Maasdam Cruise Review by skiron: Wonderful Ship Now Needs Updating
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Wonderful Ship Now Needs Updating
We started cruising in December 2006 with our first cruise on the Maasdam from Norfolk VA on an 11 day cruise to the Caribbean. In an anniversary cruise this December we reenacted our first cruise (now our 7th overall) on the Maasdam which has remained our favorite ship compared to the Volendam, Ryndam, Zaandam, RCL Grandeur of the Seas and the NCL Majesty in a far distant last place. We still love the Maasdam and there are so many positives that others have written about that I will heartily agree with. Overall the food, crew, facilities and embarkation and disembarkation are very good and with few to no faults and we had a more or less perfect cruise experience with exceptions noted below.
However, other recent CC reviewers have pointed out some problems on this old grand ship that we have now experienced for ourselves. We had the same problems with the control of cabin temperature in cabin 581 on the main deck as mentioned by others on this level. When we boarded the room More temperature was very cold and could not be raised; after a call to the front desk we were informed that the maintenance staff would be called and the problem then went away for several days. Mid cruise the cabin temperature was too warm and temperature could not be reduced until the obligatory call to the front desk which again solved the problem temporarily. Later in the cruise the frigid temperatures returned and the temperature was 65 degrees F and falling according to the digital thermometer on our travel clock. One of our fellow cruisers called the thermostat a cabin ornament with little other function.
The periodic and recurring problem with cabin temperatures and lack of function of the thermostat were matched by blistering hot scalding water from the tap in the basin in the bathroom. The water was so hot for the whole cruise that extreme care was needed to prevent burning your hands. This would be a serious problem for people traveling with children but we endured and used extreme care in keeping the tap at the coldest end of the range and inching up to the hotter settings.
Additionally frustrating was the lack of 2 of the 4 elevators in the aft end of the ship for most to all of the cruise. This led to delays and backups especially at lunch and dinner times.
For people who take the Queens Route tour in St. Lucia, please be aware that the boarding of the tender in Soufriere at the end of the tour can be extremely difficult depending on the tide for anyone with walking, hip or knee problems. My wife who has a hip problem had serious difficulty in getting into the tender from the dock which presented a 2-3 food drop into the bobbing tender that was somewhat scary even to me.
As noted by some other reviewers, the internet access on HAL ships including the Maasdam is worse than awful and HAL should be ashamed of charging 0.75 cents/minute for this abysmal sham of a connection. It took a full minute for each page to load from their free NY Times limited news connection and I did not even sign up for service after previous experiences noted by others that it often takes several minutes (ie., $$) for connection to an email provider and many more $$ for email to download). I waited to go onshore during the trip and found internet providers for a very small fraction of the cost and much faster connection speeds than available on HAL ships.
Overall the cruise and people on the ship were great and I would go back again on the Maasdam (after they send it to the drydock for refurbishing) without hesitation. This is truly a great ship in the line compared to even their newer vessels which lack the sophistication and ambience.
Happy cruising. Less
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Cabin review: Maasdam Large Oceanview Stateroom Main 581
Good spacious closets, drawers and shelves. Cabin temperature control poor; quiet location and little noise from other decks or hall; good access to fore and aft elevators; hot water was scalding hot for entire cruise
Port and Shore Excursions
Vendors were located within easy walking distance from the ship and on shore internet access was available at highly reasonable charges compared to the ship. For island tours, we booked the tour through HAL at $49 each for a 3.5 hr tour that was great; however, our traveling partners said they had a very similar tour with similar vehicles for anywhere from $15 to $25 each depending how far up the queue of tour guides you walked on the street. I recommend the island tour for fantastic views but the road system is so narrow and winding that renting a car or motorbike should be considered only by the most adventurous; this is not beginners territory!