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Please Note: Cruise-Australia and my other related maritime sites are 100% non-commercial and privately owned sites. Be assured that I am NOT associated with any of the cruise companies nor any travel or cruise agencies, etc! The author has been in the Passenger Shipping industry for a very long time and although now semi-retired, but I am delighted to share all my knowledge with those who love to take their vacation by sea! Thus I continue to write on worthy Cruise Companies and their wonderful Ships in order to better to inform cruise and ship enthusiasts for their pleasure, but more so to ensure that you, my wonderful reader will make the best-informed choice possible!
Please Note: All photographs are by the author or Mr. Hun-Eng Tan or as noted.
As I said on Page
One I am writing this review in short stages and this will be
the concluding page. However, what I have online this far, I do
hope that you will have gained much from it and that you will not
only enjoy it but will be able to reap something from it. As you
will know by now, I honestly believe
The author seen at the forward Lift Lobby on Rotterdam Deck (7)-
As I did for this 14
Day Pacific Cruise I had
is a very good reason that I consider
Below are just a few of the International awards HAL has received, including the prestigious Australian AFTA Award:
Best Overall Cruise Value (21 consecutive years) - World Ocean & Cruise Liner Society, Ocean & Cruise News.
Best International Cruise Operator - Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA).
Best Food Cruise Lines, 2012/2013 - Prows Edge.
Best Cruise Line - Zoover Holiday Reviews.
Most Ethical Companies List 2012, 2013, 2014 - Ethic Inside® Certification from Ethisphere Institute.
Favorite Cruise Experience, 2013 - National Tour Association.
Best Cruise Lines for Single Cruisers, 2012/2013 - Prows Edge.
Five Star Diamond Award - The
#1 Preferred Cruise Line - Portrait of Affluent Travelers™ survey by Yesawich, Pepperdine, Brown & Russell.
Consistently Among the Highest-rated Cruise Lines - Condé Nast Traveler Readers Choice Awards & Travel + Leisure Worlds Best Awards.
Highest-rated Premium Cruise Line - Condé Nast Traveller UK Readers Travel Awards.
Deluxe Five-Star-Plus Rating -
Best Cruise Line Chef Master Chef Rudi Sodamin - Porthole Cruise Magazine Editor-in-Chief Award.
Taste of De Librije for Restaurant Design, Pinnacle Suite for Suite Design - Travel Weekly, Magellan Awards.
Best Dining Experience, Master Chefs Table - 2014 Porthole Cruise Magazine Editor-in-Chief Award.
Best Onboard Art Collection - Porthole Cruise Magazine Editor-in-Chief Award.
Best Overall Facilities for Physically Challenged Passengers - 2013 Porthole Cruise Magazine Readers' Choice Awards.
Cabins - Cruise Critic Editors Picks Awards (
Best Cruise Ship Spas 2013 - SpaFinder Readers Choice Awards.
Gold Medal: Eco-Friendly Green Cruise Ships.
Planet Award - Kuoni
Gold Rear Admiral William M. Benkert Environmental Protection Award, 2012, 2010 - US Coast Guard.
This 82,318-ton ship is obviously like a considerable sized town at sea, as it has everything one can imagine, from the most mundane, such as the laundry, print shop, pantries and of course the important kitchens. Not to forget, that should it be needed, there is a medical centre and a hospital on board, for everything is taken care of should it be needed, but at most it may be just a short call to the friendly ships Doc occasionally when the weather may be a little unkind. There are also many offices for the staff at the front desk and the Hotel Director with his associated staff, etc. Then the Captain and his officers have their quarters and offices up higher and the list just goes on. Therefore, a cruise ship is far more than just a pleasure ship, for it is really a floating city and it has a staff of well over 800 on board to care for the ships passengers needs, which they do very well indeed, thus the many great accolades Holland America Line receives!
When I mention deck names each also have a number and I will show these as follows - Lido Deck (9)
People have asked
me, But Reuben, why do you prefer
Although there are a number of issues that I have with the company concerned that I will not cover, but one of these is their interior ship design with a certain dinning venue being placed where most companies will have their Crows Nest, or Observation Lounge. Also on many of their ships there is total lack of intimate lounges that are suitable for those passengers where they are able to hide away from the ever moving crowd, for they just love to read a good book, and I know having sailed on one of that companies 103 around the night world voyages, the Library is the last place where you will find any peace and quiet! The ships I have sailed on (apart from the ex R ship) where their mid to large sized ships and their public venues are mostly busy public throughways, with people constantly walking forward to aft, thus there is always a great deal of noise and interruption. Then if you think you have found a reasonably quiet spot behind a low wall, some entertainment organiser will take over the small venue and that is the end of that, the lounge further forward is used for dancing and the bigger venue aft is an all day arts & craft, and Bingo and is used all day for other uses, that only leaves the Atrium and there is nothing else onboard!.
However, for me it all comes down to quality and the thought that the company, who considerers itself to be a luxury cruise line, yet it lowers itself by furnishing its deck with cheap plastic tables and chairs as well as sun lounges, the type that are found in Kmart, Big W in Australia, or other cheap outlets around the word. Not that there is anything wrong with these items around the garden, but on what is advertised as a luxury ship, one would expect far better and Holland America provides the highest quality furnishings possible!
Note the plastic furnishings out on deck, these will be found on all decks, and balconies, even deluxe suites do not get any better!
I am sure you will have noted the furnishings on my verandah on Page One and every verandah has the same quality furnishings!
Therefore, for me it comes down to refinements onboard each ship that will reveal the quality of a company and the thought that has gone into the finish of the company concerned, for I do know the high standards of Holland America Line ships as they have been carefully created for the pleasure and the ultimate comfort for their guests! Thus, when it comes to furnishings, they were not designed and created just for comfort but each piece had to be functional and outwardly attractive and thus pleasing to the eye and this is what Holland America Line has become so famed for! Looking back in history it is well known that they have décor and furnishings down to sheer perfection and have become famed for its sheer beauty of lounges and the spectacular art, but this high standard has even gone outdoors and thus the excellent and stylish furnishings!
It seems that HAL
has taken great care in ensuring high quality rattan and metal
seating around the pools combined with timber-topped tables with
metal pedals, whilst around the pools there are specially created
metal sun lounges that have been created for HAL. However up on
Observation Deck (10) and down on Promenade Deck (3) you will
find the old style Traditional Holland
The Stylish rattan furnishings on my suites Verandah including a round timber topped dinning table
All Verandas have the same chairs!
Dinning at the Terrace Grill next to the Lido Pool amidships on Lido Deck (9)
Note the excellent quality sun lounges, but the out door ones are quite different
And they can just be seen far aft on the left of the Seaview Pool in the photograph below
is a photograph taken of me, with my walking stick hidden behind
me whilst on our
Forward on Observation Deck (10) just aft of the Crows Nest is this wonderful area that has shading and glass screens
that are always spotless, with these thick timber tables and chairs and out in the sun are the traditional HAL Sun Lounges!
There certainly is and you may well know what the popular saying is? The way to a mans heart is through his stomach. And how true that statement is, for food is one of the most important factors in making a Cruise very special! Above we have already read that HAL has already won a multitude of 2014 Awards for its amazing Cuisine, such as providing the Best Dining Experience, also for having the Best Master Chef of any Cruise Line and offering the very Best food and the list just goes on!
The dinning experience on the Oosterdam was very typical of Holland America and the truth is, it can hardly be faulted, and to be honest, if anyone complains, well they either made the wrong choice of menu, or they just are not used to quality cuisine of the highest order, which is presented in the most superior manner and diversified dishes! Holland America Line has its very own Culinary Council, which comprises, not of just one Head Chef, as you would find on every other cruise line, but Holland America Line has its own hard working team of seven International Master Chefs who hails from around the globe on its Culinary Council, they do not only create recipes that are featured in all the dining ventures onboard all of HALs ships, but they also ensure the demanding standards remain that HAL have set for a hundred and forty years and that has made this companys cuisine so famous for its excellence and therefore has won so many awards over the years!
Aft of decks 2 and 3 is the multi level Vista Dining Room, the lower lever is available for Open sittings, Dine as Your Wish and the upper level has the more traditional First and Second Sittings, which I always choose as I prefer to get to know our two waiters and they will know us! The service as I explained on Page One was simply superb as was the food and below is just one of the Menus I remembered to retain together with one of the dessert lists.
The Upper level of the Vista Dining Room on Deck 3
Above: one of the evening Dinner Menus that comes in a leather folder
Below: The deserts that comes in a separate leather folder
What I love about HAL there is never any sales push for you to dine in any of the two optional restaurants, like there is on most cruiser ships and it drives me so mad! But on a Holland America ship it remains very low key.
Pinnacle Grill. This is one of the ships alternative Restaurants, which is open for Lunch and Diner. It is vital that an appointment is made very early for this is without a doubt one of the most popular restaurants on the seven seas. From personal experience, I noticed long ago that the evening meal is usually booked out within the first 24 hours or two days of departure. You may ask, But why? Well this is very easy to answer; for once you have discovered the sublime cuisine on offer at the Pinnacle Grill, and its amazing presentation that will take your breath away and all this combined with the finest service you can possibly imagine, you will want to come back again and again as well, for I certainly do and each time I cruise with HAL I pre book it online before departure as do many regulars!
The Rembrandt inspired Pinnacle Grill has sea views on the port side or grand three-deck view into the Atrium
Just think about the ultimate luxury that will await you at the Pinnacle Grill, for you will dine in the grandest of style as your delicious and beautifully styled meal will come served on the ultimate of dishes and I do mean nothing less than, BVLGARI China, and you will drink your wine, or drink of choice from fine Riedel stemware or glasses, and the table is laid with the finest Frette Linens. Thus at the Pinnacle Grill you will be assured that you receive nothing than the world can possibly offer and that is why it is the Pinnacle of Dining!
but the finest
Image is © Holland
From the above and
Page One I am sure you will have discovered that the ship and the
cruise was excellent, for me personally my only problem was the
sheer size of the ship, but that was only due to my walking
difficulties and I had no desire to use a wheelchair or a
scooter, for I rather sail on a smaller ship and walk with an aid
as long as I can! Myself and my travelling companion will be
sailing on a 25 day voyage on the ms Volendam departing Vancouver
on September 23, 2015 and cross the Pacific to Brisbane, being
her repositioning voyage and that voyage will be followed up by a
46 day voyage on the ms Amsterdam from Sydney on February 11,
2016 and sail via Asia and India to Dubai. These ships are two of
the delightful R-Class ships and are the perfect size and more
than that they have a smaller passenger capacity!
From the above and Page One I am sure you will have discovered that the ship and the cruise was excellent, for me personally my only problem was the sheer size of the ship, but that was only due to my walking difficulties and I had no desire to use a wheelchair or a scooter, for I rather sail on a smaller ship and walk with an aid as long as I can! Myself and my travelling companion will be sailing on a 25 day voyage on the ms Volendam departing Vancouver on September 23, 2015 and cross the Pacific to Brisbane, being her repositioning voyage and that voyage will be followed up by a 46 day voyage on the ms Amsterdam from Sydney on February 11, 2016 and sail via Asia and India to Dubai. These ships are two of the delightful R-Class ships and are the perfect size and more than that they have a smaller passenger capacity!
Having been on well
over 155 voyages/cruises covering countless shipping & cruise
companies there are those that I consider to be good, very good
and then there are those that are exceptional! I do take in
account value for money, and therefore I cannot compare a 6+ Star
all Suite and all-inclusive Boutique (small) cruise line with a 5
star large cruise company, for the are very different
organisations and they need separate judgements. Keeping this in
I would highly recommend cruising with HAL for you are guaranteed an excellent cruise, one with style, great entertainment, great food and some of the best service you will find on any cruise line in the world, as well ships that are some of the most beautifully designed, filled with over a million dollars worth of art each, and the accommodations are simple perfection to say the least! The large HAL fleet cruises worldwide and why not head overseas and discover the countless many new and exciting exotic places and horizons!
latest ship of the Holland America fleet the ms Nieuw
provided by & © Holland
a more comprehensive review and photographs of the entire ship,
please view my extensive ms Oosterdam 2013 Review
a more comprehensive review and photographs of the entire ship,
please view my extensive ms Oosterdam 2013 Review
For a more comprehensive review and photographs of the entire ship, please view my extensive ms Oosterdam 2013 Review
For Holland America Line enquiries or reservations, consult an established Cruise & Travel Specialist who is a travel professional. But do yourself a big favour, never book with any cruise company direct for they never offer you any service or any discounts something your experienced agent can do!
However for general information regarding HAL ships visit www.hollandamerica.com.au
But BOOK with a Cruise Agent!
visit my other
Page One The History of Holland America Line and Todays Modern Fleet
1872 to 2000
Page Two The History of Holland America Line and Todays Modern Fleet
1993 to 2015
ms Koningsdam - ms Noordam - ms Oosterdam - ms Rotterdam
ms Volendam - ms Zaandam & ms Nieuw Amsterdam
ms Prinsendam & ms Statendam - (A 4-page ship review)
-Cruise and Ship Reviews by the Author-
NEW - ms Oosterdam 2013 CruisenShip Review
The all NEW - ms Oosterdam 2014 Review
ms Volendam Cruise Review - ms Amsterdam Ship Review
Also read the Holland America Line News Updates on Cruise-Australia
Please Note: Cruise-Australia and its associated pages are 100% non-commercial and privately owned cruise sites and are NOT associated with any cruise company or travel agency! Although the author has been in the passenger shipping industry since 1960 and is retired, but continues to write cruise and ship reviews and articles in order to better to inform cruise and ship enthusiasts and provide information for those intending a cruise in the future.
My recommendation: I highly suggest that you visit a good and a long established Travel/Cruise Agency for information, bookings and obtain the best possible cruise fares. Personally I never book with any cruise company direct, for they do not offer any personal service or discounts! I know that they do not like me saying this, but I have to be honest and provide you my readers with the very best possible advice! Reuben Goossens.
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