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mikefang

Back From Amsterdam 12/7-12/22

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Back to the Central Oregon snow shovel after the Hawaii trip. Just some general thoughts on a great cruise.

 

Embarkation San Diego-two HAL ships in port and a real shortage of porters until around 1pm. Seemed to cause a real backlog of luggage which was complicated by some type of malfunction that rendered all the issued room keys inoperative. Rooms had to opened, or reopened by staff with conflicting information on new keys: New keys will be delivered to each room; new keys will be issued at the front desk. In reality the old keys were recoded by the front desk after some long lines. Some type of announcement or non-conflicting information would have helped. HAL shore staff moved us on board with a minimum of delay.

 

We booked an outside guarantee and received a nice upgrade to midships on main deck. 8:00 pm dinner which is on the upper level of the dining room.

 

The crew seemed shorthanded from the cruise staff on down. Rumor had it that a larger number of crew left the ship in San Diego that had been anticipated. Unknown cause or actual circumstances but cruise staff and all crew we encountered did an excellent to outstanding job-IMHO!

 

John Challenger is an outstanding cruise director and his staff was a pleasure to work with. John held a cruisecritic.com get together and DW and myself met Wildfire. Not a well attended get together compared to others he mentioned from other ships. Cruise staff was the best we have seen in our 10+ cruises. Down to earth, pleasant, professional and always available for questions or comments. The Captain's wife was on board and is a class act.

 

A maintenance problem in our room took 3 days to repair but it was addressed and corrected.

 

The SOE upgrades are nice, the Explorations Cafe modifications are outstanding and make that a much nicer area of the ship. Lots of library room.

 

Dance staff very strong.

 

Hawaii was beautiful. Rented a car in Honolulu-prearranged which is best way I think. Picked up and returned to the pier without problem.

 

Biggest downer-continuing concern over the rudeness and condescension shown to crew members by some passengers. Amazes me that so many passengers look down their noses at crew members who speak 2-3 more languages than most Americans. Also noted at least one male passenger who liked to have his hands all over female crew members. OK, call me a prude but I just don't care for that activity and it also bothers me that these folks seem to have to put up with it as a condition of employment. Must say the crew concerned handled themselves very professionally.

 

Debarkation worked well for us. The new color and number method was smooth and timely. Some delay waiting for porters-we were off pretty early and still had to wait some time, don't know how the folks getting off after us had it.

 

Amsterdam is a beautiful ship and is well maintained. For us it was a great trip. Happy New Year! Mike

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Thank you so much for the review. I read it with particular interest since I am boarding the Amsterdam next month for the 30-day Hawaii and South Pacific voyage.

 

I really appreciate having the opportunity to read your thoughts on the ship and your voyage. Makes me even more excited to get underway with my own.

 

Blue skies and happy holidays!

 

--rita

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We were on the same sailing. How did you find out about a CC party? I wasn't aware Hal did those.

 

It was our first Hal cruise and it won't be our last. We loved the Amsterdam.

The crew was A++. Those working in the stores were the friendliest I've ever encountered.

The ship was spotless! I wanted to steal the elevator rugs with the different days of the week. :D

 

I must say that this cruise blew away our Celebrity cruises. The food and service were better than Celebrity. No contest! (Maybe because of the smaller ship, maybe not)

 

Jill

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I am also curious about how the cc party was arranged?!

 

I have checked several times on the roll call board for our cruise and nothing has shown up yet.

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When John Challenger had our CC get together in Oct. on Veendam, it was announced in the daily paper (no hand delivered invitations prior to). Ours was held on the 1st sea day at noon. They served free drinks and hot appetizers in the Crow's Nest. John came and brought the Hotel Manager with him. They had a Q and A session. John gave us name tags to fill out and stick on our shirts. We also went around the room telling who we were. Some of us lingered to chat.

 

It was one of the 1st HAL organized meetings. John said they would see how things went to decide if they would continue them. Guess he is still doing them!:cool:

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Thanks for sharing your thoughts. The way some pax treat the onboard staff is a burr under my saddle! No excuse for the attitudes and actions of some.

 

Have fun shoveling snow!

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Interesting about John Challenger's CC gatherings... I hope that spreads. On the Westerdam a couple of weeks ago, we didn't get nearly so much cooperation. HAL did rope an area off for us, and did furnish two dedicated servers and hot hors d'oevres that seemed to be a bit above the norm, but certainly no free drinks or name tags (and I asked). I was really hoping someone from the Staff/Crew would drop by and at least say hello, but no one did.

 

Of course, the essence was there - we had 19 CCers and it was lovely!

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Our group last year on the Zuiderdam (April 05) had organized a meeting at the Pool Bar for the day of sailing. We had 30-40 members who attended and to our amazement, along came James Deering who was serving as HM for that sailing. He spent lots of time with us and made certain that for the rest of the cruise we were treated like royalty. Each of us was given his business card and he knew many of us by screen name when he arrived! He reads these boards daily so our planned meeting was no surprise to him. He also assisted our "leader" with arranging another get together mid way through the cruise at one of the inside bars; he supplied hors d'oeuvres, etc.

 

Post your meeting details into the forum where individual sailing are discussed and you may be pleasantly surprised - we were!

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I was on the last Cruise that the STATENDAM did to Hawaii. It was a very enjoyable cruise. I had not been to Hawaii since 1984 and had forgotten how much I liked the place. It was a wonderful cruise to a wonderful place with some great ports of call. I hope the AMSTERDAM is as nice as the STATENDAM.

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Thanks for sharing your review of the Amsterdam!! DH and I will be cruising on her twice this year, as she is offering some great itineraries! We look forward to meeting John Challenger again, if he is still on the Amsterdam this fall. :)

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We got off the Amsterdam the day you boarded. I was wondering about your key problem. On our cruise, they had our pictures on our keycards. Were yours made this way, too? We're so glad you had a wonderful cruise on the beautiful Amsterdam. We would have loved to have stayed on board!

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The CC get together was announced in the daily program. It was in the Explorer's lounge at noon. Champagne, orange juice and wine. They were prepared for far more than came. Sorry to have missed you Sillyjilly.

To all going on Amsterdam you will enjoy the ship.

Mike

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Mike, thanks for the information on the Amsterdam. DH and I were floored by the way Mr. Challenger treated all his guests but especially the CC'ers among us. During a 30 day cruise HAL held 2 CC parties where the food and liquor flowed freely. Mr Nick Berger also deserves kudos for this. We did the b2b and they had 1 CC party that was not well attended and to my dismay turned into a bit** party, we were not amused. It was meant for a pleasant get together not a complaint session. I hope anyone attending one in the future keeps this in mind. They are attempting to m ake our cruise better, we could attempt to do the same. :rolleyes: Don't get me wrong not everyone was doing that but enough to make it uncomfortable for the rest of us (IMHO) ;)

We sail on the Amsterdam in 9 days and now are looking forward to it even more eagerly ( if that's possible :p )

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Kakalina-couldn't agree more on the CC get together being for enjoyment. Ours was though John was not receptive to my volunteering to put up the Christmas decorations on the statues in the Queen's lounge showroom! It is a good opportunity to 'meet and greet' and other venues exist to take care of any problems. In one day our telephone died and our DVD player died while the sprinkler head over the bed was dripping. That's not John's problem-IMHO-and I was just glad I was not on the list of things in our room that died! All problems were taken care of through normal channels.

Localady-I don't know if John will be on Amsterdam in the fall, I think they have 6 months tours.

Mike

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It was a pleasure to read your review. Thanks for taking the time to post it!

Our first and only HAL cruise was on the Amsterdam in 2001 through the Panama canal. What a fabulous cruise. The staff was very hospitable.

We are sailing on the Statendam in April and hope that she lives up to our wonderful experience on the Amsterdam!! (I'm sure she will!)

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