Maasdam Cruise Review by rsmdude: Canada/New England Discovery Cruise - HAL Maasdam - July 6
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Canada/New England Discovery Cruise - HAL Maasdam - July 6
Embarkation and the cruise terminal in Boston were great. We used the SL bus from Logan just as mentioned in Cruise Critic but we must have missed some info regarding the switchover from SL1 to SL2 at the World Trade Center so we ended up walking from there to the cruise terminal. I wouldn't recommend this since it is a fair distance and depending on the weather it could be quite miserable. It was a sweltering 95F the day we departed so it was very miserable!
We were both HAL Mariner's so we joined the Embarkation Lunch in the MDR which turned out to be the best experience we had in the MDR for the entire cruise.
The food throughout the cruise was quite good everywhere including the various desserts which is pretty unusual these days. The service at the luncheon was good and the pace was just right but that was the only time that happened sadly.
The slowness of service and the relative inattentiveness in the MDR as well as in the Pinnacle Grill was a real More problem and a constant topic of discussion at meals and other gatherings. The service and speed never changed even after the serving restrictions were lifted later in the cruise.
The cabin stewards worked very hard for us and were always eager to please. They left us towel animals every night and were always quick to respond if we had any request. Overall our cabin was great and very roomy with a full size pullout sofa and much more storage than we could use. The beds were quite comfy and the temperature usually perfect. The only room issue we had was a toilet that needed work but that was resolved very quickly and we had no issues with plumbing, etc. otherwise.
The bar staff were excellent as well and we took advantage often of the 4-5pm Happy Hour specials in the Crow's Nest.
The Maasdam may be an older ship but it has been lovingly cared for and had been updated with modern fittings in most areas throughout the ship. The carpets and wall finishes are all in great shape and the ship was kept very clean throughout our cruise.
The only other issues we encountered were due to restrictions placed after they reported a few (??) cases of gastrointestinal illness. They closed the pools, drained the hot tubs, closed all the self-serve laundry facilities and removed serving utensils in the buffet so that ship staff had to serve everything to you including drinks.
The buffet and MDR restrictions only served to slow down our meal pace even further but the restrictions were understandable.
Closure of the hot tubs was understandable as well but a nuisance given the large amount of walking and sore legs we had after visiting all the ports.
Closure of the self-serve laundry facilities was less understandable and there were never any signs or announcements that this was going to be done so we were forced to use the ship's laundry service and received no break in the pricing which many were disgruntled about.
The food in the Pinnacle Grill was quite good but not really exceptional. Given the significant upcharge we were both very unhappy with the lackadaisical service and glacially slow pace of getting our order taken and food served. If they had been booked fully I may have had more patience but they had many tables that were empty and only one large party to attend to. The maitre'd actually took our dessert order after noticing that we were waiting so long to have our table cleaned and finish.
We only had one tender port and that was Bar Harbor. We had no issues getting off the ship fairly quickly and the tender into town was efficient. Returning to the ship in the afternoon was a slow process however and we got stuck on the unsheltered pier in a snaking line despite intentionally arriving early to beat the crowds. They needed more boats for tendering and needed to move them a bit faster.
I'm not a fan of using the lifeboats as tenders as they are harder to get into and out of, cramped, slow and have little ventilation for hot days. Also their tender setup would make it virtually impossible for anyone with issues of mobility to get to the port. The other ports were all dock facilities so they posed no issues at all. Generally speaking all of the ports were convenient to the downtown areas for walking as well.
Disembarkation in Montreal was also quick and a breeze. They did close the Lido buffet quite early so we missed getting breakfast onboard (we chose late, independent disembarkation as we had small roll-on suitcases). Beware though that they have a rather slow and inefficient taxi loading situation so the lines for that were extremely long inside the terminal. Luckily we had rolling luggage so we walked to our hotel from the port. Less
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Cabin review: DA649
649 is an ocean view cabin on the main deck with a large picture window and a full sized pullout sofa. The cabin was very roomy with lots of storage, an actual tub (though small sized and a considerable climb up) and lots of room to move around. The location was very good just aft of the aft elevators so it was a quick trip to any of the dining areas and a short walk to any other place on the ship. We did get a good bit of noise and vibration when the ship was manuevering into and out of port most likely from the thrusters and reversing cavitation but it didn't last too long.
Port and Shore Excursions
Not a lot to do in Halifax on foot except see the public gardens and the maritime museum (both of which are quite nice however). Also they have the Citadel but we didn't really look into that much as it was raining at the time.
If you wanted to see other sights it was necessary to book an excursion.
Actually this stop was Sydney, Nova Scotia which wasn't available to select in the pulldown menu for this review.
Sydney was a very walkable and interesting little town. There isn't a lot to do other than see a few historical homes and shop some but it is very walkable and relaxing.
If you wanted to see other sights again it was necessary to book an excursion.