Cruise Experience on Holland America Rotterdam

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  #1  
Old 11-22-2021, 11:08 AM
dtennent dtennent is offline
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Default Cruise Experience on Holland America Rotterdam

We just returned from an 11 day cruise on the Holland America Rotterdam sailing out of Ft. Lauderdale. Here are some of our cruising experiences on this is a brand new ship which did its first cruise starting on October 20th which was a transatlantic crossing. Please realize that this is just a description of our experience on board the ship and is not meant to be a discussion of mask vs no mask or vaccine vs. no vaccine.

1. Vaccination record and negative Covid test within 48 hours of boarding were required by the cruise line and were confirmed before proceeding to check in.

2. Masks were required whenever you were outside of your room unless you were eating or drinking. In fact, each cabin came with 2 masks/person. There was about 99% compliance. Captain reminded folks of this requirement several times during the cruise.

3. There were 4 areas with sinks for washing hands as you came into the Lido dining area. Staff members were there to encourage you in a friendly way. Food was plated and given to you rather than having it open to serve yourself.

4. The muster stations are not on the decks near the lifeboats but rather in areas within the interior of the ship. In part, this is due to the change in design where the life boats are on the same level as the Promenade Deck which reduces the width of that walkway.

5. Staffing seemed to be a little short. May have been due to many of the staff being relatively new and were still learning their positions. However, the effort to provide great service was always there. One nice change was the Dining room steward now served the wine so you didn’t have to wait for a wine steward to show up.

6. Excursion tickets are now e-tickets. This requires a smart phone or a tablet to use them. This is part of an ongoing effort to reduce paper on Holland America ships.

7. Each island had its own requirements about getting off the ship.
a. St. Thomas, St. Maarten and St. Lucia allowed everyone to get off the ship and roam freely but took our temperatures as we got off the ship.
b. Barbados only allowed passengers on Holland America excursions and Government approved excursions to leave the port area. They also had disinfectant stations that measured your body temperature. Made me jump the first time I put my hand under the dispenser.
c. Dominca only allowed passengers on Holland America excursions to leave the port area.
d. St Kitts and Nevis only allowed passengers on Holland America excursions and Government approved excursions to leave the port area.

8. They ran shows in two different venues and had music a few different places. Given that everyone was close together, all wore masks.

Overall, the ship is beautiful. We had 1800 passengers on board (2600 passenger capacity). We felt very safe and had an enjoyable trip.
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  #2  
Old 11-22-2021, 11:19 AM
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We usually go with HAL but have just got off a Princess cruise as it offered a flight-free way to get home from the UK.

The Covid-19 precautions were very similar to those you described.

There were 1,200 aboard the 3,600 capacity ship and staffing levels (per person) seemed high so, overall, wait times were minimal.

Having to wear a mask in most public venues is not enough to stop us cruising.

Last edited by Arctic Fox; 11-22-2021 at 05:24 PM.
  #3  
Old 11-22-2021, 11:27 AM
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We will not return to cruising until the masks are no longer required.

Wearing a mask most of ones waking hours is not a vacation (for us).
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  #4  
Old 11-22-2021, 11:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by billethkid View Post
We will not return to cruising until the masks are no longer required.

Wearing a mask most of ones waking hours is not a vacation (for us).
.
.
Totally agree. NO WAY would we spend that amount of money and time, and require us to 'mask up' outside the cabin. That's not fun. I can only imagine lounging around the pool, and masks. Of course I'd believe that most would simply sip their drinks mask-less.

Love to cruise, but for the near future no thank you. We'll wait until normal returns...if ever.
.
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  #5  
Old 11-22-2021, 11:47 AM
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Unhappy No dancing on our Holland Cruise!

Our experience on Holland wasn't very positive, but it had nothing to do with Covid. We like to dance and Holland had no dancing at all. They had a BJ King blues room (I think it was called) that only played jazz music and we found the ship boring at night. Not sure if other Holland ships are the same but we will avoid Holland cruises. We cruise a fair amount, mainly based on itinerary, and tend to like MSC and Royal Caribbean cruises which have good entertainment.
  #6  
Old 11-22-2021, 01:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DeanFL View Post
...
I can only imagine lounging around the pool, and masks.
...
Yeah. I think we'll wait a while too.
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  #7  
Old 11-22-2021, 02:48 PM
kkingston57 kkingston57 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by billethkid View Post
We will not return to cruising until the masks are no longer required.

Wearing a mask most of ones waking hours is not a vacation (for us).
Agree, need to check out 1st. We were on an Alaskan cruise on a Celebirity trip out of Seattle and all passengers were required to have two vaccine shots and a test. NO masks on that ship

Just got off of a Royal Carribean(own Celebrity) trip to the Bahamas and from Port Cannaveral. Vaccines not required and test needed. Had to wear masks except while eating, in casino and outside. Would not recomment going on any cruise where masks are required.
  #8  
Old 11-22-2021, 10:25 PM
Calisport Calisport is offline
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We went on one of the first cruises on Norwegian in the Greek islands in August. Most activities were closed like the normal ship contests and sports. In Greece not many locals wore masks and we weren't required to except before eating on the ship or shows.
Felt like it was half the fun as before.
  #9  
Old 11-23-2021, 06:00 AM
thevillages2013 thevillages2013 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dtennent View Post
We just returned from an 11 day cruise on the Holland America Rotterdam sailing out of Ft. Lauderdale. Here are some of our cruising experiences on this is a brand new ship which did its first cruise starting on October 20th which was a transatlantic crossing. Please realize that this is just a description of our experience on board the ship and is not meant to be a discussion of mask vs no mask or vaccine vs. no vaccine.

1. Vaccination record and negative Covid test within 48 hours of boarding were required by the cruise line and were confirmed before proceeding to check in.

2. Masks were required whenever you were outside of your room unless you were eating or drinking. In fact, each cabin came with 2 masks/person. There was about 99% compliance. Captain reminded folks of this requirement several times during the cruise.

3. There were 4 areas with sinks for washing hands as you came into the Lido dining area. Staff members were there to encourage you in a friendly way. Food was plated and given to you rather than having it open to serve yourself.

4. The muster stations are not on the decks near the lifeboats but rather in areas within the interior of the ship. In part, this is due to the change in design where the life boats are on the same level as the Promenade Deck which reduces the width of that walkway.

5. Staffing seemed to be a little short. May have been due to many of the staff being relatively new and were still learning their positions. However, the effort to provide great service was always there. One nice change was the Dining room steward now served the wine so you didn’t have to wait for a wine steward to show up.

6. Excursion tickets are now e-tickets. This requires a smart phone or a tablet to use them. This is part of an ongoing effort to reduce paper on Holland America ships.

7. Each island had its own requirements about getting off the ship.
a. St. Thomas, St. Maarten and St. Lucia allowed everyone to get off the ship and roam freely but took our temperatures as we got off the ship.
b. Barbados only allowed passengers on Holland America excursions and Government approved excursions to leave the port area. They also had disinfectant stations that measured your body temperature. Made me jump the first time I put my hand under the dispenser.
c. Dominca only allowed passengers on Holland America excursions to leave the port area.
d. St Kitts and Nevis only allowed passengers on Holland America excursions and Government approved excursions to leave the port area.

8. They ran shows in two different venues and had music a few different places. Given that everyone was close together, all wore masks.

Overall, the ship is beautiful. We had 1800 passengers on board (2600 passenger capacity). We felt very safe and had an enjoyable trip.
Glad you enjoyed that but it sounds like being on a prison ship to me. Thanks but no thank you
  #10  
Old 11-23-2021, 06:15 AM
rsmurano rsmurano is offline
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Required mask? No cruise. I heard Holland cruise lines were kind of boring for what they offer to do. We used to go on Royal Caribbean before covid and would spend 5 hours a day on the flow rider surf machine and with many other things to do.
  #11  
Old 11-23-2021, 06:28 AM
Allen Dronsfield Allen Dronsfield is offline
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Just a correction, the Rotterdam is not a new ship, it's home port is Rotterdam where the original Rotterdam is moored. The Holland America ship has been in service for many years as my wife and I sailed on her 3 years ago out of Tampa to Rotterdam and the Baltic then returning to Rotterdam. Enjoyable cruise, lots to see, great crew.
  #12  
Old 11-23-2021, 06:39 AM
Ashley from UK Ashley from UK is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dtennent View Post
We just returned from an 11-day cruise on the Holland America Rotterdam sailing out of Ft. Lauderdale.
We have also returned from a cruise - but with P&O. I will thus follow your format to assist others in comparing. P&O ran a UK citizen only policy with flights from the UK to Barbados and a fixed 14-day duration and return flights to the UK. Flight options were charter or scheduled. Chartered passengers checked luggage in at the UK airport and had their cases delivered to their cabin (no collection at Barbados airport). Passengers were collected on the tarmac at Barbados airport and taken directly to the ship where we cleared immigration/heat checking. On the return, our cases were left outside our rooms the night before our return and were collected in the airport in the UK. We were transported from the ship to the airport and fast-tracked through immigration in one batch. Schedule passengers had to transport their own cases - AND had to have antigen tests to leave the ship and make their way to the airport.

1. Vaccination record and negative Covid test administered by a medical person within 72 hours of ARRIVING in Barbados. PLUS a Fit to Fly antigen test taken at the airport on the day of departure. The UK also requires all arriving people to have a pre-booked 2-day antigen test upon return to the UK and to complete a Passenger Locator Form. The are forms are lengthy and could be completed prior to departure on the cruise (if the cruise duration is less than 21 days). It took me an hour per passenger to complete these at home because the UK system was very poor and kept crashing. Passengers who didn't complete the forms before departure had to complete them on the ship the day before returning to the UK. I heard some passengers spending up to 4 hours trying to complete the forms on the ship - partly due to the UK PLF system being VERY poor and partly due to the slow internet connection on the ship.

2. Masks were required whenever you were outside of your room unless you were eating or drinking, sitting by the outside pool/decks. When undertaking dance classes all passengers agreed to remove masks. There was about 100% compliance. Captain and staff reminded folks of this requirement several times during the cruise. Restaurants provided masks for those that forgot to bring them to the restaurant. No talking was requested in lifts - something not adhered to at any point!

3. There were sinks for washing hands as you came into the Lido dining area. Staff members were there to encourage you in a friendly way. Food was plated in the LIDO area. In the Buffet passengers were free to serve themselves but a VERY strict policy of mask-wearing was required while walking in this area (Covid aside I agree with this during the flu season). Restaurant service was as normal with plated waiter service.

4. Same.

5. Staffing was set at the level of a fuller ship with so many waiters/cleaning/ents/shop staff you never had to wait for anything. I would say the service was exemplary. Tips are included in the P&O fare costs (Brits don't tip!)

6. Excursion tickets were paper.

7. The same experience. NOTE we were advised that we could only take P&O excursions in Barbados but this changed over the 14-day cruise and at the end when we returned to Barbados we were advised we could not visit friends on the island without taking an antigen test (£25/$34pp). I think things will change as many of the local economies on the islands realise the loss of tourist $/£ is prolonging the pain. We had a number of excursions cancelled on safety grounds where the operators failed to meet UK health and safety requirements. P&O found & provided alternatives so this wasn't an issue and I don't feel that we missed anything we would have wanted to do.

8. They ran shows in multiple venues and had music/quiz/bar/piano/cinema a few different places. Given that everyone was close together, all wore masks.

Overall, the ship is beautiful. We had 1100 passengers on board (3800 passenger capacity). We felt very safe and had an enjoyable trip.

We saw 5 other cruise ships 4 of which were identical in size to the Britannia. (Royal Caribbean and Princess). All were circa 3,800 max passengers and all had between 1,000 and 1,100 guests. Experiences from the people I spoke to (all American) seemed similar to my comments above in terms of ents/staff).

Overall masks aside now is a GREAT time to cruise. No ques, no overcrowding. low numbers gave natural distancing. Ports weren't overcrowded with tourists. Best of all there were some fantastic deals to stay onboard - maybe because this week there were only 800 passengers onboard. £800 ($1,080) for a repeat 14-day journey full board, tips and outside balcony cabin) - If I didn't have to return to the UK for work we would have stayed on board.

Last edited by Ashley from UK; 11-23-2021 at 06:46 AM.
  #13  
Old 11-23-2021, 06:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Allen Dronsfield View Post
Just a correction, the Rotterdam is not a new ship, it's home port is Rotterdam where the original Rotterdam is moored. The Holland America ship has been in service for many years as my wife and I sailed on her 3 years ago out of Tampa to Rotterdam and the Baltic then returning to Rotterdam. Enjoyable cruise, lots to see, great crew.
Yes it IS a new ship. First sailing this month. The old Rotterdam was sold and the NEW ship took its name !
  #14  
Old 11-23-2021, 06:59 AM
Robbie0723 Robbie0723 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kkingston57 View Post
Agree, need to check out 1st. We were on an Alaskan cruise on a Celebirity trip out of Seattle and all passengers were required to have two vaccine shots and a test. NO masks on that ship

Just got off of a Royal Carribean(own Celebrity) trip to the Bahamas and from Port Cannaveral. Vaccines not required and test needed. Had to wear masks except while eating, in casino and outside. Would not recomment going on any cruise where masks are required.
For our RC cruise to Cococay you were given armbands if Vaccinated. I noticed very few people without an armband.

They did not require masks outside, on the island or at indoor "vaccinated only" venues.

The cruise was excellent and we had a great time.
  #15  
Old 11-23-2021, 07:02 AM
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Default Cruising Virgin Voyages - Outstanding

We just returned from 5 days on Virgin’s new ship Scarlet Lady to the Bahamas out of Miami. We have sailed with Holland America, Celebrity, Carnival and Princess since 1994. Virgin outshone them. I selected Virgin because it doesn’t allow anyone under 18 and I knew the quality would be very good as I have flown Virgin America many times. We needed proof of vaccination and tested prior to getting on ship. You had to be negative to board. No masks for guests onboard but crew all masked. Brand new ship. All inclusive except alcohol and shore excursions. No main dining room but number of restaurants on board with EXCELLENT food and service. We ate at Pink Agave for high end Mexican, The Wake steakhouse and Gunbae for Korean bbq. There are more restaurants including Italian and Vegetarian. Also have main galley with pizza, tacos, burgers, Starbucks like coffee station, salads, sushi and breakfast. Full serve. If you don’t like rock and roll music this is not the ship for you. Staff was from all around the world. There were 700 guests, ship holds 2700. Their next new ship the Valiant Lady debuts next year. It will sail the Mediterranean, Spain and such. We can’t wait to return to Virgin.
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