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Never again on Holland America


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I never thought I could go on a truly bad cruise, but Holland America made it happen. They messed up so many times that I can't list them all. But here's a start:

 

1. A full week before the cruise: went to the website for Internet pricing and found none. Clicked on chat, but no one was available. Called multiple times and got either a fast busy signal or permanent hold. Sent an email via the website and got no reply.

 

2. The night before the cruise: received an email saying an Oosterdam propeller was broken, we were starting a day late and skipping 1 out of only 3 ports of call. We would get $100 of onboard credit -- not nearly the value of losing an entire port on a week-long cruise. The also would shuttle us into San Diego. But the robots at the front desk was clueless about when the shuttle was available or where to get it. Got literally screamed at along with other passengers by a security guard for being in a "restricted area" when we tried to reboard the ship.

 

3. On the cruise: freezing cabin, a toilet that required as many as 12 tries to flush, slow and unstable Internet access even in San Diego, at least 3 empty sanitizer dispensers (on a cruise ship!), TV service that repeatedly froze up because of what staff said was a network problem that HA hadn't fixed.

 

4. After the cruise: HA agreed to discount our tip -- which we have never asked to do on any other cruise -- and then charged us $30 for a used towell that we had allegedly stolen, which we have never done in our entire lives.

 

I understand mistakes. But this was gross management incompetence on a scale I have never seen in 60 years of travel.

 

 

Edited by promisem
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10 minutes ago, promisem said:

I never thought I could go on a truly bad cruise, but Holland America made it happen. They messed up so many times that I can't list them all. But here's a start:

 

1. A full week before the cruise: went to the website for Internet pricing and found none. Clicked on chat, but no one was available. Called multiple times and got either a fast busy signal or permanent hold. Sent an email via the website and got no reply.

 

2. The night before the cruise: received an email saying an Oosterdam propeller was broken, we were starting a day late and skipping 1 out of only 3 ports of call. We would get $100 of onboard credit -- not nearly the value of losing an entire port on a week-long cruise. The also would shuttle us into San Diego. But the robots at the front desk was clueless about when the shuttle was available or where to get it. Got literally screamed at along with other passengers by a security guard for being in a "restricted area" when we tried to reboard the ship.

 

3. On the cruise: freezing cabin, a toilet that required as many as 12 tries to flush, slow and ustable Internet access even in San Diego, at least 3 empty sanitizer dispensers (on a cruise ship!), TV service that repeatedly froze up because of what staff said was a network problem that HA hadn't fixed.

 

4. After the cruise: HA agreed to discount our tip -- which we have never asked to do on any other cruise -- and then charged us $30 for a used towell that we had allegedly stolen, which we have never done in our entire lives.

 

I understand mistakes. But this was gross management incompetence on a scale I have never seen in 60 years of travel.

 

 

Welcome to cruise critic and to cruising.  Sorry to hear that you were not happy with your experience. 

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11 minutes ago, dogs4fun said:

Welcome to cruise critic. Sorry to hear that you were not happy with your cruise - we have been fortunate and enjoyed our HAL cruises.

Thank you. I'm not the type to post a complaint about a travel experience, but this was over the top. I'm glad you have had better experiences.

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5 minutes ago, Lido deck main said:

Welcome to cruise critic and to cruising.  Sorry to hear that you were not happy with your experience. 

Thank you. We have had 7 previous cruises with other cruise lines that had none of the above problems.

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So sorry you had such a bad time. It's too bad you didn't find Cruise Critic sooner. You could have found out about the internet packages here. Yes, HAL's website is terrible. Some of the pre-cruise purchase items can be found through a very strange sequence of links, places you wouldn't think to look. And although the ship has three different packages, only one is available to purchase in advance. 

 

Did you report the issues with your stateroom air con and the toilet? Did anyone show up to investigate or fix these problems?

 

By "discount our tip" do you mean they refunded the cost of the hotel service charge? Did they say why they did this? The usual "apology" is OBC, which they did at the beginning.

 

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Thanks for sharing your experiences.  Sorry to hear they spoiled your trip but totally understand your unhappiness.  We’ve missed ports before and never gotten compensation other than refunded port taxes.  We used to get a glass of champagne when it happened but the last cruise we didn’t even get that for 2 missed ports.   Most of us plan cruises based around the ports on the itinerary so it’s a disappointment when there is a change.  I actually think it happens fairly often tho.  Keep on cruising, even if it’s something different than Holland America.  

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17 minutes ago, 3rdGenCunarder said:

So sorry you had such a bad time. It's too bad you didn't find Cruise Critic sooner. You could have found out about the internet packages here. Yes, HAL's website is terrible. Some of the pre-cruise purchase items can be found through a very strange sequence of links, places you wouldn't think to look. And although the ship has three different packages, only one is available to purchase in advance. 

 

Did you report the issues with your stateroom air con and the toilet? Did anyone show up to investigate or fix these problems?

 

By "discount our tip" do you mean they refunded the cost of the hotel service charge? Did they say why they did this? The usual "apology" is OBC, which they did at the beginning.

 

Yes, I reported the issues to the front desk. Compared to other cruise line front desks, they seem to give nothing but canned responses. A maintenance man came for the toilet, got it to flush after 2 tries and announced it was fixed. The maintenance man for TV said they had a network problem that hadn't been fixed. Otherwise, my feedback about other problems was dismissed by the front desk.

 

I spent my career in management dealing with many customers. I dealt with them professionally. They were shockingly apathetic.

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8 minutes ago, Riversedge said:

Thanks for sharing your experiences.  Sorry to hear they spoiled your trip but totally understand your unhappiness.  We’ve missed ports before and never gotten compensation other than refunded port taxes.  We used to get a glass of champagne when it happened but the last cruise we didn’t even get that for 2 missed ports.   Most of us plan cruises based around the ports on the itinerary so it’s a disappointment when there is a change.  I actually think it happens fairly often tho.  Keep on cruising, even if it’s something different than Holland America.  

 

In this case the OP not only missed a port, but lost one whole day of cruising, because the ship left a day late.

I enjoy being on the ship, and usually don't mind missing a port, but to lose a whole day of cruising is another thing entirely. 

Sorry Promisem that you had this experience.

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12 minutes ago, taxmantoo said:

Did you try to resolve any of those issues while you were on board? Did you fill out your end of cruise survey?  

Yes, I went to the front desk each time. And yes, I filled out the survey in great detail -- rational and not emotional. No response.

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I'm sorry Promisem your cruise was sub par. As 3rdGenCunarder posted, wish you would have joined CC sooner. I have been following Oosterdam threads because we will be sailing on her in March/April. I have sailed on her twice before and have really enjoyed her. Doesn't it seem when one bad issue happens things tend to unravel? Something you would otherwise find trivial becomes a larger issue? Again I am sorry you had a bad experience and hope you find the perfect cruise in the future.

 

Edited by Seasick Sailor
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1 minute ago, Tom O. said:

 

In this case the OP not only missed a port, but lost one whole day of cruising, because the ship left a day late.

I enjoy being on the ship, and usually don't mind missing a port, but to lose a whole day of cruising is another thing entirely. 

Sorry Promisem that you had this experience.

Thanks, Tom. We are very active people, so sitting on a ship for a full day in San Diego after spending 4 days touring the city was not a good day for us.

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Just now, promisem said:

Yes, I went to the front desk each time. And yes, I filled out the survey in great detail -- rational and not emotional. No response.

 

Surveys don't usually get a response. If you want a response, I'm afraid you have to write to HAL Customer Service in Seattle. From what I've read here, letters do get an answer, although it might not be as fast as you'd like. 

 

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Just now, Seasick Sailor said:

I'm sorry Promisem your cruise was sub par. As 3rdGenCunarder posted, wish you would have joined CC sooner. I have been following Oosterdam threads because we will be sailing on her in March/April. I have sailed on her twice before and have really enjoyed her. Doesn't it seem when one bad issue happens things tend to unravel? Something you would otherwise find trivial becomes a larger issue? Again I am sorry you had a bad experience and hope you find the prefect cruise in the future.

 

Thank you, Sailor. I should mention we weren't alone in our frustrations. We met or overheard quite a few people saying many of the same things I have said here.

 

If you had several good trips on Oosterdam, then maybe we were just unlucky. But I have to say it doesn't excuse some of the responses from the cruise line. As a former long-time manager, I saw many signs of bad management.

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24 minutes ago, 3rdGenCunarder said:

 

Surveys don't usually get a response. If you want a response, I'm afraid you have to write to HAL Customer Service in Seattle. From what I've read here, letters do get an answer, although it might not be as fast as you'd like. 

 

 

We already gave great detail to the front desk people who allegedly submitted it to corporate. We provided great detail on the survey for corporate.

 

If HAL expects us to provide great detail for a third time in a letter to corporate, then they are really hoping we get tired of it and go away.

Edited by promisem
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7 minutes ago, awhcruiser said:

Just my opinion but I would never abandon a cruise line based on one bad cruise.    Why would you think all futrue cruises on any HAL ship would be like this one?

 

You are welcome to your opinion. Why should I expect future HAL cruises to be better than this one?

 

We did one other HAL cruise before this one and thought it was subpar compared to 3 other cruise lines we have used.

Edited by promisem
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I was on the Oosterdam one week prior to OP.  We had a great time. I did have two complaints though.  The TV issues were happening during our cruise too. The TV would freeze up and then give a message that nothing was available to watch. I know for lots of people this isn’t a big deal but for my husband and I it is. We work a ton of hours every week and enjoy having free time to watch one movie each night on our cruise. 

 

The other complaint we had was that there was a permeating sewage smell on deck 2 mid ship. It was odd and only in that location. Now I wonder if there were other toilet/sewage issues onboard?

 

otherwise we had a great time and I’m working on booking something new. 

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1 minute ago, Andi Land said:

I was on the Oosterdam one week prior to OP.  We had a great time. I did have two complaints though.  The TV issues were happening during our cruise too. The TV would freeze up and then give a message that nothing was available to watch. I know for lots of people this isn’t a big deal but for my husband and I it is. We work a ton of hours every week and enjoy having free time to watch one movie each night on our cruise. 

 

The other complaint we had was that there was a permeating sewage smell on deck 2 mid ship. It was odd and only in that location. Now I wonder if there were other toilet/sewage issues onboard?

 

otherwise we had a great time and I’m working on booking something new. 

 

Other passengers told us that they also had toilet, TV, Internet and San Diego shuttle issues.

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5 minutes ago, promisem said:

 

Other passengers told us that they also had toilet, TV, Internet and San Diego shuttle issues.

Based on the horrible smell I don’t doubt it. It makes more sense now. We couldn’t figure out why the smell was centralized to that location. Just curious, was your cabin midship too?

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1 minute ago, Andi Land said:

Based on the horrible smell I don’t doubt it. It makes more sense now. We couldn’t figure out why the smell was centralized to that location. Just curious, was your cabin midship too?

 

We were on deck 4 aft.

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I totally understand OP!  We were on the Oosterdam last March and it was in fact the worst cruise I had ever been on!  We have been on 8 I think with HAL.  The reception desk people were in fact, uninformed, rude and unresponsive.  I wrote to HAL after our cruise and was basically ignored.  I persisted and called and asked for management information.  We swore we would never cruise on HAL again as well!   Of course a few months later and research into other lines, I find that there are always some people that have issues, but for the most part, the cruise lines do try their best.   This February we were offered a Casino deal - free cruise just pay taxes and port fees and they applied the future cruise credit they gave us last spring to my OBC.  Since booking, we lost our port day at Half Moon Cay which was a huge disappointment, and they gave us $100 OBC for that inconvenience.  So, yes, I a giving HAL another chance, back on the Veendam which is the very first ship my DH and I cruised on.  I am  hopeful.  The people I meed, the level of service of the HAL ships is wonderful.   I hope that HAL listens to your concerns and cares enough about their clients to offer you some type of compensation.  Good luck!

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