I have only been cruising for about 9 years but I have over 200 cruise days so far. Most of those have been with Holland America. Although some things have gone wrong on some cruises, I have generally been very happy with Holland America until this cruise.
I embarked on a 42 day cruise on the Maasdam on October 19 and it turned out to be my worst cruise ever. We quit using the dining room as it would take up to three hours to finish a meal because of the lack of staff. The Lido staff became very overworked and some even quit during the cruise. They advised they usually serve about 200 guests in the Lido and because of the slow service in the dining room they were now serving up to 500 per meal. We were served with many chipped plates and bowls and lipstick was observed on some of the water glasses they gave us. To correct this they had the water server inspect the glasses and when he found a dirty glass they would not rewash it but would use a dry towel to wipe it off.
The air conditioner in our room (and many others) didn't work properly, so they put a fan in our room, but all that did was move the hot air around. I see from past revues that the Maasdam has had air conditioning problems for years, but apparently Holland has chosen to ignore the problem.
Our veranda light wouldn't turn on, so we could not use it to read in the evenings. I complained to the hotel manager and he gave me an unbelievable story about how it was against coast guard regulations to use my veranda light after 7:00p.m. He did say that at the next port, I could buy a lamp to put on the verandah and Holland would provide me with an extension cord. (Just what I wanted to do, spend over $16,000 for a verandah and then be told that I have to buy a lamp.) I spent a great deal of time and energy proving that the hotel manager didn't know what he was talking about and when I confronted him with the proof, he changed his story and said he thought our room was one of the rooms on the ship that had a posting on the door saying the veranda light could not be used. I then spent more time checking every door on the ship and there was no such sign on any door. I later contacted the front desk and they confirmed there were no signs like that on the ship.
One of the biggest problems on the ship is the fact that my wife is a recovering alcoholic who very much values her 30 plus years of sobriety. Because of the understaffed dining room, we ate most of our meals in the Lido, and my wife usually had a dessert after dinner. After a few days of eating the dessert, my wife took one bite out of a piece of cake, gave the cake to me to try and with one bite, I knew the cake was loaded with rum. We brought this problem to a Lido officer, and he advised us that the vast majority of the desserts in the Lido have alcohol in them as do the fruit cups. We told the officer that Holland needs to put signs in front of anything that has alcohol in it so recovering alcoholics and young children aren't unknowingly given alcohol. The officer agreed with me and I know he took the problem to his superiors, but no signs ever appeared. Although they were nice enough after that to let my wife know which desserts contained alcohol and many times they all did.
Upon completion of the cruise, I complained to Holland America about the problems with the cruise, and I got the feeling that once they got my money, they could care less about what happened on the ship. I especially complained about the actions of the hotel manager, saying that in my opinion, there were only two possible explanations to the manager's story about the coast guard not letting me use my verandah light. Either he was outright lying to me or he knew nothing about his ship. I advised Holland that in either case, he does not deserve to be the hotel manager. All Holland had to say about the matter was that their hotel manager was quite capable.