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My Cruise Experiences on Holland America

Updated on August 1, 2017
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Lena Kovadlo is a writer for various content sharing websites. She's an author of 10 books and helps other authors publish their books.

When it's time to take a holiday, to get away from it all, I prefer to take a cruise. Not only do I get to enjoy sailing the high seas, but I also get to visit interesting places. I have been on a few cruises already and can't wait to do it again soon.

The cruise ships are like moving cities. There's lots to do during the day, if you decide not to head out to shore or lounge on the chairs by the pool. And at night there are shows and movies to see, dance clubs to go to, bars to sit at, and casinos to play at. There is a spa and a salon on board. There is also a basketball court, where you can also play volleyball and soccer. And some ships also have mini-golf, rock climbing, and even an ice skating rink. The food service is available pretty much the whole day so you'll never go hungry. The staff is usually friendly and the service is great. But of course everything is not always great and there are cruise experiences that are not to our liking. Here is one of my cruise experiences, which was aboard the Holland America cruise line.

My 7-Day Caribbean Cruise with Holland America

I just got back from a 7-day Caribbean cruise (with Holland America). Since this cruise was a Caribbean cruise with stops at various islands like the Virgin Islands, the Bahamas, and Grand Turks & Caicos, there wasn't much to see except the beaches. The beaches were beautiful and clean; the water clear with a mix of blue and green. Paradise ...There's nothing like it. There was one stop at San Juan and there I didn't go to a beach but instead went sightseeing. It is a magnificent city with great architecture and scenery. I thoroughly enjoyed the trip there.

Now on to the ship ... Though the ship didn't look nice on the outside, it did look nice on the inside, which is way more important after all. There were things to do there throughout the day and at night there were great shows that I really enjoyed, some of which were a magic show, Celtic music show, comedy show, Broadway show, and karaoke. And there was a casino on board, which brought on more fun for me as I love playing the slots. It is not about the winning, but about enjoying myself, and that I did. Of course, it would have been even better had I left the cruise with some big winnings. Maybe next time ...

On the ship, during the day, I could wear whatever I wanted, but during the evening when it came time to dine, I had to follow a dress code as the dining on this ship was not freestyle. Two nights were formal so I had to wear a dress, and the rest of the nights were smart casual, which I still had to dress up for in a way. On one hand I prefer to wear whatever I want, but, on the other hand, it is great to be able to dress up; makes me feel like I'm out on the town.

There are dining choices aboard the ship and come evening time people can choose to go to a buffet or to one of the available restaurants. Since I was traveling with a group of people I had to dine at a restaurant. That dining experience was not the best.

I know that going to restaurants means spending at least an hour there, but to spend over two hours just to have dinner is just ridiculous and that is what happened here. The service was very slow, and the people serving us didn't even speak good English, which made it harder to get great service. On top of that the waiters were clumsy, dropping trays with our food, breaking dishes, and mixing up orders. Some of the orders didn't even arrive to our table.The dishes looked like works of art but that is not the most important thing. They have to taste great as well, and enough times they did not. Some of the dishes I ordered were either over salted or just plain disgusting. I wonder what kind of chef was doing all the cooking? Clearly he was not at his best.

One night, one of the waiters (with terrible English) came up to us and asked us if everything was all right. We complained that the soups were over salted. He then told us that if we need a special healthy menu we should let him know and he will request that special dishes be prepared for us. We didn't need a special menu. We just wanted the food to be salted normally. We later realized that it was a mistake to even bring up the fact that the food was over salted because the waiter kept coming to us, every minute that night, asking us if everything was all right. And even though we said that everything's fine, he kept coming to us non-stop and after a while it got really annoying and I felt like leaving the place. And when it came time to finally enjoy some dessert, the waiter brought ice-cream to one of my friends and said something like "Here's your ice-cream sir. Don't worry, there's no salt.". He was kidding of course but I did not find it funny. I couldn't wait for the dinner to be over, and alas it finally was, over two hours later.

One of the nights when I could not spend so much time dining, I decided to go to a buffet for dinner. It didn't prove to be that much better. Yes it didn't take a long time to eat, which was great, but that was because there wasn't much to choose from, and from the choices available, not everything tasted great. The only thing I enjoyed and was able to consume was a green salad (made by me), and cheesecake and coffee, which still left me hungry. I've been to a few cruises and never had bad dining experiences. This is the first. And after this I am not planning to go on this cruise ever again.

I will continue to cruise though, whenever I get the chance. There are so many places to see and much to enjoy and cruising is a great way to do it. For my next holiday cruise I have my mind set on Alaska. It is very pricey to go on a cruise there though, but, on the other hand, it is worth every penny.

Share Your Cruise Experiences...

Where have you gone on your cruise vacation?

Where do you plan to take a cruise?

How was your cruise experience?

What interesting places have you visited?

Which cruise lines and ships would you recommend?


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    • Taranwanderer profile image

      Taranwanderer 2 years ago

      Very good information; I would never have thought Holland America could provide such a subpar dining experience - given their elaborate advertisements. Good to know. At least the cabins inside the cruise ship are pretty good.

    • Kathleen Cochran profile image

      Kathleen Cochran 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      When you go to Alaska, you might consider Celebrity. The food, service, facilities, and excursions are the best I've experienced. I've cruised to the Med and to eastern Canada. I certainly liked Celebrity better than Princess. I've avoided Holland America because it seems to be aimed at the elderly. I'm not quite there yet!

    • lovebuglena profile image

      Lena Kovadlo 6 years ago from Staten Island, NY

      There is nothing like a cruise. You should go on one sometime, maybe with a special someone.

    • rauffray profile image

      rauffray 6 years ago from BC, Canada

      You have shared your insights and experience on a topic of which I know little or nothing about. Thank you, Lena. I do hope to perhaps go on a cruise with someone else of cours at some point in time. This was most informative.