and not in a good way. If you want an extremely affordable cruise, I think we paid $1600 for four in one room, then go with no expectations and you will be fine. UNDERSTAND THERE ARE NO ACTIVITIES or SHOWS ONBOARD - Ill talk about that below.. Please note, on this ship the Rotterdam is old and small. Not a big deal at all for us but its not your typical newer fancy ships, more of classical midsize cruising. Pro, as always, is the food. We were happy with the selection on the Lido for all meals. The Dining room was pretty good and had good selections as well but we found ourselves going to the lido for dinner towards the end of the cruise because we didnt want to deal with the wait. Ice Creak was a huge hit and the asian/sushi was as well. The pool deck had a great Hamburger/Hot Dog and Fries station made to order as well as a huge fully stocked taco/nacho bar. It was fantastic. Cons: Service: Attendants were not your typical friendly HAL staff. They seemed annoyed and overworked. Only a few we encountered were genuinely happy to see us. Activities: HAHA!! What a joke. Rare was the time we saw or heard from the cruise director. There was no pool activities, no sail away shows, no performances in the main theater - just really nothing to do. They had a comedian in the main theater on two of the days and he was great but the other days were so disappointing. The night we set sail the only thing they offered was a Q&A session about excursions in the main theater. No shows. They had Bingo , some string quartets and a piano guy around the ship but that was it. The Kids club was a let down and there were not adequate enough activities to keep the kids entertained that you would end up seeing kids roaming the decks unsupervised in packs because they didnt want to go to the kids club and their parents obviously didnt want to supervise them. it was chaos. I still cant believe how little there was to do on the ship. Ports were Ok but NEVER book through the ship ever. Book your own excursions and save 90% Overall we will most likely not seek out a HAL cruise first like we used to do. This one really was disappointing in so many ways and our family is not high maintenance - but you expect certain things on cruises and entertainment is one of the most important categories - major let down, cant believe anyone could leave that cruise with a positive experience. Unfortunately we know HAL can be excellent - not sure if they are cutting back to save money or something but it was pretty bad. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
We took our 5 children on a Christmas Cruise. It was our first time on Holland America. As far as the Rotterdam is concerned, I have fallen in love. The classic ship is elegant, well thought out, impeccably cleaned and maintained. The ... Read More
We took our 5 children on a Christmas Cruise. It was our first time on Holland America. As far as the Rotterdam is concerned, I have fallen in love. The classic ship is elegant, well thought out, impeccably cleaned and maintained. The entertainment was amazing. we enjoyed a very funny comedian, Planet Earth is done with a live orchestra, violins, cello, piano, first-class. A musical- Post Modern Jukebox was delightful. We did reserved dining and it did not disappoint. Food is top notch, service was kind and entertaining, we had so much fun meeting the staff. we felt spoiled and lucky and content each evening. The ship's art is amazing. I loved the decor. It was Christmas and the Dutch gingerbread houses were adorable. There is an amazing fitness Center and Spa up on floor 8. There are 2 pools and they never felt crowded. You can eat inside, outside all day long if you wish. This was our 6th cruise. It is our favorite ship. Much better than Royal Carribean! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
The main reason we chose this cruise was for the size of the ship as we wanted a relaxing cruise, not with a large crowd. We had sailed on HAL once before in 2011. We were tired of the party people on Carnival. (Yes, we are older but not ... Read More
The main reason we chose this cruise was for the size of the ship as we wanted a relaxing cruise, not with a large crowd. We had sailed on HAL once before in 2011. We were tired of the party people on Carnival. (Yes, we are older but not dead!) The embarkation was a little confusing but once we were moving, it went fairly well. I want to really rave about the Lido Market. First, the table had a little orchid flower (real). The silver was wrapped in nice cloth napkins (do not believe we saw paper napkins anywhere on the ship). For breakfast, cups, creamer in small silver pitcher, and water glasses on the table. Enough servers that you do not have to wait for coffee or juice but a minute. Even if you did not get a window seat, you have a nice view anywhere you sat. One side did open about 30 minutes before the other. It is buffet but they serve you (at all meals) instead of you having to dish it up. They have menus for each section as to what they are serving. I had Eggs Benedict (excellent) several mornings. Omelettes, scrambled, fried, poached, etc. They are very well trained, not long lines serving you. We had prime rib and steak there also. We ate most of all our meals there. As good or better than dining room. The dining room is nice and very good service, we just like our choices better on Lido. There is a pizza stand on the aft deck, on main pool deck is Dive In, hamburger and Nathan hot dogs (all good) with other stuff. You need to watch the time on serving as pizza closes at 8 pm, Dive In at 5pm, Lido closes at 8pm and usually opens back up for an hour at 10:30 pm. In room (room service is 24 hours, with a limited menu. Entertainment. We saw a couple of shows. The musical one was very good, the comedian was ok. We did not go to others or bars. Went into the casino a few times and sadly left them a good bit of money. I think most everyone was contributing also!! Went to a Q & A with Captain Pieter Bant that was most informative and enjoyable. Our ports were Key West (been before several times) that we just walked around Mallory Square. Had to ride the free shuttle as we were docked at the far port. The drivers were courteous and provided some information going and coming so you get to see a little bit of Key West. Next port was Santo Tomas, Guatemala. Stayed on ship as this was an industrial port. Had buses to go to tours. Did not find it attractive or inviting. Next, Roatan, Honduras. Been there before but got off and rode the Magical Flying Chairs (lift chairs to beach). On the ship $12 a person, unlimited times, if purchased off ship, $14. Takes about 8-10 minutes to go over to beach. Great views! Easy to get on and off. We round continuous for 4 complete trips!! Back to ship. Costa Maya. We stayed on the ship. Very long pier!!! Fine for the young ones but hard on older people, or with physical problems. Plus they are working to make it longer. Not much there for tours. Easy to get elevators (except when luggage coming on), Disembarking was not too great. People were coming down to the hallway by gangplank and it got so congested they just let everyone go at once. Would take this ship again but on a different cruise with other ports. It is an older ship more like the tradition cruising. We loved it. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
We loved the food and the food staff and cleaning staff!!!! They were most excellent! The private excursions were wonderful! I know whoever is reading this may not feel the need to know how much effort it takes to save up enough money to ... Read More
We loved the food and the food staff and cleaning staff!!!! They were most excellent! The private excursions were wonderful! I know whoever is reading this may not feel the need to know how much effort it takes to save up enough money to take a family vacation for 6, however more than the cost is the expectation of having a fun experience, and not having any worries. After all that is what a vacation is for most of us. That being said, the last think we ever imagined was being awoken by rushing water flooding our bathroom and cabin at 6 am the first morning of our cruise. My husband told me to get up and call the desk for assistance. I immediately told the receptionist that we had ( Rushing! Water! ) coming out of the wall and toilet! She calumny said okay I’ll send someone down to your room. As gallons of water continued to rush in for several minutes my husband told me to call again as he was looking for a some shut off valve or a solution to stop the water. I called again and received the same receptionist who than said “ can you put down a towel ?”) I literally laughed at her and said we need plumbers and engineers for the water is gushing and a towel is not going to do anything! We threw down all the towels we could find and gathered all our items off the wet ground and left our room. We finally found someone in the hall way and they said “ wow “ we have a broken pipe we need someone quick” in broke. English he said “ I call my boss!”. We left and went to the reception area where they told us they were taking care of the situation. At several times through out the day we asked for updates which we received all kinds of conflicting information. Our kids room down the hall had no water and several guest did not have cold water only extremely hot water and flooding too, not as bad as our room for the leak was next to us in a utility room. This was the gala night and we missed it for we had no way to take showers or change. Around 5 pm my husband got very upset and demanded to speak with someone. The receptionist then said “your room is ready now you may go into it”. We went to our room and the floor was soaking wet for they never even looked around the Coach area or the bed area. All that water settled. So again we went back to the reception desk where we finally talked to Byonka. She said she would have the room ready that night . We wanted another room but they insisted the ship was booked. Byonka said that the room would be shampooed and disinfected and deodorized the next day for we they said they could not shampoo the floor wet. The next day we got ready and left the ship thinking we would return to a dry room. No! We returned to a room that had a horrific smell which Byonka refereed to as a “ wet dog smell” she laughed thinking we would find that funny. No, it was not funny. She said she would have the room serviced while the ship treated us to the “ pinnacle grill” and that she would have some type of compensation for the hassle. Thinking once again that we would return to a room in which was decent the floors were still wet and did smell better . We asked for Byonka again but they kept saying she was on break... several times they said she was unavailable throughout the next few days. The next morning the smell was back and we literally had to cover our noses with the sheets to breath comfortably through out the night. The food and the lower staff ( room cleaners and food staff were phenomenal!) we understand things happen but the way the upper officers and the front desk treated us was horrible! No communication, miscommunication and promises unkept. The whole cabin stay was horrible! The ship is old and in need of so many repairs! The thing that really made us upset was the nonchalant attitude and a mediocre compensation of a $300 credit! Really, we had to use public showers and bathrooms and we were without our a room for half the time on the ship and the other half we had to endure smelly rotting drywall, wet carpet and wet dog smell! Having no rooms available to cover unexpected incidents on such an old dilapidated ship is a poor management decision. Then not compensating adequately, and treating us as if this is a normal expected occurrence have us feeling infuriated and never trusting this line again. We have been on 7 cruises ( not a lot compared to many) but we will stick with the lines that treated us well and with a sense of urgency. We want a reasonable compensation for all the stress and inconvenience and not being able to use our cabin. Called customer service relations and they would only give $200 future cruise credit with them. No thank you! Never again! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
We needed a relaxing all-inclusive getaway but wanted a good value too. We wanted a smaller ship for a calmer experience, so the 7-day HAL cruise catering to "mature crowds" departing from Tampa, a six-hour drive away, fit the ... Read More
We needed a relaxing all-inclusive getaway but wanted a good value too. We wanted a smaller ship for a calmer experience, so the 7-day HAL cruise catering to "mature crowds" departing from Tampa, a six-hour drive away, fit the bill for us, a couple in their late 30s and early 40s. We booked directly through HAL online, picked the cheapest room, and didn't regret it. I don't know how room assignments are made, but we lucked out with a room in the middle of the boat, smack in the middle between the two stairwells, and on the 2nd level, so we felt minimal rocking except on the one choppy open sea day with 10 foot waves. The room was spacious with plenty of closet and drawer space. Don't throw anything but toilet paper down the toilet; it will clog! However, the cabin stewards and staff were always super responsive and fixed anything when I reported the toilet or TV not working. Each evening you get a paper copy of the next day's itinerary. Use the ship's internal WiFi to access the Navigator web app for the entire week's worth of daily itineraries to help plan your day. We enjoyed the included dining options without any additional drink package. We could choose from continental, burgers, hot dogs, tacos, or pizza at any time. The Lido Market is the "cafeteria" for lack of a better word, open for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and also snack times in mid-morning, mid-afternoon, and late night, plus 24 hour access to coffee, tea, and water. Bring your water bottle! Main stage productions were Postmodern Jukebox (new songs in class styles), Bengt Washburn (comedian), Joseph Rehm (illusionist), and a viewing of Planet Earth set to live music performed by the onboard musicians: one major production a night. The small acts every evening included a string quartet, jazz trio, and the piano guy Jeff Warren who was incredibly entertaining and personable. Also a movie viewing each night starting with a few recent blockbusters and then some older family films suitable to the holiday season. We also enjoyed the America's Test Kitchen cooking demonstration. We could take away paper copies of the recipes and tip sheets, which was pretty cool. We didn't book any of the shore excursions through HAL EXC tours. I think they would've been fun. Of the four ports of call (Key West, Santo Tomas de Castillo [Guatemala], Roatan Mahogany Bay [Honduras], and Costa Maya [Mexico]), we only booked an excursion at Santo Tomas at the port with Happy Fish Travel: a 5-hour river tour including lunch for $50 USD per person. Since it's a commercial port, there's a central building set up for local vendors to sell handicrafts. You can and should bargain. Roatan Mahogany Bay and Costa Maya are both mature cruise ports that have plenty of things to do if you're looking to lounge about. You can also book excursions on-site. I think Costa Maya has more to do. I read a lot of these reviews before going, and I think you have to take each review with a grain of salt. A cruise experience is so unique to the individual's preferences and standards. We weren't expecting to be treated like royalty, and we tried to accept each experience with an open mind. We thoroughly enjoyed this cruise and would ride HAL again, although we might try a different liner next to check out a different experience. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
With parents living in Tampa, this is a great port for us making it easy and convenient to get to and from the port. We embarked late intentionally avoiding having to wait to board. That plan paid off and we were through security and ... Read More
With parents living in Tampa, this is a great port for us making it easy and convenient to get to and from the port. We embarked late intentionally avoiding having to wait to board. That plan paid off and we were through security and onboard in 20 minutes after arrival. We traveled once again on Rotterdam one year after the "drydock" cruise. We were offered a fairly generous incentive after some issues the previous year. So we decided to try again, and this time the ship was in much better shape. Holland tends to attract a more mature group of people which could be good or bad depending on your circumstances. We prefer a more quiet cruise without competing with families and children in the common areas. If we wanted to travel with our children or grandchildren we would not choose Rotterdam, but probably a newer Holland ship with more offerings appealing to families. Even though Rotterdam is an older ship, it's in pretty good shape. We liked all dining options and made dining choices based upon the daily menu or our mood. Lido is still great for quick breakfasts, lunches or dinners and offers a good place to meet up with new friends. You can find just about anything in the Lido with all of the options and choices would be similar to what you might see in a diner. The Lido is a large scale operation and I think the staff does very well considering the high number of people being served each meal. The Main Dining room offers served meals and menu options are posted outside the doors well before dinner. We like to go to the Canneletto and Pinnacle at least a few times during our cruises and find the food to be very good at both. The modest additional cost is well worth it. One of the best values is dining at Pinnacle for lunch. The staff and service in all of the dining areas was excellent. This was a pretty laid back trip for us and we only did three excursions this time. One excursion was through Holland and the other two were private excursions. I would choose a ship excursion for a short port day eliminating any worries about getting back in time. There were some great happy hour type events that we enjoyed and met up with others after returning from excursions. It was a surprise to be served some nice appetizers during these happy hour specials. We had a minor incident with our room, but it was promptly addressed. We were offered a letter of apology for the inconvenience and were given a complementary meal in Canaletto. We chose our room in advance on the Promenade level so that we had quick access to the deck for walking. The Promenade deck on Rotterdam is quite wide allowing many people to walk at the same time. The Fitness Center has good programs and the equipment and space is well appointed. If I had to point to areas of improvement, it would be Entertainment and Enrichment, and this would mirror other reviewers. We've been to so many Microsoft Windows and America's Test Kitchen classes in the past, so there seemed less for us to do. I think more daytime enrichment is needed especially during sea days. If you are the type looking for endless excitement and things to do, I don't think this was the ship for that. However, when talking to other people, they did comment positively on stage shows, bar entertainment and dancing. I think you can make your own fun wherever you go. Most people we met were on the ship to relax, and that is what we were there for. Upon arrival in Tampa, we didn't make arrangements for any transfers, but there was no need for worry. There were several offerings for reasonable prices. We grabbed Super Shuttle at the last minute for a great price. For us, Rotterdam and the itinerary offered a pretty good balance, and the ship size is just right. We would travel on the Rotterdam again based upon this experience. Read Less
Rotterdam Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.1
Dining 3.0 3.9
Entertainment 3.0 3.3
Public Rooms 4.0 4.2
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.7
Family 3.0 3.7
Shore Excursion 3.0 3.5
Enrichment 4.0 3.3
Service 4.0 4.3
Value For Money 4.0 3.8
Rates 4.0 4.1

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