Bon Voyage Magazine

14 Night Southern Caribbean Holiday (Ft. Lauderdale Roundtrip)

Amsterdam / Holland America Line

5
4 star 4 star 4 star 4 half star empty star
3.6 out of 5
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Cruises.com $2199* Oceanview
CheapCruises.com N/A Balcony
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Review Highlights For Cruise

Destination Highlights For Cruise

"on other visits, we 've gone to trunk bay on st. john , which in my opinion is one of the prettiest beaches in..." in 146 reviews for Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas.
"The beach is never far but we heard the Orient beach is the best one to go to." in 87 reviews for Philipsburg, St. Maarten.
"Take a shared cab or water taxi from the ship 's dock to the downtown area." in 72 reviews for Philipsburg, St. Maarten.

1 reviews of this cruise from our community




Traveled As:
Couple

Room Type:
Balcony

Experience:
7+ cruises

3
Helpful Votes

4 star
4 star
4 star
4 star
empty star

Nice Holiday Cruise

Ship: Amsterdam | Sail Date: Dec 22, 2012


The Amsterdam was decked out for the Holidays. Christmas trees everywhere.. Santa came on Christmas morning and the kids loved it. He gave out toys and posed for photos. Sail away parties at most ports were very nice also. Tables for 2 were hard to come by in all the restaurants except the Pinnacle. Eat there as often as you can afford it ($25 pp)

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All 66 reviews from our community




Traveled As:
Family w/young children

Room Type:
Oceanview

Experience:
7+ cruises

2
Helpful Votes

1 star
empty star
empty star
empty star
empty star

Young families (those with teens and under) – avoid Holland America Line. Plus, be careful on price discrimination and predatory practices.

Ship: Amsterdam | Sail Date: Dec 18, 2013


What a shame. After a combined 320 nights on Holland America Lines (HAL), this middle class family who has earned Three-Star Mariner Society status is done with this cruise line. For the record, we are professionals in our early 50s, and our daughters are 16 and 12, all well-respected by adults and peers. We are the kind of family you would appreciate meeting on a cruise.

 

Here is our story: Over the past eight years, we have seen a noticeable decline in the way Holland America Lines (HAL) has services our young family. When we first decided to travel HAP, we knew it was skewed to older travelers, with less young families traveling. But we thought that there was some comfort traveling with a cruise line who serves older travelers. We justified to ourselves that this was going to be a more upscale experience; that there would be less riff-raff. A better total family experience. What we have seen over this time is the erosion of services to young families. Small and important things, like taking PB&J off the room service menu entirely. Pizza which was once served in Lido dining and room service has been relegated to outside near the pool, cold, and unmanaged. It even seems like there are flies hanging out at the Pizza. But that is more image than reality. The entertainment, activities, movies, and media center largely ignore the interest of young families. A good part of the media offering is “old and inappropriate for kids. I have tried in a productive and collaborative way to get help with small things on and off the ship. I tried my best, and I can be effective at getting help. Ultimately, Holland America Lines (HAL) does not care. And for good reason – they don’t just cater to seniors, but to the elderly. Big different, w learned, in behavior. By elderly, we are talking about travelers in their 70s and 80s and 90s (we and a number of 90 year olds) who forgot to enjoy the company of young families and who find themselves treating younger passengers with bitter jealousy. I haven’t seen this many walkers and carts – ever. Not even in a skilled nursing environment (we own a couple of these buildings). There is nothing wrong with the elderly and travel. But a cruise line can only serve well one or two demographics. So the lack of amenities and services for young families, and the sometimes unwelcome disposition of the elderly passengers, say to us that after 320 family nights – we are done with Holland America Lines (HAL). More suitable cruise lines in the future will be Royal Caribbean, and Celebrity. So how did we get to 320 nights before we learned this lesson? Well, the 320 is a little overstated. Divided by four family members, this is really over 80 nights each family member. Still a great amount of travel. But these experiences and observations have taken hold very quickly over this time. The dramatic change in menu and entertainment gets to the point where Holland America Lines (HAL) is happy to take the money from young families, but is unwilling to serve them.

During this last trip (17 nights through the Panama – the elderly will camp out all night to grab all the chairs on the deck for Panama Day – and they won’t let them go! God bless them and their single-mindedness.), loyalty to Holland America Lines (HAL) has its disadvantages: Like good customers, we booked early. I found out a few weeks before our cruise date that our same cabins were selling for thousands of dollars less. Thousands! I tried very hard, working each step of the way in advance, throughout, and even after the trip, to get some type of parity for our hard-earned travel dollar. Any type of parity. Anything! Even something as soft dollar as an upgrade the cabin to get us the value for the cruise. I have documentation of this if you chose to request it from me, with the caveat that although I tried hard, I am sharing our own experience and hope that yours will be different and better (but I bet not!). But Holland America Lines (HAL) refused to support our request and right-size that experience.

Finally, HAL double charges us on an excursion. I pre-paid on my credit card before the trip, and then again they charged me (unbeknownst to me) on the cabin folio. I have written proof of this, which I have shared three times now. You think this would be easy to fix. It has taken a lot of work, but they are not listening to the facts and as a result I have to dispute the charge with the credit card company rather than get HAL to issue a proper credit. This is not deliberate I think. This is just sloppy servicing. Lesson: Do not prepay your excursion unless you want to take on the risk of being double charged and the time and hassle of clearing this up!

 

Once again younger families, please do not make the same mistake we did thinking that older cruisers night be better. Older means much older than you imagine. And it means that given the choice to maximize their services to a target customer base, Holland America Lines (HAL) will underserve your young family! I am exhausted with my experience with HAL. And am hanging up our Mariner Society stars. Young families with hard-earned vacation dollars, consider yourself advised!

Signed, the forgotten Holland America Traveler

 

Bonus: Feedback on Cabins 3302- and 3304 (3rd deck of Amsterdam)

Heads up - this floor plan is not disclosed as obstructed – everyone on the ship can see in your room. This is worse than an obstructed room. This lower promenade deck is the walking track for the ship. So people are always (ALWAYS) walking by, and sometimes looking in. So essentially to have privacy, you ALWAYS have to have your drapes closed. It is like being in an interior room. The service desk will flat out lie and say that people cannot see in due to window tint. This is not true. Day or night (especially night when you have a cabin light on), passer-byers can see in. Holland America should be fair and disclosure this issue on their reservation description. Again, this entire deck is really not about an ocean view. It is essentially an inside cabin.

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Traveled As:
Singles/Friends

Room Type:
Oceanview

Experience:
2-3 cruises

7
Helpful Votes

4 star
4 star
4 star
4 star
empty star

Excellent Service

small verified icon Verified Review | Ship: Amsterdam | Sail Date: Sep 06, 2013


The experience as a whole merits a four star. The reasons I did not give it 5 are as follows. The rooms did not have a fridge. I did get one delivered to the room at a cost of 2 dollars / day. I did not need the fridge except for medication which had to be stored. The second reason is the coffee/tea line up at the buffet. It needs some tweaking to flow more smoothly. Staff could not be more helpful and friendly. I was aware that they were getting tired as it was the second last cruise before the end of their 10 month service.

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Traveled As:
Couple

Room Type:
Balcony

Experience:
4-6 cruises

6
Helpful Votes

4 star
4 star
4 star
4 star
empty star

For the discerning cruise couple

small verified icon Verified Review | Ship: Amsterdam | Sail Date: Aug 30, 2013


As a couple who have taken a half dozen cruises to the Caribbean, Canada and through Europe, this Vancouver-to-Alaska trip is one which stands out admirably. It didn't get the full five stars for only one reason: the main dining room's dinners, though elegant in presentation and service, lacked the full range of tastes associated with the presented dishes (somewhat bland) and they were served lukewarm. Buffet breakfasts and food served throughout the cruise, other than main dining room, were better prepared and had punchier flavors. Other than this, the ship was beautiful (and not too big - 1300 versus 3500 passengers on the "mega" ships), service was superb and ship was spotless. You've a great choice of land tours in the visited ports, though priced at levels which may be offputting. We'd recommend that you stay a few days in Vancouver - a magnificently beautiful area, with breathtaking views, mountains and things to do to keep one busy for days. A hearty recommendation for those looking for a bit more class.

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Traveled As:
Couple

Room Type:
Oceanview

Experience:
7+ cruises

1
Helpful Votes

3 star
3 star
3 star
empty star
empty star

Less than expected

Ship: Amsterdam | Sail Date: Jul 19, 2013


Let me start by saying that this was the most amazing sightseeing cruise ever. The scenery was beyond description. I wish I could say the same about the ship. This felt as a companion said, "Like a faded grand hotel". This ship is due for refurbishment. It had, however, an elegant feel, and I like that. We had the dine when we want option and always dined with just our party of four. Service declined as the cruise progressed. By the last night, I had to ask the waiter if he would take coffee orders. This was after dessert had been delivered. He said, " well okay, waddaya want?" The wine steward was inattentive throughout. I doubt I will ever use this line again.

Cruise Photos

G-d's majesty

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Traveled As:
Couple

Room Type:
Oceanview

Experience:
2-3 cruises

3
Helpful Votes

5 star
5 star
5 star
5 star
5 star

The Amazing Cruise Alaska

small verified icon Verified Review | Ship: Amsterdam | Sail Date: Jun 21, 2013


This is our third cruise and it amaze us the ship is clean and the ship has many quite areas that has a beautiful view.The rooms are bigger and more places to put stuff and the bathroom had a regular bath tub and shower.The crew were very friendly and helpful we find a bar the Ocean View bar the bartenders are exceptional,every day before we go to the dinning room to have our dinner we always stop to take advantage of there happy hour 4pm to 5pm.The food in the main dining is delicious service is excellent the waiter Ali is very attentive there's no entree that not good everything in the menu are great and delicious .Desserts are outstanding.The Glacier bay is amazing we stayed the whole day by the Lido deck watching those glacier specially I had a vinacular it looks like a feet away from the ship.It is magnificient to hear the sounds of the pieces broke from the glazier it is a million dollar view as I experience.I cant explain the magneficient glacier flotting in the sea.We realy enjoyed this cruise I am glad we took this cruise my husband even told me that this is the best ever cruise we had.I would highly recommend this cruise Armsterdam to every one.

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Traveled As:
Couple

Room Type:
Interior

Experience:
4-6 cruises

6
Helpful Votes

5 star
5 star
5 star
5 star
5 star

Holland msAmsterdam to Alaska

small verified icon Verified Review | Ship: Amsterdam | Sail Date: Jun 07, 2013


This cruise was great! The ship has many comfortable, quiet common areas that we have not experienced on other cruises. The scenery was breathtaking! There seemed to be a good variety of excursions at each port. Rick, the cruise director, Mark, the show announcer, and Amber, the culinary expert were all fun and informative. Similarly, there was a positive, helpful atmosphere among the entire crew. Everyone seemed to be more than happy to make this cruising experience a very positive one for each passenger. The food was delicious and a higher quality that other cruises we have taken, with a large variety offered at each meal. Service was especially courteous and efficient at each evening meal. Our only criticism would be the buffet stations in the Lido Restaurant, where it is not made clear at the beginning that these are stations, and not one big buffet line; so they sometimes get unnecessarily crowded during peak meal times. We especially enjoyed the many quiet common areas that have beautiful views. Our favorite was the library, with comfortable chairs in a quiet atmosphere. The time spent in Glacier Bay, just yards from the large glacier was magnificent...especially the sounds that we heard as pieces broke from the glacier. Again, there was plenty of deck space for anyone who wanted to experience this spectacular view. The retractable ceiling over the Lido Deck pool made that area especially functional, even if there was bad weather. Even though the weather on our cruise was nearly always in the 60's and 70's, it was nice that the pool area could be under cover when it was cooler. We especially enjoyed that area during the special night of desserts! We would highly recommend this ship and cruise to anyone!

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Traveled As:
Couple

Room Type:
Balcony

Experience:
7+ cruises

3
Helpful Votes

4 star
4 star
4 star
4 star
empty star

Nice Holiday Cruise

Ship: Amsterdam | Sail Date: Dec 22, 2012


The Amsterdam was decked out for the Holidays. Christmas trees everywhere.. Santa came on Christmas morning and the kids loved it. He gave out toys and posed for photos. Sail away parties at most ports were very nice also. Tables for 2 were hard to come by in all the restaurants except the Pinnacle. Eat there as often as you can afford it ($25 pp)

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1
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1 star
empty star
empty star
empty star
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Cigarette smoke in our room

Ship: Amsterdam | Sail Date: Jun 01, 2012


We just returned from a 14 day Alaska cruise which departed Seattle on June 15th. Our stateroom was Deluxe Veranda Suite 7034. The people in the room to the fore, 7032, were heavy cigarette smokers. The smoke not only made our veranda useless, but the smoke permeated our room both day and night, making it both unhealthy and extremely unpleasant. By the 2nd day, my asthma was severe and continued as such throughout the trip. We had to stay out of our room as much as possible. I spoke with a number of the ships personnel about the problem and was always given the same answer..guests have the right to smoke on their porches and in their staterooms. You should be ashamed for allowing your guests to be subjected to such unhealthy and unpleasant conditions, especially in their own staterooms, from which they have no escape. We didnt spend $14,000 to be subjected to such treatment.

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1 - 10 of 66 reviews

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*Cruiseline.com is not a booking agent or travel agency, and does not charge any service fees to users of our site. Our partners (travel agencies and cruise lines) provide prices, which we list for our users' convenience. Cruiseline.com does not guarantee any specific rates or prices. While prices are updated daily, please check with the booking site for the exact amount. Cruiseline.com is not responsible for content on external web sites.

Cruiseline.com Ranking

#26 out of 49 cruises to Caribbean - Southern

#304 out of 372 cruises to Caribbean

#147 out of 186 cruises from Ft. Lauderdale (Port Everglades), Florida

#147 out of 370 cruises from Florida


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