EMBARKATION: It was a breeze as we took a "cruise bus" from St. Pete Florida to Ft. Lauderdale. Embarkation was great. The fastest ever and with a very efficient and pleasant staff. No hotel was needed as we went straight from the bus on to the ship. Luggage almost made it to the room before we did.
SHIP INFO: We have been on the Maasdam before and were happy to see it was upgraded as the Ryndam was, that is. The main show lounge has been done over completely with new stage, lighting, seating, the whole works. Good job. Also a longe area had been installed called the "MIX". A pleasant venue of several lounges, our favorite being the Piano Bar. Jimmy Maddox had a full house every night after the lounge show. He was super.
The ship had a few rough edges as they had contractors on board still working on the final touches.
CABINS: Here is where they still to pay attention to. Our shower stall would overflow in just a few minutes, making a FAST shower a must. The toilet would sometime flush and sometime not, with a 5 minute delay often being the norm.
The climate control did not work for 5 days. With outside temperatures of 40° all we could get was cold air conditioning. Yes we complained but it took 5 days before we had any heat! Sewer smells on our deck were the norm as was the shock of seeing water running out of 3 cabin doors one afternoon.
DINING: Here is where Holland America excels. The food was excellent as usual, both in taste, preparation and appearance.
ACTIVITIES: Not to good but I atribute that to he large amount of senior citizens on the ship. Activities were sparse and poorly attended.
STAFF: As usual, the Holland America staff goes out of their way to great you by name. They are a real friendly congenial bunch!
ENTERTAINMENT: Since it was a re-positioning cruise I think most of the entertianment was on board only for this cruise, but it was good. But the best was the Main Shows put on by the singers and dancers of the Maasdam. Though The scenery (sets) were sparse, the talent was excellent getting standing ovations after every show.
SHORE EXCURSIONS: Did not avail ourselves of this option as every port was convenient to do on your own. Being a re-positioning cruise, some of the ports were just 'fill-ins' so we never went ashore. We were disappointed though to miss one port due to rough seas ( we had to use the tenders a lot ) but the Captain offered us a whopping $1.03 credit on our shipboard charges.
(Yes, you read that right)
DISEMBARKATION: Don't really want to talk about it as we could not go on from Quebec City to Montreal due to high water on the seaway. So it was breakfast at 4a.m. to get ready for the bus at 5a.n. for the 3 hour bus ride to the Montreal airport to make our flights home. The line did try their best to accommodate us.
SUMMARY: I will not cruise on the Maasdam again. It had the same inherent problems before and after being in dry dock. The Ryndam will be our choice in that ship size category. I think the Maasdam should be retired.