Rotterdam Cruise Review by snobol: Service, cleanliness and cruise director missing in action
Overall Member Rating
Service, cleanliness and cruise director missing in action
Destination: South Pacific
Embarkation: San Diego
Plumbing was the biggest issue. Clogs are one matter, but overflowing commodes need immediate attention. The front desk told us that they couldn't take a report of an overflowing commode because the staff was too busy. Granted, a large portion of the problem were the elderly passengers, who apparently liked to flush depends but the staff should be familiar with how to remedy the situation since it is apparently a recurring issue.
The cabin stewards almost never replenished soap, shampoo and shower caps. We got ours from friends in other cabins who had competent stewards. Our room was never cleaned before about 3:00 PM until we complained to housekeeping.
The food was mediocre, except for steaks in the Pinnacle Grill which were outstanding. The vegetables were usually too salty. Breakfast at the Lido was generally the best meal of the day.
HAL has a tradition of trivia contests - but fails to verify the answers are correct or unique. For example angora comes More from goats and rabbits - but only rabbit was an acceptable answer. Also William Henry Harrison and Benjamin Harrison were not the first father-son presidents. The entertainment was a mixed bag. The ship's company, including the Halcats and Gary T'To were excellent - but most of the acts that were brought in were second rate to acts that we had seen on other HAL cruises.
The cruise director refused to move team trivia to the afternoon on port days because she "had" to hold trivia in the morning - yet she did move it to the afternoon on four occasions at sea because she was otherwise occupied. Teams were limited to just four players - whereas six had been the norm on previous cruises. The days of reasonable prizes appears to be in the past. The environmental controls in the crows nest left one side frigid and one side toasty.
HAL needs to rethink its tendering and disembarkation procedures. They were not orderly and posed a real safety hazard by clogging passageways and staircases. The abundance of elderly passengers with walkers or scooters didn't help the situation.
The bridge director was excellent. She gave a great series of classes under less than ideal conditions and got very little help from the ship's staff. The ship's doctor and staff were good - though given the general state of peoples' health on this cruise, the doctor's hours were too limited.
The shore excursions were overpriced, even considering the insurance of not being left if a HAL sponsored excursion got back late is factored into the cost. HAL should have refunded at least $60 of the $119 cost of the tour of Nuku Hiva. The tour was not what was advertised online. Instead of a bus tour there were 30+ SUVs with drivers who mostly didn't speak English and only a little French. In general many of the tour were over-hyped and lacked any sites of real interest.
We signed up for the 2012 world cruise but are having serious second thoughts. Less
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