I'm a glass Â½ full type of person, caused from fighting CLL ( Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia) for the last 22 yrs. We travel to distress and relax and feel cheated when you spend $5,000 plus $700 in tips on a vacation from hell. To start, I must say the first 11 days went ok. It was after that, which HAL let us down.
We've been back from this cruise for 2 weeks now and I'm still sick. Thanks Hal for making so many people sick.
From the 23 of Dec. to the 2 of Jan the ship was under a code red. The crew I talked too had never heard of a code red on any ship they had been on. This was from senior crew members not general staff. The virus on the Maasdam came with them from Europe and stayed for the 3 weeks we were on board. I lost the last week and my wife lost 3 days. 250 guests were sick at the height of this outbreak and that's 20%. Thanks HAL, no apology or compensation for not fixing a huge problem that was clearly your fault & your responsibility.
When we booked this trip in June, we did so because of the itinerary and the islands we had not visited previously. Plus the reviews on this ship and HAL were very good. We went on Carnival for the first time in Sept for 2 week and that cruise rated an 8/10. The Maasdam cruise rates a 3/10.
The price changed several times before final payment of which we received the discounts. 12 days after final payment the price dropped $1000.00. My travel agent did her best to fix this issue and it cost us a $600 penalty to get the $1000.00 reduction. I was also promise an upgrade by HAL customer service for this inconvenience. This never happened and the cabin we did get was the noisiest cabin we've ever been in. My travel agent called HAL and had the CSR reprimanded, for lying to us. So first cruise with HAL, last cruise with HAL, very much like root canal work.
If my friends weren't booked for the first 11 days I would have cancelled this trip in Sept. after the $1000.00 price drop fiasco and eaten the $600.00 penalty to avoid your cruise line.
Got on at about 12:30 pm they started calling numbers, ours was called about 13:30 and after a few minutes we were on board. Our cabin was an interior on the Main Deck 4. The cabin was very large and roomy - lots of storage space. Our cabin stewards, Ali & Johan were very good and attentive.
We had open dining, which worked great for us, 7:30 every night. The times we ate in the main dining room, the service was very good and the food was just okay, not great. We ate in the Pinnacle dining room for my friend's 50th birthday which was good but not great both in services and food.
The seas were kind of rough for several days and it was difficult to walk & lots of motion. Many people were sea sick the first few days and this could have added to the guests sick with the gastro virus. It's small in size compared to other ships we have sailed on and most of the passengers were older. We were always able to find a place to sit around one of the pools.
We did our own tours on all islands, which worked out great.
Our biggest complaints were, the lack of info on the outbreak earlier, so I could get the meds I needed, the women's washrooms out of order on decks 12,11 & 10 for the entire first 10 days. A lot of people complained about the nonexistent air conditioning in their cabins. The nonuse of hand sanitizer by a lot of guests until enforced, after all of us were ill.
We travel 10 weeks of the year and have been on 8 other cruises of 14 days or longer, when we cruise again we will select a larger ship and we'll never ever give HAL cruise lines another dime of our money, ever!!!
Overall, this was our worst vacation experience so far.