April 2015 - Zuiderdam to Europe - Mediterranean
We were advised that Holland America line was supposed to be upscale from Carnival. This was not a good example. The boat is an older, tired, shabby vessel despite the staff's continued efforts cleaning and polishing. It was just out of dry-dock and renovation work was not completed, so they brought the contractors to work during the cruise. Access to the Crow's Nest was not available as renovations were not completed. In our case, the shower only provided scalding hot water. There were leaks of all sorts on the floor on the Lido (food) deck creating many slip hazards. The contractors working during the cruise created immense amounts of constant banging and cutting noises. The very unpleasant odour of fresh paint was pervasive, especially on the 9th deck eating area. The food was not much better than mediocre at best, except for the closing meal. The food selection was not very broad at all.
On the upside, the itinerary was fabulous! The ports of call immensely interesting. Weather couldn't have been better anywhere. Aside from one individual on the Lido deck, considering the huge volume of complaints the customer service folks were enduring, all service was rendered with a genuine smile. The staff at the front office were very conscientious and super polite. The cabin crews were quite efficient and kept things clean. The dining room staff were also super pleasant and very accommodating.
All in all, my wife and I enjoyed the cruise, but it wasn't what it was cracked up to be. Our expectations were far from met and it was a disappointment.
We had a much worse experience on a Carnival cruise and much better on other Carnival cruises. Only experienced very good to great cruises under the Royal Caribbean marquee.
While I rated this cruise two stars only, it is specific to this voyage. Hopefully the trouble spots will be rectified because this could be a very good cruise with this itinerary.