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Holland America Line: Ryndam

Ryndam Cruise Review

Insider Take

Should Be Avoided By People Who Prefer

A high-energy ship; lots of singles looking to meet; single, open seating dining.


Warm colors graced by antiques and reproductions with subdued lighting in cocktail lounges. Marble and luxurious fabrics are ubiquitous.

Public Rooms

Ryndam may lack the breathtaking atria typical of other ships built in the 1990s, but it is remarkably easy to find your way around. The large Ocean Bar, with sea views by day and romantic lighting at night, is the most popular spot for pre- and post-dinner cocktails, though it gets serious competition from another cozy lounge, the sing along piano bar. 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.

One sour note: The library requires a $25 deposit of anyone wishing to borrow a book.


Cuisine varies a great deal from dish to dish, ranging from flavorless to divinely prepared and cooked; desserts generally score well with most people, while meat and fish may be over-cooked or arrive luke warm. Some of the most interesting meals occur at the buffet, when various ethnic cuisine is featured served. Watch for the seafood buffet where you might find delicious crab claws available by the plateful.


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.


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 too 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. (Yeah, right.) Nowadays, though, 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. That a 15 percent service is automatically added to bar bills should surprise no one.


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.


Aboard the Statendam you'll find some of the largest cabins afloat, all beautifully appointed with handsome fabrics and attractive art. Standard inside cabins are 182 sq. feet, while outside staterooms are 197 sq. feet, with enough closet and drawer space for the serious traveler. Balcony cabins offer considerably more interior cabin space than you might expect. The Penthouse suites with private verandahs are a huge 1,100 square feet, and include 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.

Stateroom amenities include bathrobes, a complimentary fresh fruit basket on arrival, stainless steel ice buckets and serving trays for use with in-cabin beverages and massage shower heads in every bathroom. 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 third "S-class" (for Statendam) of Holland America ships, the smallest and quietest class in the fleet.

Best For People Who Want

A subdued classical style of cruising on a reasonable priced mid-size ship; large cabins and staterooms with private verandas; non-smoking dining areas; ample breakfast and luncheon buffets, free ice cream salons with tasty toppings.

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.

Ryndam is fully subscribed to Holland America's "Signature of Excellence" program of enhancements to nearly every area of the ship. New features include tableside waiter service at dinner in the Lido, a new Culinary Arts Program with show kitchen for demonstrations and classes, expansion of spa and fitness facilities, upgraded Club HAL Kids Centers, and new shore excursions. The Explorations Cafe is a combination library, Internet center, music listening area and sidewalk cafe. 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.


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

The third ship in the Statendam-class, Ryndam made her debut in 1994. At the heart of the ship’s three-story atrium is a monumental fountain showing fanciful dolphins and sea creatures created by sculptor Gilbert Lebigre in Pietrasanta, Italy. One of the more unusual pieces of art onboard Ryndam is a muzzle-loading cannon from the 17th century, which was found on the floor of the North Sea.

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 onboard, 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 1994
  • Gross Tons 55,819
  • Length 720 feet
  • Number of Cabins 630
  • Passenger Capacity 1260
  • Width 101 feet
  • New

Jul 7, 2015

Iceland and Norway

Unmitigated Disaster - followed by food poisoning and escalating Noro Virus that eventually ended our trip early, resulted in cancelled ports and on island destinations/tours. It gets worse - the ship allegedly had issues with Noro Virus for at least 6 weeks (according to the on-board staff) prior to our cruise departing but it wasn't until we reached the actual embarkation point that they offered to refund our cruise - had they been customer

centric - and at least lived up to their corporate motto, they would have have made a refund offer long before we left on our flight to Heathrow. However, they choose to wait until everyone was already to get on-board before a cancellation offer was made. HAL's corporate behaviour was nothing short of appalling! Room was clean and well looked after - especially after being sanitized with disinfectant each time we went. The outbreak prevented many activities and kept getting worse to the point where our cruise and on island tours ended early or were cancelled! It was such a disaster that there is not enough room here to tell all the things that went wrong.

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Oct 11, 2013

Greek Isles

HAL Ryndam: an excellent cruise. This is a too lengthy review of only a short (seven-day) cruise, but it reflects our enjoyment and satisfaction from it. It was a cruise in the Ionian and Aegean Seas, roundtrip Piraeus, the seaport of Athens, Greece. ACCOMODATION We boarded the ship at 11:00 a.m. and the cabin was already ready. Ryndam belongs to the Statendam-class of ships, noted for its exceptionally well-designed cabins.

Our outside cabin, actually more a hotel room than a cabin, was indeed one of the most spacious, airy and bright that we have ever been in and its bay-window one of the widest ones. Storage space was ample, with many drawers, and the closets had folding shelves for even more storing capacity. The beds had adequate space under them to store a medium size luggage. The mattress was out of this world and accordingly we had a heavenly sleep (I remember they used to sell it -"Mariner's Dream"- for $900 plus transportation costs, but I don't know if they continue). The sofa in the sitting area was not the more common 140cm, but a full 200cm, and so was the vanity, with a large mirror. The stateroom was perfectly outfitted with flat TV with DVD player, magnifying mirror and of course the usual safe. Bathrobes were also provided. The spacious bathroom was equipped with a full bathtub (almost every outside cabin on the ship has one). The "Elemis" toiletries here surpassed those of more expensive cruise companies: "Refreshing" came spontaneously to mind whenever I made use of them. Although the cabin was near the staircase and elevators, it was very quiet. It was quite soundproof, too. Our stewards, Mingki and Ali, whose kindness and efficiency we can only praise, held the cabin in immaculate condition. FOOD We like traditional seating in the Main Dining Room, but this time we chose "As You Wish Dining" for a change (you can come to the restaurant and dine whenever you wish and with your preferred company). We were not disappointed. Contrary to what we had heard about long queues, we were able to enjoy every night a table for two (so difficult to obtain in other companies) as soon as we entered the restaurant; only once we had to wait ten minutes before one could be found. Perhaps this was because we prefer to dine late. The variety in the Main Dining Room was one of the amplest we have encountered and the presentation and taste were excellent. Actually the taste had improved than on our last HAL cruise, a few years ago. Portions were similar (or larger) to more expensive companies. Service was as we remembered it, friendly and efficient. We were so happy with food and service there, that we did not eat at any alternative restaurant, although many fellow passengers spoke enthusiastically about Pinnacle Grill. We had both breakfast and lunch in the Lido Restaurant, satisfied again by the variety and taste. Of special notice were the Asian food and the desserts. The tables were cleaned quickly for the next passenger to sit. Pizza also and Mexican food in the Terrace Grill were very satisfying when coming back late from the ports. We ordered room service once, a full lunch with appetizer, soup and dessert, and it was delivered without delay. Room service is free 24 hours a day (unlike some other cruise companies) and offers a wide variety of choice. A nice treat was also the Indonesian Tea held in the Main dining room. SERVICE Kindness, friendliness and effectiveness characterized the crew everywhere. I have heard that Holland America has a training school in Indonesia, and this could be true, as they were certainly well trained. It was a welcome surprise to be called unexpectedly by name or have your preferences remembered. I think it is well noting that the Ryndam was honoured with the 2013 5-stars Diamond Award of the American Academy of Hospitality Sciences. PUBLIC SPACES Being of a medium-size (56,000 tons) and currying just 1,260 people the ship had an air of intimacy and never felt crowded. She was built in the 1990s, so perhaps a bit old now, but it was impressive how well-maintained and clean she was; we have been in newer ships that looked older than her. Being especially sensitive of the visual environment, I was suspicious of what to expect, but the interiors of Holland America is a rare instance where photography does not do justice. They were especially atmospheric during the night due to the right lighting, used frequently mix-and-match and good-quality textiles, and had evident attention to detail. According to Dutch tradition flowers were everywhere with impressive floral syntheses here and there. What was admirable were the numerous works of art, from the 3-deck high sculpture in the Atrium to 17th century paintings or 18th century consoles. We were told that works of art aboard a Holland America ship could reach a $2,000,000 total value. It was a pity that the dress code was not more formal (something like Cunard's for example) to complement such elegance. Of special notice was the Explorations, a spacious combination of a nice library and internet cafe, ideal to sit and handle your business in the PC or relax with a book. The theatre also was designed partly as a night club, which added to its atmosphere. ENTERTAINMENT Usually we do not watch many shows in the theatre in other companies, as we prefer late seating and after it we are not in the appropriate mood, preferring the bars or dancing. However, "As you wish dining" enabled us to watch fairly many shows earlier in the theatre, all well-taken care of, and we were particularly impressed by the talented singers and dancers. Ryndam is one of the relatively few ships offering separate theatre and cinema, and my DP was impressed with the popcorn provided in the latter. ITINERARY Congratulations go to the employee who designed the itinerary, as he/she managed to incorporate much of the essence of Greece in a short package ("Homeric Quest" was the name of the cruise). As far as I have noticed, itineraries are a strong point of Holland America. Our previous cruise on ms Rotterdam involved a detailed circle of Western Europe, including famous capitals, historic sites, beautiful sceneries and shopping opportunities, absolutely the best itinerary we have ever had in any cruise. Now we felt we savoured a carefully designed taste of cosmopolitan Greece - ancient and modern. Corfu and Rhodes do not need any recommendation. Both have been extensively held under European occupation, Corfu mainly under British, Rhodes under Italian domination, and this has arguably helped them to become well known to international tourism. Strolling in the old towns of these ports is a must and shopping opportunities abound, prices being even more attractive due to the current financial situation. Kusadasi (the "island of the bird") owes its importance to nearby Ephesus. Interestingly, Efesus is presented as a Roman city, based on its ruins from this period, but ask any student of Ancient History in an American or a British University and they will tell you that Ephesus was built by Greeks and was already flourishing centuries before the might of Rome entered the historical stage here; it scorned the Latin language and retained thoroughly its Greek character. So its inclusion in this particular quintessentially Greek cruise itinerary ("Homeric Quest") was perfectly justified. Of special interest also is the house where, according to the Catholic religion, Virgin Mary lived and died. Contrary to the other ports, bargaining in Kusadasi was absolutely required when shopping. An officer of the ship jokingly forewarned us in a friendly talk: when a local asks $10, you must counter-propose him $1, and the bargain starts from this point! Katakolon is the port to ancient Olympia, a must-see as the birthplace of the Olympic Games, more than seven centuries before Jesus was born. Katakolon itself is a surprisingly picturesque little port, where you can have a meal or a drink two or three feet from the sea - at low prices. However, the highlight of the cruise for us was Santorini, acclaimed the most beautiful island in the world by "Travel+Leisure". Here history meets a unique landscape in a dramatic way. Birthplace of the Cycladic civilization, the first European one along with the Minoan in Crete, the island was torn to pieces by the eruption of its volcano 1,650 years B.C.. The result is that, after climbing to the top of the steep coast by means of a cable car or a donkey, you can have lunch or drink enjoying a tremendous panoramic view of the sea-flooded caldera. Back in Piraeus, a smooth disembarkation ended a great cruise. CONCLUSION Overall, from all aspects it was an excellent cruise and a great value for money. Accommodation, food, service, entertainment, itinerary, all were exemplary. Holland America is one of the rare instances in the market where we found a motto coming true: "A signature of Excellence" indeed. We would fully recommend them and we are looking forward to return.

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Apr 3, 2012

West Caribbean

Holland America's culinary focus has made a believer of me. I also like all of the little, but right touches a real brewed coffee in every venue, newspaper, fresh fruit in cabin without asking, plush bathrobes, real hairdryer, etc., etc. We also like the mid-sized ships. We WILL cruise with HAL again! Soon! In addition to the two-tier Main Dining Room, there are two extra restaurants, the Pinnacle Grill (extra charge) and the Canaletto Italian

(no charge). There are also the buffet and poolside grill. We utilized all of venues. The Main Dining Room (MDR) consistently surprised us. We were used to receiving each meal a couple of good courses along with mediocre or poor courses. This was our first cruise in many, many years where we enjoyed every course of every meal. Our meats and fish was never over cooked and the meals were delicious and attractive. One real treat was our Indian meal in the MDR. The 2nd Executive Chef previously offered for a specially prepared Indian meal for just my wife and me. The 2nd Executive Chef came to our table at the Canaletto Restaurant to discuss what he would prepare for us the next evening. Boy did he deliver! We had delicious chicken tandoori, pork curry, raita, papadam, naan and more. We couldn't help ourselves and were soon stuffed. We ate five dinners in the MDR, one in Canaletto and one in the Pinnacle Grill. We thoroughly enjoyed both the MDR and Canaletto. We didn't think that the Pinnacle Grill was worth the extra charge, which has been the case, in our opinion, of all of the extra charge restaurants on all cruise lines. We always try one extra charge restaurant on each cruise but have not yet found one that was worth the extra charge when compared with the MDR. We were wait-listed for early assigned dining but ended with Anytime Dining. We used reservations for every meal with Anytime Dining but were only able to get our preferred time on one occasion. We feel that Anytime Dining doesn't work very well on any cruise line where they try to simultaneously accommodate both fixed seating and Anytime Dining, and HAL is no exception. They need to pick one or the other and stop trying to do both. Renaissance Cruise lines had only Anytime Dining and it worked well. It is trying to do both that creates problems. Nonetheless, by reserving tables in advance it worked sufficiently well on this cruise only resulting in our eating earlier or later than desired. The buffet's food was, in our opinion better than that of recent Princess or Celebrity cruises. The buffet's orange juice is fresh squeezed in front of you. They have a machine with oranges in a hopper that squeezes the juice into a pitcher. The coffee is brewed in large machines from finely ground beans. A bit strong, but not quite as strong as Starbucks. We originally booked an obstructed view guarantee but one-week before the sail date we were assigned a nice unobstructed view cabin on deck 4, A757. It was quite roomy, with a king size bed arrangement, side tables, sofa, table, desk and chair, bathtub, flat-screen LCD television and DVD-player. There was no refrigerator, which was our only disappointment. Instead of the wall mounted, anemic hair dryer, there was a 1,000 Watt hand-held hair dryer in the drawer. The only Euro-style plug that it could be used in was at the desk. The closet and drawer space far exceed our needs with about half of it going unused. We stored our bags under the bed. With a passenger capacity of 1,266, the Ryndam is what we consider a perfect size. It has all of the amenities that we desire without so passengers as to overburden the amenities. The ship is well laid out with many, many nooks and crannies where you can enjoy privacy. It has a large swimming pool on the Lido deck that has a glass and steel cover sectioned dome that slides open and closed depending on the weather. We felt that this was a very nice feature. There are two hot tubs by this pool. There is another, smaller pool on the fantail. We took a spa tour and it has all of the normal amenities; sauna, etc., but we only used their gym for semi-daily workouts. The Ryndam has a real movie theater that doubles as the Culinary Theater. We used this facility four times, twice for Culinary Theater events, once for a future cruise talk and once to watch a movie (with popcorn). I hate to see other lines eliminating movie theaters, which Celebrity is doing with their Solsticizing efforts, expecting passengers to watch DVDs in their cabins, and Princess has done, to a degree, by showing movies on an outdoor pool screen, exposed to the elements. My wife and I thoroughly enjoyed two Culinary Theater events which was much like being in a Food Channel audience. There events were well done and I applaud Holland America for providing this venue. One thing that continually amazed us was the ship's many antiques. Everywhere you look there are antiques from the 1600s, 1700s and 1800s. Most of the antiques are behind glass but sturdy ones, like the 1700s one-ponder bronze cannon in front of the Customer Service Desk, is open for inquisitive hands. We like the fact that HAL still publishes a daily mini-newspaper. Princess has eliminated their newspaper and Celebrity, as of two years ago, doesn't print enough copies nor do the reliably print every day (it may even be eliminated by now). The library is the largest that I have ever seen on a cruise ship. In Costa Maya, just walk off the pier and swim on the public beach right next to the pier. The chairs and umbrellas are free public provided. We WILL cruise with HAL again! Soon!

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Jan 6, 2012

Western Caribbean

This was my first time ever going on a cruise, and my family chose Holland America Line based on available dates. We had no idea what to expect. Although a little nervous at first, the cruise was AMAZING! The ms Ryndam was spotlessly clean, and staff constantly encouraged all passengers to use hand sanitizer. The food was definitely one of the best parts of the cruise. The Ryndam offered a variety of food choices each night. My family and

I chose to eat in the Rotterdam dining room every night for dinner (It is fancier and the service is great). The desserts are wonderful- there was even a "Dessert Extravaganza Night" on the Lido deck (filled with chocolate fountains and cakes and every dessert imaginable). The Lido Deck, another option for dining, is buffet style, and is also delicious. The staff is incredible. If you want something that is not on the menu they will find a way to make it for you! (My sisters and I ordered strawberries with whipped cream at every meal even though it was not on the menu). There is also an Italian restaurant on board called Canaletto's. The food is average with a limited menu. Also, reservations are required to eat there. There is another restaurant called the Pinnacle Grill... We never ate there because there is an upcharge of around $30 per person to eat there. Although the ship seems to be "all-inclusive," anything other than coffee, water, and tea require an upcharge. I haven't been on any other cruise besides the Ryndam, so I have no other stateroom to compare this one with. However, the room was nice, and the cleaning staff was awesome. I swear they cleaned our room at least four times a day. The beds are pretty tiny... and there is only one electrical plug per room (if you ask the staff they will give you a powerbar for free). The bathroom is also very small, and the shower is tight. Other than that the rooms were nice. I took a cake decorating class and I loved it. I also attended a cupcake tea, where the waiters came around to each table with trays filled with mini cupcakes! Because I was on the ship over new year's eve, I attended a dance party in the Crow's nest and I had a blast. They gave free champange and everyone was wild. All ages were on the dance floor and all the girls were in sparkly dresses! Fun! Each day passengers are given a schedule of planned events ranging from yoga in the mornings, to wine tastings at night. I also attended shows in the Showroom at Sea (which mainly was filled with an audience of people over age 60...) The shows were a bit cheesy, but I enjoyed them. Ok, my family decided to take a different approach to the excursions. Instead of booking excursions with the cruise line, we waited until we got off the boat to book excursions with the locals on the island. Let me tell you, this was definitely the right choice. We found that the cruise line puts an upcharge on the excursions that they sell to you. We saved a lot of money booking our excursions at the information desks when we got onto each island. For example, my sisters and I wanted to horseback ride on the beach in Jamaica... the boat was charging $100 per person to do this. When we got of the ship, we headed straight to the information desk, where we booked an excursion to horseback ride on the beach for only $70 per person. The experience was great. We swam with horses in the ocean and along the beach. It was a private beach too- we were the only ones there. It was paradise. The same happened with the StingRay City tour we booked when we got off the ship. We had a private boat take us out into the ocean where we swam with stingrays. Meanwhile, those who had booked their stingray excursion with the Ryndam were packed onto a tiny boat with a huge group of people. Also, we payed a cheaper amout of money than they did. Overall, I say wait to book your excursions until you get off the boat.. its way cheaper and a better experience. I was nervous about the cruise, having never been on one before. The experience was perfect. Other than the occasional rocking of the boat, I enjoyed everything. The MS Ryndam is WONDERFUL!

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Jan 16, 2011

Key West - Honduras - Guatemala - Mexico

Very disappointing. It feels we were stuck on the boat the whole time, going from one meal to the next, as the activities are very limited. The food is great but this means you must have enough self-control or you will gain weight! (they even tell you that on average you can plan on gaining 1 pound per day). There were not many physical fun activities, and it's mostly old people on the boat (think 70 is the average). On top of this, two out of

four ports of calls were cancelled (Key West and Mexico) due to the rough sea (although we learned that some other cruise line was able to dock in Mexico...). There was some kind of engine problem just before we were told we could not go to Mexico but I don't know if it's related... As a compensation, we were offered a "complimentary glass of champagne" and a 15% credit on our next cruise with Holland America. Ridiculous and outrageous! We felt we were ripped off. No attempt was made to stay longer in Guatemala or to go to some other ports instead. We just spent a lot more time at sea, eating and eating... Great food there as long as you don't go to the "Lido" buffet restaurant. Decent, and well serviced. Not great to say the least. Mostly catered to older people. You have to pay extra for a lot of things (bingo, casino, learning how to make martinis) and the activities which are free are not well organized (Mah-jong where 4 people were already playing but it didn't seem there was someone to accommodate new people). The drinks are extra too (only tap water and ice tea are free). One bingo game was cancelled early in the morning because not enough people showed up. The tennis court is *tiny* and the same as the volley ball court (also tiny). There was broken glass on the court and a condom the day after new year eve, and it took us 3 calls to get the condom removed. The glass was still there. Never used the pools (the indoor one is for children, crowded and loud). The outdoor one is small too, and often not usable due to the weather (either too cold before we get to the Caribbean or closed because the boat had too much roll). The seats in the movie theater are not very comfortable and unless you seat in the front row, someone's head will block your view of the screen. The evening shows are great for the most part. Which excursions??? Two out of four ports of call got cancelled! For Honduras / Guatemala, we had to wake up early (7:30am meeting time) and found the excursions were short, and we were back to the boat by lunch time. There is not much to "visit" where the boat docks... $11 /person /day is added to your bill automatically for the tips

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