Jump to content
Cruise Critic Community
bornfreenowexpensive

My first and last cruise on Holland America

Recommended Posts

We sailed to Alaska from Seattle for 14 nights on the Zaandam. We have previously sailed Carnival (1), Regency (1), Norwegian (3) and Oceania (4).

 

Our room was nice, our cabin attendant was lovely and attentive. The ship was clean and furnishing were nice. The itinerary was fine. The price was very reasonable.

 

The food was sometimes good, and usually ill-prepared and uneatable. This was both in the main dining room and the buffet upstairs. The orange juice tasted like powdered Tang, and the coffee was so weak you could almost see through it. Sometimes meat was so rare it was raw, and when sent back, it came back like shoe leather. Mushroom omelettes had mushrooms floating in lots of liquid. Vegetables were overcooked.

 

Several people in our group of 7 have celiac disease. It was important to sit at the same table with the same wait staff for all dinners, so that the correct gluten free meals could be ordered. It took 4 nights to get this arranged, and that only after a discussion with the dining room manager.

 

There were very few on board activities that didn't involve a fee of some sort. Very few lectures or educational activities. Movies were shown during the dinner hour.

 

I told all of this to the powers that be midway through the cruise. They, of course, are unable to change the situation because poor management starts at the top down.

 

My last Holland America cruise. Someone else can have my cabin.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm so sorry to hear this about your trip. I was on the same Cruise the first two weeks in July and had the exact opposite experience. My travel buddy is also celiac and HAL is wonderful with her gluten-free requests. We had wonderful meals, not a bad one in the whole 2 weeks.

 

Again, sorry to hear this, hopefully you had some good times too.

 

Sent from my SM-G930VL using Tapatalk

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Were the other lines you sailed on more to your liking?

 

My standard complaint rant: "on a ship with 2000 passengers, about 300 complain about something, about 100 complain about EVERYTHING".....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We sailed the Zaandam last June in Alaska and everything was quite perfect. My husband has Celiac disease and had no problems and we never sat at the same table. He was given a dinner menu each night for the next night and selected which items he wanted. It was an amazing adventure!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sorry you had a less than satisfactory experience. It is understandable that you will not sail HAL again. Thank you for sharing your experiences and the best of luck with your future cruises.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
We sailed to Alaska from Seattle for 14 nights on the Zaandam. We have previously sailed Carnival (1), Regency (1), Norwegian (3) and Oceania (4).

 

 

 

Our room was nice, our cabin attendant was lovely and attentive. The ship was clean and furnishing were nice. The itinerary was fine. The price was very reasonable.

 

 

 

The food was sometimes good, and usually ill-prepared and uneatable. This was both in the main dining room and the buffet upstairs. The orange juice tasted like powdered Tang, and the coffee was so weak you could almost see through it. Sometimes meat was so rare it was raw, and when sent back, it came back like shoe leather. Mushroom omelettes had mushrooms floating in lots of liquid. Vegetables were overcooked.

 

 

 

Several people in our group of 7 have celiac disease. It was important to sit at the same table with the same wait staff for all dinners, so that the correct gluten free meals could be ordered. It took 4 nights to get this arranged, and that only after a discussion with the dining room manager.

 

 

 

There were very few on board activities that didn't involve a fee of some sort. Very few lectures or educational activities. Movies were shown during the dinner hour.

 

 

 

I told all of this to the powers that be midway through the cruise. They, of course, are unable to change the situation because poor management starts at the top down.

 

 

 

My last Holland America cruise. Someone else can have my cabin.

 

 

 

Sure dosnt sound like sound like HAL.

 

My partner and I have always had the best meals on HAL and even Princess.

and feel one reason food good on HAL they have smaller ships with less folks. Sure Oceana and Regent are known for top meal service, you are also Paying a much higher rate. I have to agree there with there

OJ it is hit or miss. Last HAL cruise OJ was much better in dining. Room.

Yes there are less activities, but HAL always been that way to some degree, since it seems to draw a little older crowd. Alaska runs are port driven.

 

 

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Forums

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It sounds like you had far more bad meals during one short cruise than we have experienced on all of our many HAL cruises combined. A very unfortunate and atypical introduction to HAL.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just out of curiosity........did you/ your TA give advance notification of the dietary requirements or did you wait until onboard?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just out of curiosity........did you/ your TA give advance notification of the dietary requirements or did you wait until onboard?

 

I am also curious about this. Seems to me that some simple, proactive advance planning with the ship's coordinator would likely have mitigated most of the gluten free issues experienced onboard.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I do agree with the lack of activities. Definitely think Princess has better entertainment options. I do wish HAL could make their entertainment choices more enjoyable. I miss the game shows & karoke nites.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I do agree with the lack of activities. Definitely think Princess has better entertainment options. I do wish HAL could make their entertainment choices more enjoyable. I miss the game shows & karoke nites.

 

Yeah, but entertainment is simply not HAL's niche (or strong suit), and this is well known. I agree with you that if entertainment is a really important aspect of one's cruise experience, then HAL should probably not be their first choice.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Yeah, but entertainment is simply not HAL's niche (or strong suit), and this is well known. I agree with you that if entertainment is a really important aspect of one's cruise experience, then HAL should probably not be their first choice.

Which is really sad. The best show I've seen on a cruise line was one on HAL. Encore. But it was only onboard for a short time. I'm glad I got to see it. I think a good part of the reason the show was so good was the performers who were in it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Were the other lines you sailed on more to your liking?

 

My standard complaint rant: "on a ship with 2000 passengers, about 300 complain about something, about 100 complain about EVERYTHING".....

 

Not sure that was called for. Poster was expressing his own comments. Everyone cannot be an acolyte. We are 3 star with HAL and Elite Plus with Celebrity and have run the gamut of ups and downs, I always feel that there is a large element of truth to most posters. The ones I suspect are those with very few posts. This was not the case.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I also sailed on the Zaandam this summer. I realize experiences vary from sailing to sailing and sincerely feel for the OP’s. I found the Lido to be the best from any of our sailings. The schedule had quite a few activities, insomuch as there wasn’t time for them all; often a choice had to be made between America’s Test Kitchen, EXC lectures and other activities (the timing could have been more spaced out, IMO). The daily movie usually aired 2 or 3 times per day.

 

Which dates did you sail?

Edited by syesmar
spacing

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

He may be a Road Scholar and expected more lectures etc onboard.

 

Reading his previous postings, his diet is certainly different.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

There were...Very few lectures or educational activities.

 

 

I'm with you on this, and have mentioned it in HAL's post cruise surveys for years.

HAL has made a big deal about their new immersive cultural experiences (the EXC department ...which to many

is pronounced "exec" but isn't) and related materials. Those lectures are about as educational as it will get onboard.

Perhaps longer cruises, 20+ days, offer something more substantial.

 

I confess I was spoiled by lectures on Cunard and Crystal, and I miss them on HAL.

 

Thank you for sharing your opinion about your experience.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

To those who commented: The gluten-free folks made arrangements with the TA ahead of time. They ordered meals a day ahead of time ( but only after the two of them requested this, the staff never suggested it). The meals were still mixed up, even with pre-ordering. And the normal meals were sometimes poorly prepared.

 

Given a choice, I will sail Oceania every time. But our friends wanted this itinerary and we thought we'd give it a try. I have good friends who have like elite status on Holland and do 40 day cruises, and they are pickier than I am about food, etc. I don't get it.

 

And yes, I am a Road Scholar. I could live in the library.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sorry to hear you had a bad experience. I have to agree with you about the coffee, it's the one thing I complain about every cruise. Hope you enjoy what ever cruise line you decide to go with.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I, too, was disappointed in my recent Eurodam cruise. All the kids had gone back to school, so it was mostly elderly guests. We fit that description but are more active than most. Our cruise seemed pretty dead in the evenings - hardly a soul out after 10 or so. Food was OK, but best food we've had over cruising career has been on Carnival. Go figure.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have to agree with the OP in many areas. I don't drink coffee but my husband complains all the time about how bad it is. The entertainment on HAL is simply....awful. My husband constantly refers to the shows as the "dead artist review" because the music they play is from people who have died a few years ago. Good music? yes to a point, but throw in a few of the more modern perfomers too. We feel that meals and service in the dining room have gone downhill, especially if you have the as you wish dining. We sailed 2 cruises on Azamara last winter and saw how good things could really be. But, they are more expensive and we do like the itineraries on HAL, plus there is that free laundry.... If you can afford Oceania, go for it. I need to win the lottery first!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have had some negative food experiences on a 2015 Noordam cruise SD to Sydney where I found a piece of wire brush in my french fries at lunch in the MDR . Then later on Oosterdam Mexican Riviera cruise , at dinner very rare prime rib (waiter never asked whether we wanted it rare ,medium or well done ) & lack of service including the section ass't maitre 'D . We then had dinner in the Lido & Canalettos balance of the cruise .In both cases the kitchen was painfully slow in getting meals out

 

We still cruise HAL ;however ,I now first see the dining room manager about the service on the first night out .We booked 2 cruises Eurodam & Koningsdam :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Coffee was so bad on the Volendam that we went to Explorations Cafe every morning. I thought the food was good. One night we saw an Illusionist that was really good. We don't cruise for the food or entertainment. Pinnacle Grill had Maine lobster for a 20.00 upcharge. It was perfect. Hubby had duck.

 

Sorry you had a bad experience. Sounds like HAL isn't a good fit for you.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Very sorry to hear that you didn’t have a good experience. Sometimes I wonder if some ships are used as a training ground more than others. Other times I wonder if there has been staff turnover and they are still working out the kinks. As you are a Road Scholar, you may be interested in the more in-depth and immersive EXC Voyages:

 

https://www.hollandamerica.com/blog/topics/arts-entertainment/new-exc-in-depth-voyages-feature-zodiac-excursions-for-up-close-discovery/

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
      • Q&A with InsureMyTrip
      • 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...