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12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
We had heard that the Maasdam was an older ship and this had its pros and cons. We really appreciated the smaller size which is getting harder to find nowadays, although admittedly it does not have the glitz that many cruisers want. For ... Read More
We had heard that the Maasdam was an older ship and this had its pros and cons. We really appreciated the smaller size which is getting harder to find nowadays, although admittedly it does not have the glitz that many cruisers want. For us, between 50-65 years old, it was just fine. Our main concern was the itinerary and going round trip from Montreal. Most of the larger ships cannot go further than Quebec down the St. Lawrence. We boarded about 1 pm and I was surprised at how few people were there. No crush and we were on the ship very promptly. We immediately went to the main dining room for lunch, even though the staff won't tell you it is open. One of the older, and smaller ships, the Maasdam still was serviceable and we never noticed anything that was dirty. We had trouble flushing the toilet one day but that was fixed before we got back to our room. The staff everywhere were very friendly and always had a "Good Morning". And there were plenty of staff on hand whenever needed. Glad to see the Maasdam and HAL were respectful of the endangered whales and slowed the ship to 10 knots through those restricted areas. This made for excellent whale and dolphin viewing and was so restful it was one of our favourite parts of the cruise. It meant leaving one or two ports a hour earlier, but was well worth it. The shops onboard were pitiful, as was the selection of things to buy. Unless one was looking for diamonds, I guess. I was looking for great HAL t-shirts to remind me of this cruise but the ones they had were only for the ship, not our itinerary. They did have some "local" t-shirt options on one of the blowout sales events but all the t-shirts were size S or M. I don't think anyone on our cruise would have fit those, especially if they were eating the food provided. We had OBC to spend and didn't want drinks so it made it difficult. We mostly ate in the main dining room. We were on a waitlist for, and managed to get, early traditional dining upon boarding. The wait staff were great and the food, on the whole, was very good. We did not go to specialty dining options: Canaletto's (the Italian speciality restaurant) was a joke. To me, food and atmosphere are the most important in speciality dining. Canaletto's is a segregated section inside the Lido cafeteria. Other than the $15 charge you would think you were still eating in with the noisy masses. You could be at a table and just over the railing behind you could be the Lido. It really should be its own room. We went to 3 of our 4 Gala/Formal nights but really didn't dress up too fancy; A few people do but I didn't find the norm. Breakfast we had in the Lido (loved the mini croissants) and one or two lunches. Really liked the omelette and pasta bars where they made-to-order. For the first time we had burgers and fries out by the pool. The vegetarian Portobello mushroom burger was to die for! And, their fries were probably the best I've ever had. We returned to the ship for lunch a few times on port days just to indulge in these. Interestingly, I talked to a couple of people eating in the Lido cafeteria who weren't award that they were allowed to go to the main dining room for free. And, they thought they had to dress fancy every night. Not only did we find it hard to get a decent seat in the show theatre, unless one got there an hour before, but there always seemed to be heads in front of us making it difficult to see. I don't think the showroom is laid out all that well. The entertainment in the main theatre was hit and miss. There didn't seem to be as many shows as I've seen on other cruise lines, and I would give what they did have about a 6/10. We listened occasionally to very good music in the three bars. We did enjoy the Microsoft sponsored classes they had on board. Since we couldn't dock in Sydney on our way down due to high winds, we had an extra sea day. These classes were informative and helpful. We purchased the 7 day option for the hot stone benches and thermal pool. While they were nice I don't think it's worth the money. $249 per couple. Most days after we returned from a port intensive day and had a filling dinner, we were too tired to make the effort to go. While the thermal pool was interesting, I would have preferred a Jacuzzi for the sore muscles after busy excursions. One beef we had was that many of the interesting activity options were scheduled right at the time of the early dining seating. We missed a number of things we would have liked to go to because they were scheduled at dinner time and not repeated. We mostly did HAL shore excursions and liked all the ones we did, though most were overviews of the areas. As Canadians from provinces other than Quebec, we were a little bummed out when our tour guide in Quebec for the UNESCO sites tour, thought she had a busload of Americans and proceeded to complain that French Canadians were still considered second class citizens. Not true. Talk about a huge chip on her shoulder! Otherwise, she was very knowledgeable. In Charlottetown we had a wonderful walking tour guide who dropped us off at the play "Anne & Gilbert" which was fantastic - and then guided us back to the ship with more history. Loved Bar Harbor, Maine and Acadian National Park. In Boston we did a local (non-ship) Hop-On-Hop-Off Bus that stops about a block from the cruise terminal. Most ports had Wi-Fi areas right at the pier, along with shops, which was very convenient for both passengers and crew. Also, pretty well all of the ports and cities we visited were very clean. Oh, and we used the self serve laundry on board. Very easy and something I especially like about HAL. We found the idea of doing the 14 day cruise very convenient. There was the chance to see each port twice and do different things each time. But, we sure were tired after 14 days of mostly hot weather and glad to be heading home. Upon returning to Montreal, disembarkation was handled smoothly and we left our suitcases at the port. We'd been told there was a charge for this but we found there was no cost. We walked along the waterfront and visited the excellent museum across the street from the pier and then (later) headed to our evening flight. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
I read the poor reviews on this cruise but my rep assured me that the activities changed a lot on the ship and they cater to children. They don't even appeal to adults. This is what I sent to the guest relations and all they are going to ... Read More
I read the poor reviews on this cruise but my rep assured me that the activities changed a lot on the ship and they cater to children. They don't even appeal to adults. This is what I sent to the guest relations and all they are going to give me for my grief is a measly $50 onboard credit on my next Holland America cruise, like i really am looking forward to going on another Holland America cruise. My dad spent about $30k for 9 cabins too. these are my complaints... AND NEVER HOLLAND AMERICA again! they dont care about customer service and took 2 months to answer my complaint. 1. Cruise activities were repetitve and uninteresting. They should have a variety of programs for all ages. The cruise director mentioned about having to work within the budget and I'm thinking the budget must be very tiny. You already know about the basketball and tennis balls, and I want to thank you for getting those balls for us. However, we couldn't use the tennis balls because they were only available to us on our last day and we were in Quebec City between 2 -5 pm. 2. Club Hal kicked me out of the room when I was talking to my nieces and nephew for a few minutes. My sister was also told that she couldn't take pictures of her daughter in Club Hal. Is that really the policy? We were disappointed that there was no cooking classes for the kids. Unfortunately, a few of my nieces, who are almost teenagers, wanted to go home by mid-week. 3. Fitness instructor is obviously not interested in teaching anything but stretches. I went to a 5:30 total body conditioning class and at 5:30pm, there was no class. At 5:35 pm, I approached a man who was sitting on the exercise floor creating some sort of a sign. He says I was the only one who was interested and I could come to his 7 am stretching class. If i wanted to do the stretching, I would be there at 7 am and not at 5:30. I went to the lady at the front desk and she talked to the man and his answer was the same... that I was only one person. Another lady came by and asked about the class and later says she was interested. So I say "ok, now there are two". He finally stood up in the front and two others joined us. Now there was four. In the first 10 minutes, he did stretches. I left the class and resumed doing my own exercises and 5:50 pm, when I turned around, there was no more class. The class was supposed to be for 30 minutes. The cruise hired the wrong person to do the fitness classes. I also heard the same man ignored my nephew and my sister when doing the foot analysis. His focus was only on an elderly woman trying to sell her orthodics. 4. One should be more careful in charging the right amount for one massage. My sister had to correct a mistake with customer service. She bought several massages even though I told her that massages are cheaper in her neighborhood. 5. The ship charges $20 for a picture with a background but charges $40 for doing my group pic at the staircase. Why is there such a huge difference? Other cruiselines charge just $20. I also do not appreciate Ralph, who is the photo manager, addressing me as "milady" as if he was being condescending. That was my feeling. I especially do not appreciate Ralph for not delivering the photos as he had promised so that my family had to come looking for him and the photos on the day of disembarkation. They also did not have the cruiseline and the date imprinted on the photos as they said they would. 6. My brother says there was a chemical smell, albeit temporary, in his cabin and I also saw that he had rust spots around the metal handle and spouts in his shower. 7. It was either an icebox or a sauna in some of cabins and I was told the thermostat was broken. Someone came out to fix it though it wasn't still working very well. 8. On Level 6, the engine thrusters woke me up early around 5:45 am, on the last two nights when I really needed my sleep. I thought we were given quiet rooms. 9. Never had the pool been closed while we were on a cruise. The last day, the pool was closed for cleaning. I'm not sure if that's a regular thing for Holland America or maybe someone had an accident in it? Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
Chose this cruise for intergenerational travel with my parents and children. LOVELY way to cover a lot of ground. We used the ship more as a means of transportation to get from point A to point B, but it was a really wonderful trip. ... Read More
Chose this cruise for intergenerational travel with my parents and children. LOVELY way to cover a lot of ground. We used the ship more as a means of transportation to get from point A to point B, but it was a really wonderful trip. Pros: food, service, staff excellent. We had basic family room with bed hung from ceiling in interior state room-- more than adequate to meet needs. There are plenty of rich foods, but I can't eat them and was able to eat healthily during the entire cruise as there were many food options. Ship also has a 1/4 mile walk around on deck six and ample health club. Nice free stretching class for early mornings. Cons: children's programming is in need of a total overhaul. If you want to park your child someplace where they can have unlimited media- this would be sufficient, but the children's programming is decidedly lacking. Our children enjoyed going after dinner for an hour or so and they had one night of truly interactive activities, but this was a far contrast to the children's programming in Splash Academy that they had on Norwegian. Norwegian's programming was media- free, dynamic and organized. Staff was lovely, but the programming was an after-thought, room smelled terrible and it was stuffed with media. Shore excursions were overpriced as one would expect. In Bar Harbor, there is a free LLBean shuttle which operates in the summer for only the price of a park pass (fourth graders are free and seniors get discount). Great way to see park at a fraction of the cost. Hired private car in Charlottetown. Discovery Tours PEI and Shuttle Service, K. Fraser/T. Thompson-- info@discovertourspei.com. This was the sweetest man who loved our kids. We negotiated the rate up front and he took us all over island-- to Canadian national park, anne of green gables house, a mariner port, a toy factory, a place to pet the goats... He was so kind and it turned out to be about 30 a person for the tour of the island. Great way to explore. If you splurge for any excursion there is NOTHING to see in Sydney. We were glad the boys went to see Alexandra Graham Bell museum that day. They loved it and there really is nothing to do in town and I am generally very easily entertained! Overall, wonderful trip and a great way to cover a lot of area in a very relaxed way-- wonderful trip! Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
Despite some of the negative reviews (we experienced no soot on balcony or caufiflower in the bath!!) we loved the ship , food in the main dining room was top class , waiters (Dedham & team) were lovely people , Lido food was typical ... Read More
Despite some of the negative reviews (we experienced no soot on balcony or caufiflower in the bath!!) we loved the ship , food in the main dining room was top class , waiters (Dedham & team) were lovely people , Lido food was typical buffet so ok . Internally the ship is in great condition , externally it was showing its age and the cabin while comfortable had a few knocks /scratches if you looked carefully . We were in a balcony cabin B194 so we were one flight of stairs from everything . We loved the open plan explorations lounge area where we spent a lot of time . We booked a private Acadia park tour in Bal Harbour and the HA Peggys cove/Titanic tour , both were very good . We wandered around Sydney PEI and Quebec (quaint but rain) for an hour without getting overexcited , with hindsite we should have booked the Montmorency trip in Quebec . We really like the Maasdam size ships , nothing is too far , no noise . Overall a very good cruise Read Less
16 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
We chose this cruise because it fit our available date parameters, included ports we were interested in exploring and had accessible ports of departure and return from our home. We did not know much about HAL other than it had a ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it fit our available date parameters, included ports we were interested in exploring and had accessible ports of departure and return from our home. We did not know much about HAL other than it had a reputation for hosting mostly an older clientele. Being 53 myself -- this didn't worry me. The crowd was actually probably 1/2 older than I and 1/2 my age or younger with lots of multigenerational families traveling together. While the ship is old and shows some of it's age in various places -- everything is in working order and the decor is mostly low key - which I prefer to newer glitzier ships. The size is great as it rarely feels crowded. Muster was awful, in my opinion. Lots of yelling and being forced to stand shoulder to shoulder out on deck for 30 minutes was not a great way to start a cruise. We felt like cattle being moved -- literally, staff were leading people where and how to stand. Be careful when you go sail away and folks are standing around with drinks in logoed glasses that they practically put in your hand. Only after you take a sip do you realize these are not free and that they are even pricier because of the cup that you didn't want in the first place. Also -- when happy hour is your second drink for $2 --- that's the same drink as your first and delivered at the same time, too. Really. Unfortunately, the ship feels somewhat understaffed...particularly in the restaurants. We ate dinner in the main dining room only twice because it took about 2 1/2 hours each time. Not only were there massive delays between courses, but the staff doesn't make eye contact with you to offer any concern about the delay. Most likely because they have no answers. We even had late dining and the restaurant is not full at that time and still it was so slow. We ate at Canneleto the first night. Service was very good and the food was too, but the location on the ship is poor. A lot of movement there. The buffet was better and the Pinnacle had the same terrible service as the main dining room.... Plus -- we had an inedible lobster bisque and raw steak (sent back). The dessert was also bad. My daughter literally left before her dinner was served because it was taking so long. The entertainment is bad cruise ship entertainment. I am willing to go along with some cheesey entertainment because I know it's a cruise but I really couldn't get passed it here. I love piano bars generally but this guy's voice was not right for the music he was playing and the singers for the shows -- were really not satisfactory for me. We watched the films on BBC Earth for lack of anything else to do with my 16 and 25 yr olds but the theater seats are very uncomfortable. I even tried to order a DVD for the room(they have book with 1000 choices) but my first 6 tries were all unavailable. Fortunately, the ports were great -- we had great weather and did our own walk and horse/carriage in quebec, rented cars at all three canadian ports and had our own car/driver for a tour in bar harbor. Our cabin was unfortunately a major disappointment. We booked a Lanai because no private balcony suites were available at the time that I booked. On our only sea day there were workmen varnishing and painting right outside our door. The cabin reeked of fumes for 8-10 hours and the promenade was not accessible. On another night there was an emergency and a tender had to be lowered for a sick passenger. Of course, they used on outside our door and for two hours it was up and down, lights, noise and staff outside. If that had been the only issue - I'd let it go because obviously it was an emergency situation and I hope that passenger is better now. Tenders are also used for one port so for hours there are folks on deck taking them down and putting them back up. My point is that these rooms should not be more expensive for all the lack of privacy they provide. Finally, our steward provided towel animals -- which were the source a great many jokes from friends online who thought they were very bad or even racy. I didn't see it and give them marks for trying. Embarkation was a little crazy because there was temporary set up in Montreal due to the new port not yet ready plus there were events that had a lot of local streets closed. When we finally got there (cab driver-not happy) there was a pretty long line but it moved quickly. Disembarkation was very smooth. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
August is a good time to get out of Texas, and this cruise fit the bill - except for couple of rainy days, it was in the upper 50s to low 70s and sunny the entire trip. This was the first time we've sailed on Holland America, and we ... Read More
August is a good time to get out of Texas, and this cruise fit the bill - except for couple of rainy days, it was in the upper 50s to low 70s and sunny the entire trip. This was the first time we've sailed on Holland America, and we will be back. The Maasdam is a smaller ship, around 1200 passengers, and she isn't young (in her mid-20s). Overall, however, she didn't show her age except in a few spots - need a bit more work to clean up the rust, and to clean the windows. And you could see that the overall makeup was getting a bit heavy. But the size of the ship was perfect - easy to get around, almost all of the activities confined within 4 decks, and enough elevators that there was rarely a wait (although the stairs made for an easy climb when not wearing a suit). Although Montreal is a rough place to start - the cruise facility was a tent at the end of the dockyards - embarkation was as smooth as I've had on any cruise line. It took us less than half an hour to drop off luggage, go through the line, get our room card (one card covered everything on board), check our excursions, and walk on board. Our room was not how we wanted it (one bed instead of two), and the stewards took little time making that right. Within two hours we had our luggage, were settled into the cabin, and out on deck for a phenomenal 180 degree turn in the middle of the river. And we were off. The ocean view cabin was comfortable, the mattress, while not exceptional, allowed a good night's sleep, and there was room for all of our gear, clothes, and suitcases to be stowed properly for the week. The bathroom good, and the only issue was with the shower - it was a shower/tub combo that required a high step and pull to get in, and always test the water! Hot enough to make tea or cook lobsters if you were so inclined. Never had an issue with water pressure or temp once we settled that to the right level. The cabin stewards, DD and Partha, were exceptional, friendly and very helpful. Dining - this was one of our better cruises for food. Fresh, done right every time, an excellent wine steward, and a lot of options. What was really impressive was the Lido (buffet) was almost as good as the main dining room - same food, self-service. The dining room is comfortable, and reserved seating is highly recommended. We also tried The Pinnacle, and it was worth every penny of the up charge. The food and service were both excellent. Other aspects of the cruise rated highly as well. Public rooms in the ship were large and comfortable (we spent a lot of time in the Navigators Lounge), the entertainment area was of good size but not too large or crowded, and the Test Kitchen provided several really good shows. The ports, outside of Montreal, all had excellent dock facilities and a whole lot of shops, dining and entertainment within walking distance of the dock. Only Bar Harbor required a tender. While the shore excursions ran from good to great, it would be very easy to just spend your time walking around each port. Shore time was short - usually 8am to 4pm. If you do venture out, the Isle D'Orleans (Quebec) is an exceptional trip, Acadia National Park in Bar Harbor, and Peggy's Cove and Lunenberg in Halifax. There was only one cruise day for sailing, but it worked out well. Finally, the Boston tour with shuttle to the airport was a great way to end the cruise. One of the fastest disembarkations ever. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
I was a little hesitant just before leaving due to some of the recent reviews of this very cruise. Yes, the ship is a little tired in places. Seating cushions in public areas need to be replaced, along with the deck chairs on lower ... Read More
I was a little hesitant just before leaving due to some of the recent reviews of this very cruise. Yes, the ship is a little tired in places. Seating cushions in public areas need to be replaced, along with the deck chairs on lower promenade, etc. The 'hot tub' area aft seemed rather worthless. However, the ship is clean. The service and food were very good. I was impressed with the Lido restaurant. Happy to see the buffet has been done away with and the food and food utensils are not handled by guests. There were hand washing stations everywhere. The ship is smaller than many of the mega ships I've been on and this was a big plus given I was traveling with two individuals who use walkers. The ports of call I liked best were Bar Harbor and Quebec. Sydney didn't seem worthwhile. We dined at both of the 'specialty' restaurants. The Italian one was good, but they kept pushing the family style option and we all just wanted our own dish. It was fine, but seemed a little over the top. The Pinnacle was a real disappointment. We had much better service in the dining room. I had to ask for a finger bowl or something to wipe my hands with after my King Crab. We had to track down the waiter(s) a few times. Just didn't do a good job of reading the table in my opinion. Souffle for dessert was a real disappointment. Entertainment was OK. Comedian was very good. Piano man was awful, yet popular. Didn't understand that at all. Singers and dancers on board were acceptable, but we only went once. Spa was pretty good as far as packages available, but wait a few days as the prices go down and specials come available. Hot tub within the spa is worthless. No jets. Cabins are OK, tight as you expect. Bathroom was decent size and we had a tub. We were on lower promenade deck. Nice to be able to walk right out and it was mid ship and close to the gangways when we docked. Overall good value for the money and we enjoyed our week. I think the ship is worth a trip into dry dock to update her. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
To start, they greet you on board with a drink, you must pay for, and offers to sell you wine, water, non-alcoholic drink packages, that are so over-priced and over the top. Food was rarely good with little imagination and choices. ... Read More
To start, they greet you on board with a drink, you must pay for, and offers to sell you wine, water, non-alcoholic drink packages, that are so over-priced and over the top. Food was rarely good with little imagination and choices. Paid extra for Pinnacle restaurant and the entrée was terrific but appetizers and desserts were poor. Coffee and Cappuccino were little more than colored water. Returning from excursions at 3:30pm found the buffet, 24 hours open they say, 3/4 closed off with nothing but left over sandwiches, cold pizza and pastries to eat. Reserved dinners were only 5:15 and 7:45. Although the dining rooms were not full between, the any time eaters could not make a reservation for a table. Like Outback, you got a beeper to hold, until a table was ready for you. The staff invites you to get together's, bingo, wine tasting, liquor tasting...all for an exorbitant price. It was a ship to just say no. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
We wanted to explore New England and Canada's eastern coast as my husband had fond memories of it. So me, my husband and two adult children decided this would be the cruise. The Maasdam is a smaller ship. We only had 1100 on board when ... Read More
We wanted to explore New England and Canada's eastern coast as my husband had fond memories of it. So me, my husband and two adult children decided this would be the cruise. The Maasdam is a smaller ship. We only had 1100 on board when we sailed. There are only a few shops on board. Jewelry , a retail store selling mostly Holland America Apparel, and an incidental shop for forgotten toiletries, etc. That's it. There is a small casino--only one. There are 3 bars. The ship is clean. The Housekeeping services are wonderful . They make up your room in minutes every day. Of course they turn down your room at night and leave the ever popular towel animal. There are several self service laundromats on board which I found helpful since it's hard to pack that many clothes. The food is good. The Lido deck is where we mostly ate. My daughter and son enjoyed the Dive In which served fresh burgers and fries. The Dining room was quite nice and we enjoyed the dinners each night. There are 2 gala nights. Some people really dressed up but my husband wore dockers and a nice shirt. I wore evening slacks and a blouse. It was fine. Now comes the problem. The on board activities are terrible. Everyday they have some silly digital workshop, a cooking lesson, and shuffleboard. That's it. Or you could play ping pong or basketball. There were no organized games. No fun events. No Karaoke. Nothing in the way of fun entertainment. In the evening they did have a music trivia game but it was geared towards the 50s and 60s music. Before my time!!They showroom every night had a show but it was not good. The singers were off key and the dancers were just ok. And of course , it was geared towards the older crowd. There were no show productions. No props. No nothing. The shows were quite boring. One night they did have a magician and he was mildly entertaining but only mildly. They also had a circus act one night consisting of one man and he was awful. This may have been his first show!!! He was nervous and you could tell. Basically, there were no activities on board and the shows sucked!! Luckily the ports of calls were nice. Otherwise, we would have been bored out of our minds. 85% of the people on board were over 65. I wish I had known this. Many were grumpy and quite rude to the help. I am 55 so I hope I don't get like that!!! Overall I would not cruise Holland America again. Not until I am 70!!! Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
We Had an amazing week on the Maasdam. We were hesitant to book this because of other reviews saying the ship was old and needed to be fixed but so happy we did. Yes it is an older ship but if you know that then you can expect what comes ... Read More
We Had an amazing week on the Maasdam. We were hesitant to book this because of other reviews saying the ship was old and needed to be fixed but so happy we did. Yes it is an older ship but if you know that then you can expect what comes with an older ship. The Staff was great, especially room, restaurant and bar staff. We met so many wonderful people, had some great shore excursions and the food was great (just skip the lido for dinner that was lousy). The lido was perfect for breakfast and lunch- so many choices. Dinner at the pinnacle grill was amazing and the wines were wonderful. Entertainment was fair but we always had something to do. We played games, puzzles, trivia servers times a day, movies, bingo, pool. The ports we visited were great as well and great variety of shore trips to choose from. I wish I could have stayed another week. Read Less
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