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Different perspective on the Rotterdam (and it ain’t good)


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Strongest recommendation to future cruisers: book HAL’s Rotterdam IMMEDIATELY if you’re looking for:

—LOUSY FOOD (except for the specialty dining rooms, which HAL seemingly is up-selling by downgrading everything and everywhere else). Dining room: under seasoned, underwhelming ; much-touted “Dive-In” burgers: dry and flavorless. 

—CREAKY SHIP including: 1) stinky sewage seeping into our suite from an adjoining pipe closet 2) leaking pipes above our verandah 3) a fire that resulted in an all-ship alarm awakening us in the middle of the night (reportedly TWO fires in the two weeks immediately preceding our trip.)

LOW-BROW SERVICE from a Neptune Suite concierge, a benefit for which we paid handsomely after excellent service on a prior HAL voyage. She refused to reverse bar charges for a rum-and-coke that was delivered as a gin-and-coke and an in-suite honor bar soda that wasn’t drunk; she “apologized” for the raw sewage seeping into our suite with a cheap bottle of wine and a short, impersonal typed apology; and, she assured us we would LOVE the next port of call literally moments before we learned that the port would be skipped due to bad weather. It was inconceivable to us that she hadn’t already been alerted to that. (And if she hadn’t, that’s a different problem altogether.) 

All this, for $16K! 

Speaking of bad weather, I am not blaming HAL for skipping five ports and replacing them with two alternative stops and three addl nights at sea or in port. Safety, as the captain told us, is #1. So this review isn’t biased because of that—at all. 

On the other hand, going the extra mile to meet his passenger’s needs apparently was, for the Rotterdam’s captain, priority #23. Responding to passenger‘s concerns about those skipped ports of call, potential financial losses for missing independently-arranged tours, and a desire for more information, his advice was,“You should buy one of our ship WiFi plans.”

As if offering complimentary WiFi for a few hours would ruin his bottom line. 

But speaking of bottom lines, here’s mine: The Rotterdam is doddering. Dining is below average. Customer service  (excluding the loyal stewards and dining staff who are doing their best) is subpar. (But America’s Test Kitchen live shows are phenomenal. Those ought to be offered every day.) 

Something is rotten on the Rotterdam. And until someone does something about it, it’s Bon Voyage, Holland America!
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Wow!  Sorry to hear this.

 

We really enjoyed our Rotterdam cruise a couple of years ago and found the food decent in the MDR, good Dive In and PG and Canaletto.

 

Sounds like things really took a downward spiral for your cruise.  Not good at all 😞 

Who was your captain with the priority #23.  

 

My question though - why would you expect complimentary wifi???  I do book a lot of independent tours and I have had ports changed.  I do purchase a wifi package and simply reach out to them and haven’t had an issue with any of my guides, yet 😉 

 

 

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On WiFi: Was trying to be succinct but should’ve added context.

 

Atrocious weather led to five port cancellations (replaced by two other, unscheduled stops). During an open public forum to address passenger concerns, the captain was asked why so little information was being shared and what to do about pending independent tour arrangements. Listening to it all, the captain’s suggestion that passengers just buy a WiFi package sounded extremely tone-deaf. It was just one among many moments on a 14-day cruise that demonstrated striking indifference to different passenger concerns (including ours). 

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I was on the Rotterdam 18 months ago and also thought the Neptune conceirge was awful - worst we had in about 15 Neptune cruises.  She was gone about half the time, even on embarkation day - had to wait about 30 minutes for her to show up and only after I called the front desk.

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January 2019 on the Rdam, the boat looked old and beat up, needed a re-fit. Sewage problems and plumbing issues on several decks. The stewards and MDR personal are excellent, the ship needs up grading and putting the detail in order.

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My goodness, completely different from our experience on the Rotterdam two months ago for the Scottish Highlands Explorer, and our previous cruises on the Rotterdam.

 

Our Neptune suite was in very good condition, concierges were helpful and knowledgeable, food was good everywhere on the ship (my only complaint is I don't like the location of the Pinnacle restaurant), on our late return at midnight from the Edinburgh Tattoo we were greeted at the shoreside tender dock with hot chocolate and sandwiches even though we were also given the option of ordering sandwiches to be waiting in our cabin, had an extra evening in Liverpool when a small tender port was cancelled due to weather. It was a memorable cruise.

 

I'm sorry your experience was so different from ours.

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My friend was on the same cruise as the OP.  She was full of complaints when she returned home and she’s usually a big HAL supporter.  She said it may be her last Holland cruise.  Sad to see reports like this.  

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7 minutes ago, Riversedge said:

My friend was on the same cruise as the OP.  She was full of complaints when she returned home and she’s usually a big HAL supporter.  She said it may be her last Holland cruise.  Sad to see reports like this.  

Can you ask her who the captain and the hotel director was?

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Hope this is just a one off. I had thought I heard that HAL calls the Rotterdam their “flagship”. We have yet to cruise on her but have waiting for the 2021 release schedule to see if any of her cruises intrigue us. We will be watching for further reviews.

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1 hour ago, kazu said:

Wow!  Sorry to hear this.

 

We really enjoyed our Rotterdam cruise a couple of years ago and found the food decent in the MDR, good Dive In and PG and Canaletto.

 

Sounds like things really took a downward spiral for your cruise.  Not good at all 😞 

Who was your captain with the priority #23.  

 

My question though - why would you expect complimentary wifi???  I do book a lot of independent tours and I have had ports changed.  I do purchase a wifi package and simply reach out to them and haven’t had an issue with any of my guides, yet 😉 

 

 

 

About the wifi, ships with major changes sometimes do offer some amount of free wifi. A friend was on a RCCL cruise that had a huge noro outbreak, so bad that they returned to Bayonne a day early so that there would be a whole day for deep cleaning. When the change was announced, passengers were given free wifi to make arrangements to fly home a day early or find/change hotel reservations, etc. I'm not sure how long the free wifi was available, IIRC it was the last two days of the cruise.

 

About OP's report that people were upset about financial loss from independent tours, HAL can't be held responsible for that. If the captain was as dismissive as described, I'm a little surprised he didn't say "Then you should have bought HAL tours." But if passengers choose to tour independently, they should make sure they can be in touch with their vendors, as you do.

 

Edited by 3rdGenCunarder
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1 hour ago, DaveOKC said:

I was on the Rotterdam 18 months ago and also thought the Neptune conceirge was awful - worst we had in about 15 Neptune cruises.  She was gone about half the time, even on embarkation day - had to wait about 30 minutes for her to show up and only after I called the front desk.

Think for what we pay, we deserve a little more. 

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1 hour ago, whitford said:

January 2019 on the Rdam, the boat looked old and beat up, needed a re-fit. Sewage problems and plumbing issues on several decks. The stewards and MDR personal are excellent, the ship needs up grading and putting the detail in order.

Amen. And to anyone thinking about paying to experience that ... I wouldn’t. 

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12 minutes ago, 3rdGenCunarder said:

 

About the wifi, ships with major changes sometimes do offer some amount of free wifi. A friend was on a RCCL cruise that had a huge noro outbreak, so bad that they returned to Bayonne a day early so that there would be a whole day for deep cleaning. When the change was announced, passengers were given free wifi to make arrangements to fly home a day early or find/change hotel reservations, etc. I'm not sure how long the free wifi was available, IIRC it was the last two days of the cruise.

 

About OP's report that people were upset about financial loss from independent tours, HAL can't be held responsible for that. If the captain was as dismissive as described, I'm a little surprised he didn't say "Then you should have bought HAL tours." But if passengers choose to tour independently, they should make sure they can be in touch with their vendors, as you do.

 

Understood. The captain’s non-response was, to me, impliedly exactly what you suggest: under the circumstances, if you want access to info, you’d better pay (us) for it. 

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37 minutes ago, freestyling said:

Hope this is just a one off. I had thought I heard that HAL calls the Rotterdam their “flagship”. We have yet to cruise on her but have waiting for the 2021 release schedule to see if any of her cruises intrigue us. We will be watching for further reviews.

 

I too hope that this was just a one of. We will be on her in a few months. I hope that in general this isn't what we have to look forward to. 

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55 minutes ago, 3rdGenCunarder said:

 

About the wifi, ships with major changes sometimes do offer some amount of free wifi. A friend was on a RCCL cruise that had a huge noro outbreak, so bad that they returned to Bayonne a day early so that there would be a whole day for deep cleaning. When the change was announced, passengers were given free wifi to make arrangements to fly home a day early or find/change hotel reservations, etc. I'm not sure how long the free wifi was available, IIRC it was the last two days of the cruise.

 

About OP's report that people were upset about financial loss from independent tours, HAL can't be held responsible for that. If the captain was as dismissive as described, I'm a little surprised he didn't say "Then you should have bought HAL tours." But if passengers choose to tour independently, they should make sure they can be in touch with their vendors, as you do.

 

 

Thanks 🙂 

 

I have certainly seen free wifi (and phone calls) offered when the disembarkation port timing has changed dramatically as in your example with the RCCL cruise.  HAL has done that too - as well they should.

 

I haven’t seen it offered when there are itinerary changes in the middle of the cruise due to weather, tide, etc.  And, we’ve certainly had some itinerary changes on some of our cruises due to weather, tides, etc.

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55 minutes ago, BayWatching said:

Should add: despite replying in detail to HAL’s post-cruise survey, we have heard (and expect to hear) crickets from them. Stupefyingly bad customer service. 

 

I don't think I've ever had a response to a survey. From what has been reported here, a letter usually gets a response, although it can be very generic.

 

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14 minutes ago, kazu said:

 

Thanks 🙂 

 

I have certainly seen free wifi (and phone calls) offered when the disembarkation port timing has changed dramatically as in your example with the RCCL cruise.  HAL has done that too - as well they should.

 

I haven’t seen it offered when there are itinerary changes in the middle of the cruise due to weather, tide, etc.  And, we’ve certainly had some itinerary changes on some of our cruises due to weather, tides, etc.

 

People seem to want more given to them these days. And the internet is where people rush to whenever something happens or changes. After 50 years, the internet has become a way of life. (According to a 'puff piece' on the news this afternoon, the internet turns 50 today)

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We missed 3 ports on our Japan cruise in August.  There seems to have been a lot of that over the last few months.    But with potential inconsistencies in ports, food, service and accommodation I just couldn't bring myself to pay anywhere near what you did.     I look for a 'good deal' in booking a cruise and hope for the best.    I can then better accept issues here and there.    But our next two vacations will be land based.    Free internet provided everywhere and I find I'm used to having it now.

 

 

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2 hours ago, 3rdGenCunarder said:

 

About the wifi, ships with major changes sometimes do offer some amount of free wifi. A friend was on a RCCL cruise that had a huge noro outbreak, so bad that they returned to Bayonne a day early so that there would be a whole day for deep cleaning. When the change was announced, passengers were given free wifi to make arrangements to fly home a day early or find/change hotel reservations, etc. I'm not sure how long the free wifi was available, IIRC it was the last two days of the cruise.

 

About OP's report that people were upset about financial loss from independent tours, HAL can't be held responsible for that. If the captain was as dismissive as described, I'm a little surprised he didn't say "Then you should have bought HAL tours." But if passengers choose to tour independently, they should make sure they can be in touch with their vendors, as you do.

 

100 percent agree that booking independently carries with it the burden to deal with changes, schedules, etc. My sole point about that is that extreme circumstances sometimes justify a little flexibility, as with your friend’s cruise. And 5 ports skipped, to me, represents extreme circumstances.

 

i am still hunting for captain’s name and will post when I find it.

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2 hours ago, freestyling said:

Hope this is just a one off. I had thought I heard that HAL calls the Rotterdam their “flagship”. We have yet to cruise on her but have waiting for the 2021 release schedule to see if any of her cruises intrigue us. We will be watching for further reviews.

Not meaning to be sarcastic, but if HAL considers this its flagship, they’re in even deeper denial than I imagined. 
 

(And, in the interest of total transparency: at the end of our voyage each passenger received a $200 shipboard credit and a 15 percent discount off of  “regular rates” for a future voyage.
 

The discount is meaningless to us because we won’t again cruise HAL. (After living through raw sewage seeping into and stinking up our living space, something more substantive than a bottle of wine seemed in order. And I’d warn anyone thinking about sailing on the Rotterdam to NOT accept a cabin assignment adjacent to a pipe closet. 

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43 minutes ago, kira5 said:

We missed 3 ports on our Japan cruise in August.  There seems to have been a lot of that over the last few months.    But with potential inconsistencies in ports, food, service and accommodation I just couldn't bring myself to pay anywhere near what you did.     I look for a 'good deal' in booking a cruise and hope for the best.    I can then better accept issues here and there.    But our next two vacations will be land based.    Free internet provided everywhere and I find I'm used to having it now.

 

 

True.

 

We knew we were paying a premium, and for that we reasonably expected (and had previously experienced) the extra touches we didn’t receive (as described in my original post.) That’s the main reason I wanted to document our experience here. For what HAL charges for upgraded suites, HAL should deliver on its promises.

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