53 Holland America Maasdam Australia & New Zealand Cruise Reviews

Cabin is smaller than any we have occupied on 18 prior HAL cruises (with the possibe exception of when we sailed on the MS Prinsendam) Pros: Centrallylocated amid ship. Easy access to Dining Room and Atrium area. Obstruction of view ... Read More
Cabin is smaller than any we have occupied on 18 prior HAL cruises (with the possibe exception of when we sailed on the MS Prinsendam) Pros: Centrallylocated amid ship. Easy access to Dining Room and Atrium area. Obstruction of view only about 35%. Friendly, efficient cabin stweards Yusuf & Nicko. Cons: Immediately below main gallery--constant noise (thudding, scraping of heavy objects, banging, etc. most of the night well into the wee hours of the morning). Minimal options for "mini-bar"--just sodas & water--no refrigerator. (Disadvantage for 4 & 5 star Mariners) Air condtioning inadequate to comfortably cool the cabin. Corridor outside the cabin is also noticebly warmer than most other interior public spaces on the vessel. Only a single electrical outlet in the area of the small desk. Outletr in bathroomis not capable of receiving polarized (let alone grounded) plugs. No USB receivers. Fortunately, cabin stewards will provide a power strip if you request one. Your mileage may vary, Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
This itinerary has been a bucket list cruise for a number of years. By the time we were finally able to book it, it had become an EXC cruise. I am so pleased with the lectures given by the EXC naturalists. What an amazing group! ... Read More
This itinerary has been a bucket list cruise for a number of years. By the time we were finally able to book it, it had become an EXC cruise. I am so pleased with the lectures given by the EXC naturalists. What an amazing group! Chris Cook, the leader, is not only knowledgeable but entertaining. Erin, the crocodile specialist, is absolutely amazing! I was impressed with every one of them. Dr. Anita Heiss joined the cruise in its final days to add her expertise as well. I chose Holland America over other lines who do the circumnavigation for the itinerary which included Komodo Island and Tasmania. These two were the highlights for me. We saw the dragons and went to Gunns Plain Cave in Tasmania to see the elusive glowworms that I have wanted to see for so long. Other highlights were the ship's excursions to Billabong Sanctuary out of Townsville, trike ride in Broome, Wildlife (at marvelous Healesville) and Wineries out of Melbourne and private excursions to Litchfield, Yanchep and Pinnacles National Parks. I highly recommend any excursion which includes Healesville. It is a division of the Victoria Zoo which Chris Cook is affiliated with. We saw so much there. It is not to be missed as the Victoria Zoo does things the right way. We enjoyed trivia where we met wonderful partners from around the world. Food exceeded expectations and service was excellent. Our steward was exemplary. Our cabin was spacious with lots of storage. Only disappointments were missing Exmouth and Kangaroo Island, both tender ports. Seas were extremely rough and Captain Ryan Whittaker made the right decision not to attempt tendering. I regret not booking one of the zodiac tours. Those I heard from really enjoyed them. By the time I had an opening in our schedule and slots available, the weather had turned rough and we had colds which made us not game for it. The Maasdam is one of Holland America's older ships along with its sister ship the Veendam. I love both of them. The Maasdam is clean and well maintained. I would not hesitate to sail again on either of these. Their size and design is just what I like in a ship. The entertainment was better than expected. Initially EXE cruises did not have traditional entertainment. We enjoyed the shows most nights. Our favorites were IDA (very talented sopranos from the West End), the Jersey Tenors, and the OZ Boys. All three performed multiple shows which we enjoyed. I highly recommend joining your roll call group for any cruise. We enjoyed our three tours arranged through our active roll call. I arranged one to Litchfield National Park out of Darwin and enjoyed trips to Yanchep/Pinnacles National Parks out of Freemantle and a wine tour to to the Borossa Valley out of Adelaide planned by others. We enjoyed meeting others from roll call and the meet and greets (formal and informal) were well done by leaders from our roll call. We were even able to arrange shared cabs from airport to hotel and hotel to ship on roll call. We made our own hotel reservation at a reasonably priced hotel I found through others' recommendations here on CC. Had our ship embarked at the Quay where we disembarked, we could have walked to the ship. Overall I am glad we took this cruise and would consider EXE itineraries to other locations. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
I used to sail HAL all the time.... I will not anymore Many long term cruisers defend her to the hilt despite reality. Dont listen to them.....its not good Went on this cruise to see WW2 history....it was an Exec-Cruise , meaning ... Read More
I used to sail HAL all the time.... I will not anymore Many long term cruisers defend her to the hilt despite reality. Dont listen to them.....its not good Went on this cruise to see WW2 history....it was an Exec-Cruise , meaning that there would be lots of enrichment.... A lot of veterans both Australian and US signed on. We were 2/3rds of the 1200 passengers about 800. Well here is what happened. 1. about 10 days into the 30 day cruise HAL either fired the lecturer or he quit leaving us with no history. 2. Some passengers volunteered to substitute for free.... but were severely restricted by HAL on what they could say or do....... everything had to be 'Political correct based on Seattle very left wing anti military/us personal attitude. 3. This political correct attitude prevailed... several times we stopped at major sites and Vets wanted to hold a small memorial on the ships aft, We were told no way we dont want to offend anyone.... It was disgusting Final on the last day they did a pathetic mini memorial in the the theater...... too little too late Many times we Vets had to gather in secrecy to say a prayer and honor the fallen... I was enraged and disgusted.... 4 with the departure of the historian... hal brought on some lame natural history guy and a touch-e-feely sociologist...giving a limp wristed take on the countries....Pathetic That amigos...is the EXEC cruise your likely to get.... a canned, waterdown, political correct bunch of crud. The ship boarding: Pick up from airport was outstanding.... and boarding swift and easy...excellent Cabin :deck 5 was a ocean view..... great bed, great bathroom, great stewards The ship: wonderful condition, decor and layout nothing wrong Cruise Director: a joke was more interested in getting off in Sydney than being there. Captain: a political correct jerk who wanted Seattle to tell him what to do every day... Entertainment: Bring some CD's its pretty sad Food: Lido..... golden corral at sea... Good Chinese, Breakfasts good Powdered eggs unless you get the omlet guy to give you real ones. Super wait staff... Breakfast the only reasonable chance to get anything nice. Main dining room: Once was enough....like a being in the Jewish Catskill resorts Pinnacle: was not dumb enough to try Poor quality, presentation, service, atmosphere..sad place Dive in: Not that bad.... best make a taco salad Burgers very very greasy Bars: waterdown drinks marginal happy hour Summary: several days I did not even eat at all...... a first of a cruise. menus were torture After 28 days I was Glad to get off... In truth this ship was the only one that could take me to the special spots like Iwo Jima, Saipan, Guadelcanal, Iron Bottom sound They had me...no other option.... Thats about it.... a boat ride and your on your own.. Worst of all HAL did not care that they rooked hundreds of vets into thinking this would be special history tour.... it was special alright... special disappointing....I wanted so much to like it... but HAL would not let me. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Here is our secret for a great cruise. Prior to embarkation and having read all the wonderful marketing material, we discount the hype by 20 per cent. Now let's be honest. Have you ever had a burger or sandwich that looked as good as ... Read More
Here is our secret for a great cruise. Prior to embarkation and having read all the wonderful marketing material, we discount the hype by 20 per cent. Now let's be honest. Have you ever had a burger or sandwich that looked as good as the one on the T.V advertisement? Of course not. The Maasdam is now the oldest ship in the fleet but all public spaces are well maintained. In fact we believe the Rotterdam dining room and the Theatre/Showroom are beautiful. The size of the ship is a plus as there are plenty of seating in quiet places. We never waited more than a a couple of minutes for the elevator. During this 24 day crossing from Auckland to San Francisco there were about 11 sea days and this was when the library was appreciated. It is a great place to read about the American founding fathers American politicians and presidents, American sportspeople, and well known American authors. I particularly appreciated the stories of the American heroes of the integration of black Americans. Well, we must understand this is an American owned company. For the same reason we gave up on Trivia. Our cabin 140 on deck 9 was a disappointment. It was past being tired, it was exhausted and it was dominated by a four seater settee in dark brown vinyl that most likely could fold out into a bed. It looked like a refugee from a Salvation Army charity shop. But get this. Its unwanted presence in our tiny space now placed us in a Vista Suite which raised our gratuities to $16.00 U.S per day per person. The redeeming feature was the large covered balcony. Our total gratuity bill was around the equivalent of $1,100 Australian dollars. To the rest of the world that pays a livable wage to all workers this is a hangover from the days of the 18th century English Poorhouse where the poor were dependent on charity to survive. Meals in the Rotterdam dining room were very good, and while we avoid the rugby scrum of the buffet we were forced there when the dining room was closed. The food was surprisingly good. staff were better than good, they were wonderful. Entertainment was soloists such as a guy playing the flute while jumping all over the stage, a magician, a girl playing the piano accordion etc etc. And get this one. One evenings entertainment was a nature movie with the ship's talented musicians playing mood music. There were lots of complaints when usually the best nights entertainment is the crew, was relegated to 11.00pm. the Cruise Director known as K.K was the best we have ever seen. So here is the bottom line. We enjoyed this cruise and we love so much about HAL. Our 20 per cent discounting of the marketing hype was about right for the ship in general, but we should have discounted the cabin by 30 per cent. ps The guest lecturers saved us from being bored to death. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
When we booked last year we didn't know it would be an EXC cruise. We thought we'd give the new product a go but it seems to be a cost cutting venture. We went to the major ports of Noumea, Port Vila and Auckland on sundays when ... Read More
When we booked last year we didn't know it would be an EXC cruise. We thought we'd give the new product a go but it seems to be a cost cutting venture. We went to the major ports of Noumea, Port Vila and Auckland on sundays when everything is closed and the other days to beaches where it didn't matter. The cruise hopped around with no order or reason to be in these ports on sunday....maybe cheaper docking charges? Entertainment was very poor with nothing organised for sea days other than lectures on photo, computers and upcoming ports given with no enthusiasm. The were lots of BBC wildlife documentaries on both the main stage and on the Tv in cabin. We have yet to find what the cruise director KK did other than make introductions on stage. Entertainers were " more classical than fun" and their appearance times were hard to fit in with dinner in the dining room. There were no fun activities and you felt you were in an old folks home although they have more organised for them! Everything was dead after 11pm. Food was plentiful but tasteless. One night after a drinks get together at 7 and then going to the show until 8.45 we found the restaurants were closed and we were told to order room service to get anything. The Explorations coffee shop closed at 9pm and you could only get tea or coffee from the Lido if you were lucky enough to find some milk. The whole cruise lacked atmosphere, not what you want on a long awaited holiday! The ship is old but spotlessly clean. The cabins are large and well equipped. The crew are amazing, always helpful and smiling. They made the trip worthwhile! The ports visited were Ok but as I said some would have been more enjoyable if they were open. The beaches and snorkeling were wonderful. HAL excursions were over priced and much cheaper and better bought on shore run by the locals. Come on Holland America pick up your game and give us back what we came to expect from you. There were a lot of us complaining about this voyage and we hope all cruises will not become EXC. We will be watching as we have booked South America and Antartica for next year and if it's an EXC we will be cancelling. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
Because of the ports of call around the Pacific and previous cruises with HAL had been quite good. Embarkation at Brisbane was fine. Our Neptune suite felt like the same as previous on the other HAL cruise, very comfortable and ... Read More
Because of the ports of call around the Pacific and previous cruises with HAL had been quite good. Embarkation at Brisbane was fine. Our Neptune suite felt like the same as previous on the other HAL cruise, very comfortable and immaculately clean. How ever, the joy seemed to stop there! It appeared that the staffing levels had been reduced and things just took that little longer for serviceand attention. Prices have certainly increased and being in US$ for an Australian NZ Pacific cruise was a bit of a pocket hit when the service charge was then added. As we're the tours. This resulted in many of the passengers taking local tours upon going ashore. Including several US passengers. I will blame ourselves for not realising that it was an exploratory cruise with lectures mainly for entertainment. The result was a very dull and boring onboard cruise. At least during the day there could have been some life around the pool area. Nothing! People sat around bored looking at each other, looking at each other. If it wasn't so sad, it could have been funny. Then there's the food!! Oh dear!! The food was the worst I've had on the past 23 years of cruising. I am sure they constitute left overs in an attempt to make a curry. The curries were so bad, twice I attempted and had to bring to the attention of the food manager. The lunchtime pizza's were so heavy with grease, they were stuck to the pizza pan! I think the cheese was not pizza cheeses? Dining room food was OK, but the standard certainly has dropped. OXTAILS! My Lord, my mother served that on tight money days and it is now served as cruise cuisine. No more veggies served on the side, all piled under the meat selection and often not hot as the over run servers can't get it to you in an acceptable time. I do not fault the servers, they are marvellous, just not enough of them. As for the food quality and selection, again no fault of the kitchen hands, this come from above them. Being mainly Indonesian or Indian in the kitchen, they know how to make a good curry or Indonesian food, but cook what they are told to. The evening entertainment in the bars mostly were over before evening dinner was finished and the crows nest entertainment was a recording DJ when there was some passengers to try and entertain. The passengers were an older interesting mix but they were still alive and they were also disappointed in the lack of entertainment Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We did a Auckland to Sydney cruise on the Maasdam just prior to Christmas last year. Needed to go to sea again(yes I am getting hooked) and found a great deal for a Brisbane to Auckland via South Pacific so jumped at it. Booked a ... Read More
We did a Auckland to Sydney cruise on the Maasdam just prior to Christmas last year. Needed to go to sea again(yes I am getting hooked) and found a great deal for a Brisbane to Auckland via South Pacific so jumped at it. Booked a outside cabin and a few days before we left we’re given a free upgrade to a balcony suite.woopee. Embarkation was as smooth as we had come to expect,this was our 6th HAL cruise and we were on board and enjoying lunch by 1.30pm. Cabin was great,level 9 forward. Nice size plenty of space and storage. HAL might want to upgrade the tv as the sets are getting a bit old. Quickly slipped into a routine. Cabin stewards introduced themselves that day and as usual greeted us by name thereafter. A few sea days in the cruise but days went quickly between talks workshops trivia etc. Blessed by good seas and weather throughout. The 3 excursions we went on ran like clockwork. The islands we visited were interesting and in most part beautiful. The colour of the water wow. Friendly locals. No complaints at all. Really appreciated the Mariners presentation and lunch. It’s just one of the things that HAL do that puts them above others in my opinion. It was only a 14 day cruise but we covered nearly 4000 nautical miles. Would recommend to anyone especially those thinking about doing a long voyage to test their ability to manage sea days. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
For fellow Aussies If you get in this cruise ship: - make sure you got with you a travel adaptor for Australian and New Zealand appliances for use in Europe. You are not going to find any of them on the ship and you will not be able ... Read More
For fellow Aussies If you get in this cruise ship: - make sure you got with you a travel adaptor for Australian and New Zealand appliances for use in Europe. You are not going to find any of them on the ship and you will not be able to use or charge any of your electrical or electronic devices. - bring a calculator with you mate. The dollars you pay and see on the receipts, everytime you fancy a drink or purchase an item, are american not australian. - in case you missed that, there is a "hotel service charge" $15 US for every day and every passenger. Are you still got the calculator with you mate? - dreaming about the buffet? Sorry mate, but there is not much difference between the ship buffet and your local takeway. At least the ship crew is serving your food in small portions so you will not get fat during the cruise. - at nights, there are a few singers and a music band who are going to entertain you, especially at the show room. What do you expect? Moulin Rouge? In your dreams mate. - the tv in our cabin was small. I had to stay close to watch a movie during some boring days and nights. - it was so exciting to get out of the ship in every port. - the shower shampoo in the cabin smell nice. - a few exciting nights playing with puzzles and readings books. - some magnificent sunsets. - sometimes I had a feeling that I was in a retirement village. That's all for the moment. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
We chose the cruise for a couple of reasons. Firstly it covered Christmas and New Year. secondly we live in Fremantle so only had to fly one way then cruise back to our home port. We enjoyed the ports although most of them we had ... Read More
We chose the cruise for a couple of reasons. Firstly it covered Christmas and New Year. secondly we live in Fremantle so only had to fly one way then cruise back to our home port. We enjoyed the ports although most of them we had visited previously. The one big disappointment on this cruise was the dire entertainment programme. There wasn’t a single production show. On 2 evenings a film was shown in the theatre. Most of the entertainers were not what I would call top class - second rate mainly. We were not the only people who were surprised at the standard of the shows. It would certainly put us off choosing Holland America again without doing some serious research into the on board schedule. Overall the food was good and varied. Wine prices, like most cruise ships, are too high. Drinks packages are not an option for us as we don’t drink enough to make it worth it financially. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
We chose this cruise because we wanted a quiet restful trip. We did our research and discovered that Holland America are aimed at an older age group with not so many families/children on board. We found the Maasdam suited us perfectly. The ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we wanted a quiet restful trip. We did our research and discovered that Holland America are aimed at an older age group with not so many families/children on board. We found the Maasdam suited us perfectly. The Service and quality of food on this ship was excellent!! We didn't make use of the Casino as that's not our thing. There were plenty of bars and areas to sit and read or just relax. We mostly ate in the Main Dining room or had room service. We sat in the open dining on Deck 7 on the Port side and our waiter Imam & Wine Steward Iyvette were both lovely and looked after us very well. We enjoyed the Burgers at the Dive In Burger Bar on the Lido Deck.We did our sums and decided to take our own Wine on board as we weren't prepared to pay $827Usd each for a drinks package and we are so glad we didn't. We bought 13 bottles of Wine and 1 of Champagne on board and paid the $18Usd Corkage on 12 of them and it was still much cheaper to do this than get 2 drinks packages. We only had a couple of beers during the day from time to time and drank wine with our dinner each evening and occasionally in our room and had a cocktail/beer after dinner a few times plus the odd coffee - with the cost of our Alcohol purchased before boarding and all other drinks we still only spent about $650Usd. We made use of the free water refill at the Lido bar. The Itinerary was fabulous as we got to see parts of Australia we had never visited before and the parts we loved we will visit again. We haven't cruised a lot before and found the continuous up selling a bit annoying but you can always say no. The entertainment was just ok. We spoke to some people who said it was average and others who thought it was ok. We didn't do any shore excursions as we have been to some of the places and hired a car and did our own thing in other places so I cant comment other then to say we thought they were expensive. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
Many lovely happy and pleasant dining and cabin crew. Food was really excellent. We tend to use the Lido more but the dining room was good too. Enrichment programs did not meet standard of previous cruises with HAL either in subject ... Read More
Many lovely happy and pleasant dining and cabin crew. Food was really excellent. We tend to use the Lido more but the dining room was good too. Enrichment programs did not meet standard of previous cruises with HAL either in subject matter or knowledge and standard of some presenters. Nor did the port presentations by HAL staff or the evening entertainment (with one exception) meet our previous experiences. Many very elderly passengers on board which did slow shore excursions down. Idea of having cooking demonstrations by Australian chefs was excellent although only one class by each of two chefs wasn't enough when you consider America's Test Kitchen is on most days on other ships. Chefs included interesting recipes using Australian produce. Some port tours were very good but tours which simply go to the shopping area in Margaret River WA and to quite uninteresting sites on Eyre Peninsular need reviewing. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
I chose this cruise as we wanted to start in Sydney, spend Christmas and New Years on the ship and visit the west side of Austalia; get to see ports off the beaten track. The staff is amazing and go above and beyond to be friendly and ... Read More
I chose this cruise as we wanted to start in Sydney, spend Christmas and New Years on the ship and visit the west side of Austalia; get to see ports off the beaten track. The staff is amazing and go above and beyond to be friendly and helpful. The excursions are very expensive and we always book privately or rent cars, join other cruise critic members on smaller and less expensive (by far) excursions. The one excursion we booked with HAL was a zodiac boat tour of Kuri Bay and was so disastrous, we were given our money back. The food is good, but not exceptional. I find it greedy that there is already a helfty surcharge at The Pinnacle (considering the cruise has already been paid for), but you have to pay extra to upgrade to lobster or have an extra main. The entertainment was inconsistent - either good, only a couple were exceptional, nonexistent or really bad. The onboard naturalists and historian were very interesting and I really enjoyed the EXC portion of the cruise. I found tendering good and exiting the ship at ports efficient. Overall we found the cruise very enjoyable but HAL has certainly cut corners in places perhaps they shouldn't. It should be noted that the Maasdam is clearly 3* not 4* rating, so if you pay for 3* you're getting you're money's worth. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
We choose this cruise ship because of its very interesting itinerary. It stops at all ports in New Zealand and most of the Sothern/western Australia. We booked both segments, one 13 days from Auckland to Sidney and thence 16 days to Perth. ... Read More
We choose this cruise ship because of its very interesting itinerary. It stops at all ports in New Zealand and most of the Sothern/western Australia. We booked both segments, one 13 days from Auckland to Sidney and thence 16 days to Perth. But we made an error to book into a 29 days journey on a 25 years old boat, a small ocean liner by today's standard. In my mind, the age and the size by themselves is not a problem, giving HAL is known for its great service and food. Well, how wrong we are. Our ordeal started immediately upon boarding. On the surface, the ship had a cosmetic makeover and our stateroom is pretty updated and we do not have a complaint about it, even it is an inside cabin, room 744, on the lowest passenger deck, deck 4. However, the devil is in the details. My major complaint, and it is real, is that I got locked in a toilet in the Ledo Deck men's public. That bathroom is divided into two sections, the toilet and the uraine stall plus the washing sink. between them there is a sliding pocket door, that public bathroom has no emergency alarm bottom as the other public bathrooms do. HAL did not bother to install a new sliding pocket door when they renovate the ship most likely it is expensive and involves opening up the structure which may affect integrity. So, not only it will not latch, but when I got into the toilet side, the door got stuck and I could not open the door after using the toilet. I am physically a very fit person, I tried everything I could to either open the door or tried to signal my wife who was reading a book only 20 feet away out side on a lounge chair. Because the structure of the door and the bathroom, my phone could not receive any wifi signal and my bang on the wall or door was not heard. Finally, after struggled for 15 minutes, some one came in to use the bathroom and was able to call a crew member to release the door. I was saved. I did report the incident to the front desk immediately. The lady at the desk was kind enough to accompany me to the bathroom the examine the pocket door, Of course, by that time, the crew had "repair" the door so it opens and close properly. I know it will fail again, if it is not replaced or disabled. In the few days after the incident, no warning sing was posted on the door. Only after a week or 10 days after, I saw the door had been disabled by the management. Apparently, there are enough incidents in that bathroom similar to my experience. My bad experiences on this ship did not stop with the incident. Bad management shows every where in my 29 days with the cruise. Here are a few major ones that I can echo most of the problems from the people I have talked to and my own obersercation. 1. The quality of the cooking. Please note that I am NOT complaining about the food ingrediances, but the cooking. With few exceptions, the food are very well overcooked. That includes, almost all the fish, sea food, vegitable and meat. My wife incidentally met the chef and compalint about the over cooked fish, so it did improve after 10 days of hard "rock fish" meals.She failed to mention that "rubber band" asperigus knife cannot cut through, so we stopped to order any thing that has asperigus in it. You get the same thing over and over every day in Ledo buffet, the main dining room has more veriety, but because of the cooking, most of the time, it is not a very enjoyable dining. I've heard rave reviews for the hamburger joint next to the pool, but we are not a fan in hambergers and those high salt conent greesy french fries. 2. Lack of entertainment. From MANY four-five HAL stars(over 200 days on HAL) curisers including the lady at the future cruise desk who represented HAL told me that this cruise had cut back entertainment and replaced it with EXC or enrichment talks. It was such a boring ship, there is no music on the ship during the day, lots lots of "talks" or EXC presentations and movies. Its like a dead ship. After 6pm, some "entertainment" is provided, but everything is like from the stone ages. Music is from the 70's or older, good singers on stage are few and far in between, "Avita" was provided three times. Piano bar is handled by only the same person for the entire 29 days from 8-close, he is over worked and ran out of voice. The lone comedian gave the same "jokes" night after night, even after "new material" was announced one night. However, people flock into the theater 1/2 hour before the show starts because there is nothing eles to do on the ship. The Library has the most crowd because it has the most game and book to kill time. 3. Over priced excursions. You can find the same excursion from other providers at half or third of whats offered. I am so sorry that we did not know that the members of the cruise critic have organized excursions on this ship, but you live and learn. All in all, I will not join HAL again given the knowledge that HAL and Carnival, its parent company, had severly cutting corners in recent years. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
Enjoyed H.A.L some time ago and decided to join friends on this 12 night cruise around New Zealand and to Norfolk Island. Most of the cruise en counted bad weather for the time of yearn around New Zealand. Well we never got to land on ... Read More
Enjoyed H.A.L some time ago and decided to join friends on this 12 night cruise around New Zealand and to Norfolk Island. Most of the cruise en counted bad weather for the time of yearn around New Zealand. Well we never got to land on Norfolk Island , the swells too big, a shame but nothing you can do to change that. The ship has H.A.L. new E.X.C. ,we were not a fan of this as it cuts done the amount of entertainment on the ship. Staff told us this is the only ship in the fleet with EXC and it appeals to limited folk from what we heard from others. The ship had only 972 on board this cruise and as it takes 1250 , tender times were good for the most part. Entertainment was very limited and some sub standard.The Cruise Director seemed to do everything with no helpers. The ship is old , but staff excellent in all departments. Our first cabin 545 had so many noises (sounded like steel on steel in the outside wall) we could not sleep.We were moved to 555 , this also had unacceptable noise ! We were then shifted to 556 which was fine apart from the shower control. Dining Room and Buffet both had cheerful and excellent staff as was the cabin staff.. Not 5 star by any mean,s , not even a fridge in the cabin, however the ship is kept clean and tidy by the crew at all times (with a smile) Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
We wanted to go to Norfolk and it was on the itinerary so chose this cruise over others because of that mainly. It also went to other places we were interested in and so we saved our money and booked it. We traveled to Norfolk but ... Read More
We wanted to go to Norfolk and it was on the itinerary so chose this cruise over others because of that mainly. It also went to other places we were interested in and so we saved our money and booked it. We traveled to Norfolk but couldn't disembark as it was too rough. Talking with others was interesting as apparently the chances of getting onto Norfolk are about 2/7. We felt totally cheated and believe strongly this port should come with a warning so people can make an informed decision before paying. From the very start we were disappointed in things and by the time the cruise was half over all we wanted to do was go home. Having been on two other cruises with two different companies we had scope to compare our experiences and expectations with. There was no welcome aboard drink or even a welcome aboard except from the cabin stewards who were wonderful. Our cabin, 640, was really noisy and while part of this was vents in the passage that we were told were needing some adjusting (but it wasn't ever done) no-one could explain what caused the loud humming which seemed to come from the outside of the ship. After complaining four times over six days we were finally moved to 643 which was on the other side of the ship and it was blissfully quiet. The entertainment was really poor when it happened at all. Far too little to do on this ship and what there was really had limited appeal. The food in the Lido buffet was boring and the same things over and over again and the one time there were fresh stir fry veges they were gone in a flash. The waste was huge and you would think someone would start to question why this was happening. Excursions were way over priced and one we went on was triple the price Joe Public would pay. We learned to find our own on shore excursions and to be paying what it was actually worth. The price for bottled water was prohibitive as was the alcohol and then there was the 15% extra on top. The shops and casino were empty a huge amount of the time and that wasn't surprising when the cost of shop items was looked at. The staff stood around and looked totally bored which they probably were. There were some pluses though. Disembarkation was smooth and fast. It was a real plus. The Cabin Stewards were totally fabulous and the other crew were great as well.Cabin stewards always spoke to us as if they really cared and they knew our names. They couldn't be faulted. The Room Service was fabulous and the bowl of fruit in the room was really appreciated. When we chose a time for our morning coffee it was delivered on time and by such friendly crew. Absolutely fabulous service. Even with the positive things we would never travel with this company again. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
We cannot travel far from home at the moment due to family commitments so the 12 day around NZ was ideal. The boarding in Auckland was the easiest I have ever done and basically we just walked onboard with a few ID checks and the key card ... Read More
We cannot travel far from home at the moment due to family commitments so the 12 day around NZ was ideal. The boarding in Auckland was the easiest I have ever done and basically we just walked onboard with a few ID checks and the key card issuance. The ship was not full, about 900 passengers when she will take 1200, so there was a real feeling of space. We stayed in the Neptune 043 suite and loved it - heaps of room, a balcony to die for and nicely appointed throughout. This also gave us access to the Neptune Lounge, which I initially doubted we would use much, but as it turned out we became addicted to our quiet time in there with a decent cup of coffee and some nice snacks. It also came in handy when work intruded on the holiday and I needed something printed out and then scanned - this was the easiest I have ever managed to do this at sea. The food was of good standard - although a bit cold at times in the LIdo, service was faultless throughout and the activities were all well organised. The only criticism is that they seemed to be 'short' an act or two; there was no main production troupe so no dance shows and a couple of the entertainers they had were asked to do two or more shows, and quite frankly their material was not strong enough for this. Despite this, we felt entertained (mostly) and there was a really happy, friendly feel to the cruise, all the passengers were smiling and always ready for a chat over food, and the trivia teams were always happy to let others join in when they didn't have a full quota. Jonathon, the cruise director did an excellent job running these and just about any other entertainment. John in the piano bar was fabulous and the stools around his piano were always filled with people who had drunk enough to think they could sing (including us). Great fun there at night. We missed one port (Norfolk Island) due to rough weather and questions were asked as to whether ships should even go there as the success rate is not good apparently, but the captain circumnavigated it and took us off to see another island (no landing), and the tour charges were quickly refunded in full with no fuss. I would travel again on the Maasdam, she is probably not the newest ship out there but we enjoyed the layout and found everything we wanted. The shopping was a bit limited compared to others - not everyone wants high end jewellery, but this is minor and probably saved us some money. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
We chose this cruise due to the itinerary and the supposed reputation of Holland America being a classy cruise line. It was to be a continuation of a seven night cruise that we took on the Paul Gauguin. We were looking forward to the ... Read More
We chose this cruise due to the itinerary and the supposed reputation of Holland America being a classy cruise line. It was to be a continuation of a seven night cruise that we took on the Paul Gauguin. We were looking forward to the stops at Rarotonga, Cook Islands - Alofi, Niue - Vava u, Tonga - Savusavu, Vanua Levi, Fiji - Suva, Viti Levu, Fiji - Dravuni, Fiji - Nuku alofa, Tonga. To set the stage for the tender rides to shore we need to say that prior to our cruise a woman was killed while getting on the tender at a stop. Of course like the military Holland America made a decision to screw all of it's passengers due to the actions of one unfortunate soul. They cancelled the first two stops stating the sea state was to high to go a shore. They must not have realized there were many passengers that had a great deal of experience with boating and knew that the sea state was not as bad as they were saying. Real big disappointment to all aboard. All of the remaining stops we did go ashore. Shore excursions were totally overpriced. We went ashore an picked up tours at far cheaper prices than Holland America offered. For a cruise line that is supposed to be classy Holland America made it far from that. Everytime you turned around they were trying to up sale you. From the over price bottled water and canned sodas in the state rooms, to the over priced additional restaurants, to the drastically overpriced cocktails and wine. Add to this the upscale jewelry stores which I very seldom saw passengers present. The casino that was almost as empty as the jewelry stores. Really do they really need to send out daily sales brochures trying to temp you with the 20% off sale which they raised the price on items 20% prior to the sale. It seems they could have used this space for more over priced restaurants or even heaven forbid a better stocked sundry store. Now let us talk about a dead ship. Even though we are 59 and 62 we seemed to have more life than the typical passenger that appeared to be above the age of 70 and no young 70s for sure. You would think that there would be South Pacific Island music playing all over the ship. You know to set the mood. But, no, Holland America plays elevator music when they play it at all. You would get more exciting music in a mortuary or morgue. Who knows maybe that is what the old folks really want. The musical entertainers actually play Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Old Oak tree, Really? The ship seemed to be in less than stealer condition. There was rust everywhere. The cover over the midship pool broke during the cruise and it didn't seem like the crew had the capability to fix it. The covers on the lifeboats seemed faded and strained. In fact on a couple of them they seemed to be torn or caved in. The tenders were filthy and unkempt. To think that the elderly passengers could have to use these boats in an emergency was disappointing and scary. The average crew member did a good job. Even when they were forced to sell things which they looked embarrassed and not comfortable doing. Our cabin steward was great. The dining room staff was great. Can't really say anything bad about the basic crew member on the Maasdam. The front desk personnel did a great job. There was a strange noise that kept happening in our first stateroom. We complained and they moved us to a new stateroom very quickly. Our stateroom was very clean and comfortable. We purchased the laundry service for the entire cruise. We felt it was a good value and the staff did a great job. The internet service was slow and expensive for what you received. We realize the signal has to travel many thousands of mile but really that slow? The food on the ship was good. However, no better than any other cruise ship we had been on. Holland America really needs to step it up to live up to a reputation that seems like it had gotten many years ago. Stop selling and make it a classy ship again or close the line down and save not only themselves but the passengers from a poor experience. Many folks that we had spoke to that had cruised Holland America in the passed said that this would be their last cruise on the line. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
Maasdam from Tahiti to Auckland via Fiji, Samoa and other Pacific Islands. Two of us in our 60's had a Neptune Suite midships (010) which was quiet, roomy, in excellent condition and fabulous. The staff were great, nothing was too ... Read More
Maasdam from Tahiti to Auckland via Fiji, Samoa and other Pacific Islands. Two of us in our 60's had a Neptune Suite midships (010) which was quiet, roomy, in excellent condition and fabulous. The staff were great, nothing was too much trouble, smiles and greetings everywhere, loved them. Food was the best of several cruises we have done (home made burgers were to die for), excellent range of food options all well presented, hygienicly handled and delicious. Evening entertainment was top class, especially "The Unexpected Boys" (similar to The Jersey Boys) who put on 4 different shows during the cruise. My only suggestion would be to improve the range of films and shows on ship TV - very limited range of boring news channels, and two movie channels (which repeated the same film for a day each) - fortunately we found the onboard video range and overdosed on Netflix shows. We have previously cruised with P&O, Carnival and Princess, and this ship was better than all of them. Would definitely cruise with Holland America again. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
We chose this cruise to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary. Having been to a few of the ports before we were excited about the prospect of visiting Norfolk Island. However we were not able tho stop at Norfolk Island and two other ... Read More
We chose this cruise to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary. Having been to a few of the ports before we were excited about the prospect of visiting Norfolk Island. However we were not able tho stop at Norfolk Island and two other ports. Out is believed only very few shops actually get their passengers onto Norfolk Island and so many had booked this trip with the promise of visiting Norfolk Island. In my opinion this port should be deleted from their itinerary as I believe it is only used as a lure tho get passengers to book the cruise with the company knowing it is very unlikely to ever happen. Feels like a bit of a con. Our major concern though on this cruise was the lack of first aid knowledge by the first responders. It was alarming to find the first responders to a heart attack didn't know how to take a pulse, didn't effectively know CPR or how to use the defibrillator. We feel these first responders should have better first aid training and at a minimum know how to take a pulse, do effective CPR and use the defib. It was discovered from this incident that the defib machines on the ship were the very old non speaking type. Please note this is not shipboard rumour but first hand experience at the incident. We were very impressed with the standard of food in the dining room. It was a huge step up from our last Holland America cruise. Most of the onboard entertainment was excellent however there were two acts on the second part of our cruise that were appalling. The ship had been recently very tastefully refurbished. Our cabin was very comfortable. The poor condition and incompleteness of some of the board games onboard needs immediate attention. It was very frustrating trying to find complete games to play. We were also very disappointed that a gym instructor was not immediately replaced during shore leave of the original instructor. This caused some gym activities to cease because of the absence of an instructor. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
I like to go to places that I have not been to, I like to go at a good price and on a good ship. This cruise delivered all three. Papeete to Auckland for 26 days. Papeete is a loooooong way from Philadelphia but we eventually got there. ... Read More
I like to go to places that I have not been to, I like to go at a good price and on a good ship. This cruise delivered all three. Papeete to Auckland for 26 days. Papeete is a loooooong way from Philadelphia but we eventually got there. We landed the night before and enjoyed Tahitian music groups outside the airport. They were there on their accord and were having a great time. We stayed at a b & b with a gracious hostess. The house was surrounded with tropical plants and loud roosters. The views to Morrea were great. Great taxis. Maasdam. The ship is in very good shape. It had a dry dock in September 2018. There was no work in progress when we boarded. The public areas were all recarpeted and were very clean. The ship is dated in places but was always pleasant. The ship holds about 1,075 but only about 925 were on board. The ship was never crowded. There is a wrap around deck that's great for walking. We did the breast cancer walk and got a t shirt. The pools were in good shape, the retractable roof was good on windy days was was impressive closed at night. Lounge chairs were generally good. The self service laundry was very good, important on a 26 day cruise. The WIFI was very expensive and very bad. No host in the computer area. You had to go to the customer service deck on another deck, and get in line for help. Their answers were generally in the try this category. The pricing was in 3 quality tiers with the higher prices promising the better chance of working.Good hot tubs. Stateroom: The stateroom were not recarpeted. Ours was clean but had seen better days. The fixtures and furniture were dated but highly functional. We did not have any problems except for a slow draining tub one night. They fix it right away. The TV was good and I watched many cds from the customer service desk. Good variety. The bed was very comfortable. I was happy with the stateroom. MDR: very good condition, beautiful. Two tiered with bg, big viewing widows. Never crowded. We never waited for a table for 2 or sharing with 4 or 6. Many times at tables at the rear windows catching sunsets. Breakfast and lunch here were excellent. Dinner fell off.There seemed to ne a cut back in the number of soups, apps, salads, entrees and esp desserts. Some things were excellent with most things being good. It met my expectations and I always enjoyed going there. Buffet. Excellent condition. Very clean. Never "really crowded". Often wide open. Breakfast was excellent with made to order blueberry pancakes, omelets, eggs benedict, fried eggs. Very good meats. Lunch was very good. Made to order sandwiches and pasta. Lack of variety. Dinner fell off. The main entrees never looked good. I would get the pasta again. The desserts were always the same No variet. Nothing ever special. Good coffee. Dive in. Poolside burgers, dogs, tacos. Really excellent. Good toppings. Very good fries. Room service: Excellent. Always on time. Hot omelets were good. Coffee specialty cafe: No brewed coffee Soda card: Very good deal, pay $25 for a $50 card. Sodas were about $2.15. This is actually a better deal than Princess. Entertainment. Almost very bad. Lounges: Music seemed ok . Dated rooms. Crows nest was good. Folk presentations. These were generally good with music and dancing from Tonga, Fiji, and the Mauri people from New Zealand Service: Throughout the ship the service was excellent. MDR, buffet, room stewarts, customer service desk, shore excursion desk, all were were excellent. We missed 3 islands due to not be able to tender. Sadly a passenger had been killed on the previous voyage between the tender and the ship. I think the captain may have been overly cautious afterwards. We missed Rarotonga,( where the accident happened) Alofi, and Norfolk island Australia The ship could be boring at times. Esp with the added seadays. Once we left Fiji and headed for Auckland the weather changed and there was not much to do. Often boring at night as the entertainment was generally bad. Vava U Tonga is very poor. We had a taxi take us aroud. Not much to see. Very hot. We went to good beach with good sand and I enjoyed the water and the fish. Good beaches are hard to find. Savusavu Fiji. Not as poor as Vava U . We went to a resort that had seen better days. Free cab as we me t the owner at the pier. Went snorkeling on the resorts boat for about 2 hrs for $25. Lots of fish. Beautiful water. Then taxied to another beach. Not good as the island is surrounded by coral and the vaves break way out from the shore This was really for wading over the coral crest but saw some interesting sea creatures. Suva Fiji. More of a larger city but still small. We were at a pier here. Wlked around. Is a hike via vechicle to other parts of the island for things to do. Dirty market. Dravuni Island Fiji. More like the advertisements. Small island, 200 people, white sandy beaches, no real waves as they break far out. Some snorkeling is possible. Coral can be sharp. Great hiking trail up the mountain for 360 degree views out over the prettiest ocean you will ever see.We sat in on the one room school class for a lesson. I think the kids have to mocve to another island when they get a little older. Nuku Alofa, Kingdom of Tonga. Nice place. This is the capital. Interesting history.Ships tour was good. Poor beaches. Good cultural show. New Zealand: Beautiful country. Nicest people. We learned many interesting things. The cruise here was 12 days with 7 stops. We wasted 3 days going to and fro and then no landing at Norfolk Island Australia. These days would have been much better going to the National Park sounds and Fjords on the south island. Glow Worm cave trip was excellent, Old growth forests, Kiwi farms, Christchurch earthquake, Rotorua thermal park, were all great. The thing I liked the most were the mountains, endless mountains, and the esturaries, bays, sounds, and harbors that the ship had to get into. Excellent. I would recommend the Maasdam for the 3 reasons I opened with: Itinerary, price, nice ship. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
This was the second part to our cruise. Only about 800 to 900 on this section. We kept the same cabin 574 Main Deck and the same great crew looking after cabin. The ship as usual was kept clean and tidy. Unfortunately the menu in the ... Read More
This was the second part to our cruise. Only about 800 to 900 on this section. We kept the same cabin 574 Main Deck and the same great crew looking after cabin. The ship as usual was kept clean and tidy. Unfortunately the menu in the dining room and up in Lido did not change except for thanks giving evening. One evening in the dining the Lamb shank was very good. We found the Library a very good place to past the time of day. The shops were nothing to write home about, there was one big jewellery shop with some expensive items. Easy enough to get around the ship, lifts were never overcrowded except after a show when everyone was trying to either other places on the ship or to their cabins. The Hamburger/hot Dog place on deck 11 was great for lunch thou personally I did not like all the stuff that was put on the Hot Dog, Hamburgers were great. while having your lunch on deck it was quite often hard to hear the captain talking over the speaker. This was the part of cruise were looking forward to as my wife had lived on Niue and I was to get the conducted tour, it was not to be as the captain advised it was to rough at the wharf to land. We also did not land at Rarotonga as it was to rough to get into the tenders. Vava U Tonga was great as we were able to meet up with the wife's son and delivery a case of items that they wanted. Arranging to get off the ship with the case was a hassle from the front desk staff but in the end we saw customs when they came aboard and got cleared by them. Savusavu was ok, but Suva has not changed since we were last there apart from more high rise building. Dravuni Island was the best place for snorkelling and swimming. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
We thought that we would get away to some sunshine and this was the first part of our 28 day cruising the Pacific visiting islands that one would not normally visit. We enjoyed the smaller ship which only had about 1200 people on board. ... Read More
We thought that we would get away to some sunshine and this was the first part of our 28 day cruising the Pacific visiting islands that one would not normally visit. We enjoyed the smaller ship which only had about 1200 people on board. Visiting islands via the ships tenders was an interesting experience. While the ship was of a mature age the crew and hotel staff kept in clean Our stateroom was 574 on the main deck slightly forward. We received an upgrade from the deck below. Our two cabin stewards kept the cabin clean and tidy. We asked for anytime dining in the dining room in the evening and was always able to be seated. Always asked if wanted to join others or be seated by ourselves. Personal option of the Dining room menu was sometimes good. Thanksgiving dinner good. Had Breakfast and lunch in the Lido and also dinner three or four times. Unfortunately food choices for dinner did not change except for the sweets. No dancing and the entertainment I would only give six out of ten. We did one shore excursion at Raiatea, Society Islands to visit a plantation and swim at a very nice island. We found that you had to use 8 US quarters in the washing machine and 4 quarters in the dryer. Shops on the Maasdam were nothing to write home about, big jewellery shop, If you where looking for pearls. Though you could find cheaper pearls in the island markets. Back at Papeete we received a in transit pass to get off the ship as we were on the second part of the cruise. Would I cruise with Holland America again, would depend on the itinerary but I did like the smaller ship. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
The cruise was chosen for the itinerary - a journey around some of the islands of French Polynesia - not because we specifically wanted to travel with Holland America. What we liked: - islands did not disappoint, itinerary was good ... Read More
The cruise was chosen for the itinerary - a journey around some of the islands of French Polynesia - not because we specifically wanted to travel with Holland America. What we liked: - islands did not disappoint, itinerary was good (one island was missed due to swells) - ship not crowded (around 1,200 people) - passengers well behaved (the cruise was heavily biased towards the over 60 crowd, which included us) - staff generally friendly and polite - cabin accomodation clean and comfortable What we didn't care for: - cruise expensive, we were prepared to pay but did not feel it offered 'value-for-money' - cabin lacked the space and amenities associated with a suite in other cruise lines - food in Lido buffet repetitive; more choice of cuisine urgently needed - shore excursions were conducted by outside companies (zodiacs not yet operating), ship just added a booking premium - encountered a number of staff with very limited English language capability (they should be offered lessons at the company's expense) - enterainment options could be improved eg onboard cinema - shops limited eg area dominated by an overly-large jewelry retailer Overall, an interesting experience but we would probably not sail with this line again. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
We chose this cruise for the itinerary! I have never seen such a low cost for a 28 day cruise that included such dreamy South Pacific Island ports. It was an opportunity I had not seen before on my favorite cruise line! We arrived a ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the itinerary! I have never seen such a low cost for a 28 day cruise that included such dreamy South Pacific Island ports. It was an opportunity I had not seen before on my favorite cruise line! We arrived a few days earlier into Papeete and took the ferry to Moorea and spent a few nights at the Hilton Moorea and the Intercontinental Moorea! Moorea turned out to be my favorite island and the over the water bungalows were even more amazing than the pictures! Being able to jump in the water from our deck and snorkel among corral and colorful fish was incredible! The green mountainous backdrop with the turquoise water was surreal! The Hilton Moorea was one of the best hotels I have ever stayed at in my life! Embarkation was a breeze, stepped off the ferry from Moorea, walked 5 minutes to where our ship was docked and was on board within 15 minutes! We had a quiet, comfortable inside cabin on a lower deck with the best room stewards, Jenni and Carlos who take care of everything for us, always insuring we were comfortable! We had early dining in the main dining room, and our biggest complaint was we were torn between eating outside in the back of the Lido watching the amazing sunsets or the excellent, fun service we had in the dining room with Sugi and Andre! We always found something delicious to eat and really loved the salads! They were the best ever! The entertainment was different than your typical cruise. No flashy productions. We thoroughly enjoyed the Polynesian show and the comedian! The ship is small and I loved that! We were always able to find a lounger somewhere to hang out and read with incredible views! I enjoyed the EXC classes and presentations! I learned some interesting recipes and just enjoyed the cultural learning experiences! The ports were the reason we came on this cruise, and our only disappointment was having to miss 3 of the stops. Papeete: We did a tour with Dave's VIP tours and we really enjoyed the tour. The minivan was a little crowded, and the AC did not work, but our group made the best of it and we had a great introductory tour of Tahiti. Dave was an excellent tour guide. Highly recommended! We also walked around the colorful market which was bustling! Our first port stop, Hiva Oa, was cancelled due to rough water! Our second stop, Taiohae, Nuku Hiva, Marquesas Islands, was fantastic! I booked a horseback riding tour with Sabine, and she was not there when we disembarked, in fact she was late as she had gone to church. The tourist office was very helpful and called her, and so we waited. I am so glad we did. It was an incredible adventure. She picked us up in her old pickup truck and drove us 30 minutes into the mountains to her incredibly beautiful ranch. The horses are well cared for and it was a fantastic ride! We asked her if we could do another ride, she said yes and this time drove us back to town to ride horses around town. (my new friend on the tour was immediately bucked off) and decided she was done for the day. Sabine gave me her horse and we rode on through town and around down to the beach. I would not recommend this part of the ride for novice riders as there are many potential hazards, cars, dogs, attacking bees, precipitous drops, and other crazy distractions! This was definitely the most wild adventure of the trip! The scenery was unforgettable! Sabine and her husband were very kind and invited us into their home for refreshments. Rangiroa was next, and this was my husband's favorite excursion. We were able to go to the Blue Lagoon. It took about an hour by boat to get there, and once there we snorkeled with black tip sharks, then walked around a pink sand beach, then did a kind of drift snorkel, then a picnic on a motu while sitting in the pretty blue water, then a snorkel in the aquarium (amazing), then a boat ride through the pass watching dolphins jump!!! Made it back to the ship with a few minutes to spare. Highly recommended! Huahine Iti was next. We rented an ATV for the day from Europcar! It was pricey but what a great way to explore on our own. We went to the vanilla farm, saw some eels, the pearl farm ( I bought most of my pearls here and thought the prices were reasonable), some beautiful beaches, some ancient ruins.... also highly recommended! Bora Bora was the next stop. I believe my expectations were too high for Bora Bora! We rented scooters and explored the island. It has a very tourist trap like feel to it! Matira Beach was nice and crowded. There were some really gross things floating in a certain area of it which was a little concerning! Overall, my least favorite port and I don't think I would want to return to it ever! Rarotonga was a nice surprise! We rented e-bikes and had a blast! We circled the island and spent a lot of time on the beautiful Muri Beach. Raiatea was a blast. We booked our excursions right at the port! We did a drift snorkel where we took a boat to another motu and drifted slowly through an amazing reef! When we returned back to port, I did another tour, this time a 4x4 up in the beautiful mountains! The scenery was incredible! Moorea was also a port stop for us and I was excited to be back. We booked a private tour with Albert and another great couple we had met on the cruise, and had an amazing day exploring the island! Albert's stories made the tour even more fantastic! Vava'u Tonga was another stop on the cruise. We had nothing planned as we had miss the whale season. At port we met a few other cruisers who were going to a beach and chipped in on an inexpensive taxi. When we got to the beach, it looked kind of desolate and trashy, so I apologized and told the rest of the group we were going to go to another beach. They stayed and we ended up at the Tongan Beach Resort. We had to pay a small fee to stay there, but the loungers were nice and we had a nice relaxing day! Savusavu, Fiji was a friendly port. We ended up joining another couple on an inexpensive private tour to a beach where survivor, Australia had been filmed and then a tour around the island. I got some great deals on souvenirs at the booths by the port. Suva, Fiji. We booked a private river tubing trip on the Navua river! I highly reccommend booking an excursion at this port since it seemed a little gritty and maybe a little dangerous to walk around. The river tubing trip was amazing. Waterfalls and rapids, it was a blast! Dravuni Island was amazing. No excursion needed here! Great snorkeling if you walk to the other side. A nice hike up the top of the little mountain was beautiful Cheap massage and boat rides were readily available. A cheap makeshift bar with local beer. I brought a flotation device and just floated in the beautiful water! Fantastic day! Nuku Alofa Tonga was next and we took a taxi to the shuttle to Big Mama's yacht club. A funky little place where we snorkeled and hung out on the beach We had the best fish and chips of our life (real tuna). Auckland, NZ was our final stop! What a beautiful city. We booked an e-bike guided tour and had such a great time. We definitely want to go back to this place! Disembarkation was super easy, grabbed a taxi and checked into our hotel room at the Intercontinental Auckland. There is an airport shuttle that is much cheaper than the taxis we used for our trip to the airport. All in all, an unforgettable cruise! HAL continues to be my favorite cruiseline!!! In fact, I will be taking another cruise with HAL (and Oprah) in less than a month!!!! Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
PREFACE - This was our 34th cruise, 5th time cruising Tahiti. Ship was a bit older than our other cruise ships and it showed. Lots of wear and tear, rust everywhere. CABIN #058 - Cabin a/c never worked correctly, cabin never cooler ... Read More
PREFACE - This was our 34th cruise, 5th time cruising Tahiti. Ship was a bit older than our other cruise ships and it showed. Lots of wear and tear, rust everywhere. CABIN #058 - Cabin a/c never worked correctly, cabin never cooler than 75 and cabin had seen better days appearance wise. Rugs somewhat dirty, paint worn, veranda furniture well used. We cruised with Oceania, the Marina twice and Windstar twice. Both ships were well maintained. Cabin steward Daha was great, one of the best ever. DINING - The main dining room was ok, not great but just ok. Thought food portions were on the small side, average presentation. Don't order the shrimp cocktail, ordered it twice, shrimp has been frozen prior to serving and they were soggy and tasteless. Oh, here's something. NO BANANAS!! Never saw one the entire cruise. Was told by manager that the bananas were not up to HAL standards. You mean that in this tropical paradise HAL could not find bananas! Every port we stopped at had local vendors with them and they were delicious. A few things that bothered us was at the buffet. No self-serve iced tea or juice, no working ice machine. Watched this happen a lot, you know, people handling fruit, bread items, etc. than replacing them. Also saw other unsanitary things like wiping the tables with the same rag over and over again after rinsing out the rag in a bucket of something. Servers rubbing their nose, coughing, etc. Just didn't want to be watching what the staff was doing before eating. Twice had to wait almost 30 mintues for a hamburger, I timed it, at the Wave In burger stand by the pool. All and all, food just a little above Golden Corral .Ate at the Pinnacle one night. Better than the buffet, a little better than the main restaurant. Service was great at both the Pinnacle and our main dining table. One thing about the food, there is not one dinner that we felt was outstanding, just average. ENTERTAINMENT AND ACTIVITES This one is easy. Worst comedian ever, really didn't care for the other group, can't remember their names, something like the Best Boys. That was it for the acts. 14 days of not having to rush thru dinner to make a show. Now for the casino. My honey killed them on the slot machines, cleared almost $900.00 while playing them everyday. Was surprised that the machines were available even while we where in port. Never saw that before. Small set of table games. One crap table, never saw anyone playing there, one roulette wheel with spotty play. Poker tables and blackjack. I like to play craps and blackjack. Never like to play alone at the crap table and as for the blackjack table first time I played there discovered that if you get blackjack it pays 6 to 5, not 2 to 1. So a $10 bet pays $12, not $15. Also, all the kings are removed from the deck. Anyone who knows how to play the game knows that cards worth 10 hurt the dealer so removing them tilts the game even further to the house. Every Texas hold'm tournament never was played do to lack of players. Oh, never saw a cocktail waitress, had to ask several times for someone to bring a drink. Won a little playing blackjack the first night, never played again. I had budgeted a bunch of money for both of us to gamble with during the cruise, took it all home. SERVICE - Service for the most part was great. Cabin steward, Daha was one of the best we have ever had. Main dining room staff, table #50, also did a great job. Wine steward was a little overworked, had too many guests but he did the best he could. Head waiter very attentive. Liked having the late dinner time, never felt there was a rush to get us out. Front desk very helpful as were the tour staff. PORTS AND EXCURSIONS - Since we have cruised here in the past we didn't take any but did buy a daily pass at a major hotel on Bora Bora. All in all, this cruise was booked because 14 days in Tahiti is not to be missed the price for our cabin was greatly reduced by HAL because of our prior casino play. Would we cruise on HAL in the future, only if they give us the discounted casino rate, but most likely not. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
Maasdam Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.1
Dining 3.0 4.0
Entertainment 3.0 3.7
Public Rooms 4.0 4.3
Fitness Recreation 3.0 3.7
Family 3.0 3.7
Shore Excursion 3.0 3.7
Enrichment 4.0 3.6
Service 4.0 4.5
Value For Money 4.0 3.9
Rates 4.0 4.1

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