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Holland America Line: Maasdam

  • Holland America Line

Maasdam Review

Insider Take

Should Be Avoided By People Who Prefer

Vibrant night life, active casino and lively after-hours scene. Not recommended for families with small children or singles seeking wild-'n'-craziness.

Onboard Experience

As you board these ships, a beaming Indonesian or Filipino staff member in white gloves greets you delightedly and then shows you to your quarters. Many of the most fondly recalled elements of the classical style of cruising are unmistakably alive and well here. You'll find no feverish singles action here, and the casino closes at an hour that will horrify some high-rolling insomniacs. What you will find is a palpable reverence for culture, art, and antiques, and lots of fresh flowers. If large cabins with private verandas, ballroom dancing and bridge float your boat, these, moderately-priced premium cruises may well be the boats to float it.

Maasdam was the second of the S-class of ships, a sister ship to the Statendam (1), Ryndam (3) and Veendam (4). Though built as recently as 1994, these are the oldest ships in the fleet.

Maasdam is fully subscribed to Holland America's "Signature of Excellence" program, with enhancements to nearly every area of the ship. Staterooms now offer the best mattresses and duvets sold in Europe, flat screen TVs, and DVD players. There's early boarding and a choice of four dinner seatings. New service amenities include a new Culinary Arts Program with a demonstration kitchen for instructional cooking classes, expanded spa and fitness facilities, tableside waiter service at dinner in the Lido, new shore excursions and upgraded Club HAL Kids Centers. The Explorations Cafe is a combination reading and listening library, Internet center, and sidewalk cafe.


Holland America has never been famous for its dining room food, much as you can hardly name a famous Dutch food item. Many meat entrees tend to be on the heavy side (veal, pork), and are often over-cooked and smothered in sauce. Adding injury, they may arrive from the kitchen less than piping hot. Steaks, chicken filets and salmon are offered every night as alternatives, as are vegetarian and low calorie meals. The buffets are where Holland America shine, with great breakfasts, lunches with seafood and wonderful desserts. You won't leave the cruise feeling dissatisfied with the food.


There are tables for two, four, six and eight in the opulent two-level Vista Dining Room, which benefits from sea views and a romantically twinkling, fiber optics-lit ceiling, Rosenthal china, sparkling crystal, and crisp linens. There are four dining seatings - 5:45 p.m., 6:15 p.m., 8:00 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. Casual breakfast, lunch, dinner, and midnight buffets featuring ethnic cuisine are served in the Lido restaurant adjacent to the pool.

The cozy, intimate Pinnacle Grill specializes in the ingredients of the Pacific Northwest. Its dedicated galley includes 1600-degree grill. Bulgari china, unique holloware and a dedicated service staff enhance the elegant atmosphere, as too does the wine list, which features several California and Washington vintages not offered in the main dining room. Reservations are required and there is a $20 service charge.

Twenty-four-hour room service is very efficient, and between meals you can order from a large list of snacks, salads and sandwiches. At mealtimes, you can order from the same menu those in the dining room are perusing.


The main lounge presents variety shows, a lavish Broadway-style revue and an energizingly fervent dance production. There's a jazz quartet in the Ocean Bar and fresh hot popcorn in the Wajang Theater, where you can see first-run films every afternoon and evening.


All Holland America ships feature lovely, comfortable and spacious cabins, probably the best offerings in this price range. Stateroom amenities include a complimentary fresh fruit basket on arrival and bathrobes. There is a massage shower head in every bathroom. There is plenty of closet and drawer space, just make sure your suitcase will fit under the bed. Inside cabins are 182 sq. feet, outside staterooms are 197 sq. feet. Balcony cabins offer considerably more interior cabin space than you might expect.

Penthouse suites, at 1,100 square feet, are absolutely gorgeous with private verandahs and wonderful amenities. The 563-square foot suites, ultramodern with large private verandahs, are nearly as grand. The 120 deluxe category A and B cabins are 284 square feet (including verandah), each with VCR, minibar, and sitting area. There are whirlpool tubs in the bathrooms. For Deluxe Verandah and Penthouse Suite passengers, concierge service is available in the Neptune Lounge, a private retreat where they can relax, read and socialize.

The outside cabins on the Lower Promenade Deck have pedestrian walkways (and thus, at least intermittently, pedestrians) between their occupants and the ocean. While special reflective glass precludes said pedestrians from peeking in during the day, at night you have to close your curtains.


These ships all have large spa and windowed Ocean Spa gyms attractive enough to make even the most determinedly sedentary want to come in. The sauna/steam rooms, segregated by gender, are impossible to fault. Way up top is a jogging track, isolated from cabins and other activities to spare non-joggers the sound of thundering hooves. On the deck, comfortable striped cushions line a large pool covered by a retractable dome on Lido Deck, just the thing for rainy days in Alaska. The Dolphin Bar, with umbrellas and wicker chairs, is an unbeatable spot for a late afternoon drink and snack after a visit ashore.

Children's Facilities

Younger passengers are kept diverted with supervised Club HAL crafts, parties, and games for three age groups 5-8, 9-12 and 13-17, with the number of counselors allotted to each cruise dependent on the number of younger voyagers. Many children find Holland America's planned activities severely humdrum. The restaurant offers a children's menu. Baby-sitting is available at sea for $7.50 per child per hour.


The second ship in the oldest "S-class" (for Statendam) of Holland ships, the smallest and quietest in the fleet.

Best For People Who Want

A dignified cruise experience in elegant, flower-bedecked surroundings, fewer children than on other mass-market lines; the best dedicated crossword puzzle area at sea.


A gentle and warm decor that is easy on the eyes is punctuated by a $2 million antiques and art collection.

Public Rooms

When you reach the atrium on Maasdam, or any other Holland America ship, you won't really recognize you have found it. It is a smallish space mostly taken up by the 30-foot-high glass sculpture, "Totem," by Italian artist Luciano Vistosi. On Holland America ships the action is elsewhere, mostly on the Upper Promenade deck where the public rooms flow bow to stern. It is remarkably easy to find your way around the ship. The large Ocean Bar, with large picture windows to the sea seems to be a natural gathering place for pre--dinner cocktails. After dinner, the actions moves to the sing along piano bar, or the 89-seat Explorer's Lounge offers a string quartet or a harpist performing light classical favorites in the evening.

The glamorous two-story main dining rooms, framed with floor-to-ceiling windows, feature a dramatic staircase and a classical trio holding forth demurely from a perch on the top level. Just outside the second level, ladies will find a wonderful, spacious powder room with ocean views.

The main show lounge has two floors and a wide stage, with comfortable seating, though sight lines from the balcony are partially obscured. There is a large dance floor in front of the stage and the onboard 9-piece orchestra plays pre-dinner dance music nightly. The Crows Nest observation lounge, with its 320-degree view, is the perfect place from which to watch your departure from port; at night it becomes the shipboard "disco" dance room. The beautiful wood-paneled library has etched glass doors, comfortable chairs and ottomans, an inlaid marble table, and excellent reference and travel book sections. The nearby card room can simultaneously accommodate four dozen players.


Holland America's Indonesian and Filipino crew is warm and gracious, though not always as fluent in English as American and British passengers might prefer. Speak slowly and make sure they understand what you need, because they can be to polite to ask you to repeat yourself.


For years Holland America was known for its no-tipping policy, intended to make passengers believe that staff were doing it for love, rather than money. Now, gratuities of $10.00 per person (including children) are automatically added daily to the shipboard account for dining and stateroom service. Visit the front desk to adjust that amount. A 15 percent service is automatically added to bar bills.


On the two weekly formal nights, half the men opt for dark suit rather than renting a tuxedo. Casual on these ships means comfortable, but T-shirts, jeans, swimsuits, tank tops and shorts are all forbidden in the dining rooms and public areas.

Ship Overview

Introduced in 1993, the second Statendam-class ship, Maasdam was named for the Maas River in the Netherlands, the fifth ship in Holland America Line's history to bear the name. In the ship’s central atrium is Luciano Vistosi's Totem, a soaring sculpture made up of nearly 2,000 pieces of glass. Other art featured in Maasdam’s collection are two abstract murals painted for the dining room and a collection of seven Japanese iron teapots and a charcoal brazier dating from the end of the Edo period.

The sister ships included in the S- or Statendam-class retain the most classic and traditional characteristics of Holland America Line vessels. Routinely updated with innovative features, including Signature of Excellence upgrades, they combine all the advantages of intimate, midsize vessels with high-tech and stylish details.

At the heart of the ships, triple-deck atriums graced by suspended glass sculptures open onto three so-called promenade decks; the lowest contains staterooms encircled by a wide, teak outdoor deck furnished with padded steamer chairs, while interior, art-filled passageways flow past lounges and public rooms on the two decks above. Either reach the lower dining room floor via the aft elevator, or enter one deck above and make a grand entrance down the sweeping staircase.

Holland America Line has enjoyed a distinguished record of traditional cruises, world exploration, and transatlantic crossings since 1873—all facets of its history that are reflected in the fleet's multimillion-dollar shipboard art and antiques collections. Even the ships' names follow a pattern set long ago: all end in the suffix dam and are either derived from the names of various dams that cross Holland's rivers, important Dutch landmarks, or points of the compass. The names are even recycled when vessels are retired, and some are in their fifth and sixth generation of use.

Noted for focusing on passenger comfort, Holland America Line cruises are classic in design and style, and with an infusion of younger adults and families on board, they remain refined without being stuffy or stodgy. Following a basic design theme, returning passengers feel as at home on the newest Holland America vessels as they do on older ones.

What You Should Know


  • Statendam-class ships have some of the fleet’s most trendy bars
  • The Ocean Bar hits the right balance for socializing with the after-dinner crowd
  • Movie theaters double as culinary arts centers


  • Railings on the balcony level of the main show lounge obstruct the view of the stage
  • Club HAL can feel empty on some cruises
  • The addition of Explorations Café means no more free coffee bar
Ship Stats
  • Crew Members 580
  • Entered Service 1993
  • Gross Tons 55,575
  • Length 720 feet
  • Number of Cabins 658
  • Passenger Capacity 1,258
  • Width 101 feet
  • New

Apr 7, 2014


We joined a 49 day cruise mid-way in Rio for its remaining 26 days. We experienced great food, an interesting itinerary, and outstanding service. We have been on more than a dozen HAL cruises and the quality of the CREWS is what brings us back, time and again. We enjoyed all our other cruise line experiences (except Norweigan) but there seems to be a special attitude aboard HAL ships. Overall our cruise was most enjoyable with the highlight being

the 1149 mile journey up the Amazon to Manaus. We dined most evenings in the main dining room. The food was well prepared, presented nicely, and served hot. The wine selection was very good, widely varied, and reasonable. The menu offered good variety and our Vegan companion was able to fine suitable selections. The Lido buffet was well organized and gave both appealing food and prompt service. We always select a veranda stateroom. It would seem that they are mostly all the same. Serviceable, clean, and extremely well maintained. Our veranda was a bit of a disappointment due to a considerable amount of rust and corrosion. This was a first for us in that all previous ships had been impeccably maintained both in and out. This small bit of annoyance did not detract from our ability to spend many enjoyable hours on the veranda, drinks in hand, enjoying the Amazon shoreline. I commented that the Maasdam what a little like an aging star (on the outside) with a run in her stocking and a flaw in her make-up here and there. Inside, the ship was flawless, fully upholding HAL's fine tradition. We enjoyed many activities such as Bingo, Culinary Center presentations, and "Mixology" classes. The cruise staff, under the direction of Carlos, was excellent. Stephanae ran many of the events we attended and was simply a delight. Evening entertainment was very good with a wide variety of talented performers. We, and many others, were particularly impressed with Michael, the director and pianist of the ship's orchestra. He was the absolute foundation of all performances. Whatever South American itinerary you may choose, do not miss the Amazon ! The entire 8 day river sojourn was remarkable. Our 26 day cruise was relaxing, most interesting, and very enjoyable. About two-thirds of the passengers were about halfway though their cruise of 49 days when we joined the ship in Rio. This seemed to "dull" the beginning-of-cruise excitement we usually experience. In deed, most of those we encountered were somewhat subdued by their journey thus far. I plan to avoid joining subsequent cruises mid-way in the future. Overall we were very pleased with the service levels, attention to detail, and great value of this cruise.

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  • New

May 31, 2012

USA to Canada

SHIP - The Maasdam is one of the mid sized ships of HAL, which has 10 decks with two groups of four inside elevators, located near the bow and the stern of the ship. The ship has 972 cabins for 1,258 passengers and a very friendly crew of 580. CHECK-IN - Each time you board the ship during the cruise, your cabin card is scanned and your photograph is displayed to the ship's security personnel. And when returning to the ship in Canada, you needed

to carry a second form of ID with your photograph (like your driver's license). Also, every time you re-board the ship, all carry-on items (purses, bags, etc.) will be scanned. DINING ROOMS The main one is the Rotterdam (decks 7 and 8), and the others are the Pinnacle Grill (deck 8), and Lido (deck 11). In the Rotterdam dining room, at our assigned table for eight, the overall and service food was good. The Pinnacle Grill is only available by making a reservation. Service was very good and the food was better than the main dinning room. And we enjoyed the Lido for breakfast and lunch to avoid the large lines waiting to enter the Rotterdam; plus the Lido served breakfast earlier than the Rotterdam. In addition, there were three formal nights during the cruise. BARS - There is about four or more bars and we always enjoy the Crow’s Nest, especially when leaving a port before dinner, as it overlooks the ship’s bow and the direction in which the ship is sailing. CABIN - Our cabin was a verandah suite (Category B) on the Verandah Deck; deck nine, mid-ship, and had comfortable king-size bed with six pillows with room to place our suitcases under the bed. There were two nightstands, a safe, two bathrobes, one chair, one large desk with extra drawers, four closets, and a bathroom with a toilet, bath and shower, and single sink. HAL previously provided a special luggage tags containing our cabin number and our luggage arrived in our cabins before we did on the first day aboard the ship. VERANDAH - The verandah (6 x 8 feet) had one chair and one long chair for resting the entire body. Plus, the end of the cabin towards the verandah was two large glass windows and a large glass door, which was nice. IN-CABIN TV - A color TV with about 18 channels including CNN and Fox news, several movie channels, and views of the ship’s bow.

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  • New

Apr 6, 2012

So Carib

My wife and I really enjoyed our 14 day cruise. Anthony Choice was the cruise director. Anthony was approachable, friendly and professional. This was the best cruise we have ever taken. The food was incredible. Served promptly and always hot and fresh. Inside stateroom on Deck 6 (Cabin 414). Great cabin. Activities were fine. Lara was very helpful with excursions! I highly recommend Holland America Line to adults. Kids

would have more fun on other lines. If you are looking for 5 star service, Holland America is for you.

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  • New

Oct 5, 2011

Montreal to Boston

This is my fifth cruise, each with a different line. Previously I have cruised with Princess, Costa, Orient, Norwegian, and Vantage. Our party consisted of me and my wife, my son and his wife (early 30s) and their 20-month old daughter. I was pleased with both the selection and quality of the food. We split our time between the Rotterdam Dining room (elegant, but leisurely -- about 90 minutes for dinner) and the Lido cafeteria, which was

handier for our child. Veggies were usually overcooked, but the breads, salads, main dishes, appetizers and desserts were quite good. We also had good experience with room service breakfasts -- tasty and delivered hot and on time. The room was clean, well laid out, and comfortable. All the equipment was attractive and in good repair. The ship was recently rebuilt, and that showed in the physical plant. The service throughout the ship was exceptional. The crew (mostly Indonesian) were friendly, competent, and seemed genuinely interested in us. Several went out of their way to interact with our baby and provide extra services for us. My wife and I were without our luggage for the first day of the cruise (airline problems) and HAL did everything reasonable to help us -- free laundry, free formal wear rental, and complementary overnight kit. The Front Desk representative took nearly an hour of her time to make sure we had what we needed, and to get all the information I could provide on our lost bags. She promised follow-up work from the HAL shore personnel, and called several times to keep us informed of progress. We went to two of the shows, and found them quite good by cruise ship standards -- a step below top professional groups, but well scripted, well performed and enjoyable. They were geared towards the old folk crowd, but that matched the passenger demographics. We did only one excursion through the ship, to Louisbourg Fort on Cape Breton Island. I found the fort very interesting. It is a recreation of an 18th century community fort with locals in costume explaining life at that time. The docents were knowledgeable and very approachable, and I wish only that we had more time there. On the down side, our tour guide clearly had an agenda and was quite vocal about how various governments had mistreated the locals, and the bus interior was very dusty. We avoided booking excursions through HAL, and I strongly recommend that. In Quebec City, the ship docks within easy walking distance of the old city, and everything is easily reachable on foot. We took the funicular to the upper city and spend the day walking a beautiful and interesting city. We rented cars in Charlottetown and Halifax. We had reserved a car in Charlottetown but couldn't find the rental agency. However the tourist information office, a short walk from the ship, was most helpful, and provided information on 7 rental companies. We had no trouble finding a car (from Dollar, as it happened) despite the lack of reservation. All the rental companies are at the airport, about 10 minutes away, but are happy to pick you up near the ship. The company recommended several drives, and we chose to visit the north shore of the island for beaches and the Anne of Green Gables site. An excellent lunch at a little corner restaurant (the Water Prince Shop, highly recommended), right across the street from the tourist information office in Charlottetown ended a delightful day. There are also several other tour options available, some right as you disembark, and others available through the well-staffed and helpful tourist information office. Sydney, Cape Breton Island, is a small industrial town that has limited tourism options, so a ship's tour here makes sense. There were several available, and the Louisbourg Fort seemed the best for our situation. We had a reservation for our car in Halifax and were glad we did. Another couple couldn't find cars available at our counter, and I don't know if they managed to find one. The rental counters are about a 10-minute walk from the ship. We drove to Peggy's Cove and managed to get there about a half-hour ahead of several cruise ship buses. It's a lovely place, but much nicer without the crowds. It's only a 30-40 minute drive from Halifax, and I'm glad we had the flexibility to leave and drive along the shore when the tours arrived. We found some beautiful spots further down the shore that were free of crowds. Bar Harbor offers free shuttles from downtown (near the ship dock) to the national park, and the downtown is also beautiful. I recommend the walk along the shore that starts near the docks and goes past many of the beautiful homes in the area. Both embarkation in Montreal and disembarkation in Boston were handled smoothly and professionally. We were off the ship by 10:00 am, and at Logan Airport on the shuttle provided by the ship shortly thereafter.

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  • New

Sep 6, 2009

Boston - Boston

Holland America did a good job on this cruise. The stops were excellent with two exceptions. Two of them were villages of only a few hundred people and there were no tours, cars, buses to get out to see anything. In Edenborough Scottland the boat was docked about 20 miles from town and the boat furnished a free shuttle back and forth to town. That service was appreciated and I would like to see more lines do this when they are parked a long way from

the main attractions. The staff were friendly and very helpful. They went out of their way to make sure that things were satisfactory for us passengers. We had a group of early risers that met in the crows nest to watch the sunrise each morning. When we asked for them to provide some hot coffee they did it without question and each morning there was a dispenser full of hot java. The entertainment was hit or miss. 3 of the 4 commedians were not worth watching (very poor and I am surprised they can make a living at this). I thought one of them was going to walk off stage because of the poor reaction from the audience. The stage shows were very good (singers and dancers). The rest of the performers were just OK for the most part. They did have 4 male singers that brought the house down the two nights they were on. The theater seating is very poor; small benches behind taller chairs. I can't beleve they built a theater like that (on one level with differing size seating). The chairs were very uncomfortable also. By the end of an hour performance you were happy to get up and move on. The ship is somewhat worn in places but made a plesant atmosphere. The food was overall very good. The dining room always had something that made us happy at night. If the regular menu didn't fit your needs they always had a steak, chicken or salmon that could be ordered. The Lido Buffet always had a wide variety of food both hot and cold. The fruit was exceptional (based on other cruise experience). My only complaint was the people working on the food line were sometimes understaffed and they often gave you different food than you asked for (you could not get your own food, they put it on the plates). They had two older guys working the food line that had been doing this job for too long and their desire to do a good job has long sence gone away. The stateroom was very adequate. The shower was larger than most boats have. Mostly standard stuff. My only complaint was that we had to ask the steward to change the bedding after about a week. They claimed they changed it every 3 days but put a mark on the side of the sheet and after a week the same one was there. The guys put on a good face but did the minimum they could get by with. That being said, I think the cruise line has them working more cabins now than in the past and I think the workers are finding ways to cut corners. The onboard activities were very poor! They often put on lectures or activities that everyone wanted to attend at times when it was impossible to be there. As an example, they had a great film on Icebergs but it started 30 minutes before the first seating for dinner. We only got to watch 15 minutes before we had to leave. Music around the ship was lacking. The piano player was stuck in a very small lounge and was seen only by a small number of heavy drinkers that made the nightly sing along. The stringed group was very good and had good visability. On days at sea the movie theater sat empty much of the day. It would have been nice to have a movie playing. The movies they played were usually recent productions and they had a good variety in the theater and on TV (Better than on any other cruise I have been on). Overall, I have seen much better activities on other cruises. Excursions were high priced but generally had good things to do and see. Overall a good cruise! The croud was older than most cruises we have been on. We had one 98 Year Old Lady who was traveling on her own and got around better than many in their 70's. The ports wer fantastic. The staff generally did their best to make sure we had a good time. The Captain made extra effort to get us close to things we wanted to see and do and was often available to talk with the passengers. During the voyage, when the Captain could, he slowed down and gave everyone time to enjoy sites as we passed them. My biggest complaint about the ship was the Theater which had very poor views from uncomfortable chairs. The second complaint I would offer, is about smoking. They allowed people to smoke in one section of the "Crows Nest". You all know the problem and have experienced the smoke drifting around the room for everyone to inhale. This was discusting and left the room smelling even when people were not smoking. If given the option I will always choose a cruise which makes people smoke in places that will not be shared by anyone who choses not to join in. There is no reason for everyone to have to be exposed to smoke in a very public room such as the Crows Nest!!!!!

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