We went into Boston a day early and stated at the Fairmont Battery Wharf, excellent accomodations. We took a "hop on hop off" bus tour which gave us a good tour of old & new Boston. Had lunch at Cheers which was good. All the time keeping an eye on the hurricane and trying to find out from Holland American Line (HAL) what was going on with our upcoming cruise with respect to the hurricane. We had been trying to get some information from HAL about the cruise for four days prior to flying to Boston and all we got was that it was still on with no changes. Saturday morning, the day of our embarkation we finally found information on the cruise. The information was found on Cruise Critic, great job to them, never received anything from HAL at anytime until after we left port. As could be expected we lost our first two ports of call, Bar Harbor Maine and Halifax, Nova Scotia.
The Maasdam left on time and proceeded to get away from the storm and make it to the protected coast of Nova Scotia. With the rough seas and wind the Maasdam was a smooth cruising ship with little motion. Great job to the Captain and crew for the smooth sailing.
The room accomodations were average as compared to other cruises we've taken. The room and the ship was showing its age and was in need of an overhaul. We also had to take 3 cold showers, because of no hot water in our cabin. Spoke to the cabin steward and front desk about this, but the problem wasn't resolved. I would rate this room a D and the steward an A.
We had late seating 8:00pm. The food was good, but the choices didn't always work for us. We did a lot of ordering off the daily menu choices. Lido buffet was also good food and good choices for both breakfast and lunch. Hamburgers at the Terrance Grill were excellent,taco bar was good, but the pizza left alot to be desired. Lunch in the Rotterdam was not very good. I had a tuna melt that had very little tuna in it and the cheese wasn't melted and this was after I sent it back! Overall the food was good mostly, but not outstanding. Table Steward wasn't very friendly and didn't spend much time with us.
Entertainment in the Showtime theater was the best that we experienced on any cruise we've been on. Great shows and acting. The daily entertainers in the lounges were very good as well, however, there wasn't any music at the pool except for a small time during embarkation. As I read in another review the ship was pretty sedate. Not what we're use to from other cruises.
Gaspe was a port of call added to the cruise since we couldn't visit two others. Didn't go ashore there wasn't much to do or see. Most tours were 45 mins to an hour and half away using school buses to transport people that didn't appeal to us. Another port Saguenay,Quebec, Canada that replace one of our original stops. This port was great it started by towns people dressed in period clothing welcoming us to the pier and continued with dancing, samples of there local blueberry wine and pies. Toured the area on a "hop on- hop off" bus that was guided for only $5. Great history lesson and sites. Later took a tour to a soap making shop, glass blowing shop and a local sheep farm that made award winning cheese. One of the best ports we've been to HAL should make this one of their regular ports. Not to mention sailing up the Fjord to get there.
We were impressed by the addition of the Digital Workshops for basic camera and picture taking using Windows Essentials Live. Plan on using what I learned to good use now that we're home.
Overall, HAL did a good job of seeing we were safe from the hurricane, but the lack of communication from the start made this a not so enjoyable cruise. From service in the dining room, missed ports to cold showers we could not recommend this cruise to others. Even though we're in our late 50's the passengers were older than us. We're still active and this ship didn't push activities. With the issues that we had we won't be sailing with HAL in the near future.