Occupation:Retired Telephone Engineering Manager
Number of Cruises: 20
Cruise Line: Holland America
Sailing Date: 2009-08-5
Itinerary: Northern Europe
Food was fair and service was slow. This was the poorest of all the eight HAL ships that we've been on.
Our daughter's and our cabins were side-by-side. We had the cabin with a shower (no bath) and only one bedside nightstand; while our daughter had a bath and two bedside nightstands. Both cabins were the same size and had queen size beds, etc.
The cabin's bathrooms were nice and new while the non-bathroom areas showed signs of wear. Cabin attendant was also good. Poor cabin TV service - 19 channels but three out of the seven English language channels were out-of-service due to a "satellite problem" that never got fixed. Before boarding the on-shore HAL personnel mistakenly placed my wife's photo both on her and my shipboard ID cards, which also serves as the cabin key. All passengers upon returning to the ship from a land tour had their shipboard ID card scanned to verify that the photo on the card matches the returning passenger. After experiencing problem, I was able to get a new ID with the proper photo from the ship's front desk.
Most of the passengers caught a cough and cold on the cruise and we never saw the HAL personnel ever sanitize the numerous stairway handrails on the ship as we had always seen on all other HAL ships we have been on.
The day before the Ystad, Sweden land tour, we received from the shipboard Tour Management a notice that our tour reservations were cancelled. We had previously paid for that tour four months earlier. Later, we found out that there were too many on-board requests for the tour; so all of the afternoon tours were cancelled and they rearranged the tours to be available either in the morning or the afternoon. Once, we learned this we signed up for our original morning tour and later, we discovered that they had just charged us of this tour meaning that we were being doubled-charged. The front desk was able to correct this problem. Some of the sites to be seen on the land tours were skipped due to HAL tour management permitting handicapped passengers (in wheelchairs, walkers, etc.) to be on these HAL rated "Strenuous Activity" tours.
The overall quality of the tours were not as good as on the same cruise that we took on the Norwegian Dream eight years earlier. The onboard tour personnel always place a small tour sticker on your clothing for identification on the tour. One sticker left its glue-like material on my jacket and both the ship's personnel and we were unable to remove it.
As a longtime Holland America passenger, I could not recommend this ship. This was our ninth Holland America Cruise and our 18th cruise in Asia, Europe, and North, Central, and South America.