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2 Holland America Southampton Cruise Reviews

It took 2 hours to board due to the incompetence of the check in staff --utter chaos at Southampton .We heard later that the same thing happened to the passengers boarding at Rotterdam . Once aboard we found to our dismay that , as smokers ... Read More
It took 2 hours to board due to the incompetence of the check in staff --utter chaos at Southampton .We heard later that the same thing happened to the passengers boarding at Rotterdam . Once aboard we found to our dismay that , as smokers ,that the smoking areas were not as described when we enquired when we booked .Even worse the policy on this is still false on the web page terms and conditions (page 16) listing several areas inside and on all open decks-in fact smokers are actually restricted to half of an open deck at the rear of the ship After a few days we found that the food was never hot in The Lido buffet dining and the same in the main restaurant. The Tv channels in the cabin and other lounges gradually disappeared off the screens. First was ESPN as we passed Suez,the day of the Australian tennis open semi finals which many had gone to Mix bar to watch. The annoying thing was that staff lied to guests with excuses like --satellite fault --mountains blocking the signal (no mountains within 40 miles in the Suez area)--a different excuse to different guests (they didnt seem to realize guests talked to each other )---next all the channels except Fox news went blank --again the same excuses--different excuse to different guests. Once in the Red Sea at Safarga ,a blackout after sunrise was announced because of the threat of pirates so all outside decks were in total darkness,much to the dismay of all the smokers who used the only smoking area Even more annoying after checking on the NATO site giving advise to shipping re piracy there is no danger in the Red Sea. After 6 days of blackout we were passing ships lit up like Christmas trees in the Persian Gulf while we travelled in darkness all the way to Dubai. One afternoon a notice appeared on the doors to the rear outside main deck (The Retreat) saying it would be closed for cleaning.We asked why close it for the afternoon and early evening and were told it had to be done then 'as it was in the schedule'--so it couldn't be changed --the same thing happened on the Promenade deck when passengers were cleared for scheduled cleaning in the afternoon ,,until so many complained it was abandoned The Lido Buffet had 2 sides for serving and was open till 8pm---not late especially for those who had been off ship but at 7.15 each night one side closed causing queues on the other side so service was painfully slow, even more colder food .Even worse on the side that closed ,the staff would start vacuuming around the diners The drinks on board are very expensive ,the trips too expensive and the ports visited changed without prior notice since the original itinery. The 'happy hour' has been abandoned since the previous cruise by this ship A guest commented that it reminded him of a company taken over by accounts---squeeze more revenue out of the customers for the least possible services Many other small things wrong on this cruise ,during which many people e mailed complaints to their travel agents By far the worse ship we have ever been on and we have done many cruises. Read Less
Sail Date January 2013
Like another reviewer on Tripadvisor my wife and I were also on the July Transatlantic crossing from Southampton to New York and have less than complimentary things to say about the voyage. Having previously been on a Princess ship also ... Read More
Like another reviewer on Tripadvisor my wife and I were also on the July Transatlantic crossing from Southampton to New York and have less than complimentary things to say about the voyage. Having previously been on a Princess ship also part of Carnival Corporation for four weeks crossing the Pacific last year it was an opportunity to compare both products like for like. The Rotterdam is a grand vessel and warrants a better calibre of staff. That is not to say that some of the crew were exceptional, however dinning was a bear pit with waiters barely able to manage tables. Service was appalling with many dishes served tepid including at least 3 soups . The meals were basically production line fare of mediocre quality with tiny helpings for entrees which were apologies for dinner courses. The time taken to serve each course was ludicrously long and each dinner took an eternity. That is fine if you want to languish for hours but most people required feeding in good time so that they could get away for entertainment . We have enjoyed many cruises and this was the first time we did not offer gratuity The management also did not feel inclined to keep the pool area clean during the day. Crockery and glasses were strewn around the place especially glasses around the only spa that they had working most of the time . This was so dangerous especially with children jumping in and out . No attempt whatsoever was made to clear the debris When we embarked it took 5 hours to obtain our luggage. We enquired several times at the front desk and they told us "they were looking for our cases" Eventually I decided to look myself and hey presto they were by a lift with a lot of other luggage at the far end of our corridor . I took them back to our cabin. Overall we were more than disappointed with HA and I doubt very much if we will ever cruise with them again It is a poor operation with untrained staff and culinary in expertise. Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
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