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Maasdam 97/80 day misadventure


KirkNC
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We boarded the Maasdam in August in Tokyo for a scheduled 97 day cruise.  About 70 days in we decided to disembark early (after 80 days).  We told Guest Services who helped reschedule our FlightEase flight back home.  We did not ask for and did not expect any compensation for our decision to leave early.

 

Highlights - great itinerary,  best Pinnacle Grill we have eaten at in years (kudos to Denise), Canaletto was good until the raw chicken episode (see below).  Our room stewards did a good job despite covering thirty cabins.  The crew in general were as great as ever.

 

Food - we found the MDR menu to often be fairly boring with lots of repeated items, I bet they served coconut shrimp 15 times.  We probably ate in the MDR 65 times and had about 12 really good meals, the rest were forgettable.  We also noted the portion sizes were smaller not all bad but my Greek salad one time had a single piece of Romaine and a small one at that.   For some inexplicable reason, toward the end of the cruise they dropped the ice cream flavors and cheese plate from the dessert menu.  This meant the waiter had to go back to the kitchen to find out what these items were on any given night.

 

One day we ordered lunch, I received my starter, we then waited 45 minutes and our Ruben’s with chips had not arrived, we just got up and left.  The service was very inconsistent, some days we were offered rolls or bread, some days we were offered juice ( breakfast), some days the waiter asks about allergies, some days they recommend a dish, and some days none of those happen.

 

Running out of things:  they have run out of everything from Budweiser beer to butter at some point on this cruise.  Other items- potato chips, cream cheese, cereals, crackers, bananas, yogurt, fruit, wine  and more.  

 

Serving rotten and moldy food - absolutely rotten cucumbers in Lido, rotten lettuce, moldy berries, spoiled bananas and avocado, I can’t believe they were serving these things.  The worst offenses however were the black banana on top of my banana split and the semi-raw chicken Parmesan I was served one night in Canaletto.

 

Navigator and When and Where - it’s like no one proofs it.  Sometimes they have wrong locations for events, it can take days to update the dinner menu in Navigator, My Itinerary in Navigator just doesn't work, so many mis-spellings it laughable .  Plus less content in When and Where, for example a movie just has the title, no description of what the movie is about.  They also dropped the weather forecast.

 

Lido - major problems, one of the outside doors fell off months ago, still not fixed.  The AC on one side does not work and has been the way since August.  Service is very inconsistent, most times we have to get everything ourselves.  This did get better latter in the cruise.  They have plenty of people selling drinks and specialty restaurants but not enough servers, the place is a chaotic zoo.  At one time, only about half the tables had salt and pepper shakers, I asked why and they said the passengers were stealing them 🥺, they did give each table shakers a short time later.  The two self serve ice makers have been broken since we got on two and a half  months ago.  You can get ice out but they don’t stop, this pours crushed ice on the floor.

 

Our room - we have a two inch gap at the bottom of our door, when lying in bed I could actually see the reflection of peoples feet walking by, we have to put a towel in the gap every night to keep out light and noise.  Our bathroom door does not close properly, it’s like the frame is out of square.  We have had to call at least twelve time because our toilet won’t flush, it’s not clogged, you push the button and nothing happens.  Outside in our hall it always smells like sewage, it’s been this way from day one.

 

Sea view Pool - I went in to swim and came out with little particles of soot all over me, nice touch

 

Tenders - one day we bobbed around right beside the ship for 45 minutes, within 50 yards of the tender gangway, before they actually tied us up and unloaded.

 

Speakers - we found the speakers to be great the first 29 days (this part was in essence a WW II Cruise).  Once in Australia, the speakers were still good but the breadth of topics was not good.  I can only go to so many talks on crocodiles and birds.  More on the history of the region, maybe on the Aboriginal people, etc would have been nice.

 

Gangways - on multiple occasions the gangway were ridiculously steep, I don’t know how handicap people got up them.  We also had a window exploded over the gangway one day sending glass all over.  Two other windows were broken and covered in plastic as well (see pic).

 

Initially I reported many of these items on comment cards, when our original captain was on board, they would usually respond, we got a new captain in Sydney and they no longer respond.

 

So that’s the short list of items.  One of the funniest things is when I went to them and told them we want off 17 days early, told them they could keep the multiple thousand of $$$$ we had paid for that and all I wanted was our flight rescheduled, they did not even ask why, amazing, I guess it happens all the time! Eventually they did come and talk to us but that was after the Pinnacle Mgr told them they should.

 

Right before we disembarked, we did receive a letter from HAL apologizing for the problems and offered us some future cruise credits.

 

So that was our 97/80 day Maasdam adventure. 

 

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Edited by KirkNC
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I am so sorry that your cruise was a disaster.

You are such a solid and respected poster here, that we have to listen.

We were in room 650 last winter and enjoyed a glorious voyage for 56 days.

I have followed three different blogs during the time you were on board, and nobody else had such complaints.  The closest disappointment was not having lectures on history and Aboriginal people the first days in Australia.

Thank you for unloading and for giving chapter and verse to HAL.  Surely they can do better.   Especially on the special EXC In-Depth voyages !

Barbara

Edited by bcummin
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I have to agree with Kirk on many of his points.  We were on for the 51 day cruise.  The food in the MDR was not up to par.  Many nights I couldn’t eat my meal.  The chicken especially, I found horrible.  Tasted like processed.  The only good thing was our terrific waiters but we had to move around before finding them.  We found the waiters at lunch in the MDR were rude if you questioned them.  Stopped going there but the Lido food wasn’t much better.  Our last breakfast in the dining room, I ordered eggs Benedict and the eggs were not fully cooked.  Had to send then back and no apologies at all.  Almost were mad at me.

 

i was sitting in the Lido one day when it was basically empty on a port day and the Captain walked by.  Not even a hello or nod.  We found the officers to be extremely unfriendly.

 

Crew were great.  Went out of their way to make you happy and always with a smile.  Kay was also super nice, always a hello and smile.

 

We will definitely think twice before we sail HAL again.  We are almost 4 star.

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I would be very disappointed. Even if you are not seeking compensation, the main office needs to hear about these problems. 
 

The rotten food is a symptom of someone unschooled in food safety, or just not caring. Only they can determine which. And fix it.

 

I can not even begin to guess what would cause a glass window to explode on a ship. Pressure? High winds?

 

Thank you for sharing. 

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1 hour ago, *Miss G* said:

This is terrible.  I’m sure you are very disappointed.  Thank you for letting us know of Maasdam’s deep and systemic problems.  

 

You referred to pictures.  Are you posting them at a later date or did I miss a link reference?

It’s at the end of the opening post. Remains of shattered window is middle right. Or is that one of the plastic covers?

Edited by TiogaCruiser
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Wow. That’s not good. 


The door issues in your cabin didn’t get that way overnight. Serving spoiled food is unacceptable. So many of the things you mention sit squarely with management.
 

Did you by chance miss a port where you were supposed to get provisions? (Meaning, could that be a reason for running out of so many things?)

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21 minutes ago, TiogaCruiser said:

It’s at the end of the opening post. Remains of shattered window is middle right. Or is that one of the plastic covers?

 

Oh. Thank you, TiogaCruiser.  For some reason I had it in my head that there was more than one pic.

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Wow is all I can say.  Totally unacceptable.  I won't go into the details now, but I had issues on the b2b cruises I took earlier this year, and they could be summed up by the word INCONSISTENT.  Sound like you ran into a lot of that.  Thank you for taking the time to post your experience in detail.  So many times people post that they didn't have a good cruise but then don't explain.

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2 hours ago, *Miss G* said:

This is terrible.  I’m sure you are very disappointed.  Thank you for letting us know of Maasdam’s deep and systemic problems.  

 

You referred to pictures.  Are you posting them at a later date or did I miss a link reference?

 

I post one picture of two missing windows covered in plastic.  They did repair them in Fremantle I believe.

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Thank you, KirkNC, for your detailed and specific accounts of your recent trip on the Maasdam.  As a person who relies of the advice and knowledge of experienced cruisers, I have to tell you that the review of your experiences is very much appreciated and will be taken into account as we plan for future cruises.

 

My wife and I are in a little bit of a dilemma when it comes to future bookings of Holland America Line cruises.  We definitely prefer sailing on the smaller HAL ships, but in researching future cruises, we are noticing some disturbing patterns of "problems" with respect to the older ships in the fleet.  The physical condition of the smaller ships seems to be deteriorating in a very significant way.

 

Thanks, also, for your documenting your serious concerns about food.  Food isn't subjective.  Rotten food and under-cooked chicken are not subjective.  These very serious problems are a recipe for serious intestinal problems.  (Washing hands is not a substitute for serving dangerous foods.)

 

Lastly, I want to commend you for not tolerating the conditions that you have described.  Leaving the ship and leaving many thousands of dollars behind describes a person who is consistent with his values and reasonable expectations.  Please be assured that you have given and wife and I some serious "food for thought."   We will not be booking the Maasdam in the future.

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1 hour ago, cat shepard said:

I would be very disappointed. Even if you are not seeking compensation, the main office needs to hear about these problems. 
 

The rotten food is a symptom of someone unschooled in food safety, or just not caring. Only they can determine which. And fix it.

 

I can not even begin to guess what would cause a glass window to explode on a ship. Pressure? High winds?

 

Thank you for sharing. 

 

Via my TA I sent a similar outline to HAL.  They did respond saying they were sorry, some issues could not be corrected until dry dock.  They did offer FCC’s to us.

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57 minutes ago, TiogaCruiser said:

Wow. That’s not good. 


The door issues in your cabin didn’t get that way overnight. Serving spoiled food is unacceptable. So many of the things you mention sit squarely with management.
 

Did you by chance miss a port where you were supposed to get provisions? (Meaning, could that be a reason for running out of so many things?)

 

Some missing items were because of a missing container in Tokyo.  I would have rolled with that but the missing items kept appearing even as we were circling Australia.  

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4 minutes ago, GlennG said:

Thank you, KirkNC, for your detailed and specific accounts of your recent trip on the Maasdam.  As a person who relies of the advice and knowledge of experienced cruisers, I have to tell you that the review of your experiences is very much appreciated and will be taken into account as we plan for future cruises.

 

My wife and I are in a little bit of a dilemma when it comes to future bookings of Holland America Line cruises.  We definitely prefer sailing on the smaller HAL ships, but in researching future cruises, we are noticing some disturbing patterns of "problems" with respect to the older ships in the fleet.  The physical condition of the smaller ships seems to be deteriorating in a very significant way.

 

Thanks, also, for your documenting your serious concerns about food.  Food isn't subjective.  Rotten food and under-cooked chicken are not subjective.  These very serious problems are a recipe for serious intestinal problems.  (Washing hands is not a substitute for serving dangerous foods.)

 

Lastly, I want to commend you for not tolerating the conditions that you have described.  Leaving the ship and leaving many thousands of dollars behind describes a person who is consistent with his values and reasonable expectations.  Please be assured that you have given and wife and I some serious "food for thought."   We will not be booking the Maasdam in the future.

 

I was concerned about the raw chicken as I ate a bite before I realized it was not cooked (more like rare as opposed to raw).  I had the front desk asked the ships doctor to call me as I was wondering if I should take some of the Cipro we carry as a preventive.  The conversation with her was almost funny.  First she asked why did I order rare chicken, I assured her I did not.  Then she asked how long since I had ingested it and I said about 30 minutes, her response was that if I was not sick in that time I should be fine 🥺.  I told I did not believe that was the case as food poisoning and/or Salmonella can take 12-24 hours or more.   

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1 hour ago, GlennG said:

Thank you, KirkNC, for your detailed and specific accounts of your recent trip on the Maasdam.  As a person who relies of the advice and knowledge of experienced cruisers, I have to tell you that the review of your experiences is very much appreciated and will be taken into account as we plan for future cruises.

 

My wife and I are in a little bit of a dilemma when it comes to future bookings of Holland America Line cruises.  We definitely prefer sailing on the smaller HAL ships, but in researching future cruises, we are noticing some disturbing patterns of "problems" with respect to the older ships in the fleet.  The physical condition of the smaller ships seems to be deteriorating in a very significant way.

 

 

I agree with these sentiments. After reading this thread, I have no desire to book a long cruise on HAL. I will continue to stick with the 7-nights cruises when I sail on HAL.

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