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Rotterdam-What A Lovely Ship!!! (Mini-Trip Report)


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I'm a little late writing this but wanted to thank everyone on CC for their help in planning my trip on the 9/24/05 sailing of the Rotterdam from Venice. What a ship!!! It was absolutely beautiful. Very elegant and classy just as everyone said. I just wanted to share a few details of the trip that might be helpful.


Arrival, Venice Hotel and Embarkation


First, it is very easy to simply take the ATVO bus from the airport to Piazza Roma and then catch the vaperetto to your hotel. The ATVO bus costs only 3 Euros. There is another "orange" bus that costs 1 E I believe. The vaperetto ride to our hotel cost 5E. We stayed at a hotel in the San Marco area called La Locanderia. Great location and no steps to drag our luggage over. It was about 4 or 5 blocks from the vaperetto stop. If I had to do it all over again, I would have probably checked my bags at the bus station in Piazza Roma for 3 Euro a bag and just packed an over-night bag to take to the hotel instead of lugging my luggage around. The luggage is kept in a huge room where there is an attendant watching over them. For those who have booked the Santa Chiara hotel, it is in a great location in Piazza Roma and the dock is just down the road.


We took the vaperetto back to Piazza Roma and took a taxi that cost approx 8 E's to the dock the day of embarkation. We did not see any of the free shuttle buses that I have seen mentioned. No problem because taxis are plentiful. It took about 5 minutes from Piazza Roma to get to the ship. Embarkation was easy...we arrived around 3:00pm to our room. HAL had a buffet lunch waiting. One of the most beautiful sites that I have ever seen was the ship sailing through the canal giving us a birds-eye view of Venice. It was AMAZING. Bring your cameras up to the sail-away party.




We loved our room. I had only ever been on a Carnival cruise and the room was much bigger. We had a double ocean-view room. They had a ridiculous amount of closet space and a tub. There was also the flat screen TV and DVD player. You can rent out DVD's from the ship for a fee at the Exploration Cafe. We were very happy that our TA had suggested that we book on the Main Deck and not the Promenade deck which we could have for the same price. If you do book the Promenade Deck, just know that people will be walking outside of your room window. I suspect that this is a relatively minor issue but just wanted you to be aware. Our steward was amazing.


General Impressions of the Ship


My favorite places on the ship were hands down Exploration Cafe and Crow's Nest. Both were amazing places. Both have these lounge chairs with foot stools where you can just sit and watch the ocean. Some of my favorite times were spent in Crow's Nest during the day and early evening when it was relatively empty just lounging on one of those chairs staring out at the ocean and reading.


We had the late seating at 8:30...probably would have chosen the 8:00pm sitting if we had to do it all over again. Many times dinner lasped over into the shows which for me didn't matter much as I am not a show person, but might for some. Then again, my table talked a lot and were often one of the last tables to leave. The service was wonderful. They seemed to remember each of our likes and dislikes after just one day and always had what we needed and wanted at the ready.


I will contiune in the next post.

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General Impressions Continued


I was amazed at the many lounges this ship had considering the small amount of people. It was very initmate and it seemed as though we always ran into people we knew.


There was a coin-operated laundry room on most floors that takes US quarters. $2.00 per wash and $1.00 for the dryer. You do not need soap as they have a tube that feeds soap into the washers. The laundry room ws the source of MUCH drama!!! LOL It got ugly at times. It could be packed on many days. they also had two irons and ironing boards in these rooms.




Bring American currency!!!! Somehow I missed this tip before we left. We like to gamble almost nightly and were caught with little or no US currency. Every expense on the ship is in US currency. You either have to take it from your credit card for I think a 3% fee the ship charges, or convert your Euros on the ship. Thankfully, I kept winning for a lot of days so only had to get money once. My friend was not so lucky. The other good thing is that they did not take it as a cash advance from your credit card which is very expensive, but as a regular charge.


I'm proud to say that the Blackjack tournemant was so successful that they held another one!!! A first I think. My tablemate won $500 at the second one. They also held two tournemants.


Pinnacle Grill


We went here the 3rd night with mixed impressions. It is very elegant and the service very nice which makes it worth the trip. We had the filiet mignon and rib-eye steak which were great!!! The side dishes were not so good and we were very disappointed in the desserts. However..for $20 a person...it's more than worth it. Also try ot for lunch at $10 a person. We booked before we left home.


Spa and Gym


The spa and gym were both very nice. I had the "hot rock" massage therapy which was very nice. They give a "slight" discount if you get treatments while in port. They also ran specials at night. Each day they seemed to have a special.


The gym never seemed very crowded and had a good variety of equipment.




The internet was a ridiculous .75 cents a minute!!! There were packages that were cheaper. I just waited until I was in port for teh most part and paid 2Euros an hour intwo ports. They have specials on the last two days.




For me, I would say that I am not a tour person. I knew that this was a port intensive cruise so I was prepared and did not book many of the tours towards the end. We had booked our tours before we left. Definitely book any tour that you just can't miss out on now. Some were sold out. Some were also cancelled.


I would also caution about booking too many all day tours. They are very tiring. I met so many people who regretted doing so and wanted to cancel many toward the end of the cruise. I was tortured on the one all day tour I took in Tuscany. They basically use 2 to 3 hours to eat. I will say that many who took the all day tours in Rome just could not stop talking about the meal they had that day...they said it was amazing.


I would also say that you should just do Rome and Florence on your own if your intention is to simply go into town if you can. I went to Rome on my own based upon instructions found here and it cost 9E RT on the train and 3 E for an all day train pass once in Rome.


I also feel that many of these tours have too many steps and walking for those that are older and have health issues. I felt so bad for many. Watch out for Eze if you can't walk and the Taromina/Greco-Roman theatre tour. Taromina was much easier than Eze however.


My favorite port besides Venice was Croatia. I was shocked. Stunned really as I did not want to go initially. What a beautiful town. I did not book a tour on this date and simply took the tender into the Old Town and walked arounf myself and walked the city walls which were amazing. It cost 4.50 E to walk the walls. They also had amazing shopping deals.


We did not dock where we thought in Monaco and it was a little bit of a hike to get to the Casino which we did after our tour. We walked part of the way and took a bus the other part. We took a 13E taxi back to the ship. BTW, we had come back and changed into dress clothes. We were shocked to find that people were in the Grand Casino in casual clothes and even sneakers!!! It was a thursday night. We paid the 10E entrance fee which they essentially gave back to us in 10 Euros in chips.


Sardinia was a waste of time. I think everyone pretty much agreed. Many complained about the so-called Flamingo tour with folk-dancing. They simply passed by on the bus what looked like two "grey" flamingos that were so far off in the distance that you could barely see them. The port was also less than spectacular.


OMG...I wrote more than I thought and must go to work!!! If I think of anything else I will write later. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask.


I would take HAL anytime at all. My only hesitation would be that at 38 years old, many of the passengers were much older than we were. My friend is 48 and she felt like a young-in!!! However, it was such a great ship that I do not know if I could cruise with anyone else!!! Thanks again CC.

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Welcome back from your wonderful cruise on the Rotterdam, she is a classy ship for sure. I enjoyed reading your review.


I agree with your TA, I love the Main Deck and always book that area of the ship. Its a nice, quiet area of the ship, I find.


I have found that the longer and more expensive and exotic an itinerary is the older the guests onboard will be and I find this to be true of any cruise line, not only HAL. If you did a 7-day cruise on HAL to the caribbean for instance, you may find some younger folks onboard, I know we did on the Zuiderdam last March. But my longer cruises, 10-days or more, I do find the guests onboard to be a little older than myself, but have always found everyone to be incredibly friendly. Hope you found this as well on your wonderful cruise.

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Thank you for your thoughtful post. I have seen "incidents" in the laundry of a different ship so I know what you mean! It truly can get ugly, especially after some people had been standing in the hall for almost an hour waiting for a steward to unlock the laundry room.


The Rotterdam is a classy ship, isn't she? Glad you enjoyed her as much as we did.

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The laundry room ws the source of MUCH drama!!! LOL It got ugly at times.

Please do tell! Not only because I love a good gossipy story, but because bad behavior has been given as a reason self-service laundries do not exist on the Vista-class ships.

Thank you so much for your report; I agree that the Rotterdam is deservedly HAL's flagship. I've spent many a happy day, and night, on her. And would again anytime.

Speaking of happy nights on the Rotterdam---would you please comment on who the lounge entertainers were, and how well you enjoyed them.

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Thanks for you great review. I enjoyed reading it.


Rotterdam truly is a very beatiful ship, isn't she? We have enjoyed a great many days/nights aboard her and would sail her again anytime!!!


Welcome Back.

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Thank you so much for the review - I'm getting excited.


We are on the Main deck in less than two weeks. Our room is quite close to the laundry room so should I bring extra baffling for our door?:D


I think we will quite easily go on a 10 day cruise without doing a laundry. What is there to get ugly about? Or was it people not moving their laundry in and out expeditiously?



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I think we will quite easily go on a 10 day cruise without doing a laundry. What is there to get ugly about? Or was it people not moving their laundry in and out expeditiously?

Easy for ugliness to set in. One person is next in line, but leaves for a few minutes because the washers/dryers are still in use. While they are gone, the person using them finishes up. Someone else walks in out of the clear blue ... sees a washer free and fills it up and starts up their load. Original person who was waiting walks back in ... and wala ... major fight. "I was next! Get your sh*t out of there right now!" Oh, yeah ... I can well see much ugliness erupting.


My feeling is if you want to leave, leave someone there in your place ... someone who can start loading up that washer that you're next up to use ... as soon as it becomes available. But, if you leave ... and there's no one there in your place ... hey, you can't blame someone else who just happened to walk in at the right time ... from grabbing that free washer. That's life. You move, you lose. But, unfortunately, many people don't see it that way and hence, the ugliness.


Blue skies ...



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Thank you for your thoughtful post. I have seen "incidents" in the laundry of a different ship so I know what you mean! It truly can get ugly, especially after some people had been standing in the hall for almost an hour waiting for a steward to unlock the laundry room.

Question. Why on earth would a steward have to open the laundry room? Why wouldn't it always be open? Would seem to me that one should be able to do a quick load of laundry at almost any time of the night or day ... or am I missing something?


Blue skies ...



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Question. Why on earth would a steward have to open the laundry room? Why wouldn't it always be open?
Good question. I have no idea. This was on a Princess ship. There were entrances into the self-service laundry from both port and starboard hallways. Guess what the mood was of the folks on the starboard side when the port side door was unlocked first? Yep! :mad: POed to the max. And the deal about "that was MY washer" I have personally witnessed. :rolleyes:


The full laundry bag special is a great way to go!

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Especially interested in your impression of the hotel. We're booked in there within a week or so and scheduled to sail on October 24. Thanks so much for your information regarding the Rotterdam. I'm a Princess cruiser, and this will be our first cruise with HAL. Nice to be reassured that we've made a wise decision. We've scheduled private guides for Rome and Florence. Only using the ship's tours for Marseilles. Will be sure to take comfortable walking shoes for Eze.

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First of all, thank you all for your well wishes.


RuthC and Jan-as for what the fights in the laundry room were about, it was much like Rita stated. Much of the comedy and drama centered around the dryers. People questioning why others needed the "full" 45 minutes to dry their clothes. People placing garments on "high" when people had them on a low and delicate cycle when the left the laundry room. Crazy stuff. The line was out the door at times. I did my laundry from 11:00pm to 1:00 am one night and there were 4 people in the laundry room. I really had to do my laundry as I was off to Paris for nearly a week after the cruise so it could not be avoided.


Rita, as for the lounge entertainers, they all seemed pretty good. Many people liked the entertainer in the Ambassador Lounge. They did a few Musical murder trivia games and sing-a-longs in that Lounge. I also like the group "Belinda" that perfomed later at night at Crow's nest. They played the most up-to-date music. I think that they will only be around for one more cruise or so. They had a Tina Turner night and a 70's night. Truthfully, I was in the casino most nights ;) However, anytime I passed the lounges, the music was very good.


TheHen- We really loved La Loconderia. It is central to all. Central to St. Mark's Sq. as well as the Rialto area. At first it looks a bit secluded as it is located in a Piazza that is not busy at all except for tour groups that come along during the day to look at a statute that is in the center of it. We never figured out the meaning of that statute. Anyway, the hotel is lone block off of a main strip with cafes and stores. The hotel is lovely, our room was a nice size for the price category and was remodeled. It was very nice. It was frankly more than I expected.


If you take the 82 or the 1 vaperetto, the first street you turn down is a very slight left as you exit the vaperetto..very slight. There is another vaperetto that is a much shorter trip than these two as it goes in the opposite other direction but I forgot which one. Look at your map for the vaperettos that stop at San Zaccaria.


Doone- I think you make a great point as to why the age group was high. It did not matter as two of our table-mates were in their 70's and we loved, loved, loved them!!! I do plan to look into a HAL Caribbean cruise though. I don't think I could ever take another cruise line!!!


Did I tell you I loved this ship :)

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thanks for your post, classic. I am on the rotterdam right now. Regarding travel from the airport to hotel, we did what you did, but only because delta "lost" half our luggage. With typical cruise luggage, bus 5 and water bus #1 is unwieldy. For the well heeled, ask your hotel to meet you at the airport. as far as laundromat on the rotterdam, my wife stuck her head in there and decided the $20 all-you-can-stuff in the bag deal was better. We've done that twice. ... Regarding dress, I estimate about 20% tux on formal nights, the rest mostly suits for men. I have a tux with vest and took off the jacket for the evening of blackjack. Jim

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Our statement room 3365 on the Rotterdam was on the Lower Promenade deck, next to the exit and we loved it. Especially because we could just walk out of our stateroom and take a walk.


My husband does not want to feel "locked up" and the lower promenade made him feel save. And the people taking a stroll on deck: no problem, they can't see you (except in the evening, then you have to close the curtains unless you want to give a free show :o ).

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My DH and I will be sailing on the Rotterdam in a week. (A WEEK! OHMYGOODNESS! :eek: ) This is our first cruise, and every little detail I hear makes me feel SO good that we booked the Rotterdam.


You also made me feel very good about our decision to get the laundry service on board. What you describe sounds a bit like my college dorm....long lines, dirty looks, wet clothes on the floor, arguments over the machines...the ship may not have been quite that intense, but I have been in those arguments, had my dryer turned up, and have the shrunken t-shirts to prove it, and would rather NOT relive that portion of my youth again!


I'm so glad you had such a lovely time on your cruise. I have enjoyed your posts, and would love to hear more when you have a chance!


Take care,


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