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Review Of July 10th Transatlantic On Rotterdam


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Okay--here it is but please keep in mind that I am still somewhat jet-lagged so excuse any mistakes:) .


This was our 1st time on the Rotterdam and we now have a new favorite ship. We found it to be elegant, intimate, soptless and easy to navigate.


CABIN--We were in an outside cabin on Deck 2. We had loads of closet and storage space, a very comfotable bed, sofa and small table and a desk/vanity combo with a wonderful attached and movable make-up mirror (only complaint is that lighting is not bright enough). Our cabin steward never made himself known to us but he kept our cabin perfectly maintained. Maybe this is a result of the new tipping policy and it's too bad because we have always enjoyed getting to know these hard working people. We were invited to a few drinks parties in suites and they are really fantastic!!


FOOD--The food in the dining room was plentiful and adequate but not as tasty as we have remembered in the past. However, since we each gained 4 lbs. we really can't complain:D . We had a wonderful table at the 8pm seating (#31). It was a table for 6, beside the huge aft window where we could see iceburgs, whales and sunsets to die for. Our table mates were just great and the conversation never lagged. We all went to the specialty restaurant one evening where the food was truly exceptional but, after our huge window spot, we all agreed that we felt slightly claustrophobic in this smallish dark room.

The Lido buffet, for breakfast and lunch, was well run with a good variety of choices and an extreamly friendly staff.


DRINKS--Our pre-ordered scotch was waiting in our cabin and it turned out to be slightly larger than 1L for $35 and we thought it was a good value. We had pre-dinner cocktails in all the lounges over the coarse of the cruise (Crows Nest was our favorite) and the number of really good dancers were fun to watch.


DRESS CODE--Maybe it was the itinerary and length of this cruise but, we never once saw a violation of the dress code. In fact, everyone seemed to enjoy being a part of the nightly fashion show--even the teens. And speaking of "kids on board", they were the most well behaved that we have ever experienced.


As you all know, we enjoy playing the game of bridge at sea and we weren't alone. There were 16-17 tables in play every day. The director had here hands full and did a great job;) .


I won't go into detail about each port and excursions except to say that we loved them all--maybe it was the wonderful sunny weather. If anyone has any specific questions just ask.


So, all in all, this cruise exceded all our expectations in almost all aspects and we would reccomend it highly to anyone.

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Thanks for your review, and it was nice to know you had good weather and calm seas. Hope we can say the same after our Maasdam cruise next July.


Also pleased to hear that things, in general, went better than the June 6th round trip cruise from NY. The Rotterdam has been our favorite ship and sure hope it stays this way as we hope to again sail on her in the future.

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Thanks for the review. I'm so very glad you had a nice cruise. Any plans yet for the next one?


I see that you spent time in the Crow's Nest; did you get acquainted with Richel? She was assigned to the Piano Bar on my cruise, but was to rotate to the Crow's Nest for your's. She's absolutely wonderful.

longtimecruiser, her mom, and I made a habit of going to the Piano Bar for pre-dinner cocktails and Richel was a prime reason for that. Many's the evening she had been re-assigned to a private party, but made an opportunity to stop in to our watering hole just to see we were properly taken care of.


Who was Cruise Director on your cruise? Susan Wood was going home for a bit starting 7/10, but I believe she'll be back when the ship is in Athens.

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Granynurse, the cruise director on our trip was a very nice and knowledgeable young man by the name of Rick Hinkson. We thought he did a great job.

The crows nest had a trio by the name of B3 and they were absolutely fantastic. There was some guy in the piano bar and he was not so great.

As for our future plans, we began looking for a New Years cruise today.

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Ruth - Richel was in the Crow's Nest.

As to Susan Woods returning to the ship in Athens, I was told that HAL had asked for volunteers to take time off during the Athens stay so they could be temporarily replaced by Russian speakers. I didn't question either of the people who told me this, so I don't know if it pertained just to cruise staff, front office, on board shops or if it also extended to stewards etc.

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This was our 5th HAL cruise and our second time on the Rotterdam. Our previous Rotterdam cruise was to New England & Canada. It was our longest cruise so far and the first time either of us had been out of North America.


EMBARKATION - Most passengers coming from all three airports had a difficult and lengthy time getting to the port. It was the second time we'd sailed out of NY and the first time was nothing like this. HAL's part was fairly smooth once we got into the terminal and past security.


CABIN - We booked an outside guarantee and were assigned an outside cabin on main deck forward. Everything forward of us had portholes, so it was easy and fun to identify our cabin from the dock. There was plenty of storage, the cabin was comfortable, and our steward did an excellent job.


FOOD - We had 8:00 dinner at a table for eight. The service was good in our opinion and poor according to another person at the table. This was our first cruise with the automatic tipping and I noticed no difference in the service.

Overall this was the best food yet. It seems to improve with each cruise.


DRESS AT DINNER/EVENINGS - The dress code was followed.


PASSENGERS - The majority were retired, but there were quite a few passengers in each age range. I agree with the Duffys that the children and teens were all well behaved.


SHORE EXCURSIONS - We took ship shore excursions in all ports except Nuuk where none were offered. We had booked online prior to the cruise. All our excursions were as described in the excursion booklet. All were at least good and most very good.


PORTS - Great selection of ports (St. John's, Newfoundland; Nuuk, Greenland; Reykjavek, Iceland; Oban, Kirkwall, and Invergordon in Scotland; Bergen, Kristiansand, and Oslo in Norway; and we ended in Copenhagen).


SAVING PLACES - We seldom stay in the pool area, but did notice more pool lounge saving than we've previously seen. Also there were people saving tables in the Lido restaurant during lunch. (These were empty tables with either tilted chairs or with personal items placed on the table.)


ACTIVITIES - We participated in Trivia and several other games. There were plenty of scheduled activities daily.


INTERNET - The man in charge was very helpful and was there a number of hours each day. After not finding internet cafes in ports, I did use a few minutes at the 75 cent price and did buy a small package of 15 minutes which was offered towards the end of the cruise.


PHOTOGRAPHERS - They were not pushy. Most people walked past them at ports with no difficulty.


LAUNDRY - This was the third cruise on which we've bought the unlimited laundry package and we do like this service. This was a 17 day cruise and the cost was $127. We handed our steward a bag of laundry each morning from the first morning through the morning of the next to the last full day.


DISEMBARKATION - We were off the ship a few minutes after 8:00 as we had a tour of Copenhagen before our late flight.

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Welcome home!

I am so glad that you had such nice weather! Having been in most of the ports you mentioned between last summer's and this summer's cruise, it would have been wonderful to see them combined in one trip.


We too, enjoyed trivia and visited most all of the lounges during our cruise and agree with you both about the service and the ambiance on board.


Richel is a delight, as are Myra, Carlos, and Renil. And jemima, I was also pleased at the non-pushy attitudes of the photo staff.


Marianne, you had our favorite table! Table 31 is the one table we've always had on the Rotterdam, and the one we did not get this year, even tho we requested it. Aren't the views gorgeous?


Also Marianne, consider the Zaandam for New Years. We got such great price reductions and were able to book a suite. Sailing is 12/28, 11 days combining both east and western Caribbean. Discounts are running between 64 and &73%.


Isn't it hard to come home after a transatlantic? My DH keeps parroting the X commercial about coming back to reality after the phenomenal service.


Did either of you see Nessie in Invergordon? That's the one port we've never been to.

Well, enough nostalgia, welcome home, and please keep adding tidbits as you remember them.


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...the cruise director on our trip was a very nice and knowledgeable young man by the name of Rick Hinkson. We thought he did a great job.

I know Rick and agree he's very good. He was the Cruise Director (and new at that job) on last year's trans-Atlantic. I thought he rose to the challenge quite nicely.


There was some guy in the piano bar and he was not so great.

You have a talent for understatement. For the most part I stopped going there at night; stopped by once in a while to see if he had improved any.

For a lot of reasons I went there for pre-dinner cocktails. As I posted above, Richel is a supurb HAL representative and made sure we got peanuts without the trail mix, and the good mixed nuts! Beyond that the Ocean Bar was far too crowded; it seemed to take forever to get waited on. I also thought the drinks were better in the Piano Bar.

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So enjoyed your review We will be sailing on the Rotterdam's return from London to NYC in September. Booked a Cat B guarantee Rec'd documents yesterday with no cabin assignment Experienced the Massdam in the Baltic several years ago and loved her. Any and All information will be greatly appreciated.

Did NOT know about that laundry system??

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I'm not as energetic as Jemima and the Duffy's and it's taken me 2 days to get over jet lag. I'll add my general impressions or make some notes on where things differed in our respective opinions.


Embarkation: Went without a hitch and we were onboard within 20 minutes of arriving at the Pier. The traffic leading through to the pier was horrendous though. The ship did leave late - apparently due to loading luggage and supply pallets.


General Impressions: The cruise was wonderful - enjoyed the Ports tremendously. Not to lord it over RuthC or Grannynurse and the b2b crew before us - but boy did we luck out with the weather! I've never seen weather like that crossing the atlantic or sailing through the North Seas. 90% of the time we were sailing on someone's bathtub with seas as smooth as glass and the sunshine was awesome - with only a few showers to add variety.


Tours: Ship tours varied between mostly pleasant and one dissappointing. The majestic scotland was not advertised as a coach only tour - but it unfortunately was. They specifically said you would have photo opportunities for some of the castles and Glencoe ... I suppose you did... at 80km an hour through a dirty bus window. Did receive a standard prefab apology letter when I wrote a note expressing our general displeasure with that tour.


Food: Dining Room food improved over the course of the cruise. The first few days were a little disappointing, but then it quickly began to get better. I asked our waiter about it - and he said that they were just getting to the fresh pallets that had been loaded in New York. Lido food sufferred from a bit of repetition and 'sameness' over time - it was of fair to good quality. It also improved as the cruise progressed. Didn't go to the Pinnacle - did notice however that it was a great big empty most evenings.


Dress Code: I don't believe I offended anyone and no one offended me.


Staff: Awesome dining room staff, great cabin steward, good bar stewards, mediocre cruise director staff and the worst front desk staff I have ever witnessed on the seven seas. The gave misinformation all the time, became defensive, and down right rude at other times. Granted, they deal with tough situatations and cranky passengers all the time - but their behaviour was beyond reprehensible at times. For the most part I witnessed this and didn't experience it - so can't comment on specific instances. The cruise director staff were so so - definately tired and low of energy. I chatted with Scott and apparently (ahem - sorry guys - he claimed the b2b cruise passengers were the worst they had ever experienced. Apparently Julie was so traumatized she will not longer do Trivia!). Unfortunately I saw some rudeness - especially when they were dealing with elderly passengers who wanted to know what was going on but couldn't or didn't want to play. I found that unacceptable. I also found the fact that they were so willing to blame passengers on previous cruises fairly disturbing. Rick Hinkson appeared to be barely competent at times - he passed the buck continuously. Alot of staff were leaving the ship because of Athens - so I will allow that they could have been tired and overworked - but I still don't find that type of behaviour acceptable. Didn't ruin my cruise - as I don't let things like that bother me and we just avoided cruise run activities (except for Trivia). The service experienced by the other staff made up for it.


Passengers: Lots of retirees. Many middle aged and a few young couples for variety. The kids/teens were generally well behaved. Some problems towards the end of the sea days with running in the halls and pushing elevator buttons - but understandable and bearable. At times we were impressed with the space to passenger ratio on the Rotterdam - had no clue where they were hiding the other 1000 passengers. Ugly Americans/Canadians/Europeans? There were some but generally instilled pity not anger. We did chastise a woman who screamed on the Lido Deck that her server was an incompetent *** because she wanted her "sunny side up eggs flipped over" and he didn't divine that fact telepathically - that she should return to her cabin and stay there until her temper tantrum was over. Not generally something we do, but if you are going to act like a two year old - expect to get parented. There were 3 medical emergencies and apparently 2 "crossings". They were all handled professionally and quickly and with the exception of the "air lift rescue" discretely.


Cleanliness: The ship was well maintained and public areas very clean. Probably the best of the cruises I've been on. Well done HAL.


Tipping: I appreciated the ease of the $10 a day gratuity - and found it very good value received. I was flabbergasted at the amound of people who didn't like it - gobstruck by the number of people who went to reduce their tips and gripe on the last night. It's a horrible impression to be left with that some of your fellow travellers are nothing but cheap whiners - but there you go. The line ups to remove the tips extended around the Promenade atrium where a number of us sat and watched this horror film unfold. I'm sorry, but I was embarrassed.


Enjoyed the cruise very much. Would definately do a trans-atlantic again in a heartbeat. Have been "hooked"!!!

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I agree with all the others, the cruise was fantastic. They pretty well summed things up. My only disagreement would be the Embarkation which was the worst I have experienced. Maybe the fact we arrived at the terminal the same time everyone else did is why I didn't like it. However, what is an hour or so in line in comparison to a 17 day cruise? Everything else was just about perfect. The only exception was our flight home. We were delayed several hours in Newark because of weather and didn't get home until 4:30 a.m.


Marriane, our cabin steward was "Erwin". I saw him frequently going into your cabin in the evenings to turn down your bed. He introduced himself to us the first time we went into our cabin and he was very friendly and nice. He had just come aboard the Rotterdam and still has nearly a year before he will be able to get home. I took his picture along with DW and will be happy to email you a copy if you like.


Now I am waiting until the end of September when we will again board the Rotterdam for a shorter, 10 day New England/ Canada Fall Foliage cruise. :D

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Staff:...I chatted with Scott and apparently (ahem - sorry guys - he claimed the b2b cruise passengers were the worst they had ever experienced. Apparently Julie was so traumatized she will not longer do Trivia!). Unfortunately I saw some rudeness - especially when they were dealing with elderly passengers who wanted to know what was going on but couldn't or didn't want to play. I found that unacceptable. I also found the fact that they were so willing to blame passengers on previous cruises fairly disturbing....

No thanks necessary. We were glad to get Scott back.
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Lee, I was afraid you would get delayed in Newark. We were picked up by our son and taken to his home. When that rain and thunder started you all were the first thing I thought of. Glad you finally got home safely. I knew our cabin steward's name from the info sheet in our room--just never saw him. But like I said, we had no complaints about how well he did his job. I did feel like it was being done by little invisabel "brownies" though. Maybe we should have hung around our cabin a bit more.


We were quite happy with all the tours we signed up for but, for the life of me, I can not understand why people who weigh 300 lbs. and can barely walk let alone climb up into a bus, will sign up for a tour that clearly states "a lot of walking required" and then complain about it.


We also found most of our fellow pax to be sophisticated, pleasant and fun to be with. We also ran into a few whining compainers. There was one woman who proudly referred to herself as "the bitch of the Rotterdam". Reminds me of that song we sang as kids--"I'm happy when I'm sad..."


Anyway, glad everyone is home safe and I hope that we will all meet again on a "dam" ship.


Guess I should do something about my signature now:( .

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We were quite happy with all the tours we signed up for but, for the life of me, I can not understand why people who weigh 300 lbs. and can barely walk let alone climb up into a bus, will sign up for a tour that clearly states "a lot of walking required" and then complain about it.

:( .

A possible reason is that the information either wasn't stated or wasn't clearly stated in the brief descriptions on the shore excursion order form. That form also doesn't include the 1, 2, and 3 men walking symbols which indicate the amount of walking. The only good source of excursion information was the shore excursion brochure in our documents and also available in limited quantitiy in the shore excursion office (also available online on the HAL site).

We carefully read the descriptions at home, did some research on the areas, and booked the excursions online. The result: we also were very happy with our excursions.

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We were quite happy with all the tours we signed up for but, for the life of me, I can not understand why people who weigh 300 lbs. and can barely walk let alone climb up into a bus, will sign up for a tour that clearly states "a lot of walking required" and then complain about it.


I agree - but I have to say the reverse is true as well. A tour that says you will be getting out of the bus and doing some walking - should let you do just that - not hold you captive and point out a 2 second view of a castle that was featured in their brochure and half the bus misses. The only stop was for shopping at a pre-selected tourist store. There were quite a number of complaints about that one particular tour. Generally though - I found the tours well done and good value for what we got to see and do.

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we, too, had a wonderful cruise and just returned tonight after staying an extra 6 days in denmark.

we took our two sons , ages 9 and 10, with us and they were thrilled with the club hal program. there was only 30 kids onboard between the ages of 5 to 17....so, it was special attention.

our only disappointment was also with the cruise director staff, especially melissa, who we found to be very negative with some of the older folks sometimes silly questions.

we booked our own private tours for all of the ports, so i can't comment on the tours, however, i did hear some complaints and some praise from others.


i must say that i am a large person, and can't pretend not to be. i do take offense to the previous posts about 300 pound travelers....not all are unable to climb steps and walk around. give me a break, i think that this type of stereotyping was not necessary in your posting. live and learn!!!


again, it was a great cruise and it was filled with many interesting and diverse people from many nations.

wendy wwb

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Wendy, welcome back. I looked for you after your "Harry Potter" excursion with your boys because I wanted to know how it went. I told a couple of my grandkids about it and they were quite jealous.

Sorry you took exception to my statement about the large people. It was not meant as predjudicial against size but against common sense. We were on two different tours where someone really struggled, and required the assist of three, to get up into the bus. Then when we arrived at the point where the walking portion of the tour began they became beligerant about their inability to do so and expected the bus driver to drive them around. These were people who required motorized devices while on board the ship. That is why I say they demonstated very little common sense.

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