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Panama Canal/ Rotterdam 2/4 - 14 Part Review


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Embarkation at FLL went smoothly as always. We reported to the Neptune Lounge and were directed immediately to our room. Must say that after that we found the consierge to be totally useless, very pleasant, but useless. Tried to use her for table reassignments to no avail, booking transpertation in various ports to no avail, etc. Not really sure what the whole point is, except for MORE foood always being available and not necessarily needed.


Aruba was fine, but because we arrived the day after carnaval most of the shops were closed and ttherefore we should have booked an excursion. Curacao, one of my favorites, was cloudy, but fun. We always enjoy walking around, taking pictures etc. Panama Canal was rainy, but fun. We did the train trip across the Panama and found it informative and interesting and fine for my eighty year old parents. Costa Rica was pouring but fun, we did the canal tour there and saw sloths, monkeies, crocodiles and birds.


Now for a few negatives . The food quality seems to have gone down. With the exceptions of a few very fine meals I would have to say were not overly impressed. The wait staff worked very hard, but seemed to be overloaded with tables and rushed most of the time. The staff did tell us that the four dining times does relieve some of the conjestion in the kitchen, but my husband and I found the dining rooms more noisy as the 8:30 group trouped into the lower diningroom while we were eatting above. We had a table for two along the rail. Breakfast and lunch in the main diningroom seemed rushed and the staff seemed indifferent.


I will try and write more later, but if any of yu have questions, please feel free to ask and I will try and answer.

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Thanks for reporting back after your cruise. :)

Sorry to hear that the service in the Neptune and the Dining Room was disappointing. Staffing problems in the dining room seems to be a recurrent theme, hope someone in Seattle is reading!!:cool:

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True!!!! Hope someone is listening. One meal we had three different waiters. One for ordering, one for delivering main course and a different one to take dessert order. It was almost comical!

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We were on the Feb 14th -23 cruise...Had a wonderful time....We were also in a suite and did see that the carpet was pulling apart at the seams and the balcony furniture was in bad shape...The ship needs to have a dry dock soon. We thought the food was very good and had super waiters and service. Maybe because we were seated by the Captain and Hotel Manager each night. Had a table for two on the balcony by the railing and it was special. Enjoyed all the ports but didn't take any shore excursions. Costa Rica had lovely wooden bowls and things. Brought home a beautiful Rosewood salad bowl for a cheap price.


Our cabin steward was just a doll. So nice .... We rented the green cabana at Half Moon Cay and that was a treat. Our Cabana boy was from the ship and was so kind..Everytime we saw him on the ship he had a smile and a hand shake. It was a great cruise and we booked another for next year while on the ship....Burnsey

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We also sailed on the Feb 4-14 Rotterdam/Panama Canal Cruise. Toad, one thing you can say is our weather was not travel brochure material. At least our days at sea were sunny. This was our 10th HAL cruise, 12th overall. HAL should be embarrassed about the condition of the "Flagship". I have never seen so much rust. The varnish on the rail of our veranda was peeling and lots of paint splatter. We had early/lower dining. No waiter but two assistant waiters who did an excellant job. I don't think the quality of food was down but some of my favorites never appeared on the menu. My biggest complaint was the entertainment. I know I'll get blasted by the HAL fan club but the entertainment just plain sucked. Let's just a flutist and leave it at that. My wife says except for Mike the comedian on the last night. We did take advantage of the Future Cruise Consultant (I checked and the price is already $200 higher than what we booked at). Back to our favorite Volendam for the 4th time.

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Both my husband and agree with you about the entertainment. I just did not want to come off as entirely negative, but it certainly was worse than any we have experienced before. Dittos on the paint and varnish situation. athe weather did suck,but I do feel that is one thing that is probably out of HAL's control!!!!

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