My wife and I recently completed a 24 day Southern/Western Caribbean cruise on Holland America's MS Maasdam.
While we really enjoyed the ports of call and many of the excursions, the Holland America's embarkation in Ft Lauderdale and the Maasdam itself left something to be desired.
Embarkation was chaos at its worst. The HA shore staff seemed confused and very disorganized. For comparision, we recently completed a cruise on an RCL ship that carried five times the passengers of the Maasdam; the embarkation process for that RCL ship seemed much smoother and organized.
The Maasdam itself seemed somewhat old and worn. At the Mariner's brunch, the captain said HAL had spentl $50 million on a renovation of the ship. To be honest, I didn't see where that money was spent.
- The air conditioning in many of the cabins and common areas didn't work of 20 of 24 days
- much of the furniture and carpeting was showing its age
- bed linens were mismatched and yellowed
- bath room linens were often stained and worn
It also appears that HAL has reduced the staffing both the dining room and Lido restaurants. In addition, all of the menus were limited (for example, the only way to get a sandwich after 5:00 pm was via room service).
The cruise itself was enjoyable and the ports interesting.