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View Full Version : Rotterdam--what do we have to look forward to?


clopaw
July 15th, 2004, 11:33 AM
As I posted on another thread, we were scheduled for the Maasdam this Saturday for a 7 day Canada/New England trip in an outside room with portholes. HAL somehow overbooked the cruise, and made us an offer we couldn't refuse. We are now booked on the Rotterdam for a 10 day Panama Canal cruise in December in a balcony room, with a portion of our Maasdam payment refunded to us. We are a little sad not to be sailing next week, but at the same time quite excited about the new booking.

I've read everything on the boards about Maasdam, and not I'm starting over. This is our ninth cruise, but first on HAL. I don't really understand the different classes of HAL ships. I would appreciate any and all information about the ship or the itinerary. :D

doone
July 15th, 2004, 11:36 AM
I did this cruise last March and thought it was spectacular. The Rotterdam is an elegant ship with a fantastic crew. AND you have a balcony room now, that's wonderful. You certainly will enjoy the balcony as you go through the Panama Canal (assuming that's the cruise you are doing?). I think you made out on the deal.

Luvinlife1018
July 15th, 2004, 11:54 AM
They are both great ships. However that being said the Rotterdam is my favorite ship. The art work and the layout are perfect. I love having a 3rd bank of elevators on board so you dont have to walk a long way to get to one. All HAL ships have great staff but the best service i recieved was on the Rotterdam. I went into the Crow's nest twice on my cruise about 8 days apart. I sat down at the bar and didnt recognize the bartender but he asked me if i would like a ginger ale like last time.
You are going to have a great time and you will love the canal. Also get certified for scuba diving as the diving in aruba is the best on earth!!!!!!!!!!!

jhannah
July 15th, 2004, 11:56 AM
Ya' done good, my friend! The Rotterdam is my all-time favorite ship ... so far at least. Doone is right on that it's an elegant ship. Classy without being stuffy. Lovely flowers and fine art throughout. Nice size, too. Not too big to navigate comfortably, but not so small that you feel cramped anywhere. The LaFontaine dining room is georgous. You'll enjoy the ship and the itinerary. And you got a godfather deal you can't refuse! Have a great time.

sail7seas
July 15th, 2004, 12:03 PM
Ditto Jim and Doone...... While Maasdam is "MY" ship :) I have always loved Rotterdam from the moment we first stepped aboard her for her Inaugural New Years cruise.


We also took your cruise this past March on Rotterdam and it was wonderful. She is a magnificent ship IMO

You did well.

We are booked to leave Saturday on your (former) Canada/New England cruise and have not received the phone call. Perhaps they do not want/need "S" cabins.

Krazy Kruizers
July 15th, 2004, 01:46 PM
:)

You will love the Rotterdam. We think she is more elegant than the Maasdam.

You will love the verandahs.

:)

LizB1
July 15th, 2004, 02:32 PM
GREAT ship and great itinerary...you will love both!

clopaw
July 15th, 2004, 02:38 PM
A couple of specific questions:

I am reading reviews about the Pinnacle Grill having an Italian theme on Rotterdam. Is that outdated information?

Is there a Java Bar? Is it free? (Coffee addict here)

Is there really a VCR in the verandah room?

What excursion, if any, would you recommend for the canal?

gizmo
July 15th, 2004, 05:26 PM
The info you read about the Pinnacle is outdated. The Pinnacle on the Rotterdam is the same as all other ships.

Yes there is a Java Cafe and it is still free.

Yes you will have a VCR. There should be a list of available movies in your cabin. You go to the front desk to pick them up.

I did not do any canal excursions ,we stayed on the ship and went back through the canal. On my cruise all the excursions left while the ship was anchored in Gatun Lake. The excursions returned to Colon and pax reboarded there.

The Rotterdam is a beautiful ship, you will love it. A couple of things that are different from the Maasdam is the center set of elevators and the aft pool has a bar.

Suite 16
July 15th, 2004, 06:27 PM
Everything that others said we agreed with on our three previous cruises on the elegant Rotterdam. However, we just got off on July 10, and have already written a report to Carnival and HAL, and a letter requesting that the ship be taken out of service and repaired. Please read the running review of the June 6 - July 10 cruise written by The Happy Wanderer (Ruth C), and she didn't report everything that happened. The poor Rotterdam - so neglected.

Stevesan
July 15th, 2004, 06:39 PM
I think comments about the supplemental dining room were comparing and/or confusing the newer Pinnacle with the original Odyssey restaurant on Rotterdam VI. Odyssey did feature Italian dishes, although not exclusively. Of course, there was no additional charge in Odyssey. Those were the good old days.:)

I haven't looked at a recent deck plan, but I presume Odyssey is now history.

LizB1
July 15th, 2004, 06:40 PM
Suite 16...would like to read a review by you of your recent cruise from Amsterdam/NYC. All ships can have problems at any given time so would like to see your input about the ship.

Esme
July 15th, 2004, 07:12 PM
Suite16 - I also would like to read a review by you of what you say were problems on the Rotterdam. They would have to be very serious for a ship to be taken out of service.

We had no problems and saw no neglect of the ship when we were on her in early May. :confused:

longtimecruiser
July 15th, 2004, 07:17 PM
Suite16, I too have just returned from the Rotterdam cruise on Juky 10th. Their were a few problems but nothing more than having things go wrong with a car. I think that the Happy Wanderer did report the facts accurately. The ship is in good condition. I agree that Hal is too busy getting out new ships and somewhat neglecting their present fleet. They are too cost conscious to have the ships go into much needed dry dock as often as they should. I walked on deck every day and each day for 34 days they were painting partsof the deck and repairing things. In think Hal should cancel a cruise or two with all their ships and have them go into drydock and take care of problems or perhaps prevent future ones. All ships are in and out of port so fast changing passengers that there is no time given for repairs. Hal should not neglect any ship, especially the flagship.

Gsel
July 15th, 2004, 08:12 PM
Ditto for all of the above. We did this trip with Doone last March and it is great. The advantage of having the balcony is you can get up, order your breakfast and watch part of the trip thru the canal in your pj's! We got up about 5am and could see the lights of other ships waiting to enter the locks and were able to hear the birds and other creatures on shore greeting the sun as it came up. The sounds and the smells of the jungle were an added bonus we had not expected. Having the balcony gave us a different perspective. We were so engrossed we didn't ever get up on deck. Others told us we missed the great pastries given out on deck, but our cabin steward brought us some with our coffee, so we missed nothing. Enjoy the canal, it is a great trip and the Rotterdam is the perfect ship.

grannynurse
July 15th, 2004, 11:08 PM
Ruth reported very accurately. The captain was very detailed in his explanations of the problems on board. We first had a stabilizer twist or break, to the extent that they were not able to retract it. Some of us reasoned that it could have become fouled in a fishing net leaving the Norwegian fjords. We felt the ship veer and list to the left and the water drained out of the Lido pool. At dinner we started and stopped several times while listening to some rather loud grinding.
Another time an oil leak was reported from the bridge. Some of us saw a rather large oil scum on the surface while leaving port.
A report of an engine misfunction was reported, satellite repairs were made in Stavanger, Coffee machine repairs necessitated flying in a technician, and a power outage in Torshavn left us without electricity for about 40 minutes. Internet came and went as we crossed certain areas; CNN was out for most of the voyage.
Hey we made lemonade from our minor set of lemon events, we really had a great time.
Communication and large event logistics like running out of ribs at the 4th of July BBQ angered some folks to the extent of their using very graphic language to the crew. We don't like that behavior no matter what the problem is. The crew didn't deserve to be treated in that manner. Rude and crude is not acceptable.
This trip was an adventure that had side events that we didn't pay for; that's part of cruising, especially in the north atlantic.
Grannynurse

Gsel
July 16th, 2004, 09:24 AM
Good for you Grannynurse! Sounds like you take every trip as an adventure and make lemonade out of lemons. Every voyage has its problems some them we can see and others remain invisible. Blaming the crew for mechanical problems and being rude has no place on any trip. Thanks for your frank explanation.

longtimecruiser
July 16th, 2004, 11:40 AM
I totally agree with all that Grannynurse said in her post. I have NEVER seen and heard so many rude and pushy people as were on this 34 day cruise. One woman in particular was pushing all the time to be first off for a tour, first for a tender, first on the bus and so on, She starting making negative comments one day about Hal. She said she didn't like the price of drinks now with the 15% gratutity added. She said "no way will she have a drink in any bar". She then went on to say that she had "smuggled" enough booze in her suitcase to last for 34 days. I* said"Oh, one of those cheap people" She replied"I'm not cheap I have a verandah" I replied" You may have a verandah but it is still cheap and wrong of you to be "smuggling" booze on board. I told her she should order it through ships services and have it delivered to her cabin, She again replied" Not at those prices, honey" Enough said. This was a typical type I met on this cruise.

Suite 16
July 16th, 2004, 05:03 PM
To Esme -
On three previous cruises we never experienced problems on the Rotterdam - it was our favorite ship, and our family's, too.

This cruise was different, but the good news was that the waiters and stewards were as friendly and efficient as they have always been on HAL. The Rosario Strings were back in the Explorer's Lounge after dinner, if not in the dining room, except on Formal Nights. We had enough sun to see some magnificent scenery in all of the ports we were able to visit, and were not disappointed in the tours we arranged privately, or the friendly people we met ashore. Aboard ship, we were fortunate to meet many interesting, fun passengers, so we, too, made lemonade out of lemons.

Many of the problems with the ship have been described by others. We were concerned when the ship stopped hundreds of miles from land between Iceland and Newfoundland, either because of a leak in the engine room, or as the Front Desk told us, so the Engineer could check the propellor. We also met a passenger who had been trapped in the elevator for 20 minutes - she had to shout and bang, because the emergency phone was not working. Elevators were frequently out of service. Our water turned brown in our bathroom, electricity went off, and our vacuum toilet, along with those of many of our acquaintences, worked only sporadically. One tender was newly painted, but others were in need of attention. These problems, along with the problems others related, seem to us to be serious.

In the not what we expected of the Rotterdam category - our chaise lounge mat cover in shreds, rust on the balcony, sheets changed once in 17 days, flowers disappeared after a week, out-dated room directory, terrible selection of TV/VCR movies, Evita movie for showroom entertainment, etc. Others have mentioned the food. Passengers disappointed in their excursions, especially the one where they had no guide, can speak for themselves.

We can't praise the tender crews enough, even when dealing with a boat from shore used for tendering. They kept us all safe in the roughest conditions we have ever experienced tendering.

We were surprised to find one travel agency was allowed to put advertising ornaments on all their passengers' doors. We thought it was tacky, and wondered what the ship would look like if all of our agents were allowed to do that.

We are not concerned so much with minor matters and inconveniences, but we were aboard the Rotterdam in a horrific storm a few years ago, Fort Lauderdale to New York, the last leg of an Around the World. We had to crawl on the steps to get to the Dining Room. We had every confidence in the ship and were not worried. However, with so very many mechanical problems on this trip, we were fortunate indeed to have calm waters. We
feel strongly that the ship should go off line and be overhauled, and have written that to Carnival and HAL.

divinggirl
July 16th, 2004, 05:24 PM
I totally agree with all that Grannynurse said in her post. I have NEVER seen and heard so many rude and pushy people as were on this 34 day cruise. One woman in particular was pushing all the time to be first off for a tour, first for a tender, first on the bus and so on, She starting making negative comments one day about Hal. She said she didn't like the price of drinks now with the 15% gratutity added. She said "no way will she have a drink in any bar". She then went on to say that she had "smuggled" enough booze in her suitcase to last for 34 days. I* said"Oh, one of those cheap people" She replied"I'm not cheap I have a verandah" I replied" You may have a verandah but it is still cheap and wrong of you to be "smuggling" booze on board. I told her she should order it through ships services and have it delivered to her cabin, She again replied" Not at those prices, honey" Enough said. This was a typical type I met on this cruise.
I think that was pretty harsh, although one could argue that she brought it up. Not to offend you, but I think your example sounds a bit elitist. I don't like the drink prices either, but I don't think that fact, or her solution to it, is typical of any particular "type". Plenty of people bring alcohol onboard, and behave perfectly well.

mickey
July 16th, 2004, 06:12 PM
We were on the 34 day Rotterdam trip also. I agree completely with everything that Granny Nurse and Long Time Cruiser had to say. It was a "different" cruise, but we had a marvelous time and met some wonderful people. As far as the ship goes, all the problems mentioned occured. One night as an appeasement the captain ordered champagne for every one in the dining room. We were on the late seating (8:30) and it arrived with the coffee and was room temperature. The food was the lowest grade we have ever had on a HAL cruise. I ordered only a salad and main course at dinner every night. Sometimes the salad was just two leaves of lettuce and some toppings. I jokingly asked that if I came to early dinner one night, would I get the whole salad. Meat Loaf, Pot Pie, Southwestern Canneloni, and alot of other strange entrees. Lobster was only served on Farewell nights (2) as I remember and most of our group sent back food more than once, or simply didn't eat it. We've been ordering souffles on the last night, since a longtime Hal cruiser taught us to do so. Ours arrived totally undercooked. I don't think that I'm being elitist, but the food was of the variety you'd find at an "all you can eat" buffet restaurant. The 4th of July buffet was a fiasco. The Lido couldn't accommadate all the passengers at one seating and there was table grabbing in the pool area. People ate like it was their last meal. They took plates of nothing but ribs, and when they ran out of ribs, some of them became very crass. The same thing happened when we had beer and brats after Hamburg. By the time I got to the front of the line, the brats were all gone. For me the best food was at the sandwich bar and the latte machine, when it was working. The staff is what makes people come back to HAL. The crew in the bars and dining room and room stewards are wonderful!!! The tenders leaked around the windows, even when they were closed. We were on the "odd" tender hired from the port on a return to the ship. The captain of it simply couldn't dock it along side the ship. It took three tries and then they had to pull up along side a regular tender and we had to walk through it to board the ship. Would I do it again? Yes, beacuse we laughed about all the problems and did our own thing. With our new friends, we were a group of 11, and maybe some people found us too boisterous, but we were there to have a good time.

Himself
July 16th, 2004, 08:19 PM
What do you have to look forward to? A wonderful ship with a wonderful crew.

Himself