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ryansmemom

Review: Statendam Dec 6-21, 2004 Part 1

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Our journey began with a three day pre-cruise stay in San Diego. We were booked into the Manchester-Hyatt by Holland America and we were very impressed with the hotel. Unfortunatly, Southern California did not live up to it's reputation regarding the weather and it was chilly and it rained almost continuiously during our stay. However, this afforded us the opportunity to try out room service at the hotel, which was excellent. I would recommend it. The hotel concierge also suggested some excellent restaurants.

 

We had originally planned to use our HAL transfers to the pier on Monday morning, however, when we discovered that the arrangements included a 3 to four hour city tour, we elected to opt out and make our own arrangements. The main reason we chose to arrive 3 days early was so that I could recover from the cross country flight and a 3-4 hour city tour would have negated the effects of my rest. We contacted the limo driver who had picked us up at the airport and he drove us to the pier Little did we know at the time that this would be one of the best decisions we could have made.

 

Embarkation was a mess. As we drove up, we saw a huge line of people waiting at the curb. These were just the people trying to get on the pier. We only got up close to the tent because of the persistance of our driver who refused to stop and open the door until he was right at the entrance of the tent. Once out of the limo, the security guard asked for our ID and let us pass. We were then stopped by an abrupt, rude and insistent "Red Coat". I was in my wheel chair with our very heavy carry on on my lap. We had our documents in hand. She would not let us in until we filled out our credit card registration, on the spot. We fumbled through that. Then we had to argue because we wanted to check in at the suite check in desk because the line was shorter. The "Red Coat" wanted us to register at the Handicapped desk. Interestingly, the one person in front of us in line was very slow to check in because he was slowly filling in his paperwork!

 

After checking in and having our picture taken, we boarded the ship. We used the crew entrance on B deck because to use the entrance on Main Deck required climbing up quite a few steps. Anyone not in a wheel chair was required to use the Main Deck entry, regardless of their health status. This included people using canes or oxygen.

 

We were told that a report was sent to Seattle regarding this debacle of an embarkation. We did speak to the Hotel Manager at length about it and he asked us to write to the VP of Customer Relations in Seattle as well. He said that there were many reasons he could give us that would explain why this disaster occured, but he would not bother, because it should not have happened and the fact that it did was unacceptable.

 

Once we were aboard, however, we were home. We were back to the Holland America we have come to expect.

 

The Statendam is a beautiful ship. Obviously, she is not brand new. She is going in for a major overhaul in a few months and the wear and tear of thousand of people using her shows. But, despite her worn fabrics and carpets, her brass shines and wood surfaces gleam. She is obviously lovingly maintained. Her crew seems happy and they do work very hard. We met a lovely bar server we had known on the Rotterdam and she told us this is a good ship. The Hotel Manager does a daily inspection at 5AM and everything must be "ship shape" without so much as a name tag out of place. Are things perfect? No. This is a small city. Do things break? Yes. These things happen in my small home with just my family. One thing that really stood out for me was that the people working on this ship really work hard to make everyone of their guests happy and to make their cruise as perfect as possible. Oh, and one other thing, not one crew member seemed to be looking for a tip.

 

To be continued

 

Linda

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Linda- So sorry to hear of your embarkation nightmare, it sounds similar to the nightmare we experienced boarding the Amsterdam after our 10+ hour flight into Rio de Janiero:eek: ...happily every thing after than for the 17 days went very smoothly and it was the cruise of a lifetime!:)

 

Looking forward to the rest of your report.:cool:

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Linda,

 

Thank you for the wonderful review. I'm looking forward to the next installments. It sounds like after the nightmare embarkation, everything began to improve.

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Linda.

Thanks for starting to post your review.

Where is the Manchester-Hyatt located in San Diego?

Wonder what happened at Embarkation? When we boarded the Statendam in Oct it went like a breeze. We got there shortly after 11, went right to the suite check-in desk, turned in everything (had already filled out the credit card information before we left home), went through security, and we no more than sat down and boarding began.

 

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Another ship was assigned the main port terminal bldg so the Statendam had to use a tent set-up next door. The traffic of 2 cruise ships in port at the same time contributed to the embarkation mess. When we disembarked there were 3 ships in port and for the first time I had to stand in line and wait for a porter. Not HAL's fault, San Diego is a busy cruise ship port. Happy Sailing!

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Where is the Manchester-Hyatt located in San Diego?

 

Between the Marriott and Seaport Village....

 

-dave

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Our journey began with a three day pre-cruise stay in San Diego. We were booked into the Manchester-Hyatt by Holland America and we were very impressed with the hotel. Unfortunatly, Southern California did not live up to it's reputation regarding the weather and it was chilly and it rained almost continuiously during our stay.

Linda

Sorry our California weather didnt hold up for you, but please keep in mind, it is our winter and we do need some rain too :) Sorry you got caught in what little we get here :(

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Thank you all for your lovely responses.

 

KK:

The exact address of the Manchester Grand Hyatt is: One Market Place, San Diego. It is just off Seaport Villiage, a lovely little shopping area with some nice restaurants and a marina. We asked for an upgrade to the concierge floor but it was unavailable because there was a huge convention in town. There were 19,000 hematologists!! We were upgraded to a lovely corner room on the 30th floor with a great view of the marina, the gas light disdrict and the mountains of Mexico. The hotel has a lounge on the 40th floor with a great view of the entire area. We also discovered a little shop in the hotel with wonderful gifts for children that we were able to ship home for our grandchildren.

 

As far as embarkation is concerned, 1cruiselver is correct in saying that most of the problems were not HAL's fault. The problems that we had that could have been handled directly by HAL were the attitude of the Red Coats and the fact that people who were physically impaired, but not in wheel chairs were forced to walk up the steps. The Red Coat who "greeted us was not overwhelmed by people at the time we encountered her. We were the only people she had to talk to at that particular time.

 

As far as the other problems at the pier are concerened, I am not one to assign blame. However, the good news is that, according to Frits Gehner, Hotel Manager, HAL does have leverage with the powers that be in San Diego. The problem we encountered was due to the fact that the Statendam was not permitted to dock at the terminal and was forced to use the tents as terminals. This meant that passengers disembarking and embarking had to share the same space and we experienced the chaos of this arrangement. Everyone was stressed, including our rude Red Coats. People were kept waiting on the sidewalk, people were kept waiting outside the tent as the various personnel inside tried to sort out disembarking passengers and their luggage from embarking passengers and their luggage.

 

When we arrived back in San Diego we were docked at the regular terminal and things ran smoothly. Anyone using this facility will have a pleasant experience. The more ships in port, the more chaos. HAL will soon be using San Diego as the home port for the Oosterdam. The Ryandam is sailing out of San Diego as well as the Statendam and the Amsterdam. Mr. Gehner told us that this does give HAL a lot of leverage with the powers that be in San Diego because they will be bringing in a lot of that green stuff that speaks so loudly.

 

Ziggy

The rain was really fine. It makes all of those lovely flowers grow! It just took us by surprise.

 

Linda

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I agree with your assessment of the redcoats. They seemed to be more interested in throwing around their weight than actually providing assistance which is what I thought was their purpose and therefore created an unnecessary roadblock. Happy Sailing!

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Ryansmemom wellcome home. Thanks for posting. I look forward to the rest of your review.

 

One thing puzzles me, your embarkation. I have no idea who decides who docks where, but your cruise was not the first, second, or third time that Hal has docked at the tent. I would have thought that Hal would know how to handle docking at the tent by now.

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One thing puzzles me, your embarkation. I have no idea who decides who docks where, but your cruise was not the first, second, or third time that Hal has docked at the tent. I would have thought that Hal would know how to handle docking at the tent by now.

 

Yes, it is true that HAL has used the tent docking situation before. The way it was explained to us, it is the tent that is the problem. There is simply not enough room under the tents to properly stage both the disembarkation and embarkation of passengers. This particular sailing was complicated by two other factors. The first was the cold rainy weather. This meant that everything that had to be done, had to be done under the tents. The second factor was a major storm at sea caused the Statendam to arrive in port several hours late, compressing that debarkation/embarkation time as they struggled to accomodate people who wanted to stay in their cabins as long as possible and those who wanted to board as soon as possible. Our sailing was also delayed until 9PM because our fueling process was very slow because of the cold.

 

As far as berth assignment, my guess is that that is the decision of the Port Authority, but that is just a guess.

 

Linda

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We passed by the Manchester-Hyatt and didn't even know it.

We have stayed at the Embassy Suites several times in San Diego and know Seaport Village very well. This last time we even walked down to the Marriott via Seaport Village.

Thanks everyone.

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