Previously, I sailed with Holland-America, on the Veendam in 1999, and the Volendam in 2001. Fine and impeccable was the service of the day, back then. Unfortunately, the service which previously existed, is alas, no more on the Ryndam. No sooner had my wife and I boarded the Ryndam on Dec. 1, 2013, that I noticed that there was a problem with the diverter valve in the shower. I was unable to get the water in the bathtub, to come out of the showerhead. Hence, I summoned the cabin attendant, who also had a problem with that device. In addition, the water was not properly draining out of the bathtub, as it was clogged. Someone had to have known about that problem, prior to Dec. 1, 2013. In any event, I called their main "service" desk, and reported the problem. One would have thought that both the cabin attendant and the main desk, would have contacted the ship's plumber. In fact, the matter was never addressed, until I again complained on Tuesday. I contacted a ship's officer, and also complained to the main desk, in person. This time, I got some action, as a maintenance person was actually sent to diagnose the problem. Afterwards, two plumbers came, and not only attempted to fix the problem, but also repaired a leaking faucet in the bathtub. However, I still had continuous problems with the diverter valve for the rest of the cruise, although I eventually got the water to come out of the shower head. To make matters worse, the toilet stopped flushing several days later. This time, the matter was expeditiously taken care of, and repairs were rendered.
In addition to the maintenance problems, there were problems with the Ryndam's security personnel. Some of them, whom we encountered when we disembarked and embarked at the various ports of call, were the lowest of the lowest, pertaining to professionalism, or the lack thereof. They had no training in dealing with customers who had mobility issues. I saw one of their lowlifes, grab the wrist of an older lady, as she was having issues with walking past their security scanner. Another one screamed at a passenger, who inadvertently left his cell phone in the security area, after he successfully passed through screening. I personally complained to the number two man on the ship (the Hotel Manager), and he straightened the security miscreants out. Unfortunately, when we left the Ryndam in Tampa, on Dec. 8, 2013, there was mass pandemonium regarding the expedited disembarkation. It was extremely disorganized, and some of the Holland-America crew, were shouting at the passengers. Again, it was very unprofessional., and could have been handled better. When we asked for assistance with our luggage, in getting off, the Ryndam refused to help us. However, there were plenty of porters in the Tampa terminal, once we exited the ship.
Years ago, Holland-America used to have a master baker on board, and he would bake the most delicious pastries. Then, in the evening, those pastries would be displayed for all of the guests to enjoy. Unfortunately, the Ryndam no longer does that, as the type and variety of pastries, left a lot to be desired.
Entertainment-The so-called entertainment on the Ryndam, with one exception, was definitely third rate. Years ago, Holland-America had a number of variety acts, singers, dancers, and comedians, similar to the Ed Sullivan Show. Today, the performers are definitely substandard. In addition, the Ryndam employed a violinist who put me to sleep with boring melodies, every night. Also, the bands in the Crow's Nest, and the Ocean Bar area, were not the greatest.
Lifeboat drill- I wasn't impressed with the so-called lifeboat drill. Years ago, on the Veendam and the Volendam, we were required to put our life jackets on before coming to the lifeboat station. And, the life jackets were inspected by the crew, to make sure that they were properly placed on the passengers. Now, it is no longer required. Also, there was confusion at the various lifeboat stations, and the deck crew were rude to the passengers. They wanted the door area cleared, but there was no area, for the passengers to stand, since we were crowded on top of each other. I always wondered how everybody would act, and how efficiently the crew would handle the task in a real emergency.
Dining Room- I have to compliment our Waiter, and Assistant Waiter, as they worked very hard, and the food was very good. Unfortunately, it appeared that the personnel in the dining room, have been trimmed,
Elevators- The elevator service on the Ryndam was atrocious. Not all of the elevators worked. Also, the elevators were not that large. Unfortunately, there were quite a number of overweight people on the cruise. When they enter an elevator, there is very little room left, for less obese people. I make a point of letting several elevators pass, rather than getting on a crowded one. However, there are some selfish individuals, who will opt to make a crowded elevator even worse, by shoving themselves onto it, instead of waiting for the next one.
Type of passengers- There were passengers of all ages, including young children. I noticed two instances which made my blood boil, whereby the parents who should have known better, actually endangered the physical well being of their children. In one case, a young Mother, held her small child, over the top of the railing to show him the ocean! In another case, a young Mother got off the elevator, and failed to notice that her child was standing in the area, where the door closes. The Mother was completely oblivious to the danger that she placed her child in, by not exercising better supervision.
Captain of the Ryndam- My hat goes off to Captain Werner Timmars, as he continuously kept us informed of the progress of the Ryndam, pertaining to Longitude, Lattitude, Water Temperature, Air Temperature, speed of the ship, etc. In addition, he was a very personable, and friendly individual. I was not impressed with the Cruise Director Rick Barnes, who seemed to be making excuses for the lack of quality entertainment.
Internet Service Manager- I was impressed with that individual, as he assisted me with printing my airline boarding passes, while onboard the Ryndam. Once, I came online, it was very easy to use the computer sevices at sea.
Overall, on a scale of 1-100, I'd have to regretfully rate the Ryndam at 72% or a C. The Ryndam is nearly twenty years old, and it should be retired.