As fans of Celebrity, we are usually seeking out cruises with them. However, for a change of pace, we book cruises with other lines occasionally. Reading positive reviews of Holland America, we went ahead and booked the Maasdam for its Canada/New England itinerary. The reviews for Maasdam were quite mixed, but we went ahead with the booking, keeping an open mind and excited about the cruise. We found that we generally liked the HAL product, but didn't fall in love with the Maasdam.
EMBARKATION / DISEMBARKATION:
This was the easiest embarkation / disembarkation I have experienced on any cruise - including on the luxury lines. We breezed on and off the ship. Very well-done by HAL.
This ship is old. There is no mistaking its age. While the ship underwent a Signature of Excellence revitalization in 2011, the ship still looks and feels dated. The lobby is dark and dreary with an awful green sculpture as the centerpiece. The ship's decor is like an old Vegas hotel - lots of brass and mirrors and weird yellow lighting in the elevator lobbies. On the plus side, the rooms look terrific. The bed is wonderful and the balcony furniture is high quality with padding. Pinnacle Grill is a lovely space, as is the Crow's Nest and the Mix bars. The biggest disappointment for me on this cruise were the yellowed bath linens and mildew smells in the hallways. Maasdam is really a mixed bag of quality.
Food is so subjective, but we generally enjoyed it. Pinnacle Grill, Le Cirque and Canaletto were all great! The MDR was hit & miss, as was the Lido.
We found the service to be very good. The staff were wonderful, remembering our names and making a huge effort to provide a great product. The staff all seem proud of their ship and they all exhibited warm, genuine hospitality.
Activities on this ship are plentiful. There is a full slate of daytime and evening activities, though the ship quiets down after 10pm. There were three production shows, which were disappointing - nothing more than singers walking around the stage for 45 minutes (although the singers were wonderful). There was also a comedian and some local entertainment brought onboard.
We had a great time on this cruise, thanks to a nice itinerary and the people we met onboard. We would consider HAL in the future, but this ship either needs a serious overhaul or be retired. It's on its last legs.