2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
We chose this cruise for convenience of the port. My husband had a course in Orlando on January 12 and 13, so we quickly drove to Tampa when his class finished and boarded by 2:00. This is the smallest ship that we have been on, but it ... Read More
We chose this cruise for convenience of the port. My husband had a course in Orlando on January 12 and 13, so we quickly drove to Tampa when his class finished and boarded by 2:00. This is the smallest ship that we have been on, but it offered the delicious food that Holland America is known for and that we enjoy. Our ports were Key West, Puerto Rico, St Thomas, Antigua, St Lucia, Curacao, Aruba, and Grand Cayman. Our weather was fantastic and each port had something to offer. Food: On this ship, there is very little self-serve in the buffet. This cuts down on germ transfer, but you need to be quick and specific about portion sizes when you ask for food to help them be efficient. The sticky buns were delicious and I ate at least one every morning for breakfast in the Lido buffet! There were also the usual stations with made-to-order omelettes, pancakes, crepes, waffles, sausage, bacon, fruit, yogurt, etc.... There is a great tasting and fresh taco bar set up by the pool for lunch every day! Buffet lunch highlights included roasted pork belly (so delicious!!!) , fresh salad station, and pasta bar along with freshly made Holland America Bread Pudding and vanilla sauce. My husband enjoyed ice-cream almost every day as well, skillfully and cheerfully scooped by Romeo, the ice-cream man! Dining Room: We never ventured into the extra charge restaurants since our food was delicious in the main dining room or buffet. We found the fish tended to be a bit underdone and bland to our liking, but there were many other choices to be enjoyed over the two weeks. The menu was always different. Lobster could be purchased every night for $20, but it was offered complimentary on our last gala night ( three gala nights in total). Escargot, Caesar salad, french onion soup, shrimp cocktail, and crab cakes were some of the highlights. I appreciated that the food was served hot on hot plates! Desserts were my favorites, and the staff were gracious to let me try two of them when I couldn't decide between them! The lava cake with berry sauce was my favorite, and the creme brulee was also very good. When we didn't get to the dining room for dinner, we found that similar choices were offered in the buffet. Afternoon Tea: I would have loved to have gone for tea every day at 3, but I managed 4 out of 14 days. There was only so much eating that I could do!! Music: we enjoyed the Adagio string quartet which played almost every night at 7,8, and 9. The Ocean Trio, piano soloist, and piano bar entertainer performed almost every night as well. They were all very talented and a pleasure to listen to. Movies: A different movie was featured each day with a few showings either in the theater room (100 plus comfy seats with popcorn) or the Main stage, The theme was mostly recently released action movies, but there was the odd comedy or drama thrown in. Mama Mia 2 and Bohemian Rhapsody were also featured. Microsoft Classes: Desiree was a very knowledgeable and patient teacher and taught up to 17 classes on various topics. There were at least 15 individual computers for hands-on learning. America's test kitchen: On sea days we were able to observe cooking shows in the theater and go home with beautiful recipe cards. Entertainment: We did hear murmurings from other passengers that the entertainment was a bit odd, but we enjoyed the following shows: Magician, comedians, Postmodern Jukebox, Planet Earth in concert (BBC Earth movie with live music), Harmonica Virtuoso, Solo Pianist, Philippine crew talent show, and a few variety shows. The BBC Earth movies were very well done! It was a bit tricky to eat in the dining room and still get a seat for the early show, but we always managed to see what we wanted to see. Library/Games/Puzzle room: What a beautiful area!! Enough said! Check out the Explorations cafe in the afternoon for macarons and biscotti and the evening for truffles! Gym: we used the gym 12 of 14 days. We were always able to find a treadmill or elliptical machine, and the view through the front windows was fantastic. There were various weight machines, rowers, etc. Free stretch/ab classes were also provided. The NFL playoff games were enjoyed in lounges on large screen, and there were also various trivia games, board games, card games offered along with pickle ball and basketball. There is a lot of up-selling on the ship, and the shops and spa offer various sessions to learn about their products. Mass is offered every morning, along with Interdenominational and Jewish services weekly. Information sessions on the ports of call were also appreciated. The ship is older and is the second fastest in the world behind the Queen Mary, but it has been beautifully redone in old world charm. If you are interested in art, I asked for a listing of the on-board art at guest services and took it upon myself to locate as many items as possible. It took several hours, but I enjoyed the process...a personal scavenger hunt, if you will. The ship does not offer the Entertainment that Royal Caribbean would offer, but if you don't mind a casual cruise with an older crowd and better than average food, this may be the ship for you! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2019
My wife and I have cruised with all the big and not so big cruise lines. As it was our 23rd wedding anniversary, we splashed our on a Neptune level suite (7039). On our arrival at the dock in Tampa for embarkation, the paperwork was ... Read More
My wife and I have cruised with all the big and not so big cruise lines. As it was our 23rd wedding anniversary, we splashed our on a Neptune level suite (7039). On our arrival at the dock in Tampa for embarkation, the paperwork was dealt with in minutes and very soon we were outside our suite. On entering we were delighted. It was spacious and clean. The veranda was enormous with 2 sun loungers plus a table and 4 dining chairs. The en-suite had a bath (it was looking a bit old and tired though), plus upgraded lotions and shampoos. It had been a long flight from England, so that evening we had room service. I am an early riser, so about 5am the following morning I had a good look around. It was amazing. I can honestly say that this was the best looking ship I have ever been on. It was very clean and had so many nooks and crannies. When I got back to the suite I couldn't wait to tell me wife all about it. We had breakfast in the Pinnacle restaurant, which is served at your table. The staff were very pleasant and welcoming. That night was the 'Gala' night, so my wife wore a beautiful evening gown and I wore my best tux. As we were free dining, we had to wait for a table. It was then that I saw that only a handful of my fellow diners were dressed like us, the majority were extremely casual, ie jeans and trainers, some even in flip flops. This spoilt our night as we always look forward to these occasions. After that it became obvious that the dress code on the ship was ultra casual, not what I expected for such a good looking ship. As stated, the staff were wonderful and always smiling. We only went to one show, which was ok, but not Hollywood style as they say in their ads. The only reason I have given the Rotterdam 4 stars is because of the very casual dress code that is allowed in the evening restaurants. I should add that the average age of this cruise was 71 years. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
we took this for the convenience of the Port of Tampa, having done several HA in the past knew Its reputation for being a stable product. The ship is very nice layed out well with lots of" nooks and crannies" to read in or watch ... Read More
we took this for the convenience of the Port of Tampa, having done several HA in the past knew Its reputation for being a stable product. The ship is very nice layed out well with lots of" nooks and crannies" to read in or watch the sea. We liked the feel of the ship and the ease of getting around. The Rotterdam has a lot going for it in its staff and service, it is however, lacking to much for us to ever go again. If HA did it the product different this would be a wonderful ship and indeed the flagship of the fleet. I knew there are charges for everything, but having to pay extra if you wanted a lobster, come on. Pinnical Grill which you pay extra to eat has extra, extra charges to order different items. The quality of the food in PG was very good, maybe we are to picky, I really expected the the main dinning room to have as good a quality and PG to the height of dinning. Gala Night should be done away with. Most men just had on sport shirts with jeans even saw shorts with flip flops. I guess we have been spoiled by other lines and at our age will stick to them Read Less
Sail Date: January 2019
Week long cruise with my mom and niece. Neptune suite 7034 with shower only was perfect for my mom who has trouble getting in and out of a bathtub / shower combo. Enjoyed the piano bar, comedian, and music on board. Ports were good ... Read More
Week long cruise with my mom and niece. Neptune suite 7034 with shower only was perfect for my mom who has trouble getting in and out of a bathtub / shower combo. Enjoyed the piano bar, comedian, and music on board. Ports were good - except we did not do anything in Guatemala. Had rented a wheel chair for my mom in advance through travel agent which was in the cabin when we arrived. Food overall was very good although we could not get dining room reservations earlier than 7:45. Really enjoyed the lido market - salads made to order were fantastic! Crew and overall service was excellent throughout the ship. Internet went down on the last afternoon / evening causing none of the slot machines to work and all ship computers were down for about 4 hours. Embarkation and disembarkation were a breeze as was valet parking at Tampa port. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
This cruise started off with a pretty big hiccup but all said it was a great vacation. We spent the night before our cruise at the Vinoy in St Pete's. We woke up to an email saying that due to fog our ship was delayed arriving and ... Read More
This cruise started off with a pretty big hiccup but all said it was a great vacation. We spent the night before our cruise at the Vinoy in St Pete's. We woke up to an email saying that due to fog our ship was delayed arriving and there would be an update at 9am. At 9am we got the exact same email with no update. The communication from HAL was lacking. The other cruise lines seemed to have done a better job updating passengers about what was going on etc. The port finally reopened that afternoon and our ship got into port around 5:30pm. They had to disembark all of the passengers and finally around 9:30pm we were able to start boarding. Because of the fog delay we spent the night onboard in Tampa and had to skip Key West. I wasn't too disappointed about missing Key West as it ranks towards the bottom of all vacations I've ever taken. HAL did give every passenger a $50 onboard credit because of the delay. We left port Monday morning and sailed straight to Trujillo the 2d port. We had just come off the Veedam the week before and I enjoyed the Rotterdam much more. The dining room had a better feel to it. They also had two sets of connect 4 in the exploration lounge which made my kids' week ;). The coffee in the exploration lounge was definitely worth the added cost. The free coffee was not good in the lido or the main dining room. The itinerary on this cruise was fantastic. I really felt like we got to see more of the "real" Central America. Cruising the Caribbean it can sometimes seem like the islands are interchangeable, but going on to mainland Central America made the trip more about culture and less a beach vacation. We traveled with our three kids (ages 10-13), but they had no interest in the Club HAL activities this cruise. On past cruises they have enjoyed it. There were lots of other kids in Club Hal though. Our favorite entertainment activity was the daily geography trivia with Aubrey. We didn't take in a lot of shows as the times for shows didn't really work with our 8pm dining time. All the shows seemed to be either 8pm or 10pm and with a port stop almost every day we didn't want to stay up too late. We've been on other cruise lines where the late dinner seating can catch a show before dinner and have enjoyed that in the past. The movie always started at 7pm which also didn't work for either dining times. Overall the service was excellent in both our cabin and dining. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2018
Eleven members of my family took this cruise to Central America/Mexico. Through no fault of HAL, the Tampa cruise port was closed by fog on the opening day of our cruise. The ship could not get into port all day, so we weren’t allowed ... Read More
Eleven members of my family took this cruise to Central America/Mexico. Through no fault of HAL, the Tampa cruise port was closed by fog on the opening day of our cruise. The ship could not get into port all day, so we weren’t allowed to come to the port until 9:30 the first night. We finally got into our room around 11:00 that night. Each traveler received a $50 credit for their inconvenience. To compensate for time lost the ship remained in port until 11:00 AM the next day. We were informed that we would not stop in key West. This was a real disappointment for several people in our group. I would rather the ship had skipped the uninteresting stop in Trujillo Honduras. The dilapidated town really offered nothing to justify the $89/pp price to tour around it. I had traveled on HAL previously and thought of them as a more upscale line in the moderate price range. This cruise definitely lowered my opinion. The Rotterdam is an old boat. HAL should definitely consider retiring the Rotterdam from its fleet. While there are many exquisite appointments aboard ship, it is leaky, tattered and old behind the sculptures, art and occasional new carpeting. There was one area by the elevators that smelled really badly. The food was good for the most part. I had several lunches in the lido market. They were quite good. The dining room offerings were adequate and the food was tasty. The main stage theatre is too small. It’s necessary to arrive 45 minutes in advance to get a decent seat for a show, but if you miss the entertainment, it’s not a big loss. The comediennes show was so bad I actually felt sorry for her. Like some other cc members on this trip we experienced illness. Seven of our group got sick during the trip. Some of them blamed seasickness while others had more dramatic symptoms. I can’t in good conscience recommend this ship to anyone considering a cruise. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
I don’t know what happened to the Holland America I know and loved. Food was mediocre but the breads and baked goods were quite good but even the ice cream wasn’t very creamy, and room service had limited breakfast choices unless you ... Read More
I don’t know what happened to the Holland America I know and loved. Food was mediocre but the breads and baked goods were quite good but even the ice cream wasn’t very creamy, and room service had limited breakfast choices unless you wanted to pay more. The room service menu in general was very limited unless you wanted to pay. Really. 2/3 ports of call were industrial with no redeeming qualities. On board activities included uh uh shopping, learning about shopping, special events to buy something, learning about spa treatments to buy. The comedienne who wasn’t funny, forgot her lines, and repeated the same material both days she performed.. Didn’t stay for the magician. Did I mention I was 1 of many who spent 24 hrs quarantined due to GI problems? Cost me $140.00 for the nurse, an injection and pills. Our dinner in the Pinnacle Grill was fabulous but I didn’t buy a cruise to pay extra to eat good food. The popcorn in the movie theater was good. The crew seemed disconnected from the passengers. Not a happy lot. Our cabin Stewards were efficient but didn’t always understand our requests, like clean wine glasses. The New Years Eve party was not remarkable. And the jewel in the crown, the Prinsendam, has been sold. I took 2 wonderful grand voyages on her and was looking forward to another. Our verandah cabin on Deck 6 was spacious and had lots of storage. So sad to experience the decline of what has been a wonderful cruise line with wonderful memories. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
By far the best cruise that I've ever been on!!! The crew bent over backwards to accommodate any request and the mix of ages on the cruise made for a really energetic crowd with lots of partying!!! I thoroughly enjoyed the in room ... Read More
By far the best cruise that I've ever been on!!! The crew bent over backwards to accommodate any request and the mix of ages on the cruise made for a really energetic crowd with lots of partying!!! I thoroughly enjoyed the in room dining, the dining room, and the entertainment and the dining room attendants went out of their way to accommodate requests. The entertainment was also world class and the singers were exception for the two shows. The ports were enjoyable and my cabin was ideal with easy access to both elevators and stairs. One of the highlights for me was the wrap around deck on Deck 3 which allows people to walk completely around the ship and truly get a 360 degree view of the ocean. Other than that, the room service which was included made for the ideal way to have coffee and breakfast in the stateroom while getting ready for an excursion. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
Rotterdam Christmas 2018 We left Pennsylvania Sunday morning, Dec. 23 with a 6:05 flight time on Southwest. Arriving at the airport (after being delayed at the car park) at 4:30 with the line to check bags we were a bit concerned. We ... Read More
Rotterdam Christmas 2018 We left Pennsylvania Sunday morning, Dec. 23 with a 6:05 flight time on Southwest. Arriving at the airport (after being delayed at the car park) at 4:30 with the line to check bags we were a bit concerned. We did get the bags checked in about 25 minutes and then headed up to security. The lines were huge but fortunately we all had TSA pre-check and we breezed right through security. We even had time to get a breakfast at McDonald’s right by the gate. Just as we finished breakfast boarding began. The flight was absolutely fine and on-time. We landed in Tampa at 8:45 and had our luggage by 9:15. A pleasant Uber driver had us at the port at 9:45. We quickly checked our bags and got in line for the terminal to open at 10:00. It was a cool morning in Tampa (about 50 degrees) so they opened the terminal early to get folks “In out of the cold.” We had a nice conversation while waiting in line for security to open. We were quickly checked in and shown to the 4 & 5 star waiting area. There was nothing special about it, just a smaller more private room, and when boarding began at 11:30 we were the first to board. We have not been on the Rotterdam before but immediately felt very comfortable. We found Job, a dining room manager, at a desk on deck 4 where we were the first to discuss special dietary needs and a wish for fixed dining. He said they had just received a cancellation that morning and we were able to join a six-top, table 55, right at the aft windows. He also took all of DW’s special diet needs and promised to stop by our table (which he did) to make sure everything was good. We enjoyed embarkation lunch in the dining room. We showed our DS around the ship and attended the mariner’s welcome back reception before the muster drill. After the muster drill we found our luggage delivered and we unpacked and prepared for dinner. We visited the tour desk and arranged for an ATV adventure in Honduras for our DS. Dinner was okay, not great, but service was excellent and rather prompt. We attended the EXC guide talk at 7:30 but after that the 2:30 start to the day was taking its toll and we called it a night. Monday, December 24, 2018 – Christmas Eve in Key West DS was up early and we found him reading on the Lido. We enjoyed breakfast together in the dining room. After breakfast we went to talk to the EXC guide about Honduras. He told us that there was expected to be several local tour options offered once off the dock in town. At 10:00 a Dutch Shuffleboard tournament was held and I ended up winning with 156 points. We docked a little early and the ship was cleared at 10:50, ahead of our stated 11:00 arrival. We left Rotterdam to explore Key West. We are docked right at Mallory Square, so that is very convenient. We took photos of the old customs house, Milepost Zero, the southernmost point (but did wait in the block-long line for our own photo), the southernmost beach, and the ‘sand snow-man’ at the beach. We took the free “Duval” bus back towards the ship, stopped at CVS for a few necessities, and then headed back to Rotterdam. We enjoyed a light lunch in the lido and I had a burger from the Dive-In. The burgers are very good. DS and I enjoyed the pool and hot tub. The pool was too cold for this northerner. I guess that doesn’t bother the young folks on board. We rested up a little bit and loaded the photos onto my computer before getting ready for the evening. We made it to happy hour in the Ocean Bar. Dinner was a special Christmas Eve menu and it was good. There was a little delay with DW’s special order. We went to a special “Sheridan’s” tasting at the shops and the Piano bar at the mix started at 8:00 so we enjoyed that. We caught part of the 9:00 show, a comedian, and returned to the Piano bar until 10:45. The special crew Christmas Eve service was wonderful. That went to 11:50 and a late night Christmas Eve buffet was available in the lido. Several Dutch specialties such as Ollie Bollen and Dutch Apple Pie were available. Tuesday, December 25 – Christmas Day at Sea We tried to sleep in but even so were in the dining room for breakfast by 8:30, partly helped by an hour time change to Central time. At 10:00 we attended the “Santa comes to Rotterdam” festivities in the main showroom. That was a lot of fun, especially the video that was put together of Santa exploring the ship before he appeared in the rear of the showroom. We had made reservations for lunch in the Pinnacle. Service was challenged likely due to a combination of the venue being popular and one of the chefs being ill. Lunch ended up being quite nice but it took them bringing my meal twice. The Pinnacle manager ended up comping our meal. We were really tired after staying up last night but attempts to nap failed. The pool and hot tub were enjoyed for a while. We enjoyed happy hour in the Ocean Bar and the drinks were perfect. The special Christmas Dinner menu included roast Turkey as well as a variety of surf & turf. Christmas Ham was also an option. We attended the show, ____ Jukebox. The performers were very good although most of the songs were not know to us. After the show we were just too tired and called it a night. Wednesday, December 26 – Trujillo (Banana Coast) Honduras We enjoyed a dining room breakfast before heading out to this largely unknown port. DS has an “ATV adventure” booked through the ship and we tendered over at the same time. After he checked in for his excursion we headed out to explore. A short walk past the port gates found us at a series of restaurants lining the beach. One of these looked clean, had a sign saying “English spoken,” along with other signs “$5 chair rental; $3 ice cold beer” and others. A friendly person waived us in and after looking the place over we decided to stay here. $10 for two beach loungers and an umbrella is a good deal nearly anywhere. We enjoyed a drink each, a couple of swims, watched other cruisers brave the “Banana boat,” and had a very nice 2 ½ hours. A total investment of $22 including a generous tip was well spent. We talked with our waitress who told us Rotterdam was only the second ship to call here this year, and only two or three more ships were scheduled to call. She said the town would love to become a regular cruise stop as they had a lot to offer and port calls create employment. Their biggest local concern is the lack of employment for young people. After leaving the beach we headed to town to walk around a bit. We ran into Abrie, the travel guide who was on his way back to the tender pier. We saw several stands selling local crafts on the main square, a large Christmas tree, a manger scene, and lots of locals out enjoying the day. We headed back to the tender pier and were back on board Rotterdam at 1:30. I enjoyed a Dive Inn burger (excellent on Rotterdam) and cooled off in the pool a little. We went to the Ocean Bar happy hour and the Mai-Tai’s were not made well this day. Way too strong and attempts to make them better failed. Went to dinner and all was well. The show was a Magician and he was very good. The piano bar is ‘off’ tonight so we called it a night after the show. Thursday, December 27, 2018 – Santo Thomas de Castilla, Guatemala. It is said that sometimes “You can’t do it over again.” That was certainly true here in Santo Thomas. We were here in 2009 and had a wonderful day visiting the Las Escobas River and waterfalls, swimming under the falls, and then enjoying the afternoon at the Green Bay resort. In fact, I have two photos of this in my office at work, some nine years after the visit, as the memories were so fond. I found out before the cruise that the Green Bay resort had gone under, but the waterfalls were still there. So we arranged taxi service for $25/pp round trip, and paid $14 entrance fee to the national park for each of us at the entrance. They have certainly improved the entrance area with nature displays and our trail guide was very pleasant. The experience was such a letdown however. Since our 2009 visit, they have now built two additional pipelines taking water out of the river from above the falls for the local towns. Okay, but this leaves just a trickle of water going down the river. We did swim at the lower falls and it was refreshing, but this was nowhere near the 2009 experience. At the upper falls we didn’t even go into the pool. We walked back down to the entrance and headed back to the port. On the way back to the port we had a brief tour of the town of Santo Thomas de Castilla. We were happy to be back to the port shortly thereafter. We did peruse some of the vendors at the port market and bought some ladies sandals, men’s belts, and a gift item. Back on the Rotterdam we enjoyed lunch and some pool time. Some of the tour providers did put on a little farewell presentation on the pier; however it was nothing like the all-out sendoff we remember from nine years ago. Dinner was enjoyable and after dinner we walked around a while before calling it a night. Friday, December 28 – Costa Maya, Mexico – NOT! Rotterdam was scheduled to dock at Costa Maya at 8:00. At 7:15 we could see we were just offshore with two large ships settling into port. Going out onto deck 3 the wind was strong enough to ‘blow you over!’ We went to the dining room for breakfast and right about 8:00 we closely approached the dock. The Allure of the Seas was at the outer dock and yikes that is some huge ship! We heard the engines and thrusters straining and quite suddenly they stopped and we were slowly drifting away from the dock. I said “I guess we are not going to Costa Maya” and 15 minutes later the captain came on and made the announcement that due to the gale-force winds and Rotterdam being assigned the inner dock there was no way to safely make port. We finished breakfast and headed to the lido where we grabbed a table near the pool. We enjoyed some pool time in the “Wave pool” and then attended an 11:00 “Coffee chat” with the magician entertainer. That was a lot of fun but the assigned Explorers Lounge was overflowing and a larger venue would have been better. We checked the menu for a dining room lunch and opted to head to the lido instead. That was a great call as slow roasted turkey was featured in the carving station! We were very tired and all three of us ended up taking an afternoon nap. We went to the Crow’s Nest happy hour, and then enjoyed our second gala dinner. The evening show was the jukebox and it was okay. After the show we enjoyed the piano bar until he took his break at 10:00 and called it a night. Saturday, December 29 – At sea, gulf of Mexico Breakfast in the dining room began our day. At 9:30 was “Ask the captain” and the captain began with a slideshow of the attempted docking in Costa Maya. It was very clear from the slide show that there was no chance to safely dock, but the weather report was extremely wrong as the winds were double what had been forecast. The captain also did a virtual tour of the bridge and engine room, and then answered questions from the floor. At 10:30 was the mariner’s reception in the Explorer’s lounge. This was nice with about 10 folks receiving their copper medallion. We opted to pass on the Mariner’s lunch after looking over the menu. We enjoyed lunch poolside and a surprise lunch time happy hour was enjoyed with lunch. No “Wave pool” today as the ocean is flat and there is no wind. In fact, Tampa port has a fog problem and despite a very early arrival at the pilot station, we dropped anchor there. We packed most of our luggage late in the afternoon. We should have at least kept bathing attire for the carry – off bag but failed to think ahead enough. Dinner was in the Pinnacle Grille and we enjoyed that very much. After dinner I wondered around a little before calling it a night. Sunday, December 30 – Disembarkation? Eventually! We woke to find we were still anchored at the Tampa bay pilot station. Fog had closed the port. Yes, there was certainly fog. But why close the port? In the spring of 2017 we cruised New England and Canada and every port was fogged in each morning, and much thicker fog that what we witnessed here in Tampa. We made every port on that cruise early, despite the fog. In any case, we had a dining room breakfast. We watched a movie, Crazy Rich Asians, in the showroom. We had lunch in the dining room. We started to watch a second movie, the latest Mission Impossible in the showroom but then the captain said we had been cleared to begin our approach and we would soon pass two outbound cruise ships and sail under the sunshine skyway bridge, so we went up to the observation deck to take photos. We certainly have never passed so close to other cruise ships moving at speed as we witnessed here! The channel is not very wide so they passed less than 200 meters portside of Rotterdam. It was fun as all the passengers were waving at each other. We led in a parade of three cruise ships and eventually docked at 6:00 PM. Despite being in the first color group to be called it was 7:30 before we were clear to disembark. They did feed us dinner in the lido, and the prime rib was excellent! After dinner we waited in the showroom where an NFL game was on the big screen. We had very little wait at customs and caught a cab to the airport to pick up our rental car. We are spending a couple of days in Florida before flying home New Year’s day morning, so this is the end of the cruise log. Summary: While we’ve done lots of Holland America cruises, this was our first on Rotterdam. I really like the ship. The décor is classic, the size is convenient, and the service generally superior. We had no “Bad meals.” Some meals were really great. In fact, Job and Wayan in the dining room went above and beyond in taking care of DW’s special dietary needs. For our adult son, this was his first HAL experience. After about two days he said “I feel like I went back in time.” I asked why? He said you just don’t ever get this kind of service anywhere. His room steward remembered all our names after the first introduction! He had a really great time. There were a few issues that were never really addressed. One was the temperature in our cabin, #3431. A few times it did go down but then it would go back up again. In any case, the thermostat had little (if any) effect. Our son’s cabin (#2588) was always comfortable. Likely due to the holiday crowding with many 3rd and 4th berths occupied, there were a few times it just seemed to take a little longer to get service. On the other hand, some of the bar staff really went out of their way to take care of us. I thought the captain really went out of his way to explain why our port call in Costa Maya needed to be aborted. I also think it’s a real shame that the Tampa port closes due to what seemed like not very bad fog. I can assure all the readers that we will have to think very long and hard before booking another cruise from Tampa. For us, this was a minor inconvenience until the 90 minutes from docking until our priority luggage tag color was called (which was just far too long). We were not flying that day, but usually we do fly immediately home! Overall I give this 7 night Christmas cruise on Rotterdam 3.5 stars out of five. I hope to cruise again on the elegant Rotterdam. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
This is NOT your typical HAL cruise. We have cruised HAL many times before and this entire trip was different and not in a good way. If you want an extremely affordable cruise, I think we paid $1600 for four in one room, then go with no ... Read More
This is NOT your typical HAL cruise. We have cruised HAL many times before and this entire trip was different and not in a good way. If you want an extremely affordable cruise, I think we paid $1600 for four in one room, then go with no expectations and you will be fine. UNDERSTAND THERE ARE NO ACTIVITIES or SHOWS ONBOARD - Ill talk about that below.. Please note, on this ship the Rotterdam is old and small. Not a big deal at all for us but its not your typical newer fancy ships, more of classical midsize cruising. Pro, as always, is the food. We were happy with the selection on the Lido for all meals. The Dining room was pretty good and had good selections as well but we found ourselves going to the lido for dinner towards the end of the cruise because we didnt want to deal with the wait. Ice Creak was a huge hit and the asian/sushi was as well. The pool deck had a great Hamburger/Hot Dog and Fries station made to order as well as a huge fully stocked taco/nacho bar. It was fantastic. Cons: Service: Attendants were not your typical friendly HAL staff. They seemed annoyed and overworked. Only a few we encountered were genuinely happy to see us. Activities: HAHA!! What a joke. Rare was the time we saw or heard from the cruise director. There was no pool activities, no sail away shows, no performances in the main theater - just really nothing to do. They had a comedian in the main theater on two of the days and he was great but the other days were so disappointing. The night we set sail the only thing they offered was a Q&A session about excursions in the main theater. No shows. They had Bingo , some string quartets and a piano guy around the ship but that was it. The Kids club was a let down and there were not adequate enough activities to keep the kids entertained that you would end up seeing kids roaming the decks unsupervised in packs because they didnt want to go to the kids club and their parents obviously didnt want to supervise them. it was chaos. I still cant believe how little there was to do on the ship. Ports were Ok but NEVER book through the ship ever. Book your own excursions and save 90% Overall we will most likely not seek out a HAL cruise first like we used to do. This one really was disappointing in so many ways and our family is not high maintenance - but you expect certain things on cruises and entertainment is one of the most important categories - major let down, cant believe anyone could leave that cruise with a positive experience. Unfortunately we know HAL can be excellent - not sure if they are cutting back to save money or something but it was pretty bad. Read Less
Rotterdam Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.1
Dining 3.0 3.9
Entertainment 3.0 3.3
Public Rooms 4.0 4.2
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.7
Family 3.0 3.7
Shore Excursion 3.0 3.5
Enrichment 4.0 3.3
Service 4.0 4.3
Value For Money 4.0 3.8
Rates 4.0 4.1

Find a Rotterdam Cruise