Jump to content
Cruise Critic Community
danacline

A return to Holland America after 16 years.

Recommended Posts

We last cruised the Volendam back in 2002. Since then, we have been on Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Disney, and NCL. When my sister-in-law expressed an interest in an Alaska cruise, a check of itinerary and prices pointed us to the Eurodam, round-trip from Seattle. We ended up in 3 veranda cabins (wife and I, SIL and her husband, nephew and his fairly-new bride). Us old folks got cabins next to each other and had the steward open up the barrier, while the newlyweds were on the other side of the ship.

 

The end result was a wonderful cruise, but I don't think HAL ships fit our lifestyle any more.

 

We had rain in Sitka, but all the other ports were either sunny, partially cloudy, or occasional drizzle. Glacier Bay was sunny all morning. Apparently this was a major contrast to the previous week, where they were fogged in and couldn't see much.

 

We saw sea otters, a bear, and once a pod of about 8 whales surfaced about 100 feet off our balcony.

 

Sadly, the chef that does the hands-on cooking classes was absent for our week (8/16-8/25), so there were no classes. There were a couple of demos - one on salmon, one on grilled cheese, one on "meat-less Mondays".

 

We were looking forward to trivia. On previous HAL cruises, we played and won Dam mugs (M-Dam for Maasdam, V-Dam for Volendam, and R-Dam for Ryndam). This fit the initials of 3 of our 4 kids. Sadly, there were no Dam mugs as trivia prizes. In fact, no prizes at all. Also, no Dam mugs in the gift shop. Sadly, I have to deduct points for this.

 

My nephew's wife has various food allergies - gluten, dairy, soy, peanuts, but they did not contact the cruise line in advance about this (Important: People, please read your cruise contract to get info like this in advance). She did talk with the staff as soon as we got on board, and our waiter Aldi and assistant David were able to help provide her with dining room dinners she could eat. They definitely went above and beyond, and we made sure to tell the Food and Beverage Director how helpful they were (when we saw him in an elevator).

 

All in all, the food was great. We had a set of menus from the cruise two weeks before, so had an idea what was available. About the only thing missing was biscuits and gravy for breakfast.

 

The entertainment, sparse as it was, was good. The comedian was excellent, and the magician also good (but too much dancing, not enough magic). Sadly, they scheduled the crew show for 10:30 at night, and I doubt very many people attended.

 

Unlike our previous HAL cruises, this ship was dead after about 9 at night. BB Kings had a good crowd, but the Crow's Nest was empty. Only a dozen or so people showed up in the Lido for the late-night feeding (10:30 - 11:30).

 

We had a roll call of about 36 people, but only my wife and I showed up at the Meet & Greet party. That was disappointing, so I posted on the roll call that the Captain showed up with a case of Champagne and we each got a bottle to take to our cabin. We'll see if anyone complains.

 

After sailing exclusively on Carnival, HAL is now my sister-in-law's favorite cruise line. I think my wife and I want something a little more lively, more like Royal or Princess. We probably will end up cruising HAL again, as we like their Panama Canal partial transit itinerary, and their ships can fit through the old locks.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

How did you like Alaska? HAL shines best as a travel cruise line. Keep that in mind when you do any further bookings.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you for your review.

Sorry to hear that HAL no longer really interests you -- but as you say -- you will probably cruise on HAL again.

There have been a lot of changes over the last number of years. We have sailed with HAL since 1996 and the crew show was always at 11 PM. We would watch it the next day on the TV.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for sharing your cruise experiences with us.

 

I am really surprised by your Meet and Greet turn out, especially since the Captain came (which is rare these days). Out turn outs have always been good. that's very disappointing.

 

that is really a shame.

 

How busy the ship is at night really depends on the demographic on board and how busy port days are IMO.

 

Most of my cruises, the Crow's Nest is hopping. But, I haven't done Alaska so I can't comment on an experience there.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the update. I have always been hesitant because I heard that Holland is more for "Seniors". I am very drawn to their itineraries and prices. I am trying them for the first time for New Year's Eve out of Ft. Lauderdale. I figured it's worth a shot. I am kind of worried about lack of night life and what to do on ship on sea days. I started a roll call months ago and only two have responded. You can hear crickets. I am told that Holland is more UK so that is the reason. I think not. I will post a review after my HAL experience.

 

 

 

We last cruised the Volendam back in 2002. Since then, we have been on Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Disney, and NCL. When my sister-in-law expressed an interest in an Alaska cruise, a check of itinerary and prices pointed us to the Eurodam, round-trip from Seattle. We ended up in 3 veranda cabins (wife and I, SIL and her husband, nephew and his fairly-new bride). Us old folks got cabins next to each other and had the steward open up the barrier, while the newlyweds were on the other side of the ship.

 

The end result was a wonderful cruise, but I don't think HAL ships fit our lifestyle any more.

 

We had rain in Sitka, but all the other ports were either sunny, partially cloudy, or occasional drizzle. Glacier Bay was sunny all morning. Apparently this was a major contrast to the previous week, where they were fogged in and couldn't see much.

 

We saw sea otters, a bear, and once a pod of about 8 whales surfaced about 100 feet off our balcony.

 

Sadly, the chef that does the hands-on cooking classes was absent for our week (8/16-8/25), so there were no classes. There were a couple of demos - one on salmon, one on grilled cheese, one on "meat-less Mondays".

 

We were looking forward to trivia. On previous HAL cruises, we played and won Dam mugs (M-Dam for Maasdam, V-Dam for Volendam, and R-Dam for Ryndam). This fit the initials of 3 of our 4 kids. Sadly, there were no Dam mugs as trivia prizes. In fact, no prizes at all. Also, no Dam mugs in the gift shop. Sadly, I have to deduct points for this.

 

My nephew's wife has various food allergies - gluten, dairy, soy, peanuts, but they did not contact the cruise line in advance about this (Important: People, please read your cruise contract to get info like this in advance). She did talk with the staff as soon as we got on board, and our waiter Aldi and assistant David were able to help provide her with dining room dinners she could eat. They definitely went above and beyond, and we made sure to tell the Food and Beverage Director how helpful they were (when we saw him in an elevator).

 

All in all, the food was great. We had a set of menus from the cruise two weeks before, so had an idea what was available. About the only thing missing was biscuits and gravy for breakfast.

 

The entertainment, sparse as it was, was good. The comedian was excellent, and the magician also good (but too much dancing, not enough magic). Sadly, they scheduled the crew show for 10:30 at night, and I doubt very many people attended.

 

Unlike our previous HAL cruises, this ship was dead after about 9 at night. BB Kings had a good crowd, but the Crow's Nest was empty. Only a dozen or so people showed up in the Lido for the late-night feeding (10:30 - 11:30).

 

We had a roll call of about 36 people, but only my wife and I showed up at the Meet & Greet party. That was disappointing, so I posted on the roll call that the Captain showed up with a case of Champagne and we each got a bottle to take to our cabin. We'll see if anyone complains.

 

After sailing exclusively on Carnival, HAL is now my sister-in-law's favorite cruise line. I think my wife and I want something a little more lively, more like Royal or Princess. We probably will end up cruising HAL again, as we like their Panama Canal partial transit itinerary, and their ships can fit through the old locks.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, we loved Alaska, and other than the lack of night life, love HAL as well. However, most cruises for the rest of my life will not be the 7-day Caribbean ones. We're looking at stuff like another Med cruise, Antarctica, Panama Canal, and a European river cruise. HAL's Antarctica is 22 days, while Princess and Celebrity have 2-week cruises there. I only have 3 weeks vacation a year, so the 22 day one is out.

 

No, the Captain did not come to the Meet & Greet - just me and my wife. I posted on the roll call that the Captain came with champagne, so we'll see if I get any response from the roll call.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am cruising on HAL again after 20 years. DH has never been on HAL. We have sailed Princess, RCCL, and Carnival in the past. The itinerary on the Nieuw Amsterdam was too good to pass up. Sorry you didn't have a good experience.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you for reviewing your cruise.

 

Let us know if if you have a response to your story of the Captain's Champagne.!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You can pre-purchase a Dam mug online to be delivered to your stateroom. It's under Gifts and Indulgences.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Pre-purchase? Guess I should have looked around on the web site more. Hopefully I can "post-purchase" and have it shipped.

 

No, we didn't have a bad experience - it was a cruise, after all, and very relaxing. I am just used to having more to do.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you for posting. We return after 5 years, the only reason: itinerary! In the meantime, we cruised on ships that are just as laid back as HAL, all for the itinerary and for the superior food.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We had a similar experience, first sailed HAL (Ryndam) in 2002, then strayed to other lines (NCL, RCI, Carnival) for the next several years.

 

We came back to HAL last year (Oosterdam) and loved the experience so much we've booked Eurodam for this coming December.

 

For us, we feel like we've finally 'come back home', and that HAL is now the best fit for us, for a variety of reasons. At this point we don't think we'll be sailing any other lines in the foreseeable future. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Unfortunately, the cooking demonstrations by the chef on board is a thing of the past.

 

It has been replaced "America's Test Kitchen" which gives banal demonstrations for those who have limited cooking abilities and culinary tastes (i.e.; one statement by the demonstrator that basil is an exotic spice that one should be adventurous and try).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Enjoyed reading your cruise report for Alaska . We have been there 5 times ;but ,never on a HAL ship . We have also done the interior of Alaska on our own & it was a wonderful adventure .

 

In general we also found HAL's roll Calls dull & unexciting & we are almost 80 . We are accustomed to large active Roll Calls like Celebrity usually gets . That being said we live in the San diego area & we now sail mostly HAL & Princess because RCL & Celebrity ships have not been sailing from both the San diego or the San Pedro ports . just recently the Celebrity Eclipse is doing a Hawaii cruise from San Pedro . However ,we own Carnival corp stock & the on board credits we get ,we favor Carnival corp cruise lines . We even booked a 10 night Southern Caribbean cruise on Koningsdam for next March & we are doing the 7 :D Eurodam to the Mexican riviera this December . The Star Princess is booked for the Hawaii cruise December 2019 . :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As an aside, owning 100 shares of Carnival gets you benefits on Carnival, Holland America, and Princess (plus their other brands whose names I can't remember). 100 of RCL gets benefits on Royal and Celebrity, and their other lines. Same with NCL stock. However, 100 shares of Disney doesn't get anything.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We first cruised on HAL when in our early 50s (Maasdam) and had a wonderful Baltic Cruise. But we felt like we were on a floating nursing home and did not come back to HAL for more then a dozen years (we have cruised on 13 other lines). When we returned to HAL we noticed something very interesting, "Everyone seemed to be much younger!" After a few minutes we realized that this is all relative :).

 

Hank

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Thank you for posting. We return after 5 years, the only reason: itinerary! In the meantime, we cruised on ships that are just as laid back as HAL, all for the itinerary and for the superior food.

 

Laid back but younger passengers and the superior food refers to the other ships. :cool:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • SAIL-AWAY GIVEAWAY - Enter Now for a Chance to Win a 7-day Cruise for Two
      • Forum Assistance
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Member Cruise Reviews
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...