Jump to content
Cruise Critic Community
sierramyst44

Rotterdam Review 3/3 - 3/10

Recommended Posts

We chose this cruise and ship based on pricing and ease of getting to the port as it was a short 90 minute drive for us. We parked at Parkway through groupon which was a easy location to find and the crew working the parking was very efficient. We got dropped off in the "luggage zone" around 11:45 and made our way into the check in area. We were pleasantly surprised that the lines were practically non existent and passed through quickly arriving at the check in counter and on our way to board the ship in under 15 minutes.

 

First impression was as expected, we knew the Rotterdam was an older and small ship and had done research ahead of time. You board on the 4th deck so you do not walk right into the grand atrium which is on deck 5 so basically you walk on and offered a champagne glass and directed to the Lido for lunch or since our room was ready we could go and drop off our carry on and head to lunch. Big surprise as typically we usually waited until 1:30 for room access. First impression was great! We ate our first lunch and was not disappointed the buffet has numerous stations and numerous options. Most of the main stations you are served by a crew member with stations like fruits, dessert and pre made sandwiches as help yourself. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We had a Vista Suite which is a fancy name for a balcony cabin although it was nice to have a jetted tub and a sofa for watching tv the cabin still felt tight with a narrow entry hall appointed with plenty of closet space and shelves for storage then the bed area which was also tight to walk in front of the bed. To put the space in perspective you could fit a large suitcase sideways in front so you had to roll bags not pull. Our room steward was awesome and attentive to our initial request and kept us neat and tidy the entire week. The area in front of the balcony had the traditional desk area with 9 storage drawers and a very small screen tv that swiveled slightly so you could watch from bed. They did have several news stations, Holland sponsored stations and played first run movies daily. It took me 3 days to watch the Avengers in full and 2 days to see Bohemian Rhapsody. Darn those afternoon naps! Their was also a full size sofa which was a nice feature as it felt more like home. Two large beach towels were on the bed for our use for the week as well as 2 robes, a pair of binoculars, umbrella, and 2 lap blankets. The bathroom came with Elemis products with Shower Gel, Shampoo and Conditioner mounted on the wall in the shower and lotion, soap and shower cap on the vanity. Plenty of room to dry off and dress. The bath area was much larger than other lines we have been on so it was a nice surprise. Pillows and linens felt of good quality and although its advertised that you can choose your pillow I believe we had one of each, hard, medium and soft. The balcony had 2 chairs an ottoman, and small round table we had the coffee table that was in front of the couch outside to give us more space inside. So far so good A PLUS for the cabin and embarkation process.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We will be on the Rotterdam for the Panama Canal next January and will become 4 star mariners during the cruise. We have never been met with a glass of bubbly when we boarded...and we have done vista suites as well as Neptunes. When exactly did they offer you this glass of bubbly????


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Sierramist 44...We are also from east Florida and just off the Rotterdam 2-24 to 3-3.  We also had a "vista suite".   Interested to see if our impressions of the ship and cruise are similar.  Stephen and Holly.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We chose anytime dining but it was still recommended to make a reservation. We found this a bit confusing nor make sense but we did as asked however when we would call and ask for the same table it always seemed to be "not available" We made our reservation for the same time each night 5:15 and would be in line at 5:10 so if you made a reservation and requested a certain table and maybe their was at most 30 people in line why would the requested table be gone? We have done anytime dining in the past and never did it require a reservation. Presentation of the food was superb and taste was good. I found the menu selections to not be to my taste as it was a bit fancy for simple me. Dessert was much better than other lines but it repeated several times during the week. Dining room gets a B PLUS although our server was excellent.

 

Other Dining Venues for no charge included the burger place which had odd hours 12:00 to 5:00 in front they had a full bar to make tacos, burritos ect. Burgers, Hot Dog and a chicken sandwich was offered with excellent fries. The burger was good but I prefer Guys. Pizza was available as well with very short hours I believe 11-8 the pies were good I just wish they were open longer  as I enjoy a late night snack while cruising. Ice cream was served in a cone or bowl and offered chocolate, vanilla, and usually 2 other flavors of the day. Soft serve machine seemed to always be not working properly the entire week. Ice cream was only available when the buffet was open. 

 

One disappointment was the Lido buffet had bizarre hours like the other venues, breakfast was typically 7:30-10:00, then lunch 11:30-2:00 and dinner 5:30-9 and then a small section would open at 10:30-11:30 of interest was this was the time people are looking for munchie type of snacks like burger, hot dog, fries, chicken fingers ect they carried full course meal and one sandwich which for several days was lamb.  Room service was available 24 hours and only a select few things had a surcharge. I heard many comments especially on port days about Lido being closed for those coming back after excursions.

 

Food quality was good, food choices were usually good except for the "munchie" choices but hours of operation gives the Lido an overall B 

 

More to follow tomorrow!

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Cabinluvn it was on trays as we entered the ship their were crew members on both sides and servers in front of us as we entered.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm enjoying reading your Rotterdam review!  We will be aboard later this month!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We will be on the Rotterdam in Oct/Nov 2019.  Has HAL added USB power outlets to the cabins yet?   On the Koningsdam we had one on each side of the bed and one on the desk for charging phones/batteries etc..

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No USB ports on this ship we used an extension cord for hubby's C-Pap machine and used a 2 outlet, 2 USB plug in off the extension cord. It worked fine for us. The in room hair dryer also worked fine and plugged into the 2 prong European plug

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Public Areas on the Rotterdam were very impressive the library/game room was very spacious and had a large selection of books and games. Often this area felt busy with many just reading in a comfy chair or playing Chinese Checkers or some of the other game choices. It was right next to the coffee bar and internet cafe so everything felt close. Shopping was limited to a few stores, the large jewelry store, a gift shop and a tiny liquor store. The main showroom was very nice with excellent sightlines, its too bad since their was limited entertainment. They held Bingo I think 2 x during the week and the usual port/shopping talks and held the Main Shows which was 3 nights of comedy, 2 Jukebox singing shows and 1 Planet Earth movie. The movie theatre doubled as the test kitchen with David Burke onboard his presentation was standing room only and only offered once. The pool area never felt crowded even though we had superb weather the entire week. Always a lounger available and plenty of room in the pool for a dip. The back area I think is supposed to be like a serenity area with basically a wading pool a hot tub and some loungers. This is also the 1 and only smoking area on the ship. The Crows nest up on the top deck hosted a Mardi Gras Party on Fat Tuesday and I think a Karaoke night other than that their were no other "parties" 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am going to spend a little bit of time on the Casino as its one reason we were on this ship. We had received a too good to pass up offer through their casino program and was shocked at how small this casino is. They had perhaps 4 card tables and a roulette wheel and maybe 50 slot machines. Fortunately the slots were all in good working order although a bit tight but I think that how most ship casino's are. In my past cruises on casino offers their is usually many activities going on during the week to encourage you to return. The Rotterdam had a nightly snowball raffle and 2 on sea days ( yes I won one of those) otherwise their was a lotto drawing at 11:30 and 1 slot tournament. They had complimentary how too play cards a couple of times and that was it. The casino did send a saucer with 3 small chocolate covered strawberries to out room at the end of the week. The casino staff did not do much to interact with guest other than Ray the host. He was a very pleasant young man and seemed interested in our comments about the casino experience. Gone or missing was no way to earn a free drinks cards but Ray did provide us with a few comp sodas during the week. I think other lines treat their players better HAL did nothing to encourage me to want to come back. My offer at the end of the cruise was a free play to come back and sail before 9/1. No flames please but I save my money before each cruise and I do spend a lot of time in the casino so maybe my expectations were too high or the casino is an after thought since most of their ships sail on much longer cruises so money is spread out over the length of the cruise. In any event I actually broke even on the week and I did enjoy hitting the buttons! They do allow smoking but only on the 15 machines as you walk in. The Costa Maya night was smoke free until midnight. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ports of call:

 

Key West - we love Key West its an easy port to walk around and it has a lot of restaurants and bars with a lot of unique food and since Key Lime Pie was founded here you can find plenty of that dessert in various forms around town. This trip we had found a Groupon for a 3 hour golf cart rental and thought it might be a fun way to just drive around and enjoy the scenery and architecture. We had pre-arranged a meeting spot at the Museum to get picked up but we should have done more research as the rental company was actually very far away (30-40) minutes and on some fairly congested major roads (A1A) we opted out once we arrived as when we factored in the drive back to the port area and then back again we would have used about 50% of our rental time. I guess the moral of my story is do plenty of research when you opt for non ship sponsored activity's. We ubered back to the port area and did some shopping and people watching before returning to the ship.

 

Guatemala - My least favorite port as its very industrial and most things I read said not to tour privately since we did not see anything the ship offered that interested us we just walked over to the straw market and walked around their were plenty of vendors selling souvenir and some local entertainment on the stage. They will barter on their pricing so don't be afraid to make a fair offer. As we were walking back to the ship I noticed in the corner a boat tour so I asked about this and it was a 3 hour tour by motor boat for $20.00 PP we were unfortunately too late and the boat departed but it would have been a good value and I thought since it was inside the pier that it would be safe.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Roatan - Mahogany Bay - this is one of my favorite Western Ports as it has a free beach just a short walk or you can take a sky ride over for $12.00 each for the day this gives you some great views for pictures and saves your feet especially since it was very hot on the day we were their. We rented a clamshell with 2 chairs for $26.00 and had a "fish" pedicure for $20.00 each. The water was very clear and the bottom nice and sandy. Water is still a bit chilly to get in but very refreshing once you get over the initial cold shock. After we took the chair lift back to the shopping area and then back to the ship.

 

Costa Maya - Another gorgeous day and another nice port very clean and very safe although it has a VERY LONG pier to get to the main port. Their is a couple of swimming pools and a dolphin encounter that had lower prices than Ive seen on other stops. Their was an area you could watch but signs posted said no pics. We had 2 giant ships in port with us so it was very crowded compare crowded to a day at the Magic Kingdom, yes shoulder to shoulder people. They have a neat looking water park that is a shuttle bus away that was designed to look like a Mayan temple we didn't go over but if are traveling with kids it had reasonable rates and looked like fun.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In closing the Rotterdam is a very classy ship with mute colors and lots of Asian art. The ship is extremely clean and the crew of this ship is superb they were always smiling and the english language was very good. The ship is small so it is easy to navigate your way around and you hardly ever had to wait for elevators or extreme lines for food. If you are looking for a true classy ship and classy experience then don't hesitate to choose the Rotterdam. If your looking for lively action, lots of music, and lots of activities then it may not be to your taste. We found that we are somewhere in the middle, We had a great time but felt like we preferred a little more of the party atmosphere. This cruise had a good mixture of ages but it was still probably more of an older crowd than the party boats. If you want quiet and relaxation this is the perfect choice.  

 

I hope you find this review helpful please let me know if you have any questions.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Very nice review, sierramyst44.  Thank you.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great review!  I was on this cruise and it was my first HAL cruise.  I'm used to the bigger ships with more activities (I was on Allure last August) but I really enjoyed this cruise.  The ship was easy to navigate (and I'm very directionally-challenged) and charming.  I really loved the Explorations Cafe/Lounge area.  Those recliners facing the ocean were so comfortable that I fell asleep.

 

This year I have two upcoming RCL cruises and one Princess, but I'll definitely sail HAL again.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It unfortunate that HAL pulled out of Tampa they had been going out for the past 2 years. We asked onboard if their was another ship scheduled to call Tampa home but nobody had heard anything.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I need to make an "edit" of my beginning, the champagne was not as we entered the ship but at the show on the first sea day. Crew was passing out champagne as you entered for the Captains Toast. LOL I knew I got free champagne just listed in in the wrong sequence of events.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

enjoyed your review, do you have copies of Where and When.  Thank you.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

THANKYOU for the report!! Will be on her

next year in March doing Panama Canal.

Appreciate the time given to this nice write up.

Denise😊

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you for reviewing your cruise on board the Rotterdam.

Staterooms ready at 1130 am, has been a HAL policy for several years.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have a question? We’re in The Eurodam right now and up at the Crows nest area outside people as well as crew will smoke as in the aft section . Rotterdam only on the aft side for smoking? We were on The Maasdam doing South America a year ago 

and outside the Crows Nest was a smoking area. My husband enjoys a cigar on occasion that is why I asked.

Denise😊

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
On 3/10/2019 at 8:34 PM, iflyrc5 said:

We will be on the Rotterdam in Oct/Nov 2019.  Has HAL added USB power outlets to the cabins yet?   On the Koningsdam we had one on each side of the bed and one on the desk for charging phones/batteries etc..

We disembarked from the Rotterdam on Sunday March 24 and the USB ports were to the Right of the standard plugs on the desk. 

Edited by Palm Bay Cruise Couple

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • Q&A with the Coral Expeditions Team
      • Forum Assistance
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Member Cruise Reviews
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...