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2 Barcelona to U.S.A. Cruise Reviews

The Prinsendam was billed by both the HA rep on the phone and the on board cruise consultant as a high end experience. We were told "It is good that you are travelling on the Noordam first, because you will be spoiled after travelling ... Read More
The Prinsendam was billed by both the HA rep on the phone and the on board cruise consultant as a high end experience. We were told "It is good that you are travelling on the Noordam first, because you will be spoiled after travelling on the Prinsendam." It was quite the reverse because of gaps in food/beverage service, some shortcomings in activities, and the level of ship maintenance (which did improve in the few days just before reaching port). Had we travelled first on the Princendam, I think we would not have been so thrilled with cruising. Our first cruise on the Noordam(our cruise to Italy) was far superior to the cruise back on the Princendam. The Prinsendam staff still provided the hallmark Holland America quality of service in our cabin, laundry, front desk, and table services with their smiling and playful presence and attention to detail. The line cooks went out of their way to provide whatever we wanted, once even though it wasn't on the menu. Loved the sail away parties which they did with flair. But there were missing elements that did not seem to be down to the staff but perhaps ship policy? By contrast, on the Noordam, if we sat on the Lido back pool deck we were immediately asked if we wanted anything and were consistently provided with tea, coffee, water, lemonade and hot chocolate despite no gratuity on these free items (we did provide a tip at the end of the trip. On the Prinsendam, on a virtually vacant deck, there was no offer of service after we declined alcohol. This was a very different experience from the high standard set by the outside Lido service on the Noordam. Our rating is low for this cruise because of this issue and the food hygiene concern noted below. While in deck chairs on the Noordam, a steward occasionally came by with the offer of blankets, it was more of a self serve on the Prinsendam...perhaps with fewer cruisers and staff, this service has been edited. Not a big deal but reflective of the high quality on the Noordam. Of particular concern on the Prinsendam was that for about the last 4-5 days of the cruise, the salads, cheese, appetizers, were left at room temperature when a part in the refrigeration table had apparently failed. Certainly that can happen, but the response should be to set buffet food on ice. Even though we raised the issue, the salads, cheese and appetizers were not kept at food safe temperatures, no checking on food temperature was conducted as we sat there for over an hour when the food was already warm. The cheese sat so long it was drying out and sweating out the fat while appetizers with meat and sea food were room temperature. For short periods, without ice, freshly prepared food would have been ok, but this was an extended time for the cheese to have gone beyond being soft to sweating the fat out (leave some cheese out and watch how long it takes for that to happen). It was a struggling ship already with a nasty cold running through it (no fault of HA and lots of sanitizer being dispensed) so measures to keep the food at the correct temperatures should have been a priority. Also, a bit of concern about keeping food appropriately hot and cold on the Lido deck for the sail away parties. Anything grilled was good but the taco area was iffy at best for both hot and cold as were some of the salads. HA cruising was unquestionably good but we found the Prinsendam over promised at twice the price for a lower level room than on the Noordam. It is essential to pay attention to ensuring a healthy food service on the Prinsendam. Room temperature mayonnaise based salads are neither appetizing nor safe. The pizza was usually dried out...not very fresh at all. Ice cream bar was great. Sorry, other elements of food were good but cannot compensate for a lack of food safety. Entertainment was good but the games offered on deck were not worthy of the HA standard. Love you guys but there are some tweaks needed and I wouldn't take the Prinsendam again, even at a lower price. I'd take the Noordam again in a second. Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
BED BUGS & LOUSY FOOD FOR OUR 50TH WEDDING ANNIVERSARY. TERRIBLE REVIEW for Royal Caribbean's "Voyager of the Sea" - Sailed October 30, 2011 on a 13 night cruise Barcelona to New Orleans. This was our 35th cruise! ... Read More
BED BUGS & LOUSY FOOD FOR OUR 50TH WEDDING ANNIVERSARY. TERRIBLE REVIEW for Royal Caribbean's "Voyager of the Sea" - Sailed October 30, 2011 on a 13 night cruise Barcelona to New Orleans. This was our 35th cruise! We were celebrating our 50th Wedding Anniversary. This was our 7th cruise on Royal Caribbean. After this cruise, we have decided not to sail on any Royal Caribbean's cruise ships in the future. Below is our review to explain our comments. As per Cruise Critic's Guidelines, I will try and structure my review into categories. BACKGROUND INFORMATION As mentioned, we have cruised 35 times including Royal Caribbean, Carnival, Celebrity, Holland American, NCL, Princess and others. We are in our early 70's residing in Clearwater FL; we have cruised the Caribbean, Alaska, South America, Mexican Rivera, Gulf of Mexico, Europe and about ten transatlantic crossings. EMBARKATION: In Barcelona - after waiting 45 minutes for a wheel chair, they whisked my wife away with out me and I had the paper work. About ten minutes later they showed up with another wheel chair and we eventually located my wife and then we were processed promptly. STATEROOM We were located on Deck 9, Balcony cabin #9622 - Cost for this Balcony Cabin $2,892.68 booked on December 20th 2010. We had called Royal Caribbean relative to my recent total knee replacement and were given assurance that it would be no problem to have two gel packs put in the Medical freezer daily and they would be available as we would need them as a nurse is available 24/7. After getting settled in the cabin we asked the lady room steward to please take the two gel packs to the freezer, she was quite rude in stating that this could not be done. After I explained that this was already approved by Royal Caribbean and we were advised to give the gel packs to the room steward and that if she couldn't handle it to please send the Hotel manager to our cabin. All of a sudden she was able to take the gel packs to the freezer. Since it would be 24 hours until the gel packs would be cold enough I requested a large bucket of ice so I could treat my knee using plastic sealed bags, after two hours and three follow-up phone calls with the room steward she brought the large bucket of ice and I treated my knee. We went to late seating at 8:30pm and were just seated when my knee started to bother me so I asked my wife to go back to our cabin on the 9th deck and contact the room steward for additional ice, my wife went back to the 9th deck and spoke directly to the room steward asking for an additional large bucket of ice and she said she would take care of it right away. After dinner we went back to the cabin to ice my knee and there was no ice. We called room service and they brought up a large bucket of ice. In the morning my wife addressed the room steward who was nasty in an aggressive manner, she threw up her hands in the air and said, "I must have forgot, SO"! With this attitude we went to the purser's office and discussed this problem we were having with the room steward; apparently management addressed this problem right away as we had no further issues with the room steward on the remainder of the cruise. On about the third day of the cruise my back was aching in the morning, so I pulled the bottom sheet back and found that two mattress pads had been folded over and then a third mattress pad had been put over the top of the other two mattress pads and the sheet over the mattress pad. At the same time my wife said look at my arms, I have five bites on one arm and three bites on the other arm. We went to the purser office and they said they would look into it and advise us of the results. A service man came and started to poke around by the bed head board and we left the cabin. About three hours later we came back to the cabin, new MATTRESSES were now on the bed. No one from the purser's offices ever called to say what they found; but obviously, it was BED BUGS. A couple of days later we came back to the cabin while the lady room steward was in the bathroom cleaning and we found two Royal Caribbean personnel in some type of dress uniforms in the cabin, one setting on the bed and one standing. Surprised one said, "we are not working just entertaining the room steward." We left and went to the purser office and reported the incident, but were surprised as they didn't seem to care as this appeared as common place; but it was not common place to us as no one should be in our cabin other than when it was being serviced. We never received any response from the purser's office. The other aspects of the cabin worth mentioning is the balcony, the carpet was wore out and filthy. Rusty metal was showing. The glass by the rail was never washed once during the cruise. The teak rail was raw wood, no varnish. There were NO amenities in the bathroom, no hand lotion, body lotion, shampoo, or shower cap, just one bar of soap. With the new mattress, the bed was now comfortable; however, since the DUST mites were stirred up and with the bite problem and the mattress problem, I ended up in the Doctor's office on the ship with a bacterial infection and the doctor visit and medicine cost me $156.40. SHIP INFO - The Teak Railing all over the ship was raw wood no varnish. Many deck chairs had missing straps. The ship definitely is in need of much maintenance as much wear is noted We were surprised at the declining condition of a Royal Caribbean ship. Most every day one or more elevators were out of service which was a big problem at meal times. DINING This was absolutely the worst dining experience we have had in 35 cruises; both in the Windjammer Buffet and Main dining room, 2nd seating. On the first morning I went to Deck 11 Windjammer Buffet about 7:15am and a young man approached me and asked me if I would like a glass of Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice. I replied, "that sounds interesting" and he said, "it will be $3.95, and I told him "no thanks." On Deck 11 the food was Luke warm at best. The buffet, any casserole type dish, corn beef hash, gravy or soup was loaded with SALT. The omelet maker needs to be taught how to make an omelet, it is not made by putting all of the ingredients into the pan at the same time and poking at it, the omelet came out hard and dry and not editable. I tried three times and each one was worst than the prior one, Hamburgers were Luke warm at best. Same old pastries every morning they even looked tired. The grits, and oat meal were good and they were hot. French toast sometimes was so old it was hard, and of course we did not eat it. Tables on Deck 11 were slow to be cleaned on many occasions indicating a shortage of good help. While signs are placed on the tables on Deck 11 about card playing, reading books etc. these rules are not enforced and a shortage of tables existed during the busy eating times. Once again showing lack of management involvement. Main Dining Room, when I booked the cruise in December 2010, I was placed on a waiting list for late seating; Who do they think they were kidding, the reality was that late seating was only 50% full at best with a lot of empty tables every night of the cruise. The first three nights my wife and I sat alone at a table for eight; then we were able to join another table set for eight on the far side of the dining room that had four people seated. The following is our experience in the Main Dining Room - 1st night Prime Rib medium rare - EXCELLENT - 2nd night Pork very tough - 3rd night Lamb Chops - POOR - next night nothing appealed on the menu so I just ate a Caesar Salad - Fish EXCELLENT - Lobster Tail and Prime Rib - EXCELLENT - Chicken Marsala TERRIBLE EXCUSE for Chicken Marsala baked breaded chicken breast with some poor type of Marsala sauce on top of the chicken - Lamb SHANKS absolutely terrible, they may Have been good at the 6:00pm seating but after three more hours on a steam table they were not fit to eat - Baked Chicken - TERRIBLE raw and bloody on the inside - Thai Shrimp - VERY POOR - To top it off on the final formal night Surf & Turf, Meat was tough and poor quality so tough my bridge actually broke and two teeth were implanted in the meat. NO MELTED BUTTER WAS SERVED, INSTEAD THEY SERVED WHAT APPEARED TO BE HOLLANDAISE SAUCE, WE USED THE BUTTER ON THE TABLE for the surf. Only white rolls were offered, we can't eat white rolls so we asked for dark rolls such as rye, pumpernickel, whole wheat or multigrain. A tiny bite size roll was offered. After numerous requests finally a rye roll was available. One night the assistant waiter said he had to go up to the 11th deck to get us dark rolls. It got rather boring eating the same roll every night, just one more incident of poor management at the top. Deserts for the most part through out the cruise were not interesting and I choose Yogurt most evenings. The coffee in the Main dining room 2nd seating was absolutely the worst I have ever tasted on a cruise, never a freshly brewed cup of coffee. To celebrate our 50th Wedding Anniversary a milestone on Royal Caribbean's Voyager of the Sea management provided a chocolate mouse the size of a cupcake for six patrons to share and of course a few waiters singing. Once again, Royal Caribbean management showed No Class. The best coffee on the ship was in the little cafe' open 24 hours on deck #5. ACTIVITIES Both Libraries almost a total disgrace, as many shelves were completely empty; there were very few books available. Gym on Deck 11 and the Card Room on Deck 14 were very nice. SERVICE With the exception of our room steward, service over all around the ship was surprisingly pleasant with a few exceptions; on last formal night the assist' waiter spilled hot tea water on my wife, and said "you are too close" then ignored it and left the table offering no help to my wife; he is very poor in his duties and should not be in the main dining room. The waiter was very defensive when he was told of the poor quality of the dish and kept saying over and over that everyone liked it at the early seating. I am sure that was possible when the food was freshly cooked but after 3 additional hours any food on a steam table loses its appeal and taste. ENTERTAINMENT Glen Smith was excellent. Broadway singers and dancers were very low quality and the singer's voices were not clear, we could not understand the words no matter where we sat. Balance of entertainment was mediocre to poor. PORT & SHORE EXCURSIONS Been to all the ports before except Tenerife in the Canary Islands and we enjoyed that port on our own as there was no excursions available. DISEMBARKATION Disembarkation in New Orleans ran late- was poorly organized, additionally they said eight (8) wheel chairs were broken causing the delay to 11:30 am for disembarkation. SUMMARY & SUGGESTION This was absolutely the worst cruise we have been on in 35 cruises. To us Senior Management is not running this ship as it is absent in so many details; no cabin should ever be given to a guest in the poor condition with bed bugs that we experienced. The late seating dining room should be closed if this is the best food that can be presented. I attribute this whole terrible experience to uninvolved senior management in the daily management of the ship; with management focusing on how they can wring another dollar out of the guest; instead of how can the guest be better served. I would suggest senior management from Corporate sail on this ship in disguise and see what is really going on. We rate this cruise one star only because the ship's engines did not fail. We appreciated the Catholic Priest on board who said Mass every day, we would recommend that Royal Caribbean make available room for a Catholic priest on all cruises of seven (7) days or more. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011

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