We have sailed on HAL before. Had an incredible adventure in June, 2011 to Alaska on the Statendam. We really looked forward to the Boston to Montreal cruise since we have never been to this part of the country. We spent two nights in Boston before the cruise and it was wonderful. We arrived at the cruise terminal and everything was so organized. Since we were in a Deluxe Verandah Suite, we were treated like royalty. Then we boarded and things began to go downhill. Our first night on board we had booked reservations in the Pinnacle Grill. It was the standard we expected. Food was excellent. Service was slow, but we were not in a hurry.
Day 1 and the first port was Bar Harbor. The tendering was not what we expected. We were told because of our cabin level we would have preferential boarding. That didn't happen, but we were still excited to see this part of the country. Bar Harbor was beautiful. Lunch at Gaylynn's was excellent. The bus was too crowded for the shore excursion but it gave us time to also see some of Bar Harbor on our own. The tendering process to reboard was not good. We stood in a very long line in the hot sun. I have MS and have difficulty standing. We watched people cut in line and no one did anything. There was no preference for boarding as we had been promised. My husband told a crew member about the MS and it didn't make a difference. We didn't realize that this would be the attitude throughout the cruise. We got back on board and decided we wanted to have a drink before dinner. The bartender in the MIX lounge was incredibly rude. I requested a drink that I had seen on the menu in our room and was told they had never heard of it. I tried to explain it was a specialty drink from their menu. He told us it didn't matter what was in our room, it was probably an old menu. We ordered something else and left to go to dinner. We arrived at the Rotterdam dining room. The host left us standing there for a good 5 minutes. He was doing paperwork. He finally looked at us and said, "What do you need? Do you have a reservation?" We told him no and he said "We prefer you have reservations." There were numerous tables empty. I had also been able to view the reserved tables while we were waiting for him to acknowlege our presence. He pointed over his shoulder and told us "Go stand over there." We tried to chalk it up to maybe he had a bad day. He was like this every evening we ate in the Rotterdam. We had even made reservations through the Neptune Lounge one night and he told us he didn't have them. When we asked him to check with the concierge, he refused and told us to move over and wait for a table. We were put at a table where they clean up the dishes. The dining room wasn't even close to being full.
Day 2 in Halifax and it was awesome. Such a sense of history. The shore excursion to the Fairview Cemetery was incredible. Lunch was excellent. We really enjoyed it. Same experience in the Rotterdam dining room with the host. Still very rude. A trip to the Neptune Lounge found all the goodies gone. The concierge said she had a problem with kids coming in from other decks and cabins not entitled to the Neptune. She said she couldn't stop them. I don't understand that. The Neptune is one of the perks with staying in the Penthouse or Deluxe Veranda Suite. We paid a good sum to have those perks. The food was good this evening. We went to another bar. Music was very loud. We discovered it was the time the ballroom dancers try to strut their stuff. It was funny to watch the competition amongst the couples. There was a lot of noise and traffic of kids running up and down the stairs and hall by our cabin. We took advantage of the laundry service. One of my DH's shirts was missing. It took 3 days for anyone to find it.
Day 3 We got on the bus to go to Baddeck and another sail on the Bras d'Or Lakes. The microphone didn't work and no one could hear the commentary. He finally sat in the middle of the bus and yelled until his voice gave out. We got to the place where we were going to board the sailboat. The restrooms werre not working in two of the four stalls and there was no toilet paper. No one seemed interested in finding any. We also discovered there were no restroom facilities on the boat. This information really needs to be in the tour excursion information. Once on the boat it was a hoot. The captain is one of the funniest people we had ever seen. We laughed and laughed the whole time. It was very hot and there was no water available. But beautiful day and beautiful sail. We got back to the dock and the restrooms still had not been stocked with toilet paper. Good thing we learned to keep kleenex in purses. Tried the piano bar and it was very loud, too. Usual host in the Rotterdam was not there and his replacement was very pleasant. Food was ok, nothing outstanding. I had stopped at the Neptune before we left on our shore excursion and asked the concierge to have a bottle of wine and some scotch delivered to our room to surprise by DH. When we got back to the room it was not there. A trip down to the Neptune to find out what happened and I was told they didn't have the scotch I asked for. I asked her to find out what was available. She said they had Chivas. I said that would be fine and went back to the cabin to wait. An hour and a half later, still nothing. Another trip back to the Neptune. She said she didn't know what happened. I stood there and waited while she called again. Suddenly they were out of Chivas. The only thing left was Johnny Walker Red. I said that was fine. It took another hour to deliver 3 mini bottles.
Day 4 and Prince Edward Island. This was a disaster from the beginning. Lots of kids running up and down the stairs and the halls again. Little kids about 7 or 8 that were not with parents. They had a good game going with running the stairs, jumping on the elevator and repeating. No parents in sight.
July 4th in the Pinnacle Grill was excellent. Food and service was very good. It was worth the extra money. No rudeness and attentive staff. Another night of kids running all over. Complaints to the concierge in the Neptune were ignored. The regular concierge was not there. The substitute one seemed overwhelmed. Again the goodies were depleted. Kids came in while I was talking with here stacking the plates. They refused to give their cabin number and went down the stairs. She said she couldn't do anything. I don't believe that.
At sea on July 5th. Very dense fog. Another bar disaster. We decided to have an after dinner drink. We ordered one that we had seen on the menu in the Rotterdam. Another signature drink. This was in the Piano Bar. Again, no one had heard of it. The waiter said they didn't have any kind of a drink like that on the ship. I asked him to call the Rotterdam and ask how they made it. He asked me how it was made. I told him I didn't know, that was why I wanted to try it. My DH went to the Rotterdam and brought back a menu that had the drink on it. The waiter said the bartender didn't know how to make it. I asked him to call the Rotterdam and ask them how to make it. I still don't understand why signature drinks seem to be a mystery to the bartenders. The drink finally came and was in a souvenir glass. When I finished it, I asked it to be rinsed out so I could take it. I was told it was not a souvenir glass. Gosh, the cost was sure listed on our bill. By then, we were disgusted with the whole experience. We went back to our suite and the noise of loud talking and laughing started up outside our suite about 9:00. At 11:00 I opened the door and went out into the hall. This was a group of teenagers. One young lady had the grace to apologize. I asked them to go to their cabins or to a common area where they could make all the noise they wanted. Again, they were not from that deck.
Friday, and Quebec. This was an awesome day. I had booked all our reservations in the Pinnacle way before the trip. We had 7:30 reservations. When we got back from the shore excursion we were informed our reservations had been changed to 6:00. I asked why and was told that it was up to the manager of the Pinnacle. I showed them the card that was in our suite when we boarded and my receipt for a 7:30 reservation. It didn't make a difference. It was 6:00 or nothing. A last walk about before we started packing up and the Pinnacle was virtually empty at 8:00. Puzzling.
Saturday and Montreal. Very efficient disembarkation. We had reservations at the hotel Bonaparte Auberge. They were wonderful. We were there so early (8:30) and they took our luggage, gave us suggestions to go have coffee and said they would make getting our room ready a priority. We were there for two nights. The restaurant is fabulous. The hotel delightful. The staff was incredible.
We were so disappointed in the Maasdam. We had even booked another cruise to Alaska for 2013 while we were on board. We were able to get the cabin we wanted and get the Statendam. Our room stewards were exceptional and we were delighted to find out they will be on the Statendam next summer. We will not sail on the Maasdam again. The lack of concern and interest in us as passengers was unacceptable. The noise, the rudeness was not what we expected. Our biggest disappointment was the overall attitude of uncaring we encountered.