We are experienced cruisers and were somewhat wary when we booked the Rotterdam for 12 New England Cruise because of comments we had heard regarding average age of passengers (70's versus we being 40's) and recent cut backs by Holland America to bring things more into line with "Carnival Corps" way of doing things. However, we had nothing to worry about, yes it was an older crowd but there were enough other age groups (excepting Kids - yeah)with whom we could inter-mingle (Please I am not anti 70 year olds - I just like a variety and we got it). We have been on 49 ships and the Rotterdam rates as our favorite ship and overall this cruise ranks number 3.
The difference was the service and friendliness of the staff - we never hit a sour note - excellent, excellent, excellent. The food was above average and the Lido by far was the best on any ship in recent experience. Cruising the Rotterdam reminded me of cruising before the advent of the mega ships. We loved the itineray, although they could drop Sydney Nova Scotia and nobody would notice. The decor of the ship made it feel very clubby and the Cruise Staff - Rick, Codey, James, Jennifer, and Nick were the best we have ever had the pleasure of meeting. The cruise was a nice change from the standard program. Kudos to HAL for doing such a great job - we will sail again.... soon