July 2016 - Oosterdam to Europe - Mediterranean
They try hard but could do a lot better.
Excursion prices and variety of selection and organization is laughable. For instance there was a walking tour of Monaco at near $100 per person. We did that tour ourselves and more and was quite simple to do. The other was $200 per person to Florence and Pisa. We did the same line they use for $40 per person in US Dollars and $25 for kids.. That is a jaw dropping 82% reduction in cost and again, saw much more.
Entertainment was good in some respects when people were brought in from the outside and marginal at best when from within, but the director is clearly limited by the cruise lines budget. He is a good person , is creative, and is forced to work within the limited budget he is dealt. Improvements to budgets for more quality and value for entertainment to guests definitely needed.
While we were upgraded , we paid a price. We were upgraded next to a cabin of people that were very inconsiderate to others . While the crew helped, for instance with loud thundering noises at 12 midnight , and switched us to a different room later in the cruise, proper control was limited. Not the way you you want to spend your vacation.
Sr. Management (not on the ship) seems to be more of political lip service and appear to favor those who take extended cruises and spend money at the casino.While i was respected for patience and told that, and it was sincere, the overall experience certainly could have been better. We will see what is done based on the inconvenience which was both notable and tremendous.
it also took three days with numerous phone calls and near badgering to fix the following in our stateroom, and this is a suite: (i) air conditioning was not working properly (in 90 degree heat) and took three days to fix, (ii) the jets in the tub were not functioning and took five days to fix,(iii) the shower head arm needed replacement (not fixed, i gave up). Then when we were switched rooms, the toilet didn't work. After it was fixed, it took pushing the handle five to ten times to flush properly. band aid approaches simply don't work with customers who have taken multiple cruises. I shouldn't need to be put in a position where i start to feel like i am a near tenant advocate to fix things on my vacation. Proper quality control is needed to inspect and fix things, and not fix things only when numerous and follow up complaints are generated by guests.
The stateroom attendants and the neptune lounge attendants were excellent and made the cruise good which was otherwise lousy and unacceptable due to some of the other localized guests who clearly didn't take care of their own children as well as the maintenance items due to lack of quality control..
The maitre'd at the dining room was especially entertaining. While our dining room steward was excellent, the maitre'd was a joke. He just always had something condescending to say, and appeared to not like his guests. We stopped going there after the third day due to his attitude and ate dinner in the room and enjoyed the balcony.Holland would be wise to find people more accommodating to their guests, but of course, it's probably a question of budget.
The food quality was good to very good , but the selection repetitive. Again, other lines do better.
Services to children, are mundane, to non existent. Our children went to these services on other cruise lines and even Holland's Baltic cruise, which were better. On this cruise, we did not bother. We saw it, and we left.
Holland has a boat size that gives you the opportunity to land and not tender at many ports which is unique and why we did a second cruise with Holland. but the other lack of services and inconveniences definitely detract from this.
Holland would be wise to improve its services from inspection and quality control of its staterooms and functions, a better budget and accommodation regarding shore excursions and entertainment as well as better treatment of its ship employees who actually work very hard to try to ensure you enjoy your stay. Unfortunately, their limited budget, tight ham fisted approach, detract from that.
This is why the title is "They try hard, but could do a lot better".