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I know that there have been several reviews already posted. However I had a slightly different experience. "We" consisted of myself (42) , mom, dad, sil, niece.
We arrived around 12:30 p.m., and basically walked right on the ship. We handed our luggage to a porter as we exited the cars, and were directed to the entrance. There was virtually no line and within 15 minutes we were at the Lido deck enjoying lunch.
We upgraded to category B verandah cabins (105/107). We had been informed that these were connecting. They weren't. However I obtained an extra key to my SIL's room, to make baby sitting a little easier. The rooms were kept very clean, and our cabin steward did an incredible job keeping up after our untidy group. However, after the first night, he never made my sofa bed back into a sofa for use during the day. Unfortunately, while watching my niece one afternoon in my room. She was sitting on my bed enjoying a chocolate cookie and dropped and stained my sheets with the chocolate cookie. It was then I realized that sheets are not changed for the duration of the cruise, no matter how stained they might be.
When we first arrived we found the room to be uncomfortably warm. We informed the front desk and we were told that they were working on the problem. This did get better during the cruise.
We also found that the bathroom was looking quite worm. Many of the tiles were chipped and dirty, and the tub did not look very inviting. It was not dirty, just chipped and cracked.
We very much enjoyed the lunch options at the Lido deck. There was an impressive salad bar and sandwich bar. The burgers at the grill were also a nice option. The service in the Lido restaurant was also excellent. The waiters especially paid attention to my 7 year old niece. My niece acquired quite a group of oragami animals by the end of the week.
We were assigned the early upper seating (5:45) and had a table for just the five of us at the window at the very back of the dining room. We were assigned a table for 4 and had a fifth chair added to the end. This arrangement made the table a little crowded. Also we found this area of the dining room very warm. When we discussed this with the head waiter, he told us that they were having difficulties with the a/c on the ship. Those on the lower level were quite cold, while those on the upper level were warm.
I am sure that our poor waiter and assistant are very glad we are off the ship. Both my SIL and niece are very picky eaters, and our waiting team did try to accomodate their picky appetites. However, I am convinced that the waiter (who never introduced himself) either did not listen or did not fully understand some of our orders. For instance, on the first evening my SIL ordered a grilled cheese from the children's menu. She received pasta & meatballs. On another evening my mother requested that a sauce that she is allergic to, not be added to one of her entree's. The entree came with the sauce. It took 20 additional minutes to get a replacement. Every evening my niece requested a glass of milk with dinner, it was never at the table waiting for her. One evening we were halfway through the salad before she received her milk. On another evening we found something black at the bottom of the glass. It took 10 minutes to get a fresh glass. I am sure that some of the service suffered due to the many special requests at our table. However, this has happened on other ships/ cruises and the service has never suffered so much.
Also for those that asked, the night of the baked Alaska parade they did not stagger the dining times. Our time was changed to 6 pm for both the upper and lower seatings. I assume the same was done for the late seating.
We had visited the ports before, so we did not book any excursions. While traveling with a 7 year old we have found it is best to take everything as it comes. We enjoyed each of the ports, especially the greeting in St. John. We enjoyed a horse drawn carriage, a train ride and a rick shaw ride.
My niece loved club HAL. She enjoyed many of their activities and the counselors were wonderful. She even won a prize on the last night pajama party.
She loved the pool and she and I spent some time each day in the pool. However I was very turned off on the first day by a comment made by a fellow passenger. My niece and I were in the pool, she was learning to float. We were not rough housing or splashing. Another woman joined us in the pool and commented on how warm the water was. My niece commented how nice and warm it was "just like bath water" and this woman told her good now keep out of the jacuzzi. I felt the comment was completely uncalled for. My niece had no desire to go in the jacuzzi until after this was said and she wanted to know what one was.
Also it seemed that the pool was taken over at least twice, once for the putt putt contest, another by a very rough volleyball game. There really is no other pool for a 7 year old.
Since it has been discussed, we left all the auto tips in place and tipped extra in cash at the end. Although we did not feel it was the best service, we recognized how hard they worked during the cruise. The "extra" may not have been as much as usual, but we still wanted to tell them that we appreciated their effort.
Overall we really enjoyed the cruise, it was certainly not the "best" cruise we have ever been on. We chose the cruise for the time, and ports. We would not hesitate to cruise on the Maasdam again, if it were the right route and price.
Linda - I appreciate you taking the time to post a review. I cruised on the Maasdam last month, and had a wonderful time, but like you, did not find the service as wonderful as some have. Yes, it was adequate, but not exceptional. That is one thing that is talked up on the board alot, but was not my experience. Also, it is mentioned alot how friendly the crew is, that also was not my experience. There were a few that went out of their way to be friendly, but overall, it is not how I would describe the crew. I DO understand that, as they are overworked, and most likely sleep deprived. I don't want anyone to get the wrong impression...I love HAL... I enjoyed HAL so much I came home and booked another for next month. We'll see what next month on the Veendam brings.
Thank you for your review. Enjoyed reading it and comparing it with others who were on the same cruise as you.
The sheets were not changed for the entire week? We have done many back-to-back cruises on HAL and in the past our sheets were changed at least once during the week. I hope this not going to become another new HAL policy.
When we were on the Maasdam in May when these new dining times were introduced, we also had the 5:45 dining time. But the dinner times were not changed on the night of Baked Alaska. We made a note to ourselves that the people on the lower level got to enjoy the parade more than we did because our waiters came out of the kitchen on the lower level and paraded around the lower level before they came up the stairs to their tables. There wasn't much of a parade on the upper level. Maybe having the one time for everyone and getting to see all the waitstaff parade at once is better - like the good old days.
The change of dining times to accomodate the parade must be very new; our dining times in mid-June remained staggered. Actually most of upper level didn't even stay for the parade our week. I can't remember what happened that serving the entree downstairs was so delayed, but they wanted to get it served before the parade and we on upper level had finished our dinner and waited so long that most everybody got up and left before the parade. It may have been right after our week that they changed and did away with staggered times on Parade night. Makes sense.
Thank you for taking the time to read my rambling report. We all very much enjoyed our cruise. It is hard not to enjoy a cruise. My little niece especially enjoyed the Baked Alaska parade. I was glad that the dining times were combined. She is not the type to sit after a long dining experience, and very often we were the first out the door. I do not think she would have lasted if we had to wait too long for the parade to start.
I wouldn't have realized about the sheets not being changed, but for the fact of the stain. In every other way our room was spotless, and with a 7 year olds "stuff" between two rooms, that could not have been easy.
Hi Lindacat, my son and I were seated for dinner right near you at a two top. Your father seemed to be really enjoying the company of his family. You were very lucky to be with your family, I was a bit lonely at times with all the big family groups on board. The first night the dining room staff were very unorganized and brought me the wrong dinner. After that I pointed at my dinner selections and that worked well. After the first night the service improved, they must have been a new team. I think the supervisor, Komang, intimidated the others in their group. Eric, the wine steward was quite nice and always remembered what to bring after the first night. The six top table behind you always kept him hopping with changing their bottles of wine, which were changed with a smile. I thought the food was okay, a little bland and overcooked but good. It was chintzy having a half of a half of a king crab leg for an appetizer on one night also half of a small lobster tail with a petite filet for an entree. The beef was quite good and the fish selection was very impressive. I enjoyed the desserts, especially the pana cotta and the Amsterdam chocolate tulip. My son didn't care much for the items on the kids menu except for the cheese pizza, which he really enjoyed. Many nights he tried parts of my dinner. He enjoyed the mussels and scallops but not the escargot. He was dismayed when he ordered the "Kraft" Macaroni and Cheese and got pasta with no cheese, I think he got your niece's order instead of his with cheese.
The dessert extravaganza up on the Lido one night was worth staying up for. It was fun and the chocolates were quite good. The Lido had a good variety of things for breakfast and lunch. We loved the fresh squeezed orange juice at breakfast.
I almost got my fill of lobster in Oak Bluffs and Bar Harbor.
We enjoyed the ports, especially Portland and Bar Harbor. Too much to do, not enough time to see it all. It was so nice to not be in 90 degree weather and the sun baking you like here in Florida, I couldn't believe so many people were complaining about the cold. I liked being cold and having to wear sweat pants and put a blanket on to lay outside in the teak lower promenade chairs. The fog just made it surreal, especially when it lifted in the afternoon for a glimpse of the sun. We only saw a sunset one night, the rest of the time the fog was like a rainy mist and wild out on deck at night. We had one night of very rough seas coming from Oak Bluffs, we had to leave dinner that night and go back to our cabin and wait out the 20' swells which stopped around 10 pm after we changed course. It really made you appreciate what your ancestors must have went through to get to America.
My son enjoyed Club Hal, he didn't want to leave when it was over for the night. He also enjoyed the ping pong and sports games up on deck 12.
We enjoyed the pool, jacuzzi and the ocean spa for me. I had a detox body wrap and a great massage. We enjoyed the bingo in the late afternoons, there wasn't much else to do then but lay by the pool or gamble. We were invited to a Captain's reception one afternoon, but that was my spa time.
As far as the room steward, ours, Sardono?, was always smiling and around. If we needed anything like more ice or towels, we just left him a note in the morning or afternoon and it was honored. If I were you, I would have taken the sheets off the bed and left him a note saying to put new ones on. Ours were changed once at least during the cruise. Our towels had the ship on them and were quite nice and fluffy and changed out twice a day, more than necessary. I didn't care for the small tub shower so I frequented the spa showers which were awesome.
I can't wait until the next cruise. I haven't decided where to go or which cruiseline, HAL or Princess which were both great.
Thanks for your review. I enjoyed comparing our experience to yours. Of course, we all know that ten people on the same ship for the same cruise will all experience it differently. I'm sorry you did not enjoy the same friendly, gracious, efficient service that we did.
Did you ask your cabin steward to close the bed during the day so you could use the couch? I would be surprised to hear he would not grant that request.
Did you mention to him you wanted the sheets changed? Perhaps you should not have to ask, but it is better to request what you want than to suffer in silence and then complain when it is too late to do anything about it. I surely would have made my desires known while aboard when they could be addressed.
I do agree that there is some wear and tear evident in some of the bathrooms. Like a hotel, those rooms get heavy duty use and gen years of service can start to show on things like plumbing fixutres. We have had bathrooms in perfect condition and then we have had some that had chips or scratches. So long as I am confident it is very clean, I don't let a scratch disturb me too much.
Welcome back.....we so very enjoyed that cruise and are eager to repeat it.
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Thank you for sharing your comments also. It is always fun to hear what others on the same ship at the same time think of the cruise.
We are New Englanders and would not have minded too much if we had more sun during the cruise. It was fine the way it was and we were able to do everything we wanted, but we are sun lovers and our summer has not been the hottest/sunniest and we would have liked more sun.
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I agree that one should not have to ask to have the sheets changed. If a major stain gets on the bed, the sheets should be changed. More than once on our 15 day cruise to Hawaii our sheets were changed. They were changed once, without our asking, after the first week of the cruise. After that, we had a spill (Christopher tipped over a cup of coffee on his bed while nodding off to sleep mid-morning). To make sure it was done, we left a note on the bed asking for the sheets to be changed. When we were returned from lunch, they had been changed.
Booked Future Cruises: Volendam - 14-Day China & Japan - April 13, 2015
I also appreciated having both reviews. They gave us a differing perspective reflecting different settings, circles, and experiences. In many respects, it gives one a way of putting oneself into their shoes ... or into a pair of shoes somewhere between them.
Thanks for BOTH reviews.
Booked Future Cruises: Volendam - 14-Day China & Japan - April 13, 2015
I remember you and your son very well from the cruise. I was actually relieved that there were other tables with kids at them near ours. We had requested a small table so as to not inflict my niece on poor unsuspecting strangers. However when we saw how many were traveling with children the same age, we realized that we should have requested a larger table. As you probably noticed on the last night my niece brought a "care" package from shore for dinner, and ate two boxes of cereal. I thing that the waiter was actually relieved that all she needed was some milk.
We ended up having breakfast one morning with four of the ladies from the table of six behind us. There were three sisters traveling with their mother and the other couple were their cousins. We did hear them keeping Eric busy with their wine orders. I had forgotten to mention Eric. He was definately fantastic, he even kept track of whose turn it was to pay at our table, as we played merry go round with the bill. It was actually Eric who came to our rescue one night when the glass of milk never arrived.
As far as the bed/couch. He did return it to the couch on Sunday, but after that first night left it made as a bed. We did no request that it be changed each day because to be honest it made no difference in our usage of the room. We were rarely in the room, and when we did we were usually enjoying the balcony.
As we are non sun people, I rather enjoyed the fog and the coolness of the cruise. It was a pleasant alternative to some of the warm Carribbean cruises we have taken in the past.
As far as the sheets being changed. I am sure that the steward probably did not see the stain. After it happened I used the top sheet to cover the area and slept on top of the sheet. I just assumed that the sheets were changed as a matter of course. When I noticed that they hadn't been, I again just used the top sheet to cover the area. I kept assuming that they would be eventually changed.
I'm happy to hear that the things the steward failed to do were not important enough they would interefere seriously with your enjoyment. It would be a pity for something to be disturbing you and to remain silent about it. How can the steward know someone wants the bed folded up each day if they do no say so?
I also enjoyed the fog.....In the "comments" I posted here about our cruise, I mentioned I found it a bit intriguing and even mystical. The temps were reasonably warm and by noon each day, it got quite warm and sometimes humid. DH got to sit at the pool as he enjoys but would have liked to get even more sun.
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Thanks for posting your reviews. We had a very great experience on the Maasdam in April - but much of crew left when we did - at the airport, we spoke with a large group heading back to the Phillipines. It sounds like the Maasdam may be a bit understaffed, which is unfortunate.
We have never had the cabin steward fail to make up the sofa bed during the day and lay it out properly each evening... I think this is something that should be done automatically, after all I would consider it making the bed. I know our cabin steward was new, it was his first contract on a cruise line and he spoke very limited English - some of the things we were used to did not get done automatically, however he did make up the sofa and 4th person upper berth each day. He had many cabins to attend to - and sometimes did not get to ours til mid-afternoon, which really wasn't a problem for us.
The issue with the sheets is bothersome - my son often eats on his sofa bed and will invariably spill something - and we have noticed new, clean sheets, as it should be. I hope this is not a new trend with HAL.
This issure of poor service, sheets not being changed, long wait for special orders etc. is really a topic not worth mentioning. Just because you had poor service does not mean we will have bad service when we go. I think this is evident of all who has chimed in that there service was great. You can't choose who is going to be your server or steward the week you go. He may be a good on or a bad one. It's that simple. Why worry about it? Those who have gone on NCL and Princesss know how one night you get a great guy and the next night you get a no so great guy. However on NCL and Princess if you find one you like you can request and sometimes have to wait to get that same guy every night. I would assume on HAL if you got one you absoultely hated the martide would move you. But face it you never know who or how it's going to go your week. We've learn to accept the bad with the good and not let it spoil our whole week.
In my mention of the service not being exceptional, but adequate, I did so because on this board the impression is sometimes given that ALL HAL service is exceptional...I did not find that the case. Did I have a wonderful cruise, ABSOLUTELY...will I cruise HAL again...ABSOLUTELY...I came home and booked another cruise for next month, because I enjoyed HAL so much last month.....MY EXPERIENCE was that my service was no better than I received on Carnival or RCI....I know some don't like to hear that, but that was my experience...perhaps the Veendam next month will hold the exceptional service so talked about here.
Last edited by FlorenceItaly; July 28th, 2004 at 01:42 PM.
You were absolutely right to mention your opinion of the service you received. Hal has always been known for exceptional service and it has been mentioned many times on this board.
Many of us, myself included, like to hear exactly what a person thinks of their cruise both good and bad. I thought we were all intelligent enough to understand that if one person had exceptional service and another did not, does not make one person right and one person wrong.
Again, thanks for taking the time to write a fair and balanced review. I enjoyed reading it.