Posted May 31st, 2005, 01:45 AM
Glad you enjoyed the cruise. From a fellow Southern Cal passenger on the same cruise last week, when people ask me about the cruise, I tend to answer that it was "interesting" and that I now know what it is like to be in a Nor'Easter and to sail through one!
I loved the nice Indonesian and Philippino stewards and hosts, particularly Shy, who learned my name from the first day and greeted me each morning in the Lido restaurant. I also loved the Piano Bar and Bill's playing and singing and Dan and Laverne at the bar. The sing-along there was great.
It was fun to hear Captain Van Der Loo's Dutch accent over the loud speakers too. And I enjoyed getting to see one of the local pilots get dropped off, out at sea into a boat that came to pick him up.
And the people I met on the cruise were all wonderful too - lots of nice folks.
My big disappointment, however, was that we didn't get to do the scenic cruising of the fjords, which I have heard was a huge part of this cruise and was the main reason that I chose a cruise instead of just a vacation trip to Montreal. By having the scenic cruising cut out, I felt that we didn't get the cruise that was advertised and that I had so anticipated. It is a very long trip back east to do this, and the expense of the cruise, airfare, pet care, airport transit, etc., not to mention time off work (unpaid in my case) all added up to higher expectations on my part than were met by having only part of the advertised cruise.
I realize that the scenic cruising was eliminated from our trip due to safety reasons with the hurricane force winds, however, I would have felt much better about HAL had they compensated us in some way for dropping this. To me, that would have shown that they understood that many of us travelled a long way for this cruise and that our time and money were valuable. It will be expensive both time and money-wise to repeat this cruise in the future just in order to see what for me was the main attraction of this cruise as advertised, especially since I have other cruises that I also plan to do. All of the stops on this cruise, such as Montreal, Quebec City, etc. can be reached by airplane, but the scenic fjords, with their mountains, waterfalls, etc. can only be seen from a cruise ship. For that reason, I would like to repeat this cruise at some point just to actually do the cruise that we paid for and went on last week, but due to HAL's handling of this, will look for a different cruise line next time. If HAL had offered us any type of compensation or discount for a future cruise, then I would have felt very differently.
I have considered writing a letter to them about that, but my guess is that they will probably just reply in legal-eze. Do you or anyone else know what is standard practice for cruise lines when they cut out a major portion of a cruise due to weather problems, e.g. do they normally or ever compensate their passengers in any way? Even a glass of wine would have been a nice gesture to me, but nothing was offered here. Does anyone know if this is the M.O. for cruise lines these days? In that case, it would appear to me that the advertised cruise iteneraries are just "possibilities" and that the cruise lines can drop any of them without any accountability to their passengers. Maybe I am just learning a lesson about the way that these companies operate. Hopefully some more experienced cruisers can comment on this. Any info or advice would be much appreciated. Otherwise, HAL's advertised cruise iteneraries don't much have credibility with me any longer.
Besides that, everything else was nice, although I would have liked to have seen more activities on the ship. On my last HAL cruise a year ago on the Amsterdam, there seemed to be many more activities and better announcements of them as well.
But the food was great, the service wonderful, the beds comfortable, and everything was clean and well-maintained on the ship.
I'm glad that you had a great time. I did too for what the cruise was, even though I would not have purchased the cruise that we ended up getting for the price that we paid. But the nice stewards on board the ship, and the other great passengers made this cruise as good as it could be.