Small Ship is a bit of Heaven: Maasdam Cruise Review by glennarm
Overall Member Rating
Small Ship is a bit of Heaven
Destination: Canada & New England
The entire cruise was wonderful from start to finish. Embarkation was a breeze - and the room (541) was ready when we boarded - and was around the corner from the gangway at this port. Luggage was delivered before we had even had a chance to explore the ship completely. We did a quick tour and grabbed a bit to eat in the Lido - with tables set up poolside, so we enjoyed a relaxing lunch, and then headed back to the cabin. Luggage was there - so by muster time, we were unpacked and ready to go. Muster wasn't quite as easy as on some other lines, but not impossible - we didn't have to bring life jackets out, but More otherwise it was pretty routine, just a bit bothersome when they had to keep calling several cabins who did not check in promptly.
Cabin - exceptional! 541 was an outside - we often want a verandah, but there aren't a lot on this class ship, and the price was not really worth the jump up in our opinion. there was so much storage that we ended up not even using some spaces. full size couch - not just the little faux leather benches you find on so many lines. no refrigerator, but that was not a problem for us. Fruit bowl was not filled but had a form if you wished fruit - so we put in pear and banana -- they promptly appeared the next morning, and then replaced when we ate anything, plus they added apples as we went thru the week. Tub is not the greatest since it has a high step in, but other than that was fine -- shower in this tub worked well (hand held hansgrohe unit had a leaky hose, but that didn't interfere with the function etc)
Location of this particular cabin was right opposite the storage area/staff work space and got a bit noisy when they were getting out the gear for gangway setup down the hall if that location was where we would be going off the ship, etc. I would move just a bit either forward a few doors, or perhaps down closer mid ship. It was not a big problem, but you could hear a bit of clunking every so often, sometimes early morning (7 am or so) but we are usually early risers so it was not a big problem to us.
Food - etc was great quality, quantity, service etc. Many imaginative choices -- well prepared, quite good, and just right portions - if a portion was small, you could order another, so better that than a plateful that ended up uneaten
Wine - we brought on 3 bottles of wine because we like good wine, and were used to finding that decent wine on a cruise line was usually priced ridiculously high (a $15 in the store wine was often $60-70 on other lines) Here, it seemed those wines were in the $30-40 or so range and very wide variety of good mid-range choices. If I had seen the wine list ahead of time I don't think I'd have bothered to drag my own wine aboard -- there was plenty of selection, and decent stuff was not overpriced, imho!
We are not big on shows etc - and didn't do a ton of gambling this time either. Smoking by other passengers was barely noticeable - a bit in one small section of the casino, and very few other places. Even out on the promenade decks and open spaces, it seemed there were very few people smoking and very minimal instances of having to walk thru smoke -- that's something that is a big issue for us.
Disembarkation was great -- we were not in a rush - we were staying in Montreal for several days, so we opted for late disembarkation -- had breakfast in the dining room - and headed back to our cabin - we were able to remain in the cabin until our numbers were called -- I think we were in one of the last groups called -- and walked right off and found our luggage within seconds (literally). In venturing out before our group was called, at no time did I notice any lines -- or the mass confusion that so often reigns at this time.
granted there were half as many people filing thru the same amount of door space/gangway as on larger ships, but that made it all the more enjoyable to be on a small ship. I hope HAL doesn't get the idea that all us cruisers want more bigger, flashier ships like so many other lines have done.
ITINERARY -- was very enjoyable, however, Sydney is more likely a stay on the ship port in my view. Not much there unless you want to take an excursion - which if we do this itinerary again, we probably would consider -- there is a fort a distance away from town, that apparently is worth seeing according to one of the locals, it is beautiful out that way - but since we didn't bother with that - we had coffee on a deck at a local shop - and headed back to the ship. other ports were more interesting -- Charlottetown has some interesting shops and plenty of places to get local food -- Bar Harbor most of us know about -- we kicked around the town, and had great lobster rolls, strolled thru shops, bought some souvenir type stuff and then headed back -- Halifax - we've been to several times, so we just strolled into town and had some great oysters etc.and local beer. Quebec -- great place -- now we'll have to go back -- lots to see - do - etc. on your own.
We were signed up for My Time Dining - but after the first night - being put near a large extended family with several children (who were reasonably well behaved) which is not quite what we appreciate - the atmosphere was more akin to being on Carnival - we asked if there were any two tops available in the late seating, and were able to get a table near the back of the main upstairs dining room which was just what we enjoy -- our servers and neighbors were all wonderful, much more to our liking - and we enjoyed our dining experiences every night. Can't wait to book another HAL cruise now Less
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