Voyage of the Vikings 2010- 35 Days
This was my first cruise over 10 days and didn't really know what to expect. It was perfect!
Embarkation was slow,but smooth. Luggage was delivered inside staterooms very quickly.
Ship is older but in ok condition. Staterooms all have a couch as well as beds. Plenty of closet and draw space. TV position isn't the best. If there are huge waves and you have a cabin in the front of the ship you will hear and feel the slap of the wave, as I expect you will on all ships.
Appreciated the special grill luncheons out by the pool. Food only got better as the cruise progressed. Excellent food and a variety at every meal--don't miss the waffles for breakfast with fresh berries! I preferred dining in the Lido-you could sample each of the entrees, appetizers, etc., without having a million plates in front of you, as presentation is important with HAL.Also, if another diner at your table ordered an additional entree after completing the first, then the whole table had to wait until that person was finished to get dessert and coffee. (I can't explain why I was in a hurry...)
HAL offers soda drink cards for fountain beverages-you save about $1 per soda. The Coffee Bar in the Explorers Lounge also offers coffee cards--these are only a good value when one can use the card for a large daily special (this changed when the staff person changed).
Spa is small-offers warm tile loungers, steam bath and hot tub. Last two weeks the the smaller steam bath didn't work everyday. There is a free sauna. I purchased the spa pass and was generally one of two using the facilities at a variety of times during this cruise. There are only 6 tile loungers, so with a younger group of passengers it may get crowded.
Others reported enjoying the nightly shows. There was also a different movie offered each day at different times to accommodate passenger schedules.
The Captain kept passengers informed daily at minimum and advised when approaching views that passengers would enjoy (sometimes the evening before the actual approach. He also shared information he gathered about other ships in port, etc. This was something I wasn't use to hearing and really appreciated during this cruise.
Interesting lectures were provided and then televised. Cooking classes were also offered. Not many "active" planned activities on this cruise. "Golf" was it besides "Trivia" everyday. The Explorer's Lounge has a variety of board games to borrow/use; and offered a sign-up to find fellow players.
Going through Prince Christian Sound, a guide provided verbal information for the whole duration! This was one of the highlights of the cruise for me.
Staff are friendly and respectful. They work very hard to ensure passengers are comfortable and enjoying themselves.
Ports that required tendering were painful. If you weren't on a ship's excursion the wait was very long. The staff that managed the "tickets" weren't forthcoming with the truth. One female staff in particular, was quite condescending when speaking with passengers--We passengers restrained ourselves and didn't dispose of her in the ocean! Recommend that you avoid cruises that require a number of tender ports.
The weather was cool and foggy until we reached Copenhagen (at night anyhow) the foghorn was required frequently. It is difficult to describe the cruise-the views were surreal and I felt like I was visiting another planet. Gorgeous, absolutely gorgeous. My favorite ports were the small communities in Newfoundland, Greenland, Iceland and Norway. Everyone should have the opportunity to visit these countries. The larger ports were like visiting any metropolitan area in the summer...crowded and too much to see without the time to take advantage of being in the cities. Passengers were gifted with whale (different types), porpoise, dolphin and sailfish sightings! Glorious days at sea!
Smoking is only allowed in staterooms, outside and in the casino.
The casino slot machines just ate money--one jackpot in 35 days! If you are a gambler stick to the tables. It is a blatant lie that "the payouts are the same as Las Vegas."..and the casino staff kept repeating it like a mantra.
Disembarkation was orderly and smooth without any incidents.
It was a great cruise--both the itinerary and the Maasdam met all of my expectations and more!!