On December 18th we took our first Christmas cruise, it was our 15th cruise and the 7th with Holland America. Unlike our past cruises we found a big difference in the passengers, there was ALOT of families onboard and at times this became and issue. In April we had sailed on the Statendam, so I was a just bit concerned because of the older nature of the S Class of ships. I was very surprised at the good condition of the ship, the Statendam is OK but not as good condition as the Maasdam, although they are both older ships, the Maasdam I found to be in better condition, not as much wear and tear around the edges. The first thing I must comment about is the incredible staff.
Our dining room waiter and assist waiter were 2 of the best we've ever had. The cabin attended always greeted us by name and was always smiling when we saw him. In Santo d'Tomas, Guatemala I met him on the pier and he actually approached me and asked how my day was and did I enjoy myself. The food in the dining room was fine, however I did noticed the desserts are not as good as they have been on past HAL cruises and the selection is considerable less. I love desserts and have a real sweet tooth, so for me to have to settle for just ice cream for dessert was a disappointment. The biggest area for improvement I found was the entertainment. The Maasdam singers and dancers were the worst I've ever encountered. You know things are bad when you can tell the lead singers are lip syncing half of the show. It was so easy to tell this because their shoes made more noise then their voices. In the past we've been able to find movie to enjoy, but not on this cruise. I love the theatre's on the S-class ships but the movies shown in the theatre were truly very bad. We did have a couple of minor problems with our cabin, the first was not enough hot water pressure to have a shower, so we could only take a bath. With the lower hot water pressure it took 35 minutes just to fill the tub. It took about 2 days to fix the problem, I'm not sure why the previous guests didn't notice this before. The other problem we had was on the 3rd day when our AC stopped working. We both woke up in the middle of the night dripping in sweat. After a call to the front office and we received a large fan to help circulate some air, later that day the engineers were able to fix the problem, however we never really had a very cold cabin. When we got back to the cabin on Christmas eve the front office staff had champagne and a plate of chocolate for us. The front office supervisor was very quick to follow up with us to see if there was anything else they could do for us. I was very pleased with the service. One problem that will never be fixed is the air vents in the cabin doors. Every cabin has a large vent to the corridor. Because of the location of our cabin next to the aft stairwell/elevator, we found our cabin to be very noisy. This was the first time we've ever had air vents to the corridors like this, and they really do permit a great deal of noise from the corridors into the cabins. If you are a light sleeper, this will be a problem for you. Choose a cabin at the end of a hallway. You could easily hear the announcements in the corridors without opening your cabin door. Overall we loved the Maasdam, the only reason I would be hesitant to sail on the Maasdam again is because of the door vents.