Posted 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.