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.
Sorry I rambled