Consumer Complaints & Reviews
Let me preface this with my former experience with this ship. I cruised on the Eurodam in 2015 with 4 days of plumbing problems in our Neptune Suite. We had other small issues with the condition of the ship last year but didn't complain about them; only the plumbing as it was very disruptive. You gave me $100.00 OBC for that issue which I thought was not enough and told you so last year; considering the cost of that transatlantic voyage. I was hesitant to go on the Eurodam again but I did. A huge MISTAKE!!!
Then this year I was assured that the ship was "overhauled" and fixed, so I took it this time. As soon as I boarded I found that my room had no air conditioning!!! I spent the whole day and the next day dealing with maintenance to NO AVAIL. They finally got it working but at a very low capacity and gave me a fan!!! (really a fan for 16 days!)??? I had not even unpacked until Cartagena!!! After they took the A/C unit apart and cleaned it; then it would work but on and off; totally unreliable. The staff went out of their way to help but the problem lay with the ship. I was in 10025 but the crow's nest on 11 and the spa on 9 were fine with their A/C so the height was not the issue. Several times during the cruise they completely shut it off!!! ("maintenance madam" is what I was constantly told.) I have many health issues but even that aside the lack of proper A/C RUINED my TRIP!!!
One night I slept on the balcony in a chair since it was cooler out there than in my stuffy room. I was livid and I still am!!! There were MANY people that had poor A/C but none worse than mine and believe me we all compared!!! The white fan they gave me had dark grey dust on it every day which I cleaned off. I had to take allergy medication just to breathe in there!!! I will be warning others on TripAdvisor and other travel sites about this ship when I have time to do so. I am too stressed out and exhausted from this ORDEAL to write the review now. Last year on the Nieuw Amsterdam cruise everything was fine. I can only hope that my next cruise with you will not be a disaster. I have just wasted $9000.00 plus (Canadian) on this trip (with my flights) and I have not even listed EVERYTHING that went wrong!!! I went alone to relax!!!
It was a total waste of time and money. Plus I have come home feeling robbed and so stressed out. The only saving grace was that I went to Paris for a few days after the cruise and calmed down. NOW I AM STILL EXTREMELY DISAPPOINTED AND MAD!!! ALSO I was "squirted" three times from the men cleaning the balconies (my floor and from the floor above). I was NEVER INFORMED of this scheduled maintenance dates nor times!!! The last day I was to debark at 9:15 so I was all ready and set up my breakfast outside on my balcony at 8:30 and was drenched in water!!! The first time they dry cleaned my clothes but the last time I had to get changed all over again. LUCKILY I had an extra outfit in my carry-on or I would have had to fly soaking wet!!! Again I was told "sorry madam" as if that helped me in any way. I will NEVER go on the EURODAM again.
Next year in the fall I might try the Koningsdam transatlantic and pray that I have a decent cruise. I went alone and paid almost $7000.00 Canadian for the pleasure of constant disruptions, none or poor air conditioning and getting doused from huge hoses!!! I am so upset and I missed 4 ports due to maintenance and issues with my room; which were never resolved. I received many apologies but that doesn't make up for the most stressful cruise I have ever been on. Every time I thought things would get better something happened AGAIN. It was never-ending. I just wanted to get off the ship and fly home. I was in tears and my health suffered the consequences of all the stress on this cruise. Words cannot describe the drama and circumstances. It was pure HELL!!! Also the name of "Exotic Coastlines" should be changed to "SHIPYARDS". Never have I docked in so many industrial sections.
I was well aware that major cities were a distance away but since I had been everywhere already. I just wanted to explore the local ports' towns. In most cases we docked in the ghetto shipyards; even when there were terminals!!! (In Naples I was told the "Oosterdam stole our spot"!!!) Then the small towns were not even close to where we docked and they charged us $16.00 for the bus ride into town and back!!! Now I do not mind paying for these shuttles; however they should be included in the cruise PRICE OR we should be informed from the start of the cruise which ports we will have to pay you money to get out of the shipyard and into town!!! This was totally annoying and disruptive and waiting times were ridiculous!!! In Dubrovnik I waited IN THE SUN and extreme heat for over 20 minutes and fainted; thus, I NEVER got into the town!!! Even though we were there until midnight I could not go there alone at night.
The day was ruined and this was the one city I had NEVER seen. I am still reeling mad. I went back to my room with NO AIR CONDITIONING and just cried. Yes they shut it off for maintenance again and on the day that I needed it the most. I was so sick. I didn't even get off in Venice. I just stayed on the ship in the lounge for some air conditioning. I am sure you are aware of the extreme heat we had. Extreme heat weather is still no excuse for the A/C not working since it worked on other areas of the ship!!! I do not understand how you could let this happen.
Also after getting soaked with the hose from the balcony cleaner and having to change my clothes again (to debark) I had no breakfast (it was drenched too) and was supposed to have a wheelchair to debark. This was chaos too. Finally, a very disgruntled person took me off and plopped me where my private taxi was coming. I got out of the chair for less than a minute to look around the corner for my car which had not arrived yet. I didn't look behind me and went to sit down and hit the pavement!!! The man had just taken it away without saying anything. I yelled after him and he just ran faster with the wheelchair back to the ship. Unfortunately I do not have his name. As if the cruise wasn't enough of a disaster I ended my HELL of 16 days sprawled out and injured on the stone/cement! Nobody from HAL cared. I asked for HAL help and they IGNORED me.
Kindly some other passengers helped me up and found me a place to sit and wait!!! You cannot imagine how IRATE I was!!! I STILL AM!!! The staff (front desk) was always very polite but you could see that they had NO CONTROL of the situation. They tried their best. They sent me flowers and chocolates for which I thanked them and told them please do not send anymore. Having poor or no A/C in my stateroom ruined the entire cruise. I spent MORE TIME dealing with this issue and many servicemen and women coming to my room; NOBODY could fix the problem. They gave me a fan. I do not think a fan compensates me for all the stress and aggravation I experienced. The stewards were fantastic and the hardest workers on the ship!!! Omma and Yahu. I am worried about having the same or similar issues now.
I cruise with you because you allow me to smoke on my veranda otherwise I do not think I would attempt another disaster unless I was assured ahead of time that all was in excellent working order and that you improve your maintenance scheduling and communication!!! I will try the new ship (Koningsdam) next year or I will cruise with Seabourn (I think that is the OTHER line that allows me smoking on my balcony). I wasted my vacation TIME and a LOT OF MONEY. I had NO VACATION only PROBLEMS. I FEEL LIKE I NEVER went on this cruise. I missed so many ports and constantly was uncomfortable. THIS was supposed to be my SOLO cruise and it was ruined. I spent double the price since I wanted a cruise ALONE and now I will not be able to do that again due to the cost. Plus I missed most of Spain and that was the main reason I took this cruise since I had never been to Spain. ALL was a waste. It saddens me deeply.
My elderly mother and father went on their cruises and Holland America lost their bag, since they had an airplane to catch after their cruise they had to go on to the remaining of their holiday with no clothes. The bag was taken by a "bag handling" company subcontracted by Holland America who then went on to charge us exorbitant storage fees before they could release our bag to Holland America. The whole experience was a waste of time and effort. We gave up trying to retrieve the bag - and since it is not "lost" insurance won't cover it.
I booked a cruise with Holland America on July 3, 2016 for a 12 day cruise in the Mediterranean. I was looking at other cruises but I received an offer in the mail for an incredible offer. I called the cruise line directly and asked about the deal. The agent that spoke to me said had a lower price she could offer. She looked up my mariner number and said, "You qualify for a military discount and a casino discount." She offered a balcony room for $779 per person. I jumped at the deal and paid the entire amount. I received cruise documents but no breakdown on the money. I checked with American Express and it showed that Holland had taken 1300+ out which was about $200 less than they should have charged me. I was confused, but my documents said, paid in full.
Later in Europe, I received several emails offering upgrades. I ignored them until they offered a suite for an additional $398 for both of us. I paid this with a separate card. When I looked at the documents I noticed that I was paying about $1100 each now, and that didn't include the upgrade. It was too late to change anything, we were stuck in Europe with no place to go if we canceled the trip. This kind of business is Wrong. I did check with American Express and the initial amount that was charged was changed to 2227.00. Somehow they managed to get the amount changed. I would have taken a different cruise if I'd know I was paying that much. I can only assume that Holland called American Express back after the initial transaction and said they made a mistake. This price would have been a deal breaker for me.
I booked a tour with their tour department. My husband accompanied me to the desk to arrange for a four hour tour. We didn't speak French, or Spanish so we didn't know how the cities that we were going to. We just wanted a four hour tour to kill some time. We spoke to the agent behind the counter at length and told him as well as showed him which tour we wanted to go on. 'The next day, as our tour bus was leaving the port, the guide announced that we would return at 5 pm, making this a seven hour tour.' We paid $179 each for the tour instead of $49 each. I brought it to their attention the next day, but like our payment to the cruise line it was too late to do anything about it. I told them it was a nice tour, and I would pay for it, but I don't do business like this, and in the future, I would really appreciate it if they would be honest in their bookings. I know people were not booking tours very much. It seemed like a desperate move on their part.
Now, the Spa: I called for a pedicure and I told the I wanted the Gel pedicure. They asked if I had gel on my toes already and I replied yes. This would have been the opportunity for them to tell me that they were going to charge me an additional $20 to remove the gel. I was furious. At that point, I reminded them that they were going to color my hair so is there a charge for blow drying my hair. They said Yes. I told them we could forego the entire deal, but they insisted on provided the service at a lesser cost. They were rude, inappropriate, and made remarks to demean me during this time. At this time, my hair is dry and brittle. I need to see my own hairdresser for some type of repair.
I've cruised with Holland more than they have listed me for, Cunard, Royal Caribbean, Princess, and Carnival. This is the worst experience I have ever had with a cruise line. I'm disgusted. I'm a wife, mother, educator, and advocate for people's rights. This behavior is wrong. I've tried to retrieve the initial emails from July 3rd from Holland, but I cannot locate them. All I find is the ones generated after that time. Interesting that everything took a change like it did with these people. Maybe you can get the agreement that was made on July 3 and generated on July 3rd, and sent to me on July 3rd.
We purchased a Platinum photo package on Ms Westerdam cruise ship sailing to Alaska between July 2-9, 2016. After disembarking, found out that our photo was missing both hard copy and soft copy for the second night gala. The photographer, Marcia who took our photo on July 8 at Pinnacles Grill restaurant said that she will mail the copies to us the following day. Never see the photos/images after 1 week.
We send email to request the images on July 14 to firstname.lastname@example.org. They do not reply after emails following up with them. Finally, on August 15, the customer service send email saying that the ship unfortunately not able to locate the images and sorry. IS THAT ACCEPTABLE? Is this how they handle their mistake with customers? We spend almost $400 on the packages and this is how they treat customers. Because of this incident, we will never ever cruise with Holland America and spread the words out to all the customers out there.
Upon disembarking the MS Westerdam on Aug 13, my 10 yr old son realized that he left his IPAD on the pullout couch in suite 6086. We called Holland America approx. 15 minutes getting off the ship. The Holland America rep told us lost and found was closed and there was nothing they could do. He told us to call back on Monday, 3 days after the fact. I filed a report with property claims at HA. They said they investigated and denied the claim. The rep, James, even questioned if we left the ipad. When I asked if I could have a copy of the investigation he said no, it was internal. The rep did say that HA should have called the ship the minute we called it in verses saying call back on Monday. HA could care less about their passengers once they disembark. HA is owned by Carnival Cruise Lines so beware. I'm sure the treatment extends to all of their brands. It's unfortunate since the cruise was lovely but HA ruined that. Never cruise HA.
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I have been on two cruises with Holland America and I have been absolutely blown away by the experiences. The ratio of staff to guests is amazing and it shows. I was treated with respect and personal attention at every turn and any requests were met with a smile and quick service. I will absolutely take another cruise with Holland America in the future and will be recommending it to others.
I'm sad to see so many negative reviews of Holland regarding their customer service. We have sailed with Holland America a couple times now (Zuiderdam and Maasdam) and have always been impressed with their customer service. Our room stewards have been helpful, kind, and friendly--always ready to go the extra mile to ensure our comfort. On one occasion, we had a storm in port that resulted in a little flooding to our balcony room. The issue was addressed immediately and we were given a small room credit for our inconvenience. Our dining room experiences were always excellent. Some people have complained about how slow service is, but we have never had that problem. At worst, I might call a dinner "leisurely", but never slow.
Any room issue we have ever had was addressed and corrected promptly and courteously. We usually take the longer cruises so have an older population on board. My only complaint is that there isn't a great deal to do on sea days, but that's just me. Can't wait to take my next Holland cruise--hopefully to the South Pacific!
As a solo traveler and a person with a handicap requiring the constant use of a walker, I was extremely distressed with the way I was managed especially on the gangways, at the excursion desk, and in the Lido buffet on my Holland America cruise to Alaska from May 23, 2016 to June 6, 2016. When I exited and re-entered the ship, gangway crew members would routinely get in front of my walker and pull it forward in an effort to make me go faster. Often they wrenched it right out of my hands, leaving me grasping for something else to hold onto. Then they wanted to take my hand (a totally inadequate substitute) while they held my walker! I said, "NO! GIVE ME MY WALKER!"
Of course, they saw me as the safety hazard and would not see themselves as causing a hazard by grabbing my walker away. I kept telling them, "Do not pull my walker! Let me hang onto it and push it. You may GUIDE it but do not PULL it." A couple times somebody started pushing me from behind to make me go faster. At the same time the gangway assistant was grabbing my walker from the front. I told them, "Stop pushing!" At that point, if the front man had torn my walker from my hands while the person behind me was pushing, I would have fallen down on a narrow gangway over frigid water (no doubt, it would have been framed to be my fault, not theirs). In addition, the moment I yelled, "Stop pushing", they continued pushing violated my person and became an assault. I know what I can and can't do and even on a cruise ship with assistants, I am ultimately responsible for my own safety; when left alone I manage quite well.
Now, I was never deliberately stalling at all, I was walking at a pace that was safe for me in that situation. I honestly would have preferred to communicate my needs in a more mutually satisfactory manner. When we reached Kodiak, the gangway men tried to prevent me from getting off the ship simply because there were five steps, on land, easily negotiated with an available assist, at the end of the gangway. I told them that I had paid thousands of dollars to see Kodiak and I was not going to let five negotiable steps stop me. The gangway assistants let me through only because I was determined to go ashore. If they had insisted that I not go, it would have become an equal access issue.
In addition, your tour guide explained that they held front seats [on buses] for those using wheelchairs but not for those using walkers or canes because, as she stated during her pre-tour instructions in the auditorium, "We have to cut it off somewhere." [Who is she to judge? Struggling to the back of the bus was tough and painful, to say the least.] This is a premeditated denial of accommodation and a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Auditorium seating for handicapped individuals was too scarce, and I had to miss a lot of shows. There is not really a serious issue here; there were accessible seats, just far too few for so many handicapped passengers.
I applied at the desk for a ticket to the 26 Glacier Cruise & Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center (In transit) excursion out of Wasilla through Anchorage. I asked if they accepted passengers who had walkers. Now, this excursion boasts a large boat with three decks, tables, chairs and restrooms. I am sure they had room to accommodate one walker, since they offered accommodations for wheelchairs in their brochure! However, the assistant at the tour desk rejected my application for a ticket because they did not accept walkers. Huh? The literature for this trip indicated that they even accept wheelchairs, and walkers require much less accommodation than wheelchairs! I think this was just laziness or ignorance on the part of the lady at the tour desk. I think it indicates an entrenched negative mindset toward disabilities. I was deprived of what some people have called the highlight of the trip.
When I took excursions on the private economy outside the umbrella of Holland America, I had no difficulties whatsoever and was able to enjoy the excursions. I realize that some shore excursions require vigorous energy and are simply not designed to accommodate people with handicaps, but this particular excursion was. By the time we got to Victoria, I had just given up. Holland America offered me a $200 port excursion credit for a future Holland America line sailing, and nothing else. What good will the $200 port excursion credit do me? I believe these are ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) violations by a ship line that operates out of American ports.
Upstairs in the Lido buffet, your servers created an unpleasant atmosphere, juvenilizing me and denying me the same rights as other adults. This is not a feeling issue: creating an unpleasant, nerve-wracking atmosphere because of a handicap is also an Americans with Disabilities Act Violation. Upstairs in the Lido, your servers would jump on me the moment I picked up a small plate with bread and fruit and placed it on my walker seat. They would say, "Let me help you", insist on showing me to a chair, taking my walker away and putting it out of sight I have no idea where thus preventing me from getting any more food. I would say, "No I have to get my main meal first." They said, frowning, "I was only trying to help!" What could I do? Whose needs was I obligated to meet? I needed to get my meal.
I have to ask what are they thinking? Instead, why cant they ask, "How may I help you?" They persisted in trying to take my walker away from me and I routinely said "NO." (Hello, this is a buffet, and I, a solo traveler, have a right to get up to get a desert or something more to eat. Besides, when seated in a chair without arms, I lean on my walker for support.) I finally got the idea to tell them to take the chair next to me away so that I could place my walker there, and that strategy worked. Why couldn't they think of that simple solution? I have to ask, "Whose needs are operating here?"
When we had that exciting salmon feast in the pool area (a thrilling, refreshing idea) they allowed all the adults to serve themselves, but they grabbed my plate away from me and said, "Let me help you. Do you want some of this? Do you want some of this? Do you want some of this?" (I wasn't even close enough to see what this was: I am allergic to corn and corn products.) STOP! NO, I DON'T. I just want to be treated as an adult and be allowed to get in line and take what I want just like everyone else! Why couldn't they simply offer to help me instead of forcing help on me, as if I were a threat to be neutralized?
In the Rotterdam dining room, on the contrary, I reached a copacetic compromise by placing my walker right next to my seat in such a way that I could lean on it and the servers could get both in front of and behind it. Now, this was my solution; their solution was to grab my walker and haul it out of sight, haul it out of their way. Do I want to redeem that skimpy $200 voucher? Time to think twice!
I had booked this through an agency I have used before, so no problem with them. This was to have been a retirement and 65th birthday gift to myself so I booked the South American cruise, an outside cabin, paying the single supplement, on the SS Zaandam sailing from Valparaiso, Chile on the 22nd of November 2015 and arriving in Buenos Aires, Argentina on the 6th of December 2015. The ship sailed late due to passenger being ill and she/he was offloaded. Before sailing the passengers on my left side were moved to an upgraded cabin due to them having 'special needs'. On the third day out I decided to indulge myself by soaking in the bathtub, which was fine until the smell of raw sewage wafted through the bathroom. I looked out of the tub to notice raw brown sewage seeping through a grill located underneath the bathroom sink.
I was now wondering how I was going to get out of this mess, and so I turned the shower nozzle on the hottest setting and aimed it the widening pool of sludge on the floor. Slowly the mess ran down another grain and I rinsed off and after throwing towels on the wet floor got out of the tub and headed in to cabin where I dried off and dressed. I have sailed on perhaps 26 cruises and several different cruise lines (this was my first experience on HAL) and know what not to put in toilets. I went up to the Purser's desk and reported what had happened and to be moved or even upgrading to a higher category of cabin which I would have been happy to pay for. The lady at the desk said the ship was full and she would send staff down to the cabin to clean and fix the problem.
I know that people of the other side of my cabin also had sewage issues and I heard passengers commenting on the sewage smell as they passed by these cabins while I was in my cabin for the duration of the cruise. The entire crew could not have been nicer, my cabin steward, the bar tenders, the casino people, the restaurant team, as well as the entertainment was flawless. One regret was that to bad weather the ship had to bypass the Falkland Islands and for safety reasons it was a good call. I made some very special friends on this cruise and other than the bathroom issue all was fine. My main complaint is with the management/customer services or complaint department as I have written three letters and to this day have not received the courtesy of a reply. Hopefully if they read Consumer Affairs they may respond to my review. Thank you.
We did a Land and Sea cruise with Holland America (HM) our second and probably our last. Land first starting at Fairbanks then boarding Veendam a week later at Haynes. Our flight to Fairbanks arrived at 1:00 AM so we had paid $132.79 each (which we thought a rip-off) for early check in and were charged for it knowing we would arrive very late. When we arrived at Fairbanks Airport, others with early check in were given their hotel keys and bused immediately to the hotel. Not us. They had no record of our reservation even though my showed them a valid reservation number. HM said it was the hotel's problem.
When we got to the hotel about 2:00 AM, we stood near the back of the line of about 30 while a lone clerk checked people in. The folks in front of us got a room for $100. The clerk had no record of our reservation and blamed HM. Our room cost $160? The clerk blamed the problem on HM. We got to bed about 3:00 AM. Remodeling work in the room next door started at 8:00 AM sharp. The next morning we tried to resolve the problem with the hotel manager without success but later they decided to refund the $160 and go with the $265.58. We thought we should be charged $100 like the folks in front of us as we had not received any early check in benefits.
We have tried very hard to resolve this but HM thinks that we got what we paid for, early check in. The thing you can concluded from this is that HM has no problem screwing someone who has spent thousands with them for $165.58. An interesting fact is that the cruise line owns the hotel so the finger pointing is just a ruse to get you to go away. We rate their customer service as zero!
This is our 7th time on a cruise. I'm in my late 30s. We paid for an upgraded stateroom in a vista suite with a balcony on the verandah deck of the Amsterdam. I want to start off with the positives: The embarkation process was speedy and well-organized. The crew (mostly from Indonesia) was very friendly and welcoming throughout our trip. We loved our stateroom attendant. The musicians/singers/bands were talented. The announcer was pleasant and wasn't on the PA as frequently as on other cruise ships.
The bad and the ugly: The food was mediocre at best and inedible at times. I ordered "French onion soup" through in-room dining one night and it was as salty as pure soy sauce. There were multiple erroneous charges on our final statement, that I have yet to correct. The service in the dining room is very slow-be prepared to be there for a couple hours. We ate at the Pinnacle Grill specialty restaurant, which we were really looking forward to (at $29 per person) and were let down as the crab was overcooked and very fishy. I didn't even finish it. Gross. Red Lobster crab is high end compared to the crab we were offered.
Parts of the ship near the casino were permeated by cigarette smoke. Disembarkation at the ports of call is a lengthy and crowded process as there is only one exit for 1600 people. And on the last night when we had packed everything except a few items which we left on the desk, my husband's new RayBan sunglasses were stolen out of our stateroom. I really doubt it was our stateroom attendant though, because I tipped him generously and he was very kind to us. But, there are other people who can get into the stateroom.
Overall opinion: Wish we would have gone to Alaska on our own--would have been cheaper and the food would have been much better. The salmon chowder on land in Alaska was incredibly delicious. I feel like we wasted $4000. I hope this review helps someone else to use their precious vacation time and money more wisely than we did.
No hot water for the first 4 days of cruise. Cabin was extremely noisy when anchor was lifted and dropped. Telephone did not work properly...unable to get wake-up calls. Light switches worked sporadically.
I paid a significant amount of money for a Suite and the entire cruise. There were numerous problems that were not what I would expect from a quality cruise: At least every other day we were unable to use our bathroom for 1 to 3 hours. The toilet would simply not flush... and we were left with a full toilet (smelly) until they turned the toilets back on. It turns out that, in our case, 19 rooms are connected, and if someone is dumb in one room, everyone's toilet is turned off... and, if you are on a 7 day cruise, and the other room is really dumb, then you constantly can't use your toilet. The staff was unconcerned. The last day it simply never flushed and we could never use it.
We had weather problems so they didn't stop in Key West. Not a big deal; except that they had absolutely horrible communication. They made an announcement but you couldn't hear in my room. I called "Information" to find out what was going on. They said (after a lengthy wait) look in the elevators. Nope. I went to the 1st floor. They said, "We'll have information in 30 minutes." Had to wait. They could have simply correctly had all of the information ready before the announcement. Overall, the staff was unconcerned and showed no understanding that their communication needed improvement.
Misleading pricing - My wife went to the spa. They told her the price and she agreed. Nope. After she was done, they had added HUNDREDS of more dollars of mandatory tips. If they are mandatory and part of the procedure, you should give us the total. More misleading pricing - I happened to be sitting in the spa waiting area for 90 minutes... continually while I was sitting there. "Husbands" would show up with bills for $180 that they had never approved. The staff would say, "Here is the $150 we charged, I don't know what the other is for, you need to see the front desk." It would have been no big deal if it was only one person, but I heard this over and over the entire time I was waiting... The fact that many people had problems with the spa billing means there is some real problem here.
Duty Free Bait and Switch - And, the reason I actually sat down to write this. I went to Duty Free and bought two bottles of liquor... neither of which are available anywhere I have seen. But, they don't give you the liquor, they "deliver" it just before you leave the boat. I got home and opened the box, and was shocked that instead of the special liquor I purchased, they had "mysteriously" substituted Bailey's Irish Cream that you can buy at every store in the US. I've written then a note and we'll see what they do... I am shocked (and, what would have happened if customs opened the box and it didn't match the receipt I had? ).
As other people said, if you wanted "adequate" food, you have to stand in line and then sit for 2 or 3 hours... The food on the Lido Deck was horrible at dinner time, and "bad" at lunch. Breakfast was "good". For the amount I paid for the entire event, I am shocked at the low quality across the board. And, being forced to stand in a 200 ft long line for "real dinner" detracts from the entire affair. And, wasting more than an extra hour on dinner due to their inefficient. Billing - The final bill hasn't cleared; however, they had the final amount yesterday, but when they submitted their "hold" to the credit card company, it was $500 more than we approved or spent... Hopefully, that is just a temporary issue and they haven't tried to "accidentally" overcharge us more.
I am writing to share my horrible experience with HAL. The only other cruise I have ever taken was with HAL back in the 1990s and it was a wonderful experience. I have always thought of HAL as one of the better lines. That is part of why I was nothing short of shocked by what went on with my HAL experience in 2015.
My wife and I booked a 14 day Holy Land Explorer cruise with HAL for Nov 2015 going to, among other places, Athens, Israel, Turkey and Egypt. This was literally going to be the trip of a lifetime for us. We are planning to start our family shortly after returning from this trip, and so the trip was going to be our last hurrah prior to becoming parents. It is not a stretch to say we may never again get to visit these places, and certainly not while we are this young and healthy. We chose this cruise specifically because it went to Egypt and Israel, and because it spent 2 days in each of those countries. We also trusted the HAL name and reputation.
On 9/21/15 we were notified by other passengers that the ports in Egypt had been canceled. I immediately called HAL and was told it was true, but that official notification should be coming from our Travel Agent (Cruise Brothers). At that time, the HAL representative gave us no further explanation, just citing "safety concerns". They also said no compensation of any sort would be offered.
While we were extremely disappointed in the cancellation of the ports, I realize we signed a cruise contract that contained language about the possibility of itinerary changes. My main concerns however are not necessarily that these changes were made, but rather the way in which they were handled. Specifically, my concerns are as follows:
1.) The information given by HAL on the reason for cancellation of the Egypt ports was extremely vague. In the official notification, literally all that was said was "out of an abundance of caution". In 4 other conversations I had with HAL representatives, "safety concerns" were the only reason ever given for the cancellation. No specific events, threats, warnings or concerns were ever given. Also of interest, the US State Department had a warning posted about Israel (a port we did go to), but in a search of the official Alerts and Warnings for Egypt, there was nothing. My wife and I ended up paying to go back to Egypt on our own after the cruise and we had an amazing time. Never felt unsafe in any way. In fact Rome seemed a lot scarier given the huge military and police presence there (understandably) after the Paris attacks.
2.) Aside from why Egypt was canceled, the other very alarming aspect concerns the timing. According to a HAL representative I spoke with (and confirmed by my Travel Agent) if I had canceled prior to 9/14/15 I would have had to pay only $60 per person to cancel. After 9/14/15 that changed to 50% of the cruise ($1589) and on 9/21/15 the notification to change ports was released. Had we be told about the port cancellations only 7 days earlier when the penalty would have been $120 rather than $1500, there is no doubt whatsoever we would have canceled on the spot. It also seems reasonable for HAL to have waived that penalty, given how close the cancellation notification was to the penalty date.
When asked in multiple phone calls HAL representatives, both directly and via my Travel Agent, refused to offer any compensation of any kind. They would not even allow me to downgrade to another interior room on the same deck, just down the hall (category I to K) that I found on 9/26/15 for $900 less. I had hoped to use that savings to offset a portion of the purchase of airfare and accommodations in Egypt for my wife and I after the conclusion of the cruise. After emailing everyone within HAL we could find, we finally received a response offering to let us rebook on another cruise, but it had to cost the same amount and leave the same month. This was only about 30 days before the trip and we would have had to pay a huge amount of fees to change our airfare and other accommodations, so we ended up just going on the cruise.
Well it didn't get any better onboard. The food was horrible on the Lido, even worse (and cold) for room service, and was good in the main dining room, but that was always a 2-3 hour affair. And they wont let you make a main dining reservation for between 6pm and 730pm. So you can only make a reservation for the times you don't need one. The pool, hot tub and locker rooms also have short, inconvenient hours, despite not being attended anyway. We both became horribly ill for the entire 2nd week of the cruise, and in talking to others it sounded like the entire ship had a cold. We never booked a single shore excursion through HAL. We took smaller, better and cheaper excursions booked ourselves based on Trip Advisor and Cruise Critic. So glad we did not give HAL any more money for those.
We also had dinner one night with a bunch of 4 and 5 star people who take HAL cruises for 30, 40, 50+ days a year. Even they had to admit that HAL is not as nice as it used to be. They thought it had all gone downhill after it was bought by Carnival Corp. No more baked Alaska, cocktails with the captain, conga lines, or any of the other fun stuff HAL used to do. They said it really seemed like it was all about the bottom line for HAL now.
The ship (Rotterdam) is starting to show its age. It is still nice, but not luxurious. The room was ok, but our oceanview window was filthy making it hard to see out of and impossible to take pictures. The only good part about the cruise line is the wait staff. They were very nice and really seemed to take an interest. Other "higher up" staff however either seemed inept at their job (the port consultant, culinary director, etc.) or were very standoffish when approached (front desk staff, casino staff, etc.).
As a final fun experience with HAL, I discovered my credit card has been charged for about $100 more than what my final bill says. I tried to call HAL to get this resolved. I was transfered 3 times and finally ended up with a message saying that department was closed. And the voicemail was full, so I couldn't even leave a message. I actually got to this website looking for the billing dept phone number, read the other horrible reviews, and thought I too should share my story. Avoid HAL at all costs!
My mom and I bought an Alaskan cruise to celebrate finishing my Masters degree. We haven't had a vacation together since 1989 so this was very special. AND AWFUL! We started out not being able to go in our room (#2605) due to a weird smell which affected my mom's asthma, which is life-threatening. They concurred that something smelled and after HOURS of waiting, carrying around our luggage, we were sent to another room in the evening where we could stay for the next full day, but had to vacate the second morning. We kept checking in with the front office to find out the status of our room as they were giving it a good cleaning, which they did. Unfortunately, it did not get rid of the cause of the smell/asthma. We were then told on the third day we could stay another night in the new room.
We have visited or been told to come to the front office around 15 times at this point and missed seeing Juneau as they told us to wait in our room to find out the new one, which they did at 8:30pm. In Skagway, where many people disembark for a land portion, we had to move back into our old room while they waited to see if there was a room available, but told us it was unlikely. This was day 4 of our trip and it's been anything but relaxing having to constantly check in and not unpack yet. This would have been a really easy time to have new passengers switch into our room and give us a different one. They didn't want to go through the hassle. They also told us we could fly home, but it would be on our dime and it was useless to fight it as they have really good lawyers. My 64-year-old mother asked of she could stay in the theater on the chairs and they said they'd leave the door open for her. We were in tears with this thought.
I will say the cabin crews did an excellent job of trying to find the cause of the smell and cleaning the room, but it was embedded. We ended up sleeping in our room with the door right open to anyone who passed, having daily ozone cleaning, where you can't enter the room, and mom on max asthma meds. She had asthma the remainder of the trip and for the following 3-4 weeks after, before it was back under control. They actually told us to sleep in the room and cause an attack even though we said it was life-threatening. She asked if she could stay in the medical room and they said "no". We knew other people had changed rooms because of noise as we met them, but a medical condition didn't require a change.
This was BRUTAL service with many easy solutions which required a little bit of work. I know I wouldn't question a cruise line saying my room was different, but the same type. The dining staff and art gallery staff were fantastic. The front office had 1 person who showed some compassion and the others were patronizing. Four months later their idea of a solution to a written complaint was to offer $200 coupon on our next cruise. We told them we weren't travelling with them again and would be letting others know of the issue. Do your homework before you go. Carnival Cruise Line was awesome.
I travelled on the Holland Eurodam, 10/25 to 11/01/2015, and was assigned to Room #1098. I went into the bathroom shortly after my room and detected an odor of fecal matter coming from the toilet area. I leaned down and smelled the toilet and it stunk like some had just used it. I flushed the toilet and then wrapped some toilet tissue around my fingers and wiped it on the area under the lip of the toilet. The paper was covered with fecal matter. The area is out of sight and can't be seen by just looking down in the toilet.
I step and in my room and got my room attendant and told him what happened and he said he was very sorry and got a second male and cleaned the toilet. They both left the room and then I checked the toilet again. The paper was still filthy. I then got the shower head, turned the hot water on, and cleaned the toilet myself. I then started to unload my luggage and noticed several half dollar size stains on the carpet. The rug wasn't cleaned in a long time. I was now just fed up with the room.
I purchased the seven day cruise package and found out later that when it says fifteen drinks, it includes water, soda and coffee, no matter the cost of the drink. Happy hours drinks are not included in the package. Every drink you get counts as one. When I got home I checked my VISA card online and found the last entry was for a payment to Holland for $130.00. That was my last entry on my card for Sunday.
On Monday Nov. 2, I received a call from my credit union asking me if I had just attempted to use my VISA card. I told them I hadn't been out of my house. They told me that someone had used my credit card number to make nine charges on my card, all online purchases for over $15,000.00. The purchases were all declined except for two that are still pending on my card. I cancelled my card and I'm waiting for a new one. I never took my card out of my wallet during the entire cruise and I didn't charge anything. The last one to have my card number was Holland. Just a coincidence? I'm not sure.
Through my travel agent I booked a stateroom on the HA Veendam in 2014 on Quebec to Boston cruise from Sat 26 Sept 15 to Sat 3 Oct 15. I specifically picked out obstructed view SR 394 (H) on Lwr Promenade deck so that I could access the outside easily as I am nervy about being trapped and also enjoy the early morning mile walk around the deck 5 times. I checked before I left Australia that SR booked and luggage tags all printed. Arriving to embark was dismayed to find we were to go to a SR two decks down 769 as far from an exit as you can get.
Told it was an upgrade. Asked that the late bookers be given upgrade and we stay in SR we specifically booked. No explanation, for change. Very distressed. Finally after settling into 769 we're told we could move up to 390 as cancellation. This was good SR. Wheelchair adapted. BUT why the change and disruption? Why bother to book early? Why bother to choose a SR? Films on board good but what about some lectures on what we will see at stop overs? Food entertainment good.
In July I booked a "honeymoon" cruise on the 10/3 Canadian sailing of the Maasdam. When the category SB cabin was not available the booking agent suggested we use the "guarantee" program to guarantee the SB or better SA staterooms. The only difference between the two categories was the SA were located more mid-ship but all other cabin features were the same.
Six days before departure we were assigned the "accessible" cabin which in no way met the description of all the SA/SB staterooms nor did HA disclose this "switch"- hoping I am sure we would not discover this until we had boarded. Our request for a full refund is being stonewalled with such excuses as "we should have requested a tub (or perhaps a toilet) or accept the 80% insurance." This program is a misrepresentation of what is delivered and in our case borders on fraud. It certainly was a breach of our contract with HA and only assures HA can "guarantee" occupancy of its accessible cabin. We will pursue the full refund with our state attorney general and credit card. Unhappy **.
I was not allowed to utilize your Gym because of wearing a shoe called "Crocs" which the staff considered "flip flops." I explained to them that Crocs were not flip flops. They said the shoe had to be enclosed in the heel area. I demonstrated the Croc I had on had an enclosing strap in the back. I had no tennis shoes available. I ask if street shoes could be worn. Reply was that Tennis shoes must be worn. I found no tennis shoes onboard for sale. One of the reasons I accepted this cruise with my wife, Esther, was that I would be able to use your Gym.
This was a terrible disappointment for me and your personnel were extremely harsh. I became irritated as well. For that I will apologize. Again, however I will never forget this awful experience and will never cruise with your line again. My wife booked this trip, Esther **, and her review was submitted earlier and I don't believe this incident was mentioned. She will not use my funds with this line again, I promise you.
This issue was resolved by HAL staff. As of the writing of the reviews, there were several days of delays and I lost money due to the diminishing balance in my account due to HAL withdrawals. The matter was resolved last week.
I want to start by saying HAL gave us a great service. We boarded Volendam to Alaska on Sept. 9. I have no complaints about anything that could be made an issue but these are the following I experienced. The food at the Lido was always the same, for breakfast, lunch and dinner. These include the desserts and fruits. But again, not an issue as I'm not inclined to eat much. There was very limited entertainment. There were no live bands except for a few acts. Again, not an issue. Go to the library, look at the sea, eat, drink, walk around, etc. These are alternatives or internet if you can afford the fees.
The real crunch was Volendam over charged me, first taking money from my debit card and then from my credit card. HAL asked for alternative card and thinking they cannot use my debit card anyway unless I punch the password, they created a "CREDIT CARD" account from the Debit card number I gave them and they got the authorization to withdraw money, none of which were in print on my onboard expenses. Then they charged my credit card for my onboard expenses. It was difficult to get a refund but at the time of this review, a new charge over $500 had been taken out of my debit card long after I went sailing. I declared my card stolen but they continued to get money using a bogus authorization. Too weird? YES and it looked like this story is far-fetched. But it isn't. HAL can't explain why Volendam had withdrawals from my checking account.
I asked for proof of shopping expenses and other lounge expenses but they can't present any. I'm puzzled myself. So I have to contact my bank and contact HAL and get blamed for some of the "theft" and I finally had to report the matter to the police. For HAL, there seemed to have a desperate attempt to take money and whoever is doing this, if it was a mere error or intentional, my checking account showed I was out of over $1,170 US without proof of expenses. What do you call that? Stealing? Who did? My account showed Volendam did it.
We had been looking forward to seeing Alaska so we took a 7-day cruise from Vancouver to Seward, AK on the Holland "Zaandam" on July 12, 2015. We had an oceanview cabins which was not worth the money. The ocean view window was at the head of the bed making it impossible to sit and view as we traveled; an interior cabin would have been as good as this oceanview and cost a lot less. The ship did not notify us of when we would be passing good viewing locations and most of the time the fog blocked our view. I selected Holland because it was a smaller ship and I was told that it could go in shallower water to see more glaciers. Not true because we passed a lot larger ship in Glacier Bay.
I paid for internet service that's so slow that I could not download my e-mails; so do not plan on contacting people by internet. The ship is old and needs upgrading. Some of the chairs in the lounges had very dirty or worn armrest. The crew was very good and attentive and proactive and did a reasonably job, mostly, but they were going through the motions and did not really understand English enough to meet any special request. We have had this problem on another Carnival cruise we went on. Carnival and Holland America are not luxury class cruise lines and provide below par onboard entertainment, food and service.
The company happily put a room on hold for me on a upcoming Alaskan cruise for 3 days. I decided to book with the company and just 2 days later called in hopes of getting some kind of refund. I felt unsafe traveling with my husband and young child when they both do not have passports and also felt this cruise was not the best choice for our family vacation. Holland would not work with us at all. They said they would charge a 100% fee. They care only about money and not about customer satisfaction. I will never ever book with company again and feel as though I am being forced to go on a cruise I do not wish to be on. Horrible.
We had a room on the 7th floor with a wonderful balcony, but just above us was a restaurant with metal chair sliding across the floor till late at night, and above that a basketball court where the thumping of ball would vibrate down 2 floor into our room. We had wear ear plugs while in the room... We finally moved to different room but it was no more quieter. It ruined our cruise...
After more than 40 years of cruising and owning a travel agency we had the worst experience ever of any cruise and cruise line on Holland American Line's Eurodam's 2014 spring transatlantic crossing. This included poor general staff service and even in some cases unsanitary food services. Service gentlemen would converse and socialize in their native language starting at embarkation until end of cruise. Every day it seemed as though there was no one in charge with little or no management/oversight of service staff. Even after a Holland American Line's reservationist's promise of a quiet outside cabin location it took one week to be moved from cabin 1056 to a more quiet location same category cabin.
We certainly did not have the cruise of a lifetime as Holland American Line's vision/advertisement slogan's states and even had better food and service on Carnival Cruise Line. The President's office did not even assume responsibility for the way the cabin steward insulted my wife saying "who do you think you are."
I went on a family vacation to Alaska in 2010 with Holland America. I booked a 6 person fishing trip and they brought a 4 person boat. We paid for 4 but disputed the other 2. Our credit card company ruled in our favor so they sent it to collections saying they were not an American company and didn't have to follow American rules. It stayed on my credit report for 5 years. I encourage you to stay away, this company is registered out of some foreign port and you will be subject to whatever rules Holland America has contrived to make everything go their way. Be warned. Look up disputes with Holland America and you will see what I mean.
1st. cruise with HA. Food arrived luke warm, found hair in food. Menu items described 1 way and item arrives entirely different. Entertainment needs recharging. Lucky if you get a 35 min. program.. Felt I was lying on a vibrating bed the entire time. Ship listed to starboard on 4th. night, so drastically that items went flying. No explanation from Captain to reassure us. Took a few hours for ship to level out. We noticed ships on either side of the Eurodam for hours afterward. Thought they were there in case we needed to leave ship. Very disappointed in this cruise, except for the Shore Excursions which were amazing and took us to some beautiful countries. Staff were all very helpful, could not fault any. They tried their best to make things right for us. Do not think we will do HA again.
We have sailed already twice with Holland America - it was great. I am a 79 year old teacher in Venezuela and paid very little, so this was a sacrifice. My husband, a former member of the European Union here in Caracas, has been obliged to retire, but I still teach. I made a mistake on the date and am being severely punished. I am trying to change the date and not lose $5000 (more than I make yearly) but they will not help us. All we want is the same cruise at a later date, and a little bit of sympathy and understanding. We are booked on the Rotterdam for June 27 and I cannot finish my teaching until July 19th - we needed to book for the Rotterdam on July 27 - our expensive mistake. Any help? suggestions? Are we the only ones with this kind of problem? Is there anything else we can do to change our date? Any advice?
Due to rough sea conditions, passengers were not allowed to disembark at the planned location in Costa Rica. While this has happened before, we were told Holland-America did not offer any alternative plan. The boat would simply float at sea one additional day not allowing passengers to disembark anywhere. After spending about 5 hours at sea, the captain turned the ship back to Costa Rica, and docked there in the afternoon to allow a sick passenger to be taken off the ship to a local medical facility as an emergency.
It seemed odd that passengers were not allowed off the boat in the morning, but in the afternoon disembarking was fine. Also, it seemed just wrong to have 3,000+ passengers shuttle one individual - don't they have helicopters to deal with these kinds of emergencies? This experience was very dissatisfying and the reaction of Holland-America to our repeating complaints was disappointing - they basically ignored the complaints and admitted no wrong.
I book a cruise back-to-back, Boston to Montreal and Montreal to Boston leaving on August 15, 20015. This cruise did not offer a round trip so each week had to be done separately. I called last week because I saw online they were booking a round trip, Bos to Bos. Wanted to see if I could get a better deal. Found out they just booked me from Bos to Montreal and not the return trip. My husband is disabled and so need a handicap room. I was so upset not knowing how to get back to Bos. We can't fly.
Spoke to supervisor and they offered us another room round trip. However it was not a handicap room!! She told me she would keep us in the same room but it would take time. She would have it done by Mon. She called Mon. and said she would need more time. She would call me May 1. We have cruised Holland America before and was happy. I really would like to speak to someone else but don't know who. Feel I should be compensated. I can't imagine what would have happened if I hadn't called for a better deal.
Unfortunately people usually only write reviews if they are not happy. I am writing this review to rave about Holland America cruise line. My husband and I were on a 14 day Caribbean cruise and enjoyed exemplary service on the Eurodam. The food in the main dining room was exceptional and Lido always provided an abundance of delicious choices for breakfast and lunch. They also had a gourmet pizza, hot dog and hamburger stations available. We had problems with a flight made outside of Holland America and the front office staff bent over backwards to assist in rectifying the problem. We have been on 3 other Holland America cruises and experienced the same superior services, accommodations and food. We would recommend HAL and will cruise with them again soon!
ConsumerAffairs Research Team
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The Holland America Line has been transporting guests to exotic destinations for over 140 years and is known for its five-star service and excellent cuisine.
- Ballroom dancing: Guests can take complimentary "Dancing With the Stars" dance lessons from professional dancers, and they can then compete for the title of Cruise Champion and more.
- Excursions included: All shore excursions are included in the package price for Holland America Cruises.
- Dining variety: Guests have the option to dine as they wish; they can take a seat in the main dining hall, or they can visit the grill or pizza restaurant on the ship.
- Cancellation Protection Plan: Guests can purchase cancellation protection, giving them peace mind and a refund should anything come up to prevent them from sailing as planned.
- Gifts and indulgences: Holland America offers a program that lets guests and family members send gifts such as spa treatments and flowers to create extra special moments while cruising.
- Best for The Holland America Cruises are best for travelers who want a traditional and elegant experience.
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Holland America Cruises Profile
- Company Name:
- Holland America Cruises
- 300 Elliott Avenue West
Seattle, WA 98119
- Year Founded: