Our travel agent was arranging this cruise for her friends nd clients and asked us to sail with them. The price for our Signature Suite was very attractive and we have sailed HAL and enjoy their cruises.
We found the Nieuw Amsterdam to ... Read More
Our travel agent was arranging this cruise for her friends nd clients and asked us to sail with them. The price for our Signature Suite was very attractive and we have sailed HAL and enjoy their cruises.
We found the Nieuw Amsterdam to be very, very crowded in the public areas. Our suite was spacious and very comfortable. We loved the Lincoln Center group and attended all their performances. Also enjoyed the other music venues, BB King and the dueling piano guys. Food in the dining room was quite good and we also enjoyed our meals in the Pinnacle Grill and Caneletto. Morning in room service for coffee was timely every day.
We had reasonably nice weather so we were able to enjoy the aft pool area most days. We enjoyed swimming at the beach just off the ship at Grand Turk and our beach time at Half Moon Cay.
What I didn’t like:
~the $30 pp per day ($60 for the cabin) “hold” that was placed on our credit card the minute we stepped on the ship. This is a new policy with HAL.
~the constant nickle and diming you ( servers selling $5 bottles of water in the dining room while I am eating breakfast, upcharges for lobster in the Pinnacle Grill where you have already paid a $35 pp charge just to dine there, etc.) Read Less
MDH and I have been on more than 10 Celebrity cruises but began to feel like we were no longer the preferred demographic for Celebrity (music and entertainment were taking on an "edgier vibe"). We had been eyeing Holland America ... Read More
MDH and I have been on more than 10 Celebrity cruises but began to feel like we were no longer the preferred demographic for Celebrity (music and entertainment were taking on an "edgier vibe"). We had been eyeing Holland America for a while but were reluctant to take the leap because of their smoking policy and because we had invested so much into Celebrity. When Holland America banned smoking on the verandas we decided to give it a go. We are so glad we did!!!!
There is so much to be said but in short...the cruise was fabulous.
WHAT WE LOVED:
- Friendliness of the entire crew. Every staff person (from officers to window washers) exchanged pleasantries when we passed and when we had a question every effort was made to find the answer. Some went above and beyond remembering names and details shared. They are in the right business! HAL has hired well.
- Decor. We love the classic styling with dark woods and neutral palette. The art was tasteful and very interesting to see.
- Hydro Pool. We purchased passes to use the facility for the week. Worth every penny. Not crowded, very relaxing and felt like we were being pampered.
- Pinnacle Grill and Sel de Mer. I appreciate the fact that people resent having to pay for meals on a cruise but we LOVED our experience in both. The service, ambience and food were fabulous.
- Music (EVERYWHERE) - From the solo piano in the Ocean Bar to the Music Walk (Billboard Onboard, BB Kings, Lincoln Center) to the music piped into the dining and bar areas and even the elevator - we loved it ALL. Every live entertainer was exceptionally skilled and we both feel that we would have been willing to pay for concerts by any one of them.
- Cabana with Butler on Half Moon Cay - Definitely an indulgence but having done it once we would do it again! The service was phenomenal, the setting was postcard perfect and the food/beverage was terrific.
- EXC Lounge and Ocean Bar - Nicely appointed spaces to relax, read and people watch
- Beverage Service...Everywhere - Loved the fact that there were staff members assigned to areas of the Lido Buffet seating area that assisted in seating people and then provided beverage service for coffee, iced tea and lemonade, etc. The bar service was also prompt and efficient. We have noticed on other cruises that as beverage packages became popular bar service deteriorated. This was NOT true on this cruise. We wanted a drink someone materialized and made sure we got one.
- Direct Luggage Service - We had never heard of this service before but what a service it is! We put our luggage outside of our stateroom the night before disembarkation and did not touch it again until our final destination airport. FANTASTIC!!
WHAT WE DIDN'T LOVE:
- Communication - There were a few occasions that we were asked for information about excursions or disembarkation but the information did not come back. We didn't know where to be or when.
- The Main Stage - Too loud, temperature was too hot. While the talent was there, the production was not to our liking. Didn't live up to the hype of a big production.
Clearly we had a great time. Looking forward to a cruise to Alaska in June on the Koningsdam. Read Less
This is a review of the Oosterdam's 2/2/19 Tropical Caribbean cruise. We chose this cruise for the itinerary, four ports in the Caribbean that we had not previously visited, as well as the competitive cost that allowed us to step up ... Read More
This is a review of the Oosterdam's 2/2/19 Tropical Caribbean cruise. We chose this cruise for the itinerary, four ports in the Caribbean that we had not previously visited, as well as the competitive cost that allowed us to step up to a Signature Suite, when we typically purchase a balcony stateroom. We, a 50ish married couple, are experienced cruisers who have sailed on Celebrity, NCL, Carnival, RCCL and Princess in the past, but this was our first with HAL. While I am only giving 3 stars, please note that I am a rather picky reviewer and this is really a 3.5 star review with the positives definitely outweighing the negatives.
Embarkation was flawless, very quick and painless despite showing up right around the 1PM start time when I thought it would be crowded. Our bags were brought to our stateroom quickly. First impressions were that the ship is clearly older, but in generally good repair. The ship is classy and traditional. It was much nicer than the RCCL Jewel of the Seas that is of a similar vintage, on which we took a somewhat disappointing cruise a couple of years back. What stood out from a design perspective right off was that the ship lacked a bit of drama due to no central atrium as most ships seem to have these days, but I liked the rear dining and bar area where we spent sail away; larger than is typical in my experience. I strongly prefer ships with wraparound promenade decks and the Oosterdam's traditional teak one did not disappoint.
The cabin was quite nice, while it was renovated last year there was a lack of information on just how far the renovations had gone. I would say that perhaps 50% of the cabin was updated with significant original elements left intact. So, there was a mix of the older light-colored wood and the newer darker wood. The shower and tub seemed original but the hardware appeared new. The couch seemed new but was already showing some wear, and the carpet was new and in good condition. The toilet was new, but the flush control mounted on the wall was old and cracked. There was some visible rust in the balcony area, but not too much and overall the balcony was great. The bed was very comfortable and the TV the largest I've experienced at sea. The separate shower would not drain properly so we just used the tub which also had a shower. The toilet stopped working briefly but was fixed promptly. All in all the cabin was a plus, and good value, and I would book it again without hesitation
One positive thing that really stood out, I think as a mixture of calm weather, the cabin's central location and perhaps the ship itself, but this was the smoothest and quietest cruise in memory when in the stateroom. Very little motion overall until post-Grand Turk when the ship hit the Atlantic unless one was up in the EXC lounge or far astern, and even then while noticeable it was minimal compared to many past cruises.
We did not attend any shows in the main hall, as they were not to our tastes. We did attend two shows at BB KIng's and two at Lincoln Center and found them to be above average to very good. We also enjoyed the daily trivia games in one of the bars, and some of the available games as well.
A thing I absolutely hated about Oosterdam was the horrible piped in music in the common areas. Just awful, probably heard 2-3 decent songs all week. I don't know who they think they catering too, but it's neither their older clientele nor anyone of any age with any discerning taste whatsoever. This is typically a weak point of cruises, but Oosterdam took it to a new low.
Dining was the big negative for us on this cruise. I would put the Oosterdam, despite its top 10 ranking among mid-sized ships in this area per CC, as below average. The buffet was slow, and I think the fact that they serve you vs. you serving yourself on many items is a big culprit there. The buffet staff often seemed overwhelmed, frequently running out of coffee cups and being MIA for drink orders. The buffet offered a relatively meager variety of food choices, and hours of operation were slightly more limited than some other lines. Quality was spotty there as well as in the MDR. In the buffet the best options were the pasta bar, the omelettes and the salad bar. The MDR service was good but the food was poor to good, never great. On two occasions I didn't bother eating more than a couple of bites of the MDR entrees they were just so underwhelming.
Dive In and the Taco Bar were nice pluses, definitely above average for what they are.
Rudis sel de Mer was pretty good if perhaps not quite worth the $49 tab. Still, I'd book it again. Pinnacle was a disappointment, the ribeye simply wasn't of true premium steakhouse quality and the sides were just OK. The lobster bisque was pretty bad.
We hit all the bars multiple times and had good service. Beer selection was lacking as is typical but they did have several IPAs on offer so that was a plus. Drinks were weak, but they always are at sea unfortunately.
Service was excellent throughout, probably our best in all of our cruises except for the buffet area and the outdoor seating adjacent. Our cabin steward Gede was outstanding. I can totally see why many people return to HAL primarily for the service as it was clearly a notch above in most areas.
Disembarkation was completely painless, HAL really has this process down. We used the service where HAL checks your bags and gives you boarding passes in advance and it was worth it. We would have been at the airport in time for a 9:30 AM flight had we been daring enough to book such a time, though as it was we had a lot of time to kill.
Key West was a great port. Plenty to do on your own. Lots of options. Amber Cove was fun with the Iguana Mama City tour that included the cable car, fort, cigar factory, rum factory and a good lunch. Grand Turk was a relaxing day at Jack's Shack surrounded by friendly local beach mutts and I would do it again. Half Moon Key was just OK, with a crowded beach, expensive clamshell rental and poor food at the barbecue. Definitely bring water shoes to the beaches in both Grand Turk and Half Moon Cay.
All in all it was a very good cruise and HAL has a lot going for it. I liked the ship overall, the itinerary and the service. The value was good. While I would book another HAL cruise again if the itinerary and value were standouts like this time around, there were enough negatives that Celebrity is still preferred everything else being equal, with HAL and Princess my second choices. HAL was a better experience than NCL, Carnival or RCCL for sure however, and unless you are as picky about your food and your music as I am you will likely find the Oosterdam to be a great choice. Read Less
This was our 48th cruise overall, 8th HAL cruise and 5th in a Neptune Suite. It was casino rate promotion and at the time of booking we were informed it had to be a Guarantee and we couldn't select our Neptune Suite as we have been ... Read More
This was our 48th cruise overall, 8th HAL cruise and 5th in a Neptune Suite. It was casino rate promotion and at the time of booking we were informed it had to be a Guarantee and we couldn't select our Neptune Suite as we have been able to do previously with the casino rate bookings. I balked because I have some mobility issues and never book Guarantee cabins. The agent said she would send a message to the Inventory Dept. to let them know I needed a Neptune Suite between the forward and aft elevators. I also contacted the Special Needs Dept. to ask them for assistance in the cabin assignment.
We found out our Neptune Suite assignment a week before the cruise and it was in the most horrible place possible for me - 4180 way aft. I called HAL and was given the fax number to the Inventory Dept. and told to explain my situation and ask for another Neptune assignment. No change in our assignment. This greatly impacted my cruise in a negative way due to my issues getting around the ship even with a rollator. Also, the Neptune Suite was much smaller than the "regular" ones and with so much furniture we were constantly bumping into the bed or chairs.
Entertainment was marginal and no more singer/dancer production shows. The magician was so-so. Did enjoy the Lincoln Center Stage musicians. The female Billboard singer was horrible and couldn't carry a tune and loud. The male was okay. Best entertainment was the America's Test Kitchen programs. The casino was tiny and crowded, but good to me as I brought home all the casino cash I brought with me.
Everything I wanted to do was either forward or mid ship and I had difficulty navigating around.. Lesson learned: never book a HAL Guarantee again even after 3 contacts with HAL telling them of my mobility issues. We won't be sailing HAL again soon. Read Less
We needed a warm reprieve from the Canadian cold, and this was the perfect cruise. We loved the ports -especially Half Moon Cay. It helped that we had good weather! We took the conch trolley in Key West which was informative and fun. ... Read More
We needed a warm reprieve from the Canadian cold, and this was the perfect cruise. We loved the ports -especially Half Moon Cay. It helped that we had good weather! We took the conch trolley in Key West which was informative and fun. Otherwise, we enjoyed the pools and beaches onshore. The service onboard was friendly and attentive. We chose to read and rest, so we had no experience with the entertainment. The Main Dining Room food was good, with some items better than others. We enjoyed our dinner in Canaletto. Food choice in the Lido Market was varied and good. Of course, one should not expect mass-produced meals to be gourmet experiences! Like some others, we found our Verandah Stateroom to be comfortable, but the bathrooms do need to be updated. We are looking forward to our July cruise from Rotterdam to Boston and appreciate our contact with fellow CC cruisers for tour arrangements and advice. Read Less
My sister and I chose this cruise because it was a themed girlfriend getaway cruise with O Magazine and Oprah, so we knew it was going to be amazing! I have consistently found with HAL that something extraordinary happens when I cruise ... Read More
My sister and I chose this cruise because it was a themed girlfriend getaway cruise with O Magazine and Oprah, so we knew it was going to be amazing! I have consistently found with HAL that something extraordinary happens when I cruise this line! This cruise was no different.
First of all embarkation, we arrived at 1030 AM and were onboard by 11:45. Our cabin was not ready, but I was able to put my carry on bag in my cabin and we were off to have lunch and explore the ship! The ship is beautiful, with artwork all over that seemed to grab our attention and made us stop and think! I just loved the layout of the ship with many relaxing comfortable chairs to lounge around in. The only complaint I would have was the walking deck on the lower floor, the views were blocked by the lifeboats. However, the very top of the ship has a great jogging deck with unobstructed views.
The crew were friendly and very welcoming! The food was delicious! We really enjoyed sitting outside near the pool and had some great pizza and salads!
The entertainment was astounding. The world stage was incredible! I loved the Humanity show! Then there was all the fantastic O magazine specific presentations and workshops, all incredible! The highlights for me was the Supersoul Sunday presentation with Oprah and Tara Westover! What an unforgettable and inspiring thing to watch! Then there was the Conversation with Oprah! She is such an inspiration and I will be forever grateful I got to experience such a beautiful moment listening to Oprah with my sister! We also got to speak with Adam Glassman and he was very kind and personable! Then there was Gayle King who was everywhere, and was kind of to take hundreds of selfies with adoring fans! We saw her everywhere! The President of HAL, Orlando Ashford was out helping guests and getting the feedback on their experience on the ship! There was so many "WOW!" moments! Also, every night my sister and I couldn't wait to see what gift we were going to be given by the O magazine staff! Thank you to Jayne Jamison and her staff for being so thoughtful! We loved the little gifts and were very grateful for them all!
Half Moon Caye was just beautiful! The tendering process went well. We found a nice lounger under a tree near the "I wish I could stay here forever bar" and went off to join the incredible meditation on the beach with Tracee Stanley.
The beach BBQ was so good! I ate a delicious fish taco and a cheeseburger right there on the beach looking out at the pretty blue water and started humming a Jimmy Buffet song, Cheeseburger in paradise! So much fun! After that, we went for a swim, relaxed on the beach and hurried back to the ship! We didn't want to miss a thing!
Our last night we got to run around the ship in PJs! It was like participating in the biggest girl slumber party ever!
HAL is my favorite cruise line because they really fulfill their mission statement consistently. "Through excellence we create once-in-a-lifetime experiences, every time."
I completely agree and can't wait to see what the next HAL cruise has in store for me! Read Less
This was my 2nd Caribbean cruise and we brought 2 friends who had never cruised before. We wanted a smaller ship and also the likelihood of less young children, hence the choice of Holland America and the Oosterdam. I must say that the ... Read More
This was my 2nd Caribbean cruise and we brought 2 friends who had never cruised before. We wanted a smaller ship and also the likelihood of less young children, hence the choice of Holland America and the Oosterdam. I must say that the staff made the holiday the best, from the room service, sommelier, waiters, barkeeps, most of the folks were friendly, helpful and always willing to please - of course there's always a few exceptions so we just didn't go where we weren't treated the best!
Overall we enjoyed the amenities onboard but a few things could be improved upon. The evening show entertainment while very good was VERY SHORT!!! I realize there's 2 shows most nights but each show was less than an hour which fell quite short of a really entertaining event. We also found many of the daily activities somewhat bland - there was no events during the day by the pool, which we had experienced on our other cruise which was very enjoyable and entertaining. As well on the other cruise there were nightly, adult interactive games - like a newly wed game etc etc. which gets everyone involved. I did miss this sort of activity onboard.
So if you are looking for a really relaxing, laid back atmosphere, with little excitement, good food, drinks, and lots of rest - you will very much enjoy the Oosterdam.
I would likely specifically give a shout out to our room attendants - Astrid and Ali, our wonderful wait staff - Von and Tre, bartenders - Junar (Jose), Paula, Ryan; all lovely to deal with and deserve a big hand! Our cruise director Becca also deserves a shout out as she too certainly went above and beyond the duties of a 'traditional' cruise director!! The signature beverage package was very useful and the Pinnacle Grill dinner was fabulous!!
Overall a lovely holiday really - very enjoyable. Read Less
We selected this Authentic Cuba cruise in order to visit Cuba and have an “authentic” experience. If you wish to have that I suggest you visit Havana, not Cienfuegos. The men in our group were hoping to see the 50’s cars that have ... Read More
We selected this Authentic Cuba cruise in order to visit Cuba and have an “authentic” experience. If you wish to have that I suggest you visit Havana, not Cienfuegos. The men in our group were hoping to see the 50’s cars that have been maintained, none in Cienfuegos!
The Botanical Garden tour was also disappointing, the motor coach was in very good condition and the guide was excellent. However, this was NOT a Botanical Garden, more of a arboretum in poor condition. This portion of the tour was too long including the drive there and back; this left very little time to walk around the city. On a positive note, the chamber music type concert was excellent as was the lunch, although the hotelmwas not ready for us and this 15 minute delay took away even more time from city exploration.
The Veendam is in dire need of refurbishment, it is scheduled for April. The suite was shabby and the tub was extremely slow to drain; only one electrical outlet in the entire suite. The crew is excellent, friendly and helpful. Food quality overall was very good but inconsistent. The Lido cafe is understaffed considering they serve all of the food, it is not an open buffet.
Although this was a disappointing first experience with Holland America, overall we had a fun trip. The entertaiment ramged from very good to a excellents. Read Less
my sister-in-law and i 85 & 73 years old respectively) did an 11-night Caribbean cruise, both of us experienced cruises on 5 different lines, mostly HAL for her, Celebrity for me. The good: excellent crew, HAL does a terrific job in ... Read More
my sister-in-law and i 85 & 73 years old respectively) did an 11-night Caribbean cruise, both of us experienced cruises on 5 different lines, mostly HAL for her, Celebrity for me. The good: excellent crew, HAL does a terrific job in choosing and training employees from the captain to the people who clean & maintain. The ship is spotless. I was actually on the ship last May in Europe for 12 nights so could see some of the changes. Club Orange, I think they need to rethink that one. I counted people every time we went by, most I ever saw was 18 on the last night. My suggestion, at least put a sheer curtain so people walking by aren't staring at you and your meal. Lincoln Center Stage was wonderful, likewise BIllboard. Jason & Michael at the piano was just the best. Rolling Stone & BB King's was loud, very loud, and energetic. I'm a little bit of a foodie, I thought the food was pretty good. Beef dishes excellent. But maybe more vegetables would be nice.
Now the not-so-good. The theatre in concept is great, but you should not have to get there an hour early to get a seat. They either need to go back to 3 shows a night or hand out tickets. We stood for one show we got to 20 minutes before curtain, could not get near the so-called production show even though we were there 40 minutes before curtain tine. The shows themselves, pretty poor comedian, didn't care for singers. "Big" production show was a laser light show, 6 dancers, canned music. come on, HAL, you can do better. Read Less
We had a beautiful holiday with the Koningsdam. Our overall rating is average. The ship is good, but not perfect. And that is the reason why it is average rated by us. We had better cruises, like with NCL, Princess and Celebrity. We ... Read More
We had a beautiful holiday with the Koningsdam. Our overall rating is average. The ship is good, but not perfect. And that is the reason why it is average rated by us. We had better cruises, like with NCL, Princess and Celebrity. We expected already that the average age of the cruising people is more than 50 years. But I think that we were with 48/47 years one of the youngest on the ship. Not a real problem, but it was almost every day "excuse me, we will continue our walk, but can we pass you? You are blocking the way". Sometimes very irritating. But ok, if we want younger people, we have to cruise on NCL or Carnival etc. Our embarkation was really perfect. In 15 minutes we were already on board (with some help of a very nice man from HAL ;-) ). Our first impression of the ship was good, but it was not glamerous. It is not the "WOW"-effect. There is no attrium with a creature, lightning or other things that gives the WOW. It is standard. This is also in the corridor to the rooms. It is standard. No beatiful paintings or prints. The stairs to the different floors are nice with beautiful paintings or art. When we entered the room (6010), we were suprised. There is a lot of space in the room. Beautiful bathroom, very good bed, a lot of storage, nice balcony. But not really clean. We saw spots on the door, mirrors etc. And the worst thing, the climate-control. The first days it looked that the temperature of the room was not cool, but the display of the control was marked with "cool". We went to the reception and they promised to help this. But after one day nothing was changed. The temperature in the room was too high, worser in the night. Went again back to the reception, they promised again to help. But nothing, even no reaction from them. And surprise, surprise, last evening the temperature of the room was finally COLD! We think that there was a problem with the climate-controle in our place of the ship, but why didnt the reception mention this? By the way, we have send now a complaint to the HAL as we were not happy with this situation!
The evening-program was very linked to the people of the USA. Rock and Roll, Blues, pop music. Suprising as the average of people was high! I didnt know that people of 80/90 years like rock and roll....we didnt hahahaha...it was much to loud! And the shows in the theather....really BAD!!! The dance-show, what was this? The BBC-film with live music is ok, but live??? No no, it is some musicians playing with the music-tape from the BBC. Also the other shows we visited were bad (we have very good experiences with the NCL and Celebrity).
Food in restaurant was good. Our waiter was ok, the wine-sommelier was slow sometimes. The second glass of wine was mostly after our diner! Meat was very good, but the fish was sometimes fat (looked like it was cooked in oil?). And also here, it was not really clean. The chairs were dirty, the walls were dirty of red wine?? Variaty of food was ok, but we had better experiences with other cruises. Our package of drink was EXCELLENT! 15 drinks a day with a limit of 9 dollar each drink. But most drinks were less than 9 dollar (cocktails, coffees, refreshments etc). Only the choiche of wine was very low with the limit of 9 dollar.
We dont like to eat in the buffet-restaurant. So we did this only 2 times in our cruise. Food was ok, but difficult to see which food you could choose. There are no good signs explaining what is for example on the sandwich. Buffet restaurant was mostly very busy.
Swimmingpool is nice. And as it was mostly good weather the roof was open. Otherwise it was too hot to stay there. But to sun on the decks it was difficult. You had to pick up your own sun bed, mostly they were blocked with a belt. And places to sun on the decks are not really nice. This can be improved for sure!
We did some excursions organized by HAL and some organized by other company. The HAL experience with excursions was good. And most surprising, you could immediately go outside (not waiting for half our in the theather). And also the start-time of excursions, very good. Not 8 o clock, but mostly after 9 (mmmm longer sleep). We had a very bad experience with the border of the Virgin Islands. On every visit we had ever done on a island, with all our cruised, we never had to show our ID. But yes, it is USA, TRUMP-country. We had to show our ID to enter the ship. Our ship-card was not enough. It looked like that we were criminals, unbelievable! Unpolite people of this border-people! Yes we forgot to bring our ID, but to be rude to us. With help of some HAL people we could go back to the ship, to take our ID's and to show this to this rude border-people I hope if these 2 guys ever visit Netherlands they never will accepted by our border!!!!
And now the best of our trip. The DUTCH CAFE!!! Many thanks for Pim, Jehan and Andre. What a trio! Always a smile, from 7am till 9pm! And lovely Dutch food, snacks, beer etc. Normally we dont like to go to Dutch cafe's outside the Netherlands, we want to have the experience of the country that we visit. But this was so excellent! It was a pleasure to meet these 3 guys and to visit the cafe every day to eat perfect food and lovely beers! Thanks, thanks, thanks!!!
The disembarkation went very good. And again, thanks for the 3 guys of the Dutch Cafe. We enjoyed in the morning the coffee, water and waited till we could disembark in the Dutch Cafe. And before this, it was even possible to have breakfast in the restaurant. WOW! It went so fast, it was so good organized! Read Less