Transatlantic - dirty ship with a partly careless crew
The facilities at Tampa port are not up-to-date. It took quite a while until a porter showed up to collect the luggage. The waiting area plus luggage facilities before entering the cruise terminal in Tampa are way too small. The ship itself is of a nice interior, partly quite stylish (e.g. Mix Bar). But the overall cleanliness of ship is quite a desaster. The Lido is really filthy. We were quite shocked to see that the waiters would just drop leftover food on the floor instead of wiping it onto a tray or something. So for sure following guests stepped on the food on the floor and everything was quite bad. The curtains in the Lido were full of stains - it nearly looked like a design but it was dirt and it wasn't dirt from only a couple of days. Dropped food in front of the Lido food stalls remained there for hours before they were removed. You really weren't sure if all this was due to lack of crew (is HAL cutting down on personnel?) or is it pure carelessness of the responsible crew working in the Lido? The supervisors in the Lido were present but they did not seem to care. One day we even saw on of the supervisors in the Lido inspecting his chest through his shirt and the pressing out a pimple - really disgusting when next to it you sit and eat!!! The supervisor only once was really attentive. That was when a three-striped officer came to visit the Lido and there the supervisor told the cooks (and we stood next to him and heard it): "Big boss is coming - put out more food". We looked at each other and thought 'ah, this is how it works'. Because the food in the Lido is pretty meager. Very little desserts and little to choose from. The newest thing is to put desserts on small plates so you only choose little. HAL does not offer large plates or trays in the Lido to pick for yourself. So our impression was that only offering small plates leaves passengers with little portions. But this for the passenger is really annyoing as you have to get different plates which means more ways until you finally have your breakfast together. And the you have to walk back to get your coffee. Speaking of meal times. Don't even try to sleep in. HAL decides for you when to eat. Breakfast is only until 1000 am, a "continental breakfast" until 1030 am. But the continental breakfast has little options to choose from. Funnily enough on port days breakfast is until 1030 am and continental breakfast until 1100 am. Where is the logic in that? Breakfast is offered longer when everyone is off board? So if you decide to sleep until 1000 am and get ready there is no food for you until lunch starts at 1130 am. Really nice that you get up and don't get breakfast and then the only choice to eat is pasta or mongolian beef. Here HAL can learn from Princess cruises how proper meal times work. Meal quality is ok in the Lido but better in the dining room. But at dinner the appetizer are so incredibly small that you think they must have made a joke. Really tiny.
Let me get back to hygiene on board. All of a sudden right after leaving Tampa there was a dove/pidgeon on deck. As all of us know doves/pidgeons are heavy bacteria transmitters. So my thought was that the crew must get rid of the dove/pidgeon right away as the Ryndam has a bad history of Noro virus outbreak on board. No - they didn't do a thing. Deck 11 (Lido) as well as deck 10 were full of dove/pidgeon faeces (poo). Very disgusting. Some times the dove would even walk in the Lido were the crew grabbed it und carried it out back on deck. Then back in the Lido working with food. I finally complained because you really had to look on deck where you could walk not to step in the poo. You know what they said? "it won't leave the ship". The captain adressed it in his daily announcement and even gave him a name. He laughed about it. And the deck got dirtier and dirtier. I finally told them that I would inform the CDC in Atlanta about it as is really was so disgusting.
The port of Ponta Delgada/Acores is nice. Pretty small town Portugal. Easy and cosy. Cadiz/Spain is always nice and a train ride to Seville is done with complications on your own. Motril/Spain is another story. The ship docks way out of town. You have to take a shuttle bus for USD 10 p.p. This was supposed to leave at 9 am. It just wouldn't. We asked when the bus would leave and they said "when the bus is full" which is ridiculous for a shuttle service. The shuttle was accompanied by a very rude Romanian girl who did not care at all about the passengers. We speak Spanish so we heard her talk about bad about the passengers to the bus driver (e.g. "stupid old people" and things like that). The shuttle then stops somewhere in the utterly uninteresting city of Motril. If you choose to go to Granada on your own you then were forced to walk up a hill for some 20 minutes to get to the bus station. So if you are in Motril and want to go to Granada on your own you better take a taxi from the ship which is cheaper than USD 10 p.p. anyway. Palma de Mallorca is ok but quite full with tourists anyhow so the place gets packed when a cruise ship is in. Plus: lots of pick-pockets! Watch out.
Departure in Barcelona was easy - there you see the advantage of a smaller ship.
All in all: an average experience - next time definetly again Princess cruises!