Rotterdam Cruise Review to Europe - Western Europe

First Mate

7+ cruises


Helpful Votes

3 out of 5

Still A Class Act, Great Service, Good to Great Food, Could Use More Restaurants, Maybe Cutting Back Too Much

Sail Date: December 22, 2012

Reviewed: 2 years ago

Traveled As: Couple

Room Type: Suite

We have been on 7 voyages with the Holland America Line (HAL) and about to go on our 8th with them.  The ms Rotterdam was our 7th voyage and is a beautiful ship staffed by an excellent crew. 


It has four restaurants on board that I rate anywhere from fair to excellent.


La Fontaine Dinning Room, which is their main dining room, serves fair to excellent food with service to match.  It can be hit and miss on both the quality of the food and the level of service.  This is not to complain, they are actually doing a fine job when you consider all the guests they have to feed with full table service on a ship in a short period of time.  You will enjoy most if not all of your meals here, but, do try and eat at their specialty restaurants,, as it is well worth the extra cost.


The Pinnacle Grill, is their fine steak and seafood specialty restaurant that is reservation only and does charge a fee.  It is well worth the fee and effort to make a reservation to eat there.  I would equate it to a 4 star or even approaching a 5 star restaurant in the quality of the food, service and presentation.  After the first night, they do book up quickly as word gets around the ship as to how great they are, so make your reservations as soon as you can.


The Canaletto is their Italian theme restaurant and is located within the greater Lido buffet area.  Do not let that fool you as this is not buffet quality food but very good to excellent Italian fare.  I would rate them somewhere between 3 to 4 out of 5 stars.  This is a newer restaurant for the Holland America Line (HAL) and the restaurant staff seems extra eager to win your business with great service and attitude.  We found on our voyages with HAL that at this restaurant, they will let you order items not on the menu, as long as the Lido kitchen has the ingredients … an advantage to having this restaurant sharing the same greater area with the Lido.  I cannot guarantee that the Canaletto will keep up this practice of letting you order off the menu, but, I hope they do because it was a nice touch.  There is a fee to eat at the Canaletto, though not as high as the Pinnacle Grill, but, once again, well worth it.


The Lido Restaurant is basically a very large buffet style restaurant that serves fair to good food.  It can get crowed during peak hours, but, it never seemed too bad.  Tables near the window can go quick..


My biggest concern with the Rotterdam and HAL in general is that I feel they need to add more restaurants.  Their largest ships, the Eurodam and Nieuw Amsterdam, from their Signature Class, also have the Asian theme restaurant, the Tamarind.  We had the great pleasure of eating there while sailing the Eurodam and it is our favorite of all HAL’s restaurants. Alas, the Rotterdam does not have the Tamarind. :(


Our other concern with the Rotterdam and HAL is that they are owned by Carnival, and over our 7 voyages on HAL during the last eleven years, it does appear in our narrow “slice of pie” experience that Carnival is cutting back on quality and service.  This is part of the reason we are trying NCL later this year on thier ship, the Epic, to see if they are better. The other reason we will be sailing the NCL Epic is that it has 21 restaurants.  Regardless, we still think HAL is a class act and well worth sailing, in fact, we will be sailing HAL again at the end of this month, April.


Cruise Photos

Ship Quality
Ship came out of dry dock and was in great shape overall except for our Penthouse Suite as noted below.
Food and Dining
Good food and service, though, they could use more restaurants as the 4 they have gets old really fast.
Cabin / Stateroom We had the Penthouse and the ship just came out of dry dock yet our balcony had lots of peeling paint, our large TV was replaced with a small screen, the dvd did not work, our shower stall door was broken and they had to take it aways for days to fix and we had no door while taking a shower.
Service and Staff
Always a friendly staff that does their best to serve you and make your voyage enjoyable. They do seem understaffed at times.
Their Recreation Directors do a great job.
Children's Programs N/A Did not use
Destinations and Excursions
HAL does offer very good excursion packages and their Excursion Desk and Staff are very helpful.
Rotterdam, Netherlands
Great port and city.
Casablanca, Morocco
Beautiful and interesting!
Funchal, Madeira
Beautiful Holiday Lights and Decorations!
Santa Cruz De Tenerife, Canary Islands
Las Palmas, Gran Canaria, Canary Islands
Arrecife, Lanzarote, Canary Islands
Cadiz (Seville), Spain
Well worth exploring.
Lisbon, Portugal
Take the Hop-On, Hop-Off Bus. Lots to see. Good Nightlife.


Make a reservation for the Pinnacle Grill restaurant as soon as you get on board as this restaurant gets booked quickly and is their best restaurant. There is a fee but it is well worth it. Same thing with their Italian restaurant, the Canaletto.

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