Hi everyone! I have heard wonderful things about Holland America! I am thinking about going on the Maasdam out of Norfolk next January. I have been told that it may be too boring and that we are too young to go on this ship. It will be two couples, three of us are 30 and one is 31. NO KIDS! We are not big party people but we do like to have some things to do. I really like the itenerary, the ship seems nice, service seems wonderful and it is only a 2 hour drive to Norfolk which I REALLY like, no flying! We have previously been on Carnival Triumph(out of Norfolk), Star Princess(Alaska) and will be going in a few months (not soon enough) on the Mariner of the Seas(Western Caribbean).
Can anyone give any advice? Thanks! Really appreciate the help!
Just my opinion, but we just returned from a cruise to Eastern Caribbean on the Holland America Ms. Zaandam. We were very disappointed in this cruise. We went out of Port Canaveral, which is only a 7 hour drive for us. All of our ports were cut short, one was cut short by 4 hours. We have cruised on RCCL and this in no way compared. The service in the bars and dining room was good, but that is where it ended. We are in our early 40's and there was no activities on our cruise to speak of. Unless you like hanging out at the bar or casino, you are out of luck.
If you don't want to eat in the dining room, make sure you go to the Lido buffet early because they only serve dinner for about 1 hour, if you miss that you have to order room service or wait until 11:30 for the "buffet" which is really just a snack.
We had a very old crowd on our ship and they enjoyed sleeping around the pool and reading books. One night there was a deck party, but that was the day we were in St. Thomas all day, would have been better to be on a day that we were at sea all day. Cruise activity staff was not out there getting activities going or people involved.
Unless Holland America makes some major improvements that was our first and last Holland America cruise. We are back to RCCL.
Thanks for the input. Sorry you didn't have a good time on your cruise. Why did they cut the ports short? They advertise that they have the longest port times than any other cruise line.
I am really looking forward to our cruise coming up with Royal Caribbean. So far out of the two we have completed we really loved Princess. Everything was great!
Thanks again for the information. That is what I want to hear. I know everyone is different in the things they like but I do like to hear people's honest opinions.
We were on the Maasdam out of Norfolk 1-31. We had a wonderful time! We are early 30's too, and found lots to do. The food was great, and plentiful too. The shows were good, and we met a nice mix of people onbaord. None of our ports were cut short, and we went to Half Moon Cay, St. Maarten, Antigua, St. Thomas, and San Juan. What a great itinerary. I would definitely recommend HAL, and especially the Maasdam!!
Enjoy your cruise, no matter what you decide!
01/04 HAL Maasdam
09/04 HAL Zuiderdam
09/05 Caribbean Princess
04/06 Caribbean Princess
Thanks Ladybug. That is great to hear a good post, especially from someone around our age. I have heard alot of good things about Holland American and the Maasdam.
I thought the itenerary sounded great! It would just be so nice to be able to go out of Norfolk again instead of having to fly or drive to Florida.
Was this the first time you went on Holland America?
Did you travel with more than one couple or just yourself? Just curious incase the other couple can't go and just my husband and I went.
What kind of room did you have? I was looking at a category BB. Deluxe Outside Veranndah. I have to have a balcony. Someone had recommended the suite S category which does sound nice as long as the price difference isn't huge the way it appears to look on Holland America's web site. I figured I could check both. Sorry to ask so many questions. Like I said it is just nice to get some input from someone around our age!
Yes, this was our first cruise and our first time on HAL. We had a category S suite, and it was so nice, and really huge too. The balcony was wonderful, with a large table and 4 chairs, plus 2 chaise loungers. we had a cocktail party out there with 3 other couples, and had plenty of room. We enjoyed the Neptune Lounge immensely, with it's cozy sofas, hot and cold appetizers, and gourmet coffees. The Neptune is only available to suite and penthouse suite pax. Our friends had a category A which was really nice too, and very similar to the BB. The nice thing about the suite was it was more than twice the size of the next category down. I don't think you would be disappointed either way. We travelled alone, but met several nice couples (our age) that we are still in contact with. The staff was incredibly kind and went out of thier way to please everyone. I would not hesitate to sail HAL again!!
I hope this helps, and please feel free to ask any other questions you might have either here, or you can email me directly if you like.
01/04 HAL Maasdam
09/04 HAL Zuiderdam
09/05 Caribbean Princess
04/06 Caribbean Princess
Thanks for all of the information. Sounds like you had a very nice time. I am sure you are ready for another cruise. I really love cruising. You can not beat the value for your dollar on a cruise. Makes it really hard to plan any other kind of vacation.
Thanks again, you have been very helpful!
We were on the Zaandam the last week of January. We had a great time. We had the intinery that we sailed for the days out of seven. But----the average age on the cruise was 60. We are both 55 and had a hard time being so sedate. One night we were at the casino and at about 11:30 p.m. my husband decide he'd like to smoke a cigar. We went to the lido pool area where the cigar bar is open to midnight. We sat around just talking and at around 12:30 we decide to go to the Crow's Nest which was suppose to be the "happening place". It was at the opposite end of the ship. We walkedthere and didn't see another person on three different levels. The only people still moving were three people working in the casino cleaning up. The whole ship was asleep. Needless to say, the Crow's Nest Disco was closed too. We aren't real party people, but we felt like we needed to turn the lights off wherever we walked. The crusie was very nice but we expected more superior service and elegance from what we've heard about HAL. We sailed Celebrity on our last cruise and liked the service and food better than on HAL. I doubt if we will sail HAL again.
Location: Brooklyn - Dyker Heights-Bay Ridge - NYC By The VZ Bridge
Re: Will I like Holland America?
Sorry to hear of your experience on the ship. Hope you would give HAL another chance with another ship and also at another time of the year and different port of calls.
My wife and I went on the Rotterdam last May after 23 years. We have been dedicated Cunard Cruisiers during that time and haven't been on a HAL ship since 1980.
We also sailed with my parents who are energetic and in there early 80's. I had concerns about the age factor of those who would be onboard. My wife and I are 51 & 52.
In the past, I have gone to drop them off and pick them up from cruises at the pier in NYC and did notice the ages of those boarding and wondered if we would want to experience this ship and HAL again someday in the future. Yes, we did!
Arriving on the pier the day of our cruise, we saw the majority of the passengers awaiting boarding. We observed the age range to be about 65-90's for about 2/3 and 40-65's for about the other 1/3 or so passengers. I did keep an open mind and were to excited about the cruise to grade it at that time.
I must admit, that the passengers were all at breakfast, lunch and dinner. Others going to the Lido and also many to the Midnight Snack (Buffet) in the Lido. All enjoyed the tours on land and especially to Half Moon Cay on the beach even though they were senior's.
Yes, they all enjoyed showtime with the Queens Lounge packed for both shows. Also afterwards the many intimate bars were occupied with Senior's that were dancing and cutting up the rug. There was no limit to their energy. The bands were even young preformers that matched the style of music that they requested. Maybe it's the sea air. Also, the Crow Nest was also packed during the times that the daily program listed activities and also theme nites.
We had a great cruise and the people were interesting to meet. We decided on this 12 day cruise that if what experienced by the 3rd day will continue to impress us thru the rest of the trip we would book the ship and cruise again this year, and we did and are going.
We know people that have been on the Celebrity Line and very much enjoyed it and even suggested it to us to try. Maybe someday.
You do show quite abit of cruise experience and know what you are expecting. Maybe abit more research into HAL will surprise you with a better cruise experience.
Loyal To Cruisin..................
HAL NOORDAM 10-14-06 (NYPST) SO CARIB CRUISE<BR>
From all I have heard so far the Maasdam in wonderful. Everyone has their favorites and everyone has their opinions. Both of the cruises we have been on so far have been terrific and I had heard bad comments on each, Carnival & Princess.
I appreciate everyones opinion good or not so good. The only problem I have is when people totally bash the different cruise lines. Come on, they can't be that bad! You are on a cruise, not at work and not cooking right?
I wish we were your age, but we are in our 50's and have been on Carnival, RCCL and the Statendam to Alaska two years ago. HAL was by far the best service, food, and sailing experience we have had. We are not big party people. We get up early, stay busy all day and try to do everything in the ports, so we are not able to stay up til 2 or 3 am. We enjoyed the shows every night, stopped by a few lounges four a drink and the pool deck for some of the sea day games. We have always traveled alone and prefer it since we are efficient, on time, and never have to wait for the slowest person in the group to get their act together. We meet many people on every cruise and some we talk to all week long and after. I'm sure you will have a great cruise especially if you have your friends with you, unless you really need the hard partying crowd. On HAL, the 60+ group were often running circles around us at night, but I suspect they were sleeping in or sneaking back for a nap in the afternoon!! Enjoy.
You are a tad young for HAL, but if you go you will really enjoy it. Their cruises are more formal and elegant than most of the ships out there. Now if you are looking for a crowd more in your age group and lots of activities may I suggest RCCL? I am a huge HAL fan and am in my mid 40's.
I love HAL. My cruises with HAL have been when I was cruising solo and just didn't want to bothered with loud music, disco stuff, tons-o-kidz, water slides, rock-climbing walls, etc. I think that HAL had the best food of any line I've been on. I think that the Indonesian/Filipino crew were the best I've ever had. I cruise HAL solo because I want to get up early, go to bed early, not be hassled, not have my cabin door pounded on at 2:00 am by drunk 20-somethings, see good first-run movies, not get bombarded by some unsupervised kid cannonballing into the aft pool, not waiting in long lines, and being treated like I'm the special person that I am. HAL isn't for everyone, but it definitely provides me with a quiet and stress-free vacation. I'm no Spring Chicken, so when we cruise with our grown (not necessarily mature) kids, we do CCL or RCI or NCL. And I still have a great time! But - I always choose HAL when I get a week off, and have no problem leaving the betrothed/adult kids/beloved cats behind. (Betrothed goes hunting. I go HAL. WE go to the South Pacific when we can afford it).
We did a back-to-back, Eastern and Western Caribbean on the Maasdam and had a ball - too bad 'Terri' was so negative - port stays are only cut short because of weather warnings and are always for the safety of passengers.
As for 'nothing/not much to do' - not true! We've never managed to cram in everything we'd like to participate in! Good reason for taking another cruise! HAL will not hound you to join in in all kinds of activities - it's your choice because it's your vacation!
Thank you all for such great information. I have really made up my mind to give Holland America a try. They sound great and I think I would be nuts not to try since it is a two hour drive from home, I like the itenerary and the ship really does sound lovely. There can't be a BAD cruise right? Not in my opinion!
To be honest with you after our busy days in port and eating at the late seating(which I prefer) I could just make it thru the late shows some nights. I was beat. I don't know how people do it staying up until 2 or 3 in the morning not if you want to see the wonderful ports you get to visit. Those days are long ago for us.
Thanks again. I really enjoy talking to people on the boards. Most everyone is very nice and very helpful.
One of HAL's cruises is a 12-day on the Westerdam in June, sailing along the coast of Norway and winding up in Copenhagen. The itinerary looks amazing, and it being the beginning of summer, it travels into the Arctic Circle.
Any opinions if an unattached healthy 51 year old guy would be bored? My fear is a totally sedate bunch of cruisers. I would be traveling solo.
Also, any ideas how to get decently priced airfares if the trip from the US goes to London and the return trip home leaves from Copenhagen? That sounds like a very expensive airline trip. Any suggestions?
HOLLAND AMERICA JUST CHANGED THE ITINERARY JUST TWO WEEKS BEFORE THE CRUISE WAS TO LEAVE NORFOLK. WE WANTED TO HAVE OUR DEPOSIT CHANGED TO ANOTHER HAL CRUISE AND WERE DENIED--TOLD THAT THEY HAVE THE RIGHT TO MAKE ANY CHANGES TO THE ITINERARY FOR WHATEVER REASON AND THAT WE HAVE NO RIGHTS TO CHANGE OUR PLANS. THEY DROPPED THE PORTS OF TORTOLA AND GUADELOUPE AND SUBSTITUTED ST. KITTS FOR ABOUT FOUR HOURS AND SAN JUAN,PR. IF YOU BOOK WITH HOLLAND AMERICA BE SURE TO GET INSURANCE--NOT MEDICAL INSURANCE BUT INSURANCE IF THEY DECIDE THAT THEY WOULD LIKE TO MAKE CHANGES FOR THEIR CONVENIENCE. ALSO CHECK CRUSIE CRITIC FOR A REVIEW OF THE MAASDAM OUT OF NORFOLK ON FEBRUARY 4, 2004. GOOD LUCK.
Sorry they changed it on you but they do have the right to do so. They have it stated in writing. (all the cruise lines)
Did you not get the insurance? We always get insurance because you never know what may come up. No matter what line we travel on.
I hope you will still have a nice cruise, it sure beats being at work! =) Just gives you a reason to plan another cruise!
Think you will like HAL, there are always things to do for all ages. There is the casino, bingo and art acutions when at sea. Halfmoon Cay is adding alot, swim with the stingrays should be great fun, we have done it in the Caymans. There are cabanas you can rent on Halfmoon Cay, first come. With six people you should do this. Our travel agent here in Floriday did not know about these, so you have to ask arouond as there are only 4 or 5.
I too have had a port rotation change for the 4/3 sailing of the Massdam. Our change was done to facilitate the ship arriving and departing on schedule in Norfolk. This change is probably worth it as it will make embarkation and debarkation easier. Our group plans to relax and enjoy the ride wherever it takes us. Hope you enjoy your cruise.
jq- I totally have a good attitude about cruising. I figure you can't go wrong on any cruise. Some people seem to just go ready to complain. I don't understand it! They should just be happy to be on vacation! =)
I am almost 100% sure that we will be taking this cruise out of Norfolk next November. It really sounds great!
Thanks again everyone, happy cruising!!!! =)