Had been loyal fans of HAL (Veendam, Volandam, Prinsendam, but not now after the Statendam). Totally agree with dissatisfaction of this cruise. Based on this debacle, I will never cruise with any ship without asking when the ship was in dry-dock last!
HAL supposedly paid $36 million for refurbishing the ship. While the library, Mix/Ocean bars and other public areas looked lovely, overall the ship had a worn look. The lounge chairs in the Crow’s Nest were broken. Obviously there had been no quality control in checking the outcome of the dry-dock refurbishment.
Additional problems from what other passenger wrote about: Seems more of the problems with plumbing/flooding in the cabins were on the 9th and 10th deck, those who paid the most! Personally, we were very lucky as our cabin on the 9th deck had very minor problems: leaking in the bathroom (water seeping thru the tile) – never did figure out if it was the toilet/sink/bathtub. TV cord was frayed, but we still had connection after jiggling it. Jacuzzi didn’t work for the first 12 days – all problems were reported several times. Some people didn’t have A/C for all or part of the 14-days; some didn’t have use of their toilets for all or part of the trip. Yes, just imagine if you have to get up several times in the middle of the night and have to “go” hunting for a public restroom. Ladies room on deck 12 near Crow’s Nest had 2 toilets, one (or both) were often not working; ditto for the ladies’ room near the Rotterdam Dining room (8th deck).
Problems with elevators weren’t fixed ‘til 8th day – the Italian technicians sailed with us from Ft. Lauderdale to Barbados when they finally fixed them after working almost round the clock. The staff was so busy placing buckets in the Lido dining room that they didn’t pass coffee/tea around ‘til about the 10th day. Finding clean cutlery in the Lido at lunchtime proved to be an adventure – again around day 10 they seemed to get their act together.
The desalinization plant broke down, and for 1 ½ days, only salt water was in the taps. Since we were touring in Bonaire that day, we brought bottled water back with us. However, that night in the Rotterdam dining room (Table 30, late sitting), we refused to pay for bottled water and had quite a discussion with the maitre d who was quite belligerent. The waiter finally brought us bottled water poured into a carafe (hope he didn’t spit in it!) – many passengers didn’t put up the fuss we did and had to pay but some of them later had the charge removed. And we heard that the crew had to pay for bottled water. Those who can afford it the least...
There was a suspected fire in the incinerator room at 5:15 a.m. one day -- after the alarm sounded, the Filipino or Indonesian lady who reported the problem on the loud speaker sounded panic-stricken. The Capt (who supposedly had a medical problem which affected his speaking -- not widely known and many thought he was drunk) announced something but difficult to understand. It wasn't until the social director came on to explain the situation that we knew what was happening (more or less).
The fire door leading from the stairway/elevator area to our cabin was in the "closed" locked position for 1 1/2 days (I called at least 3 times to report the problem). This was a true safety hazard.
I wrote a 5-pg. letter to HAL – it’ll be interesting to see how they respond. Many people who were really disgusted with the trip were given up to about $500 in cash rebate. Frankly, even if I receive a credit towards another cruise, we’re very leery about going on another HAL. All the ships just look so old compared to Royal Carib.