Norway is a beautiful country. Most of the ports we visited were small and we were the only ship in port so there weren't the usual crowds in town. One shore excursion was cancelled because not enough people signed up and one was changed due to snow on the mountain. It was a very relaxing, no rush trip. The entertainment on HAL was not up to their usual standards but the scenery made up for it. We had booked 2 shore excursions from , supposedly at a discount, for the hop on/hop off busses. When we got to the bus we found that we could have saved $10 each if we booked directly with them on shore.
We (my sister and I) were excited about this cruise! We had been on the Rotterdam before and had found it beautiful. But, it wasn't to be.
The ship is still in good shape and simple to maneuver but it all started when I got the stomach flu. And how this happened, I don't know. You are never allowed to touch food. On the Lido deck you are always served and the food in maintained behind a plexiglass barrier. Still, it happened. And my sister followed with the same bug.
The crew was excellent at all times and the food in the formal restaurant was great. Not too much variety (same as in the Lido) but impeccably served.
For whatever the reason, beside being sick, this was a cruise that has turned us against cruising.
We have cruised extensively and enjoyed the different itineraries and cruise lines.
Perhaps with time we'll try cruising again.
The Pitons, St Lucia
The itinerary was spaced perfectly and bunched in fours with sea days in between. Ports of call ideal even for the novice. The ship is showing her age but we had no difficulties. Rotterdam continues to have excellent service. Food is being modified to less and limited variety.
Favorite memory: Sitting in the bar near La Fontaine dining room with our friends, having a cocktail and listening to the delightful piano/violin duet playing classical music before our 8 p.m. dinner. It was so elegant and relaxing--the pre-dinner ritual and the meal itself. Almost everything about the cruise was top-notch. Even the weather cooperated. Our favorite ports were Bar Harbor and Charlottetown--and of course, Quebec City, where we disembarked (a day early).
Sales, sales, sales, raffles, drawings, auctions, flyers on the door, when we returned from shore, walking down the hall etc - I felt like a target for advertising the entire cruise.
We had problems with temperature control and toilets in the cabins which were resolved after multiple phone calls.
The windows were dirty and some foggy between panes which made it impossible to take good photos out the windows (all over the ship).
We were in general seating for dinner and got the big frown for asking for a table to ourselves. There was a big push for sharing. You need to set up the tables differently.
The service was good and a few people were outstanding.
I feel like the they dont really want feedback or there would have been forms in the room, An email while disembarking is the worst time for anyone to provide feedback.
The tour guides in Norway were very political (complaining) which I thought was uncalled for.
The tour guide in the Netherlands was fantastic.
The food was full of things that some older people can not eat - bell peppers, tomoatoe sauce and garlic. My Mom had trouble at some meals finding anything she could digest. This is an older crowd and more options to add of not add some ingrediants should be provided. The food was well prepared and delicious.
Crowds were well handled - checking in and out and getting people on and off for shore visits.
I enjoyed the information on the ship and the route that were provided on the tv. The weather was not kept up to date.
The shows were a highlight of the cruise. I really enjoyed them.
I do not plan to cruise with Holland America again. I dont know if another cruise line would be any better or not. My last cruise with Holland America was in the Caribean 4 years ago and that was fantastic.
This was our first cruise back after a 10 year hiatus. We had previously cruised on the Westerdam a number of years ago as well as 2 cruises with Carnival and 3 with Royal Caribbean. Having said that I was determined that we get back to cruising with HAL and we had always wanted to try a Northern European itinerary so.... Let me say that it was definitely worth it, this itinerary was a definite highlight for our return to cruising. The service was attentive but unobtrusive, something I deem important being employed in the service industry. The itinerary was perfect allotting the ideal amount of sea days and port days. The weather was remarkable and according to the crew much warmer than we could have hoped for and as it was the end of the season for this itinerary the ports were not crowded with other ships. The food was wonderful in both the main dining room and the Pinnacle Grill. Our stateroom (a balcony) was a good size, large enough that we felt it would remain feeling spacious if we were on a longer cruise. The entertainment was fine, but we don't tend to partake of the shows, preferring the smaller lounges.
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.
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