64 Boston Repositioning Cruise Reviews

Returned from Tampa after 13 day cruising the Caribbean and thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience. Long flight from UK so enjoyed chilling out on first three sea days. Good table in Minstral with very attentive service from Mckoy and ... Read More
Returned from Tampa after 13 day cruising the Caribbean and thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience. Long flight from UK so enjoyed chilling out on first three sea days. Good table in Minstral with very attentive service from Mckoy and Adelyn. Could not fault any of crew who were all very efficient and friendly. Nightly theatre acts were good but not keen on production nights. Disappointed no films were shown on deck at night as this was a new feature on this ship. Also no deck barbecue. Noticeable cost cutting since last cruise but food of good quality with all evening meals enjoyable. Also, my husband was please to see authentic indian curry in Windjammer every day. Very disappointed with the new pub, no atmosphere and more like a courtroom than an english pub. Seating was awful and needs redesigning. Chose to prepay premium package after given incorrect information by R.C. shore contact precruise misinformed me that not possible to pay for package once on the ship which left no option but to pay up front. This was a huge mistake as I had nowhere near the amount to break even and would not take up this package in the future. Cocktails $11.80, spirit mixers $8.26 with beer similar price which I feel is a little excessive. Unfortunately, the shore team do not match up to the service on board the ship, with my onboard account charged twice to my credit card on my return. with a denial and no apology from R.C.I even after my bank confirmed this and retrieved the money. Still waiting for reply to my email after a week. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
This was not our first cruise but it was our first Royal Caribbean Cruise. We knew that we wanted something longer than 7 days. This was 13 days, a Repositioning Cruise. Initially we chose this particular cruise because it left out of ... Read More
This was not our first cruise but it was our first Royal Caribbean Cruise. We knew that we wanted something longer than 7 days. This was 13 days, a Repositioning Cruise. Initially we chose this particular cruise because it left out of Boston......an hour from our home, and ended in Tampa where we had relatives that we would be visiting after the cruise. Our boarding was fairly easy.....arrival at about 11:00 and onboard at about 12:00. It definately helps to have all papers filled out as Royal tells you and easily accessible. Pleasant surprise, we were greated with Champagne as soon as we got inside. What a gorgeous ship, lots of glass and light......just beautiful all over. Walked around and got a general overall view of our home for the next 2 weeks. Our room was available by 1:15 and we anxiously made our way there and scoped out the room, bath and storage. Our luggage came over the few hours or so....We had quite a few suitcases and garment bags and I wanted to get clothes hung and put away quickly so our vacationc ould begin. After that we went up to the Windjammer for lunch.......excellent, everything we tried was great. We made several reservations during our cruise at alternate dining venues: Chops, Chef's Table, Izumis, and the Italian restaurant Giovannis. Each was exquisite, different in their uniqueness but delicious, and the service was impeccable. Overall our exprience with Royal was superb. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
We cruise once or twice a year but this was our first with RC. What we liked: - The variety of foods available in the Minstrel dining room and Windjammer Cafe (help yourself dining) was almost always tasty and pleasing to our ... Read More
We cruise once or twice a year but this was our first with RC. What we liked: - The variety of foods available in the Minstrel dining room and Windjammer Cafe (help yourself dining) was almost always tasty and pleasing to our pallet… however, see additional notes on dining below. - All staff and crew we encountered were warm, pleasant and eager to please. - The layout of the ship was pleasing; we liked the convenient location of our “larger outside cabin” in the G class, away from the nightlife. - There was a surprising amount of storage in the cabin, allowing easy access to everything we had brought on board. - The itinerary and price were competitive. What was lacking: - Orange juice -- real or fake? Want real fresh squeezed OJ? It will cost you $2.50 for 8 oz. Ask for orange juice at the beverage counter and you'll get a mystery concoction. It reminded me of "juice" found at the bottom of canned fruit cocktail after the fruit is gone, plus runoff from chopped melons. This might be appealing to some, but it is definitely not orange juice. [BTW, 6 months ago our cruise on HAL offered fresh squeezed orange juice every morning along side apple, cranberry, tomato, V8 and prune ... no extra charge.] - Where are the nachos and tacos? They are in the Cantina for an extra $2.50 charge. Other cruise lines with which we are familiar make Mexican foods a regular part of snack and mealtime fare. - The advertised "special chocolate breakfast" in the dining room was a total disappointment. The promised chocolate waffles, chocolate pancakes, chocolate pastries and delicious hot chocolate turned out to be ordinary waffles and pancakes drizzled with a little Hersey-type syrup and the hot cocoa was the same Nestles packet available at all the beverage bars ... not even a dollop of whipped cream to jazz it up. - Where to go to relax? At most times of the day, it was nearly impossible to find a deck chair either at the pool or on an outside deck. Other passengers arrived early to reserve their spot with a towel. Staff failed to enforce posted "rules" stating that chairs unoccupied for more than 30 minutes would be cleared and personal property could be claimed at the towel exchange booth. Too often, every deck chair was reserved though a high percentage were not occupied. - Except at the Solarium pool, everywhere we sat the deck/lounge chairs were old, worn, and very much in need of a good cleaning. - There were but few quiet places to eat or relax. Speakers blared loud music throughout the ship. The small Game Room (only 5 or 6 tables for four) was sometimes occupied by passengers not playing games but seeking refuge from the excessive decibel level in most public spaces. - A simple amenity conspicuously lacking on RC was ice water and cool/damp towels at the pier when guests returned from a day ashore. On Royal Caribbean's Brilliance of the Seas, find your own ice water once you are on board. - TV channels were scant; 8 or so were dedicated to ship’s commerce such as the bow camera, position in the sea, advertising shore excursions, on-board and on shore shopping, etc. There was only one news channel – CNN. I am totally aware that budgets are tight and every enterprise is cutting corners. Amenities and services of all sorts are scrutinized for their degree of necessity and appeal to the customer base. But extra charges for nacho chips and cheese, failing to offer even water at the pier, and crowding so many passengers into public spaces they cannot find an empty chair or moment's solitude is not a marketing strategy that appeals to me. I lay all my complaints at the feet of Royal Caribbean's management and corporate execs, and not on the ship's staff. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
We sailed on the Repositioning cruise from Boston to Tampa Florida. On this cruise, my husband and I reached our Diamond status with the Crown and Anchor Society. We had 69 nights onboard when we sailed so we reach Diamond on the 11th ... Read More
We sailed on the Repositioning cruise from Boston to Tampa Florida. On this cruise, my husband and I reached our Diamond status with the Crown and Anchor Society. We had 69 nights onboard when we sailed so we reach Diamond on the 11th night of the 13 night cruise. Embarkation in Boston was very easy. We were among the first to arrive at the terminal and check in went well. We waited until about 11:30 and, and after the Diamonds and above were ushered on, we boarded. We got to the Windjammer before the big crowds arrived and enjoyed out lunch outside in Rita's Cantina area. Rooms were ready on time at 1 PM. We dropped off our carryon bags and walked around the ship until muster drill and sail away. It was a cool sail away from Boston but that was expected at the end of October. The first three days were days at sea to get to the southern Caribbean. Activities were limited unless you like to get involved in the Trivia challenges that ran throughout the entire cruise. Not our thing. There is a movie theater on the ship but the choice of movies for the entire 13 days was very poor. They had about 6 movies that they kept playing over and over. The titles included Antman, Furious 7, Jurassic Park, Lincoln, and Terminator and one more that I can't remember. I thought that was a VERY poor selection since it was a 13 day cruise and only 6 movies. Being at sea for three days in both directions, it would have been nice to have a better selection available. You could tell that there were no special attractions added for the 13 day cruise. There were movies on the TV in your staterooms but who wants to sit in your stateroom all the time. We went on with $450 in OBC and I was wondering what I would do with all that credit. I played Bingo and that eats up $38 a time. Then about half way through the cruise, I had to make a trip to medical. That ate up $227 worth of my credit but I was glad to get the relief for my problem. So, in the end, there was no problem using up the credit. We had My Time Dining and went to the Main Dining Room the second night of the cruise, the first Formal Night. We were given a table for two right next to the Hostess Desk and did not enjoy dinner at all. The hubbub of the waiters seating people, the passengers coming and going, the Hostess doing her job, and the busing station right across from our table did not make for a good dinner atmosphere. It was like eating in the middle of a tornado. After that night, we went to the Windjammer every night and enjoyed a much quieter and pleasant dining experience. They lower the lighting and it is really peaceful there. RCCI really needs to work on their My Time Dining program. The passengers were largely Senior Citizens, as we are also being 71 and 75. There were only 19 children on the cruise. Many of the passengers were headed to their homes in Florida for the winter and used this cruise to get there. There were several repeaters who do this cruise every year. We had a very large Meet and Greet gathering with about 276 Cruise Critic members in attendance. We enjoyed a very active Roll Call before we sailed with over 2200 posts. No officers attended out Meet and Greet, which I thought was strange. The Food and Beverage Officer and the Hotel Officer did host a special luncheon for us on the way back to Florida which was a nice touch. The Roll Call group did a Slot Pull on Tuesday and we did pretty good. We each put in $21 and walked away with $18 each. That is pretty good. The last time I did the Slot Pull, we lost everything we put in. Our stateroom attendant, Edwin, did a fine job. Our room was always neat and clean. We asked for some ice to cool our water and Sprite down that was part of our Emerald Welcome Back Gift. He got up the ice right away and kept ice in our room for the rest of the trip. He did towel animals almost every night. One was an alligator. I had never seen that one before. He called us by name every time he saw us in the hall and always asked if every thing was OK. He did a great job. We were in cabin 9623, an inside on deck 9. It was nice location for getting any where on the ship, up two for pool and Windjammer and down three or four for shopping, shows, walking, and entertainment. We use the stairs when we are onboard to help with some of the extra calories we consume. We always do inside cabins on our cruises. Have never had any regrets. Had a balcony once and hardly used it so the insides work just perfectly for us. We enjoy each island we stopped at. Our ports were St. Kitts, St. Lucia, Aruba, Barbados, and Curacao. I made arrangements on each island for Island Tours from local guides. Each of them did a fine job. We got to see each island and learned some history and interesting facts about each one. The three sea days back to Tampa seemed to drag a bit. Again, Trivia and Bingo were run each day but the same bad movie selection was played. The chair hogs around the pool had their towels out by 7 AM and there was rarely any place to be able to just sit on that deck. No one seemed to care that no one was using most of the deck chairs that had towels on them. All in all, it was a pretty good cruise. We enjoyed our meals and really like to go to the Main Dining Room on sea days for the Salad Bar. No big shrimp this year. They use to have shrimp on there the size of your thumb. This time, they were just the small salad shrimp but still a great lunch salad. My husband won't fly so we usually drive to the ports. This time, being a repo cruise, we had to be creative. We took the Greyhound bus to Boston the day before and stayed at the Holiday Inn Express in Dorchester. They had a shuttle that took us to the pier on the morning of the cruise at no charge. When we landed in Florida, we rented a car and drove back to upstate NY. We did the trip in two twelve hour days. It was a long drive but we made it safe and sound. We booked a cruise for next August while we were onboard. That will be our first Diamond cruise and we are excited to take advantage of the Diamond Crown and Anchor Benefits. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
We are Diamond on Royal and it was our 35 th cruise. Most of ship were sr. citizens so we loved all the Trivia. Ship had great staff, great room and cabin steward. The food was horrible. It was the same menu over and over. Tough and ... Read More
We are Diamond on Royal and it was our 35 th cruise. Most of ship were sr. citizens so we loved all the Trivia. Ship had great staff, great room and cabin steward. The food was horrible. It was the same menu over and over. Tough and unappetizing. Dining room and windjammer. Entertainment was good but only 2 big shows for 15 days was very poorly thought out. Shore excursions need to be improved several very awful. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
This was my fourth RCL cruise and I saw huge drops in all areas for quality. First we waited over 2 hours to check in in Boston. Having checked in there with Holland America I could see they only hired 50% of the staff, for a larger ... Read More
This was my fourth RCL cruise and I saw huge drops in all areas for quality. First we waited over 2 hours to check in in Boston. Having checked in there with Holland America I could see they only hired 50% of the staff, for a larger ship. I spoke to one of the check in agents, who are contract employees, the same ones work for all the cruise lines, He said yes Royal Caribbean will never hire enough people. I have not been on an RCI ship in about 7 years and I will never go on one again. For one thing the quality of the food has really dropped. No high cost food items at all. All the supposed desserts are just Jello and Cool Whip made into a Mango Slice. Dinner is still decent but lobster only one night on a 2 week cruise? No smoked salmon offered on the breakfast buffet, you can order it in the dining room. Breakfast in the dining room has a breakfast bar for cereals and fruit, This eliminates wait staff. Everything on the buffets are totally low cost food items. No waffles for sit down breakfast? First I will say we are not Diamond or Diamond Plus, all the revenue for the cruise seems to be going to give them special perks. We had an outside cabin and when we showed up there were no toiletries. Just one bar of soap. I asked our cabin attendant and he said that he could get some for the suites for us. So now we have to pack our own lotion? The bridge director was a total joke. He was very hard of hearing and couldn't understand what anyone said. The first lesson day he was totally unprepared for the lesson or the game. He kept telling us that someone from the cruise line was supposed to be there to set everything up. They didn't. Also they did not offer free shuttles to go into port. The shuttles are now a money making operation for RCI. Plus on one port the city offered free shuttles but we were not told about them and told that we have to pay for an RCI shuttle. By the way they do offer free trips in to town for the crew. The television is horrible, no news channels for most of the trip and no printed newspaper. If you like good food eat at Giovanni's every night. Great value there. Plus the crew is wonderful. They work very hard and under all this cost cutting it must be tough. Lots of them have been there over 10 years so they don't have a lot of options to switch to another cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
This was the sixth eastbound transatlantic cruise for me and my wife, and our 19th holiday in Europe, so we are not neophyte European travelers or cruisers. One aspect of this cruise which has not been commented on was the weather. It ... Read More
This was the sixth eastbound transatlantic cruise for me and my wife, and our 19th holiday in Europe, so we are not neophyte European travelers or cruisers. One aspect of this cruise which has not been commented on was the weather. It was appalling. Only one or two days without rain, and gale force winds. One morning our TV screen was telling us that the apparent wind was 108 Kilometers per hour on deck. Wow. This certainly curtailed our usual laps around the top deck, but the ship’s stabilizers worked amazingly well, and no one seemed to be feeling uncomfortable from the ship’s motion. It was interesting to watch the captain, or was it the pilot, fighting to get the ship into the Portland harbour against the wind, and apparently there was some question about cancelling the stop in Amsterdam. The demographic of the ship’s passengers was different from any other cruise we have been on. At 75, my wife and I felt that we probably hit the median age spot on. We wondered at times if we had somehow wandered into a posh retirement residence. Last year, on another transatlantic RCI cruise 70 % of the passengers seemed to be British, unlike this year when the vast majority seemed to be American. This was our first cruise with RCI as Diamond members, an elite status which we shared, according to the captain, with 700 other passengers. Four of the bars had to be opened up for the free happy hour drinks to handle the overflow. Traveling with carry on luggage only, we ran into no problems with embarkation or disembarkation, and never had to wait more than 5 minutes at the gangway at the many stops along the way. Fast and efficient. Having said this, we felt that there was a problem with the itinerary. On paper, it sounded great. Departure from Boston, a bonus for folks living in the Northeast, with stops in Cork, Portland, Le Havre, Cherbourg, Brugge, Amsterdam and Gothenburg. The problem was that most of the stops were at very unattractive industrial container ports which in several cases were several miles from anywhere a tourist would want to visit. We felt that in this case the cruise line should have at least provided free shuttle service. For some of the stops they did, but in other cases there was a considerable charge. For many passengers the major stop seemed to be Paris (LeHavre). To schedule this on a Sunday was perhaps not a great idea. There were amenities which we have enjoyed on other cruises which were sadly lacking. The usual RCI small library has been downgraded to a couple of bookshelves in the corner of one of the atrium lounges. Disappointing. No smoked salmon for breakfast. Shocking. The overall decor on the ship was not something that we found terribly attractive, compared to other ships in the RCI fleet, and there was a total lack of some of the great enrichment lectures which we have enjoyed on previous crossings. To call Phil, giving his juvenile take on some of the ports of call, an enrichment lecturer was a sad misnomer. So three stars or four? We will say three, but blame the low rating on the weather. The highlight of the cruise? For us, definitely the Kukenhof flower show in Amsterdam, which could be considered as worth the cost of the whole trip. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
As a 3 star mariner we have used HAL numerous times as well as Celebrity and RCCL. This ship is older but as attractive features like it's size (1200 passengers). The crew is constantly painting and maintaining outside areas and I did ... Read More
As a 3 star mariner we have used HAL numerous times as well as Celebrity and RCCL. This ship is older but as attractive features like it's size (1200 passengers). The crew is constantly painting and maintaining outside areas and I did not see the disrepair other travelers complain about here. This cruise did miss one port due to excessive icebergs in the vicinity of Cartwright, Newfoundland and this was fine with me after watching Titanic many times. We saw plenty of icebergs around Greenland and on our way to Iceland. I have to admit that the voyage was nicer than most as we had great weather for viewing scenery both on ship and ashore. The one exception was the fog around the Faroe Islands. All the excursions we took were HAL purchases and reviews of these can be found on HAL website I posted. There was a significant outbreak of respiratory problems starting the first week out of Boston. Symptoms were a dry cough primarily which was not debilitating. A large number of passengers were observed with these symptoms and I still had them after flying back to Boston (3 weeks). My wife never was not infected and we are always very careful with disciplined hand washing as well as antibacterial wipes, etc. There has been a reduction of crew that I observed so things did take a little longer (wine steward, etc.) Food was a good as any other cruise lines with menu not as varied as my experience in the past. I have already booked another cruise on this vessel for next year. Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
This was our first cruise with NCL and compared to other lines there were plusses, minus and draws. Concerning the cabin the upside was there was a shower door not a curtain and a real hair dryer!!! However the vanity area was tiny and had ... Read More
This was our first cruise with NCL and compared to other lines there were plusses, minus and draws. Concerning the cabin the upside was there was a shower door not a curtain and a real hair dryer!!! However the vanity area was tiny and had no storage and there was only one outlet (not sure how ships can do this as everything requires charging these days). Cabin was a draw. The amount of activities during the day was also a draw '" pretty standard. Nighttime was great '" plenty of activities going on '" karaoke was not made into a competition and was in a much better setting than we have seen. Shows were average to good. NCL wins this one. Dining  this one I have to preface as we knew what we were signing up for. This line has the multiple venues on it, plus the MDR and buffet options. However we found that the surcharges for some options (Chinese and Brazilian Steakhouse) were kind of steep at $15.00 pp. We did dine at Le Bistro which we thought was great and reasonable '" however Cagney’s was nothing mind-blowing. The thing we disliked about the MDR is the choices were repetitive and not up to par with other lines. I’m pretty sure this is because they want to steer you towards the pay to eat dining. For this reason I wouldn’t consider taking this line on any cruise longer than 7 days- especially not a Transatlantic. Not a loss, but not really a draw either. I’ll call this a detraction. We had heard from some friends that took the Dawn several years ago they did not like this type of cruising because it was difficult to meet others. I have to concur as the 2 nights we ate in the Venetian we requested to be seated with others '" of course we were not. This doesn’t seem to fit into their business model as most tables were set up for to 2 to 4 diners. We really enjoy meeting the other passengers and hearing about their travel experiences. Another reason to not take a longer sailing on this line. This was a loss for NCL. The staff was competent, but they lacked the warmth and friendliness I have seen in other lines. Although we frequented the pub, we were never greeted by name, asked where we were from, how is the cruise going etc. NCL gets a minus on this. There were plenty of pre-school kids on this cruise and I have to applaud the parents as they were all well behaved and any bad behavior was nipped in the bud. Way to go Moms & Dads! A plus but this had nothing to do with NCL. Finally, this was absolutely the WORST disembarkation ever. NCL pretty much said '" whatever you all want to do '" take off your bags- fine with us. Have your bags at the terminal '" ok by us. The problem with this is that everyone decided to leave ALL AT ONCE. This resulted in a line that took over an hour before leaving the ship with passengers standing in a line that wrapped around the ship including outdoors. Why weren’t you classy and time everything out like the other lines do? If you want to take your bags off you must be off the ship at a certain time. Want to get your bags at the terminal '" great '" wait in one of the lounges or dining rooms until your color is called. I really felt bad for parents with little ones and passengers that were not handicapped but had mobility issues that made standing for a long time difficult. This is no way to treat passengers on the last day of their cruise. Disgraceful. NCL, you should be embarrassed- this is the last impression you leave with the passengers and it was also the worst. NCL is at the bottom of the barrel for disembarkation.   Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
August 5, 2016 We are frequent cruisers having sailed since 1987 (Marde Gras) got us hooked. 75+ under our belt and still going strong. One of the best cruises we have ever been on. Planning on doing it again. Had a lanai ... Read More
August 5, 2016 We are frequent cruisers having sailed since 1987 (Marde Gras) got us hooked. 75+ under our belt and still going strong. One of the best cruises we have ever been on. Planning on doing it again. Had a lanai stateroom. They are awesome. Ports of call were great. US, Canada, Greenland, Iceland, Faroe Islands, Netherlands, Norway, Ireland and then back to Iceland, Greenland, Canada and US. We did not repeat ports. Weather was brisk but scenery was fantastic. We had wonderful speakers on several subjects but also much on the Vikings and their travels. Would recommend it to anyone. Love sailing on Holland America (Prinsendam is another of our favorite HAL Ships, but all have their special features) also wonderful cruises on Celebrity (love the ships with the glass blowers) Nothing better than cruising. Visited over 90 Countries an still have a few more to tick off. Wonderful way to see and taste the world. Read Less
Sail Date July 2013
Bad stuff first:(1)Embarkation was slow. (2)When we got to our cabin on Saturday, there was no heat--and we did not have any heat until the following Thursday. It was not just our cabin, a lot of other people had the same problem. ... Read More
Bad stuff first:(1)Embarkation was slow. (2)When we got to our cabin on Saturday, there was no heat--and we did not have any heat until the following Thursday. It was not just our cabin, a lot of other people had the same problem. (3)The shows were really rather poor. (4)The gym was minimal and really needed some maintenance. Items of note: (1)The only butter available was unsalted. (2)The passenger loyalty was amazing--a lot of those people had sailed with HAL many, many times. I was surprised, because we plan our trips around itinerary--what ever cruise line will take us where we want to go is the line we sail with. (3)The average passenger age was pretty old (I'm 76). Now, the good stuff:(1)The storage room in our cabin was immense--we brought a lot of stuff, and there was room to unpack and store everything. (2)Heated plates in the Lido food area. (3)We had open seating for dinner, and showed up at lots of different times--with no reservations, and we were able to get a table for two almost every evening with little or no waiting. We prefer this so we don't have to sit for two hours to eat dinner. The food service was very good. (4)The Adagio Strings from Ukraine--this string quartet was absolutely wonderful! (5)The cooking staff really knows how to do chocolate well. (6)Our cabin attendants were excellent. (7)By and large, the food was excellent (8)Disembarkation was great. Read Less
Sail Date July 2012
Voyage of the Vikings 2010- 35 Days This was my first cruise over 10 days and didn't really know what to expect. It was perfect! Embarkation was slow,but smooth. Luggage was delivered inside staterooms very quickly. Ship is ... Read More
Voyage of the Vikings 2010- 35 Days This was my first cruise over 10 days and didn't really know what to expect. It was perfect! Embarkation was slow,but smooth. Luggage was delivered inside staterooms very quickly. Ship is older but in ok condition. Staterooms all have a couch as well as beds. Plenty of closet and draw space. TV position isn't the best. If there are huge waves and you have a cabin in the front of the ship you will hear and feel the slap of the wave, as I expect you will on all ships. Appreciated the special grill luncheons out by the pool. Food only got better as the cruise progressed. Excellent food and a variety at every meal--don't miss the waffles for breakfast with fresh berries! I preferred dining in the Lido-you could sample each of the entrees, appetizers, etc., without having a million plates in front of you, as presentation is important with HAL.Also, if another diner at your table ordered an additional entree after completing the first, then the whole table had to wait until that person was finished to get dessert and coffee. (I can't explain why I was in a hurry...) HAL offers soda drink cards for fountain beverages-you save about $1 per soda. The Coffee Bar in the Explorers Lounge also offers coffee cards--these are only a good value when one can use the card for a large daily special (this changed when the staff person changed). Spa is small-offers warm tile loungers, steam bath and hot tub. Last two weeks the the smaller steam bath didn't work everyday. There is a free sauna. I purchased the spa pass and was generally one of two using the facilities at a variety of times during this cruise. There are only 6 tile loungers, so with a younger group of passengers it may get crowded. Others reported enjoying the nightly shows. There was also a different movie offered each day at different times to accommodate passenger schedules. The Captain kept passengers informed daily at minimum and advised when approaching views that passengers would enjoy (sometimes the evening before the actual approach. He also shared information he gathered about other ships in port, etc. This was something I wasn't use to hearing and really appreciated during this cruise. Interesting lectures were provided and then televised. Cooking classes were also offered. Not many "active" planned activities on this cruise. "Golf" was it besides "Trivia" everyday. The Explorer's Lounge has a variety of board games to borrow/use; and offered a sign-up to find fellow players. Going through Prince Christian Sound, a guide provided verbal information for the whole duration! This was one of the highlights of the cruise for me. Staff are friendly and respectful. They work very hard to ensure passengers are comfortable and enjoying themselves. Ports that required tendering were painful. If you weren't on a ship's excursion the wait was very long. The staff that managed the "tickets" weren't forthcoming with the truth. One female staff in particular, was quite condescending when speaking with passengers--We passengers restrained ourselves and didn't dispose of her in the ocean! Recommend that you avoid cruises that require a number of tender ports. The weather was cool and foggy until we reached Copenhagen (at night anyhow) the foghorn was required frequently. It is difficult to describe the cruise-the views were surreal and I felt like I was visiting another planet. Gorgeous, absolutely gorgeous. My favorite ports were the small communities in Newfoundland, Greenland, Iceland and Norway. Everyone should have the opportunity to visit these countries. The larger ports were like visiting any metropolitan area in the summer...crowded and too much to see without the time to take advantage of being in the cities. Passengers were gifted with whale (different types), porpoise, dolphin and sailfish sightings! Glorious days at sea! Smoking is only allowed in staterooms, outside and in the casino. The casino slot machines just ate money--one jackpot in 35 days! If you are a gambler stick to the tables. It is a blatant lie that "the payouts are the same as Las Vegas."..and the casino staff kept repeating it like a mantra. Disembarkation was orderly and smooth without any incidents. It was a great cruise--both the itinerary and the Maasdam met all of my expectations and more!! Read Less
Sail Date July 2010
NOTE: the above form for this review shows "0" for the number of ports visited because there was no space to answer accurately. After leaving the home port of Boston, we visited TWENTY ports; two of these were overnight stays, ... Read More
NOTE: the above form for this review shows "0" for the number of ports visited because there was no space to answer accurately. After leaving the home port of Boston, we visited TWENTY ports; two of these were overnight stays, giving us two days in those cities. We prefer smaller ships, so Maasdam's size suits us very well. She is comfortable and pleasant with a topnotch crew. Maasdam is scheduled for a turn in drydock in spring of 2011, at which time she will undergo some of the changes already made to Veendam. Maasdam will benefit from refurbishing as she's looking a little tired in places, but still she is basically a lovely ship. We have high praise for our dining experiences, most of which were in the Lido. We like seeing the foods we are choosing and being able to ask for the size portion we would like, so a buffet works well for us. In addition, we enjoy the window tables in that venue. We dined at Caneletto once, the Pinnacle Grill once, and the Rotterdam dining room once; the rest of the time, up to the Lido. Special kudos to the chef for bringing just-caught fish on board at many of these northern ports. It was worthwhile to watch menus for the catch of the day. On the theory that a picture is worth a thousand words, I put together travelogue-type on-line photo albums for our trips. To see the album for this trip, go to http://fredasphotos1.shutterfly.com and click on "Voyage of the Vikings 2010". It works best next to click on "slideshow". It may be that if you see the slideshow/travelogue first, you won't want to bother to read this review! This itinerary was wonderful, with great variety among the ports we visited. Although the biggest draws for me were Greenland and Iceland, every single port of call was fascinating. We were blessed with great weather: aside from some showers in Qaqortoq, Amsterdam, and Reykjavik, we enjoyed blue skies and sun, including some places where rain is the norm. Special praise and appreciation are warranted for several aspects of this cruise. As well as having marvelous ports, the itinerary was well planned in that sea days were spread out and provided needed rest after the busy port days. Our English Captain James Russell-Dunford was outstanding: affable, good sense of humor, always engaged but never intrusive, he kept us informed of any deviations from schedule and pointed out sights of interest along the way. The shore excursion team was excellent; the director, Joe L'Espiscopo, gave fine presentations on many sea days about famous ship wrecks and world fairs through the decades. Chris Jackson's digital workshop classes were invaluable. Karen Johnston, the bridge director, was very good. Highest praise goes to Maasdam's and HAL's high level of support for this unusual itinerary, which included excellent lectures by experts, helpful port talks by the travel guide Barbara, good maps, and a book discussion group centered on "The Tricking of Freya". In the evenings of our days in Liverpool and Reykjavik, we had shows put on by locals from those cities, both most enjoyable. I had not experienced this level of itinerary support on past cruises, with the exception of small ship cruises on Windstar and Viking. HAL shows a high level of respect and regard for their passengers' interests and desire to learn. HAL offers the Voyage of the Vikings once each summer, with some itinerary changes each year. I highly recommend it! Read Less
Sail Date July 2010
This was cruise number 60++ for me and my 3rd time on the Maasdam. The Maasdam while 16 years old is still a beautiful classic cruise liner. The staterooms are well laid out, appointed, and the beds and bedding/pillows are exceptionally ... Read More
This was cruise number 60++ for me and my 3rd time on the Maasdam. The Maasdam while 16 years old is still a beautiful classic cruise liner. The staterooms are well laid out, appointed, and the beds and bedding/pillows are exceptionally comfortable. A few of the light switches don't make logical sense.. For some reason the switch designer decided to put a few "fake" switches that are purely decorational and non functional right next to the real switches...so you'll likely find yourself flipping a lot of buttons trying to find a particular light switch. The bathroom is better than most ships although another small shelf or two would sure be welcome as there is but a single slim storage shelf that is overcrowded. There is also a powerful fixed hair dryer unit in the bathroom. The amenities are acceptable but the stewards don't seem to overdo it with replenishment. I had to ask for shampoo/ soap on several occasions. The towels are big, nice and plentiful. There is only one power plug in the main cabin so if you have a computer or camera charger etc a small power strip from home will come in useful. A plug in electric hair dryer is provided and there also is a magnifying makeup mirror. The DVD is nice but you might want to bring a few of your own DVDs as the ship charges a rental fee. The flat screen TV is good but channel selection other than the usual channels pushing Holland cruise produts are very very minimal. Probably the "best" channel is the camera that shows the front of the ship so you can see what the weather looks like, where you're headed etc. It seems that they might also want to install additional cameras so you can see the port/starboard/stern views as well....very minimal cost to the ship and each could easily have their own channel so you could see on your in room TV what is going on in the sea/ports etc. The promenade deck is very nice. No jogging is allowed which is a good idea as it is really more of a walking/strolling deck. Joggers use the Sun deck track or the treadmills in the gym. There are adequate classic teak deck chairs on the promenade deck where you can spend some quality time with a book, napping, or watching the sea. One negative is if you get cigar smokers who just don't seem to get it that most people really would prefer to smell the fresh sea air and not their stinky cigars. One guy consistently was on deck and would often stand at the front and the smoke would naturally drift towards the stern meaning everyone everywhere on his side of the ship got to breathe in the noxious foul smelling crap. PLEASE if you smoke at least have the courtesy to smoke at the stern of the ship where your smoke will immediately be sucked out the back. The cigarette smokers also use the promenade deck for their fixes but that smoke is much less bothersome than cigar. I would suggest that if Holland is going to continue to allow smoking they would do well to restrict it to outdoor areas at the REAR of the ship. The top deck, the sports deck also has a smaller outdoor track if you prefer open sky walking etc. Just forward of this track are two staircases that go to a large deck above the crow's nest with the best views on the ship. It seems most passengers don't even know this deck is here and you can experience some beautiful sunsets and scenic cruising if you go here. The gym and spa seemed well equipped and managed but I don't use those facilities and can't really report much. The library is nicely laid out and a busy place. While the selection is good they could certainly upgrade their bestsellers selection a bit. It would also seem to make sense to designate a couple of shelves to a passenger leave one/ take one paperback exchange. There are several internet ready computers in the library. Unfortunately Holland also still charges gouge prices for internet usage of about 40 cents a minutes with it often taking several minutes to get properly connected and even then it's more like an old dial up speed. Not my cup of tea. Overall I was able to find internet in the ports without any major major problems in most places....all you have to do is ask. In several ports the best spot was the local library that had either free or very cheap with multiple machines. If you bring your laptop you can also usually find a cafe etc with free wifi so you just buy a coffee or something and surf away. The Crow's Nest , top level forward, offers great views. Unfortunately Holland still allows smoking in ½ the room and no matter how hard they try it seems to always smell like stale smoke. It appeared to me that about 95% of the passengers were non smokers so it's a shame that a few of the hooked have to spoil pleasant spots like the Crow's Nest for the rest. The library can get pretty crowded at times and naturally some passengers seem to want to talk too loudly and disturb those who are trying to use the library for reading. Also, unfortunately the casino is located next door to the library and since smoking is allowed there you get the stale smoke drifting down to the library and it's hard to not let it bother you. Once again, air generally moves from the front of the ship towards the rear, even indoors and the library is "downwind" from the smoky casino. The casino itself is fine but the smokers seem to have decided it's their place to sit and chain smoke while they pull slot handles. Most times just walking through the casino with cigarettes a blazing is enough to make me quicken my step to get away from it. I suspect there are many many passengers who avoid the casino like the plague just to avoid the cig smoke. The Rotterdam dining room is a pleasant room. If you like to eat a bit later, as I do, then you can pretty much just show up with no reservations any night at around 7;30 pm and get a nice table with no problems. The Rotterdam dining room food and service was good and the selections more than adequate. The Lido dining area is nicely laid out with many many selections. No trays are provided which I suppose is to reduce food consumption or suppose to make it seem less cafeteria like. However, this results in most people having to make several trips back and forth from their table as there is no way you can carry a salad,soup, entrEe and beverage in one trip. There is quite a bit of staff available to assist the most infirm but other passengers are on their own. The Lido food is generally tasty and is not a good place to hang out if you are on a diet. There is a hamburger/sandwich/taco set up beside the pool on the Lido deck with wonderful burgers/fries/etc. There are also many special BBQ's held out by the pool with different themes. The Pinnacle restaurant seems underutilized most likely due to a $20 per person cover charge. It's a nice restaurant and the food is definitely a little better than the normal dining room but it seems most people aren't willing to pay $20 for the experience. Most nights when I looked it the Pinnacle was less than ¼ full. It seems that more of the ship's officers eat there more than the passengers. I suspect if they would consider lowering the cover to a more reasonable $10 that they would entice more patrons and everyone would be happier. Room service is ok but not great. They have the usual hang your breakfast order outside your door and delivery is supposedly made within a 30 minute "window". However, my orders were consistently delivered about 15 minutes early which was just fine once I understood how it works. Evening room service was ho hum at best and you pretty much have to order every single thing you want (like ketchup for fries) or it is not provided. Non breakfast delivery time seemed to always be about 35 minutes and tips seemed to be genuinely appreciated. Lots of bars and booze available on the ship but thankfully it was not all pushed nearly as much as other ships I have experienced. And to Holland's eternal credit they don't hassle you if you want to bring a bottle of wine or a few beers onboard to enjoy in your stateroom. The show room is just fine although there are many seats in the rear and in the balcony where sightlines would be bad. However, I found that for the second show especially it was rare that the room was full. There is a nice movie theatre with popcorn available. The movie selection was weak at best but many passengers attended the movies with quite a bit of snoring to be heard. One suggestion would be to have more matinee or even morning showings as it would be a nice daytime entertainment option even on port call days when many people only go ashore for a couple of hours and then back to the ship. The entertainment ran the gamut of usual cruise line fare with singers/dancers/comedians/magicians etc. Some are quite good and some are absolutely awful and make you wonder why in the world the Holland corporate entertainment department would have selected them. There is the usual bingo and the like but again it seems Holland doesn't promote this ad nauseum via the ships speakers like other cruise lines. The guest lecturers were a major disappointment to me. Although they all have multiple degrees and impressive professorial resumes the fact is that most all of them were about as exciting as watching paint dry. Knowing everything academically about a subject and being able to do an enjoyable 45 minute presentation are two different skills. Most felt like sitting in a very boring college class. Again, it seems to me that Holland entertainment division picks these people strictly from a resume without ever having auditioned them to see if they are also interesting/entertaining. Another pet peeve is when they open the audience to questions but do NOT provide a microphone NOR do they repeat the questions so the rest of the audience might have some clue to what is being discussed. Rule number one of public speaking: HE WHO HAS THE MICROPHONE MUST REPEAT THE QUESTION ALOUD SO EVERYONE IN THE AUDIENCE CAN HEAR. In my opinion our particular cruise featured way too many Iceland stops (6). Iceland is interesting but it is certainly not that interesting and 2 or 3 calls would have been more than adequate. It seemed a shame to waste so much time in little Iceland ports with pretty much nothing to see and then rush through Scotland, Ireland, England, and many other port calls where extra time would have been a plus. The information provided by Holland for the various port calls was AWFUL. A small flyer is placed in the cabins the night before each port giving a little bit of the history but that's about it. Information that most passengers might find useful like public transport options, internet cafes, bank/exchange/ATM info was totally non existent so if you don't buy the overpriced ship excursions you're on your own. It's really a shame that most ships seem to take the attitude that if you don't buy their tours they aren't going to give you any information. In a nutshell if you don't buy the tours you are a bit of a steerage class passenger when it comes to shoreside information. And of course as usual most of the tours are sold at gouge you prices. Fortunately I am experienced enough that I was able to figure out public transport, internet cafes, etc on my own as I really have no desire to participate in the organized shore excursions. Overall the service throughout the ship is quite good though it seemed to me that since Carnival took over Holland that there not as many employees as previously. There were several days when our cabin steward didn't clean my cabin until after 1 pm even though the please clean sign had been out since 8 am. Some passengers indicated that the stewards now have many more staterooms to clean than the pre Carnival days. Generally I found the Filipino and Indonesian staff to be warm, gracious, and accommodating. The Dutch officers/staff seemed a bit stand offish to me compared to other ships officers I have experienced. Generally the onboard announcements weren't too terribly obtrusive like many ships where some idiot is on the ships speakers every few minutes pushing all the onboard revenue enhancers like bingo, special drinks, etc. Unfortunately I could barely understand our captain due to a pretty strong accent. All in all it was a wonderful cruise and the Maasdam remains a personal favorite ship of mine. Read Less
Sail Date July 2009

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