We took Holland America with the hope it would be an improvement on previous trips on Princess and Carnival. We were told that the food was superior and the attention to detail was better. This was true in the Pinnacle dining room, which was well worth the extra charge. Unfortunately, the regular dining room stewards were spread so thin, due to the buffet and anytime dining, that they were unable to attend to expected services, such as filling water and providing more bread. Also, food was often cold by the time it got to the table, except the ice cream, which was soupy.
Two days out, a GI virus hit, and about 10% of those on board contracted it over a two week period. We remained on quarantine for the rest of the cruise, which meant staff needed to be constantly sterilizing, hot tubs were closed, and all foods needed to be served in the buffet. The line did well to protect the rest of us, but we lost much of the relaxed nature of a cruise as a result. Our cabin was very comfortable and the stewards did an excellent job cleaning it and attending to special requests.
We liked the midsize ship, and even though older, the Maasdam is well maintained, the exception being rust spots on the hull. Entertainment was top notch, especially the special musicians brought on board. My one complaint in this area is since we have a full agenda, why must the cruise director come on the public address system several times per day to review activities, and in case we missed her announcements, repeat them at every event? Give us more credit. Next time, we are trying Oceania line, an alternative to the Carnival umbrella.