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HAL's MAASDAM or RCI's ENCHANTMENT Past Passenger Opinions Needed


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I'm planning another family cruise and, since we are limited to ships that sail out of Boston, we find we have more to choose from this year. (Last year, our "only" choice was Norwegian Cruise Line's NORWEGIAN MAJESTY.) Having "choices" always seems to make planning more "fun"!


So, I need your opinions...tell me the "good, bad, and the ugly" about your MS MAASDAM and/or ENCHANTMENT OF THE SEAS experiences and what Holland America and/or Royal Caribbean have to offer. Here is a brief bio about the "family":


My husband and I (both late 40's) are researching these two ships for a Canada/New England cruise in 2005 for his parents and their elder siblings. He and I have been on five cruises (see list below), his parents on two (Carnival's SENSATION and Norwegian's MAJESTY), and the elder siblings will be the cruise "newbies". Basically, our decisions are resting on the "elder" factors. His mother is confined to a wheelchair and all of the "elders" have one special need or another when it comes to food. So...my question is this...if you have any insight(s) you could add to your "review" below, regarding the wheelchair accessibility of the public & deck areas of the MAASDAM & ENCHANTMENT and the healthy eating menu selections (heart healthy/lactose intolerance/diabetic offerings), we'd appreciate your insights. Also, if anyone has any experience with the offerings of the designated "handicapped accessible" cabins (pictures & dimensions would be great), that would be most helpful. I'm also curious about the ship's claims to have "lifts" to allow wheelchair-bound passengers access to the tender boats.


I plan to call Holland America's & Royal Caribbean's Special Services departments to ask them these questions, but feel that the Cruise Critic Past Passengers have always given me a "real" feel for what to expect from their first hand experiences. It seems that when you talk to a representative of the cruise line, you encounter people that have not "actually" been on the ship and can only give you what their "manuals" say.


Many thanks in advance for all of your sage words of wisdom!


Debjo (the designated researcher for the group affectionately known as "their" cruise director) ;)

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We haven't been on the Maasdam in several years, but we did sail on her twice in 1999 and 2000. Both times we were in H709, an outside cabin on the bottom passenger deck.


H709 and the cabin across the hall from it are very large, L-shaped cabins with 2 large portholes. I do not remember how well the bathroom was adapted, but my memory is that although it does not match the bathrooms on newer ships, it was adapted for wheelchairs. The HAL special services desk could probably give you more specifics. The one disadvantage was that being at the front of the ship, there was definitely a lot of motion in high seas. On one of the trips we came trans-atlantic through a hurricane. We didn't experience much motion on the other trip.


My memoryis that the rest of the ship was pretty accessible. Given how long its been, I can not comment on the menus; however, my husband required a bland diet and they were always gracious about adapting the menus for him.

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We sailed on the Enchantment earlier this year.My husband is in a power chair.


He had no problems at all on the ship - and the balcony room we had was wonderful. Ample room, plus a good size bathroom with grab bars, etc. The room was close to elevators too, which was good for us. Often it's tough navigating down long corridors in a power chair -- I have to run interference for him, moving trays, laundry carts, etc.


Biggest problem seemed to be the crowded elevators! His power chair is heavy, he's heavy ... so it was often difficult to get an elevator! When we'd get on, the "beep beep" would go off meaning too much weight!


Food-wise ... he is diabetic and also lactose intolerant, and he had no problems with the menu.




As far as HAL, we've only sailed Zuiderdam & Oosterdam. No problems with food on those, and the accessible rooms were more than adequate.

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Have not been on the Maasdam, but have been on both the Ryndam and the Statendam (identical sister ships) recently. We have used both 709 and 704 in both ships. These are the only fully accessible cabins with roll-in showers and more space. The others are tiny in comparison, and only have a tub. The bathroom is smaller than most, but still fully accessible (and we use a lift and our own shower/commode chair). One advantage of this room is that there is room for and it accomodates a roll-away for a 3rd person (rare in accessible rooms), which works well for my parents and me.


Nearly all the rest of the ship is very accessible. We prefer the open seats (not theater seating) in their show rooms as you can sit anyplace on the first floor you want. The theater seating is also good. Food is better than Princess or RCCL I think, and they accomodate most special diets. The buffet has a superior layout for wheelchair users compared to Princess and many other lines, and we always had someone offering to carry my mother's tray. HAL has a reputation as a "seniors" line, but I am not near a senior yet and have a great time. We love the Crow's Nest for the great views...we spend most of the day here on sea days. The only non-accessible area is the observation deck, which is used primarily for star gazing. There is no lift in the pool though (we have found these only on RCCL, and they are often broken).


Keep in mind that it is difficult to push a wheelchair on a ship. Carpets really slow you down. If your parents want some freedom, consider renting them scooters to use on the ship, and save the manual wheelchair for use when ashore and for the airports.


HAL uses stair climbing tender lifts, RCCL uses elevators to a platform (similar to Princess).


Here are some photos of cabins 704 & 709 on this class of HAL ship. The two cabins are reverse image.



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