73 Holland America Maasdam Family Cruise Reviews

This cruise on the Maasdam has managed to achieve what no other HAL cruise has managed to achieve, make us regret booking it. With well over 75 cruises under our belt, this cruise scores the highest in its ability to underachieve and show ... Read More
This cruise on the Maasdam has managed to achieve what no other HAL cruise has managed to achieve, make us regret booking it. With well over 75 cruises under our belt, this cruise scores the highest in its ability to underachieve and show indifference to guests. What more can I say other than when we got to Yokohama after the first segment, if we could have changed our air ticket we would have left the ship two weeks early and prepared for our September voyage on the RTDM. Aside from our DR steward Jaka, wine stewards Dave and Von, Lido manager Budi and his staff, Assistant Maitre'D Yudi, coffee gal Amee, our cabin stewards Roby, his assistant, Yusuf and Nicks and all of the other Indonesian, Filipino and Thai servers and stewards who were all terrific, serviceable, friendly and a delight to be around like most HAL crews we have experienced, I can honestly say the management, especially officers, have been the most uninterested, least receptive, least hospitable, unresponsive and aloof that we have ever had. Following is a review that I sent on one of the “Let us know how we are doing” (sic) cards": We just had the second of our complimentary dinners at the Pinnacle Grill, after which we decided the food was so below the level of the main dining room, we are choosing to give up our complimentary Pinnacle dinners to eat in the main dining room. On our first dinner, notwithstanding the salads which any mediocre cook can prepare, I ordered a petite filet, medium rare and fries, my wife ordered the Cioppino, almost two hours later I received a charred and grossly overdone, cold, flavorless steak and my wife received a Cioppino who’s broth was nothing more than hot water flavored with ketchup with a few measly pieces of seafood. Today’s dinner was as appalling, salad again, lamb chops medium rare for me with a side of hashed potatoes and my wife not wanting to risk it ordered a double portion of crab cakes for her entree, I received two lamb chops, grossly overdone again, tough as nails, grisly, cold and no flavor, the hashed potatoes were soggy and cold, my wife’s baked potato was half baked and inedible (because baking a potato takes real chef artistry maybe), the “crab cakes”, well, they were really bread crumb cakes, you would be hard pressed to find any crab, imitation or otherwise. If these dinners had not been free, it would have been catastrophic, the fact that you have the courage to charge $39 per person for food that is not as good as the Lido Market is outrageous. You would think that a restaurant that has “grill” in it’s name would have a cook that can cook a steak. Apparently you took a third level tier cook from the Lido and have him as a cook at the Pinnacle Grill hoping that the razzmatazz and glamour of the room would fool people into thinking they are eating something good. Perhaps this works for a few who really have no idea what decent food is, but from hearing people talk about their dinners there, perhaps not. Let’s not lose sight that a trained monkey could cook a steak medium rare, hot grill, two minutes per side, hot oven for one or two minutes and serve, tough huh? We will never attend the Pinnacle again even though it’s free. If possible, change our two complimentary Pinnacle Grill dinners on our next segment to two complimentary Canaletto dinners, otherwise we will just eat in the main dining room. The Pinnacle Grill is an embarrassment. You chose to raise the prices in all premium dining rooms and lowered the quality drastically, REALLY? Amazingly, You would think that such a review from a five star gold mariner would elicit some comment, any comment!, maybe a defense for such poor dinners or a response from somebody on board, anybody, maybe a cleaning person, perhaps Thomas the F&B manager, Sylvie the ROM or some Maitre'D, how about the PGM who sat there staring blankly at my plate with all the food remaining uneaten? As I show him the disastrous meal to which he acknowledged was prepared horribly. Perhaps: “ bury my head in the sand and pretend it did not happen and it will go away” is a poor management strategy. Clearly nobody could have cared less. Management (anybody with more than one stripe who is not Indonesian or Filipino ) shows an incredible arrogance, aloofness, invisibility and air of superiority. The food quality and prep in general on the entire ship was nothing short of terrible. The food was of poor quality, ill prepared and tasteless. How much more proof would you need than to realizie that while we get two complimentary Pinnacle dinners per cruise, we did not exercise that right because the food is so poorly prepared in that venue, and quite frankly not better than the main dining room and cannot hold a candle to the Canaletto food. To add insult to injury, on the 15th of August, most food stations were close to empty, apparently Thomas didn’t think he needed to think about food for the day after he left the ship. Interesting since we were docked in Yokohama on the 14th for almost 24 hours and then anchored in the bay for two days due to the Typhoon. Further, I would venture to bet that other than the executive chef all the chefs were apprentices or close to it. Aside from the inability to properly cook a simple piece of meat, we had braised short rib Stroganoff on buttered noodles which was nothing more than greasy brisket tossed with regular boxed spaghetti all doused in the same fake jarred stroganoff sauce, Caesar Salad made with Iceberg instead of Romaine lettuce, on the 14th the only greens in the salad bar at lunch were Iceberg, on the 15th and 16th no greens at all ( a salad bar with no greens whatsoever), Thomas leaves this mess for Ali and Ali continues on the same program. French Onion soup with no onions and a broth that is just salted warm water, mashed potatoes which were clearly instant potatoes prepared with water, always undercooked veggies as sides to all dishes, stuffed cabbage leaves served with raw (blood red) beef, Chef Rudy’s special roasted chicken was basically a dried hockey puck, roasted beet salad served with basically raw beets, advertised morel mushrooms when you serve button mushrooms, not even criminis, baked potatoes that are hard as bricks because they are grossly undercooked, If you would like I can keep going, honestly, I can fill a book with how bad the food and this cruise was. Your only saving grace was Budi in the Lido Market/Canaletto, he tried his butt off. Budi does a great job of managing The Lido Market and Canaletto. Budi is jovial, efficient and very hard working. As is true of all companies, the staff takes on the attitude of management. His staff works hard, are very friendly and highly efficient. Continuing with management principles, this addresses the Hotel management in general. From Florin on down, all officers on the Hotel side are aloof, arrogant and invisible especially the new F&B manager Ali and the new ROM Tony, I know for a fact that Tony was left a note from Sylvie to offer us a complimentary dinner (Sel de Mer) for the night of August 18 (Kochi) sent to us by an HD from another ship (Colin Jacob on the WEDM). we never heard from him. We could not accept this offer from Sylvie on our first segment (she insinuated she would be dining with us and said sadly she would not be there on the next segment since she was going home) because we were booked at various places already and the only dates left were on special dinners nights which were not part of the offer so she had to leave it for the second segment. Sylvie called our cabin on or about August 3 and told us that the offer would be forthcoming from Tony, for the night of the 18th when he came aboard, she would leave him a note to that effect. We never heard from him, or anyone else so we had dinner in the main dining room that evening. By some miracle on August 24, while at lunch, the PGM walked by us, waved and said “see you tonight”. I asked what he meant? He mentioned that tonight we had a complimentary dinner for Sel de Mer sent to us by our friend Colin Jacob, HD on the WEDM. We were dumbfounded, nobody had mentioned it or sent us an invitation. This is not a big deal except that for a chance meeting, with three days to go on the cruise, we would have never known about this very kind offer from a wonderful man who we have the pleasure to call friend. This is yet one more example of the right hand not having a clue what the left is doing on this ship. The HD is unresponsive and indifferent, we tried with three letters sent to him placed in his box by us, no response from him or anyone on his behalf, maybe 28 days is not enough time. Leaving the food situation, our cabin’s interior temperature measured 80 degrees (by guest services measure with digital thermometers) for five days! Exterior temperature was 107 with the heat index. I begged the guest relations desk every day, many times a day for help, the excuse was that the ship just came from Alaska and was set up for cold weather. Really? So you have 20 engineers on board scratching their butts, weather radars blinking everywhere, direct connection to NOAA and yet nobody knew we were going into oppressively hot weather which has been the case at this time of the year for several hundred years? Or maybe this was everyone’s maiden voyage and knew nothing! The geniuses at guest relations offered us a fan! How about we put Orlando Ashford and Stein Cruse in a cabin that has an interior temperature of 80 degrees and offer them a fan to keep them comfortable? Any bets on how many people would still have jobs? The immigration situation on our return to Otaru from our second Russian port was handled like beginners were doing it. We docked at 8:00 a.m. and all aboard was 5:00. Some people did not disembark until 2:30! We received a number 3 for disembarkation. For the second round. I approached “Guest Services”, which should actually be named the “Go to Hell Department”. The gal with the shaved head and the little blond with braids on both sides of the head are both nasty and condescending. I was informed that as a five star gold Mariner I had no priority in disembarkation, only in tendering. Priority was given for other reasons ( many to people who never intended to go ashore or just wanted off in the afternoon to use the internet had number one) I was told Disembarkation is when you leave a ship. Nowhere does that benefit get qualified, disembarkation is anytime you leave the ship there should be some benefit for supporting HAL for 15 years and spending almost 700 days cruising on HAL ships. At the very least, I should expect to not walk away from “guest services” feeling like some little girl told me to F off. Due to the Typhoon we had to anchor in the bay for two days (August 14 docked, 15 & 16 anchored) Did anybody think to politically maneuver with the Japanese government so that we could stay in the Yokohama mooring since other ships could not come in, allowing us to at least go ashore since we were going to be “at sea” for three unscheduled days? How about reversing the itinerary where the Typhoon had no impact? How about maybe going to an alternative port Northeast since the typhoon was tracking northwest? I am not questioning the Captain‘s call on safety, God bless him, but there had to be alternatives. You only need to look on Cruise Mapper and see all of the other ports schedules where weather was not impacting them and no other or at most one other ship was there on any alternative day. On the second round in Korsakov we know for a fact that the captain put on a show by lowering a tender into the water and announced that it was too rough and we would not be tendering there. I know he had a meeting the night before and announced to upper management that he had no intention of tendering but he would put on a show so as to justify his decision. Liar! On the 16th of August we departed our anchorage in Tokyo Bay and made our way to Kobe. As we left Tokyo Bay we received the tail end of the Typhoon experiencing 40 knot winds, driving rain and 5 meters seas. Apparently, some brainless wonder thought that this would be a good time to have a crew of Filipino workers go out to scrape and paint deck railings and some of the ladders going up to the tenders. So let’s see, let’s take a guy that weighs 85 pounds, give him a bucket filled with tools and have him climb up a wet metal ladder while wearing rubber soled shoes during a rainy, howling wind while the ship feels like you are on a roller coaster. Humm.. you certainly didn’t see that officer out there supervising or climbing the ladder in those conditions! You couldn’t wait until tomorrow, when we are docked, so that if the poor bastard falls into the sea he can at least swim to a dock instead of dying? On the 20th of August, they decided to repair the rails and various sections of the railings and exit gates to the tenders (in case of emergency, deck 6) along the starboard side. This was an area about 40 yards long. The wood rails were taken off, as were the gates in order to sand, zinc oxide, prime and paint. Everything was left off unattended for about four hours. You have wet decks (raining), three meters swells and large gaps left open along the railings for a few hours (I have photos if you care to see them, they are date stamped and obviously not shopped). You must admit, under the kindest of opinions the supervisor who ordered this and then did not have a watch person there while whoever was working on this and leaving it unattended is a moron. The old paint scrapings, rust and debris was hosed off into the sea! Having just paid a huge fine for polluting Glacier Bay, can you imagine the reaction of the environmental agencies if they were aware of this!. “Sea of Japan polluted by Holland America Line” reads the headlines. Future cruises? That was something. We tried to book three cruises, 54 days in total. We had received a private sale offer and wanted to take advantage of it. We approached Joanne to book it for us wanting to take advantage of the price and the onboard booking credits. Joanne could not make the offer discount code work or “see” the price we could see on the internet so we left her with all the information and trusted it would suffice, after all, she is a HAL corporate employee. Five days later, not hearing anything, we went to future cruises to find out what was going on. Joanne said that she was unable to book it. Mind you, these offers do not last long. She could have called and let us know what was happening. My wife said “How is that possible? I can do it on my iPad, why can’t you?” No response. My wife asked if she called Seattle (right in front of her at her desk) and was able to book it would she (Joanne), be able to get us the onboard booking credits? She said she should be able to was the reply. My wife called Seattle FROM THE SEA OF JAPAN! She booked the cruises in ten minutes and emailed Joanne the confirmations to try to get us the onboard credits and her commission. The incredibly helpful gal who helped us in Seattle is named Lisa Mayette who actually should get the commission, she was friendly, realized the problem and solved it with great efficiency and speed. Put her on a ship if she is willing. Except for a couple, most onboard future cruise consultants are generally not very efficient and uninterested in getting the job done, if it works, great, if it doesn’t, great. For basically being order takers within a target rich environment, you would think that their ability to book a cruise would match a guest’s ability since they have direct access to HAL and we go through the internet site. In addition to the three cruises we booked, three days prior to leaving we submitted a request for future cruise deposits (3). Having not heard anything, we stopped by as we were preparing to disembark and asked Joanne if she had processed them. Her reply was she didn’t recall ever receiving our request. We then waited while she sorted through about 50 unprocessed forms until she found ours - hopefully it will get processed sometime. I could go on but it would be beating a dead horse, I am sure you get the feel of how unimpressive this cruise was! No question, this was the worst managed cruise we have ever been on. We like to think that they transplanted the ms Jakarta or ms Manila (the training schools) and put it out to sea and we are the guinea pigs for the students. Apparently this must be your worst rated, lowest scoring, least revenue producing ship. WORST CRUISE EVER!! Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
This will be my first review on Cruise Critic, but after meeting some CC people aboard MS Maasdam (Jan 6 2019 Freemantle-Singapore), I thought I’d contribute. This was a birthday/Winter getaway with apparently interesting stops, our 20th ... Read More
This will be my first review on Cruise Critic, but after meeting some CC people aboard MS Maasdam (Jan 6 2019 Freemantle-Singapore), I thought I’d contribute. This was a birthday/Winter getaway with apparently interesting stops, our 20th cruise and 4th on Holland America. We loved our previous HAL cruises (Zuiderdam and Prinsendam X 2). Sadly, this trip did not meet our expectations from HAL. The question is whether it is this particular ship or a new marketing model. Overall, the first impression is nickel-dime’ing. Quarters to use the laundry washers and dryers? Second impression, max effort to ‘sell’ something/profit incentive (I’ve never seen a captain appear and host a jewelry store sale event, speaking to shoppers - more so than at various Mariner events and meet-the-captain galas). This begins with surprisingly high excursion fees, often over double the cost for the same excursion online. Particularly galling is contracting with a local operator to sell ONLY through HAL excursions, i.e. blocking independent online or walk-up bookings; example - Dili East Timor: Hop On Hop Off is advertised at $45, with a stop at the cruise port. HAL contracted to do the booking for $79.95. They were not allowed to sell tickets to anyone not on a HAL excursion. Entertainment: cruise director was brand new (reportedly third in recent months). There were no “shows/productions”. There were individual entertainers, some quite decent, but not every night. Some ‘science/wildlife’ lectures were informative for those interested. Event scheduling seemed haphazard, e.g. captain’s reception and festivity at 7:55 PM, show start at 8:00 is only one example. There were many. Seems they are trying to appeal to a ‘younger’ clientele (average age still appears to be 70, with lots of older folks with walkers/canes/wheelchairs). The introduction of Zodiac inflatable excursions is new, and from reports (can not verify), some were disasters, acknowledged by the zodiac drivers that a monetary adjustment should be expected. Selections of cruise stops - sounded off the beaten track, and they were, not necessarily all bad but certainly raise some questions. Geraldton, Exmouth, Broome? Interesting introduction to relatively barren Western Australia (Exmouth often the hottest spot in the world - we saw 113* F). Komodo Island was a highlight and a big factor in selecting this cruise. It was worth the effort. Assumed (wrongly) that th Bali stop was the ‘known tourist destination. Actual stop was at a North Coast port, out of reach of any better known or advertised sites (e.g. Ubud). Probolinggo? Surabaya? O.K. Expensive, long excursions to Mt. Bromo were highlights available, but not sure how many took advantage. We did not, arranging our own private tours. An advertised 10 hour excursion from Semarang to the ancient temple of Borobudur was offered, and many booked it. They arrived back at the ship almost an hour late. Mixed reports,some loved the visit, but all mentioned huge crowds and difficulty getting pictures (including a professional photographer). The ship: getting OLD. Our vista suite had numerous wooden shims in the sliding glass door, presumably to stop it from creaking/rattling. They did work, if looking a little flakey. No complaints about our cabin/Port side. starboard side Vista suites had water (strong rains puddled on verandas) seep under sliding doors, wetting carpeting and personal items/luggage on the cabin floor. Food: no issues, and generally decent. Some local/Indonesian offerings were excellent. Very little local fruit offered - small plates purportedly put out at 11:30 were gone by 11:45, too bad if you weren’t there. Almost none in the evenings. We are not picky or demanding foodies, and more often than not eat at the Lido/buffet. Surf and turf (one night) in the dining room was very good. Overall, mixed emotions. May or may not give HAL another try (not on Maasdam). A little disappointed with this cruise, being a HAL fan. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
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
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
We chose this cruise because of the date and route. While some cruises might have more bells and whistles, this cruise was perfect for what we wanted, quality family time. We were treated so well. Our 5 year old daughter was treated like a ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the date and route. While some cruises might have more bells and whistles, this cruise was perfect for what we wanted, quality family time. We were treated so well. Our 5 year old daughter was treated like a princess. When we renewed our vows, they staff made a special bouquet of yellow roses. The ceremony was special for us and our guests. The food was pretty good. The first night wasn’t that good. But it got progressively better. The gala nights were amazing. As part of our wedding vows package we had dinner one night at the Pinnacle Grill. It’s worth the price. The quality of the lobster and steak was amazing. The route stops are all wonderful (except Sidney.) I can’t say which one was our favorite, because they all had spectacular places to see. Québec is wonderful, but make sure to make it out to the Falls. PEI was my favorite! My husband loved Halifax. I do wish we could’ve spent more time in the places. The worst downfall was that customs took place in Bar Harbor, and it cut part of the time we could’ve spend on land. Overall, we loved the cruise and would do it again. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
Embarkation Embarkation in Boston smooth and fairly quick. Boat was full so no upgrades were available. No welcoming drinks. I think you can get lunch in the Lido buffet. Some bars open at 1pm. Lifeboat muster at 3 pm was hot and muggy ... Read More
Embarkation Embarkation in Boston smooth and fairly quick. Boat was full so no upgrades were available. No welcoming drinks. I think you can get lunch in the Lido buffet. Some bars open at 1pm. Lifeboat muster at 3 pm was hot and muggy and lasted more than 1/2 hour. Ugh. If you start in Boston, be sure to go up on deck when the boat leaves the dock as it is right off the end of the runway and planes go about 200' overhead as They land at Logan. They did not push drinks on us then or any other time. Cruisers Passengers were younger than I thought they would be. Maybe because it was 4th Of July week. Many were 40-60s and more than a few kids. Only 1/3 to 1/2 were geezers like us. Boat did not seem crowded or have long lines ever even when tendering at Bar Harbor. Maasdam The boat is 25 years old, but is well maintained, but if you look, you can find nicks, dents, rust, etc. and the decorating seems a bit dated. If you expect state of the art and perfect condition and anything less is going to irritate you, you should not book this boat. In contrast to what other reviewers have said, the info I got from the crew was that Maasdam will be refurbished after August. It has been sold by HAL, but they will lease it back next year as they already have cruises booked on it. This was our first cruise on HAL after several on Celebrity. We cruised on an old Celebrity boat several years ago and I would rate HAL a bit lower in most categories. The Explorers Lounge is a great place to hang out if you are not into bars or pools. It has a large library, games, Internet, etc. and a coffee bar. Food The Lido buffet is a mosh pit at peak times like other boats of this vintage. The food is ok. Very little self serve. You have to wait in lines for everything. Also, there are no trays, so you are juggling plates or making multiple trips to the mosh pit. The food in the main dining room was good, but not great or noteworthy. Just not real tasty. Portions varied, but could be very tiny. For example, the flatiron steak was about 4 slices the size of your thumb and about 1/4" thick. Wine is not included and will add about $10 per glass to your bill. The Pinnacle grill was definitely worth the $25 up charge. Quiet and much tastier food. I think it is the only place you can get your baked Alaska fix. It can get booked so make your reservations early. If you have open seating, call and make reservations or you may have to wait to get a table even though the dining room was never full. You can reserve multiple nights at once. If you can stand to eat at 5:15-5:30, you can get a great table with a window and watch as the boat sails from the dock. Lobster is ONLY available in Pinnacle grill except for ONE night (2nd gala night) as a surf and turf entree in the Rotterdam DR. On "Gala" nights, most men had a sport coat and maybe a tie. Virtually no suits or tuxes. No baked Alaska parade, but there is a chocolate "surprise " the second gala night. The surprise was that it was just some waiters wandering around with trays of bite sized stuff. No buffet. What is the point of cruising if not to participate in these archaic exercises and wallow in wretched excesses of years past? Staff The staff was friendly, but somewhat reserved. On Celebrity and Viking, EVERY staff member would greet you EVERY time you walked past. Not on this boat. Especially in the dining room. To be fair, the Cabin attendants and wine stewards were very friendly and thorough, but not intrusive. Entertainment The Adagio duo (piano and violin) in the Explorer lounge were very good and played classical hits which was relaxing. They played a wide range of music from opera to tango. The Ocean trio in the Ocean bar played jazz and swing and was good. The main show singers and dancers were capable and energetic, but at times suffered from uninspired choreography. The 5 piece backup band was fine, but The canned music was out of date. Had low expectations for Bendt Washburn the comic, but he "wasn't half bad". His words, not mine. He was pretty good. The BBC Planet Earth II concert was just that, Highlights from PE II on a big screen with the musicians playing a special soundtrack. This is what passes for main stage entertainment these days? The magician, Alexander the Great, was just ok. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
We traveled on the Holland Americal Line (HAL) Maasdam during the week of July 1 from Boston to Montreal, me, my wife, and our seven-year old daughter. It was our first cruise with Holland America. Reading prior reviews gave me some ... Read More
We traveled on the Holland Americal Line (HAL) Maasdam during the week of July 1 from Boston to Montreal, me, my wife, and our seven-year old daughter. It was our first cruise with Holland America. Reading prior reviews gave me some concern about the age/condition of the ship, as did my fear of having enough too few families on board for my daughter to interact with, since HAL has the reputation of catering to older cruisers. PROs: Our room steward was outstanding, and did a great job every day, despite our creating disarray in our room virtually every day. As for bar service and dining room service, there were certainly many that were excellent as well. We were really pleasantly surprised to see a very nice number of families, including many girls our daughter’s age to interact with, and she made many good friends over the course of the week, to the point where a few of her friend’s parents exchanged information with us, intending to connect after the cruise. In short, the distribution of ages and families on this cruise was very accommodating to our interests, such as having plenty of swim time in the pool, without a huge crowd, no drunkenness/offensive behavior, or any unruly bunch of kids. There was also no difficulties in getting a lounge chair at any time, and with the retractable roof over the pool, any weather did not preclude swimming. The food was up to the standards I experienced on prior Royal Carribbean Cruises, with plenty of good offerings in the buffet (Lido) and main dining room. There was pasta bars, salad bars, and omelet stations every day, cooked/made to order in each case. In most instances (exception below), the HAL Kids club provided a very nice setting for our daughter to interact with her peers, and she very much looked forward to the “club” time, which also offered my wife and I a chance to relax a bit. We found the size and layout of the ship very accommodating. With about 1200 or so passengers, it was easy enough to get your bearings anywhere on the ship. We also never felt lost or crowded. I’m sure it’s size is a main reason that it can cruise down the St. Lawrence River to Quebec and Montreal. The thought of the new ships, with their 5.000 passengers seems a bit intimidating. While you will see we have a few concerns noted below, I will say that we very much enjoyed the trip, as cruising in general has so many upsides. I’m sure our daughter will forever remember many elements of the trip. CONs: Our biggest anguish of the trip was the final night when the HAL Kids club staff decided that playing the movie Jumanji would be good entertainment for all the kids, including those as young as 4. We would NEVER have our daughter watching a movie like that at 7. Many kids were totally scared off and asked staff to have parents come get them. When this concern was voiced to the Cruise Director, he seemed to have no anguish or even interest in hearing our concern, clearly someone who doesn’t have any children, who I guess are an afterthought occasionally on board. Having our daughter with us in the dining room always resulted in a worse seat placing. There was also one night when her dinner was very cold which didn’t seem to distress the waitstaff, who simply microwaved it a few seconds and brought it back. HAL certainly caters to older cruisers, but as noted above, this was an asset at times as there was little competition for the recreational pursuits (swimming, basketball, ping-pong, etc.), and there were no instances that I saw of any drunkenness or lewd behavior. Rooms are small, even if bigger than other cruise lines, and our small family still were bumping into each other regularly in our space. TIPs: • Have coffee and a fresh pitcher of water delivered to your room each day, along with fruit if you like – no further charges for this; • We were on the fence about purchasing the alcohol plan, as it was presented that you if drink 5 drinks a day, you will benefit. I suggest forgoing the plan, as there are happy hours (second drink for $2) every day at 4 and 9 PM…………and there are many days you are off the boat for long stretches. Unless you want a drink in your hand round the clock, pass on the plan; • If you have kids, I’d suggest staying away from the excursions, which seem to be developed more for the older “tour” type excursions, think a few photo ops, and plenty of craft/gift shop stops. • If you have a stop in Bar Harbor, and are reasonably fit, go for the bike rental. There is a free shuttle to nearby Acadia National Park, which is really set up nicely for biking, with beautiful views. • If you have kids and have a stop like we did in Halifax, the Children’s Discovery Center, just a five minute walk from the Port, was really interesting and fun, and good for hours of entertainment. • We reside in the Boston area, and needed to rent a car in Montreal to drive home. If we do this cruise again, I would definitely do the driving on the front end, i.e. rent a car in Boston and drive to Montreal, maybe a day ahead of the cruise. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
We have discussed going on this cruise for a few years, and finally booked it this summer. We live in South Florida, so it was a great break from the summer heat. We flew into Montreal on Friday, got an uber to the Embassy Suites in Old ... Read More
We have discussed going on this cruise for a few years, and finally booked it this summer. We live in South Florida, so it was a great break from the summer heat. We flew into Montreal on Friday, got an uber to the Embassy Suites in Old Town (great location and nice hotel). That gave us time to explore the wonderful old city and port/waterfront on Friday night and Saturday morning. Embarkation was very smooth. We actually walked with our luggage from the hotel to the pier within about 12 minutes and were able to get on the ship around 11 or 11:30. After eating lunch, we went back out into town for a while, which was a plus. Other than an Alaskan Cunard cruise I took years ago, this is the smallest ship I've ever gone on in my 20 cruises. The public areas are very clean and well maintained. Our favorite spot was floor 6 outdoor promenade. After spending a day in port, we walked around there several times before the ship left and as it departed ports. We got great pictures and met lots of very friendly people while out there. The ship is not flashy or super fancy with spectacular public areas, but that was ok for us. I would suggest that they add some more chaise lounges on the 6th floor because many are reserved for the sliding glass doors rooms. We had cabin 655, on floor 5, interior. It was better than I expected. Based on some review I had read, I was nervous. But, it was very clean, and really comfortable. The shower was tiny, but it worked and we had enough room for 3 of us to rest and sleep. The sofa becomes a twin bed. Our son is 6'4", so is was a tad short, but he just slept at a tiny angle. There was only 1 electric socket, and we had 3 phones, but our steward immediately got us a power strip, so he solved that issue. Compared to other cruises, there weren't a lot of activities on the ship. However, since we were in port all but one day, it didn't matter to us. It was somewhat frustrating for our son, who is 17, but he met kids and hung out with them. He did say that most of the entertainers were very good. I overheard them singing, but didn't go to any of it. Service was, overall, great. Our room stewards were excellent. Dining room service was very good, with the exception of one night, when it was terribly slow and our water didn't even get filled. But, overall, we were pleased. Front desk people were always helpful. Lido service was good as well. HAL has delicious food, in my opinion, especially in the dining room. They have a nice variety of things to choose from each night. The Lido was very good. We had breakfast there most mornings, as well as lunch all but two days. The only food I ate on the ship that I didn't like was the pizza in the Lido. It was very odd, which was strange, since the pizza on another HAL ship was so delicious. Our son complained that there wasn't enough to choose from in the Lido, which I thought was CRAZY. He also complained that it wasn't always open, and that the water stations were closed at 11:30 p.m. Remember, this is a teenager who eats all the time. But also, it is Holland America, and things shut down early, which I don't mind. They have Club HAL for kids up to 17. Our son went to a few things and met several kids. Of the 1200 or so passengers, there were about 60 teens on board, apparently. He didn't do much in Club HAL, but they did have a nice list of activities for each afternoon and evening. The ports were wonderful! Sydney was our least favorite, but we enjoyed walking around. I LOVED Quebec CITY and we really enjoyed all other ports. Even our son admitted that he liked all of the ports on a couple of occassions. We did not pay for any excursions. Instead, I researched each port and found the walking tours and we walked for MILES every day we were in port. Our son did travel with us, but our younger girls did not. He loved the ports and enjoyed the dining room food. He met several teenagers who seemed to be nice kids and with the size of the ship, we were very comfortable with him being out and about in the evening. He was unhappy when the basketballs were put away because the court was directly above the Lido - not a wise placement. But, he had a great time playing quite a bit. And, with hours being limited on things, he was a little frustrated. However, he had a choice of coming with us or going to another place, so his complaints pretty much fell on deaf ears of his parents. HAL ships tend to be quiet, and this ship was the quietest I can recall travelling on. Things were hardly ever crowded and we rarely had lines to contend with. Most people we met were really nice. A lot of them enjoy visiting and talking. The clientele tends to be older, and we were one of the younger families on the ship compared to the average. Things moved a bit slower, but it was so relaxing. And, we were only on the Montreal to Boston leg, just 7 nights, not 14. Disembarkation was pretty quick. There was some confusion because things were not announced at first, but we were able to get off in good time and to the airport quickly. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
On the Maasdam, we had a great cruise. However, the Maasdam has somewhat declined among other HAL (Holland America Line) ships.Though the Maasdam is a smaller ship among the fleet, it could've been appointed better such as more live ... Read More
On the Maasdam, we had a great cruise. However, the Maasdam has somewhat declined among other HAL (Holland America Line) ships.Though the Maasdam is a smaller ship among the fleet, it could've been appointed better such as more live entertainment, game shows, and enrichment activities. In fact, there were no enrichment activities on the Maasdam. Cruise lines like PCL had enrichment activities. Otherwise, the Maasdam is a great ship for the size. It was well renovated; as apparent through the staterooms and many of the public spaces. However, you could tell that the ship was older and needed to be renovated in a few places. Throughout the ship, there weren't a lot of people. There were never wait times, and after nine you would pretty much have the entire ship to yourself. I mentioned that the ship was nicely renovated, but there is still some things that HAL should've considered about the dining room. For one, one of the large picture windows had a large crack in it. The next thing that should've been considered is the fact that when we were eating in the main dining room (around the middle of the cruise) water started trickling down on me from the ceiling. The crew assured us that it was raining outside. I moved my seat to a dry side of the table. On future visits to the dining room, they were repairing the ceiling. About the cabin, it was a great size and renovated nicely. The bathroom was among one of the best we have seen on a cruise (sailing inside cabins), and the stateroom was a nice size. Also, another thing to note is that there is only one razor plug (in the bathroom, on the top light,) one European plug, and one American plug. When in our cabin, 506, we sometimes heard really loud noises, we think it was from the anchor. If you're a light sleeper, a cabin near the lower front of the ship probably isn't for you. As for the entertainment onboard, the shows were a bit above average. Compared to the other cruise lines it had better entertainment than RCL, CCL, and PCL; but NCL has better stage shows. I am nitpicking here, but throughout a majority of the cruise, one of the dancers was out of sync compared to the other dancers. Other than that, the dancers were decent and the singers were very good. I enjoyed the BBC Earth show, lots of thanks to the thousand hours put into it. And the dance/ singing numbers also seem to have lots of hours put into them. However, I would've like to have seen more shows onboard. Another thing to note is the "Indonesian Crew Show." The show was great and I loved the fact that HAL thanked the crew in a production about their background. The dining on the Maasdam was alright. The main dining room had very good food. Back to the dining, the food was very great; the filet mignon was the best I'd ever had, and the lobster was great, though it would've been better if served with lemon. About the service in the main dining room, on the second formal night (the only one we attended) the service was slow. Two people in our party asked for tea when they ordered their appetizers and main courses, yet they had to ask again. They ended up receiving the tea a little before the desert menu was handed out. We didn't mind the slow service, it was expected, especially with the dining room packed. As for the buffet, the food always tasted very good, there was a decent amount of variety. There was always an option for a type of beef, potatoes, greens, cheese, salads, etc. We ate in the buffet during peak times so we ended up sitting outside for breakfast. There were more seats available during lunch. Furthermore, tea time was amazing. The finger sandwiches and treats/ tarts were tasty. They gave us the same tea to drink each day so I would've liked some more variety. I would recommend tea time to everyone. On our itinerary, our ports of call were Quebec City, Charlottetown, Sydney, Halifax, and Bar Harbor. This cruise was a one way from Montreal to Boston (seven days). Quebec city was a very beautiful city, the old town area was very pleasant to walk around. We mainly just walked around the downtown and went into the Chateau de Frontenac. It was a very beautiful hotel, but bathrooms needed a key card. Free wifi in the hotel is a plus though. In Charlottetown, there wasn't much. You would have to go far to see anything worth noting. In this city we just took a bus to Cow's Creamery and took the free tour. I wish it was longer but I can't complain because it was free. Sydney once again wasn't anything special. We mainly just walked around the downtown. Some of us in the group went to see one of the historic house tours that were scattered close to the terminal, the admission was two CAD per person. I had a great time in Halifax. It was the biggest city on the trip. We visited a nice church, went to the Maritime Museum (sorry I don't remember admission), and went to the Spring Garden. The Spring Garden was one of my favorite places to go, would highly recommend. I just wish the hop on hop off tour was cheaper. $50 just to ride around on a bus with no admission to any of the attractions is a little steep. And finally, we went to Bar Harbor. Bar Harbor was a nice quaint town. We took a tour around the island. The tour was Oli's Trolley and admission was forty USD for adults and twenty USD for children under twelve. Our tour was the two and a half hour Acadia National Park tour. The tour stopped for fifteen minutes at the top of Cadillac Mountain, Thunder Hole, and Jordan's Pond. We would've liked longer stay times at each of the stops, but that is reserved for the four hour tour. We loved the Oli's Trolley Tour, once again would highly recommend. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
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
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
Sail Date August 2017
Overall the trip was wonderful, but there were some larger scale issues we encountered that certainly did not ruin the trip, but caused some discomfort (this will be at the end of the con section) Pros: All of the employees we ... Read More
Overall the trip was wonderful, but there were some larger scale issues we encountered that certainly did not ruin the trip, but caused some discomfort (this will be at the end of the con section) Pros: All of the employees we interacted with were friendly, respectful, and very efficient at their job. The food for the most part was very good. Having dinner in the Rotterdam dining room was definitely the right choice, although the Lido buffet was not bad either. They had an excellent selection of vegetarian and gluten free options as well. We travelled with 3 children under 3 years old and were always very well taken care of by the wait staff. The price of the drinks was actually very reasonable, so don't waste your money on a drink package unless you plan on having 7 plus drinks per day per person! Cons: Drinks were good, but could have been a little bit stronger. About 2 days into the trip, the 9th floor (Verandah) rooms began "flooding". Essentially, the piping from the dishwasher from the buffet restaurant had clogged and the dirty dishwasher water was being re-routed accidentally to the bathrooms on our floor...lettuce etc. Luckily, our room was just barely out of the extreme splash zone and we only suffered with lettuce water bubbling up in our sink and tub. Other rooms had to be evacuated due to true flooding in the entirety of their rooms. The staff was very attentive to cleaning the bathrooms which was nice. However, once the problem had been "fixed", the bubbling into the tub and sink happened a few more times and to many other rooms on our floor. Our party was compensated with onboard credits for this issue and we were met with good customer service, but this shouldn't have been an issue in the first place. Do routine cleaning of the piping please! This was gross! Take away message - wonderful wait staff, comfortable beds, never too crowded at any bar, plenty of fun activities to do on the ship, however.... beware if you plan on taking a bath...... Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
Traveled with 3 of us in a stateroom and we were very comfortable. Overall excellent service, entertainment and consistently good food in both Lido and MDR. Loved the Eggs Benedict bar with different daily specialties. For entertainment ... Read More
Traveled with 3 of us in a stateroom and we were very comfortable. Overall excellent service, entertainment and consistently good food in both Lido and MDR. Loved the Eggs Benedict bar with different daily specialties. For entertainment , the Piano bar guy, the Adagio duo in the ocean Bar and the singers/dancers in the Showroom were great . Went to both Culinary demos with the America's Test Kitchen - each was well done. The staff from cabin steward to MDR dining staff to others in and around the ship were always friendly, smiling and helpful. Definitely a HAL plus . The Maasdam is just the right size ship for this itinerary. We were able to go under the Confederation Bridge and also the other bridges so that we could go all the way to Montreal. There are enough different venues and experiences but still the ship is small enough to feel cozy and not crowded Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
When it rained, which it did most days, the crew brought out buckets to catch the rain coming thru the roof. Watch dripping in the buffet line was discussing. Some bathrooms on top deck closed due to flooding. I am great full the ship ... Read More
When it rained, which it did most days, the crew brought out buckets to catch the rain coming thru the roof. Watch dripping in the buffet line was discussing. Some bathrooms on top deck closed due to flooding. I am great full the ship leaked from the top down and not the bottom up. Tread mills rocked and were hard to run on. Those that were stable need to be calibrated. To run my normal 10 minute pace, the tread mill said I was doing 4 minute miles. This was my first Holland America cruise and I had always heard they were the best. Very disappointed. The staff seemed to lack pride in the ship with many comments from them about it was a tired ship. The cooking class instructor grabbed a rolling pin and commented it is worn out like everything else on this ship. This trip had 100 plus children and they must have been well entertained because we seldom saw them. Staff and crew were great. Food was average. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
Good ports of call but will not sail with Holland America again for the reasons below. No ship should be permitted to sail with this type of indoor air quality issue. Specifically, our room was dirty. Specifically, soot (called "black ... Read More
Good ports of call but will not sail with Holland America again for the reasons below. No ship should be permitted to sail with this type of indoor air quality issue. Specifically, our room was dirty. Specifically, soot (called "black particles" or "dirt" by the crew) was coming from the long narrow air return over the TV and long desk with orange chair. Our room was 667. We were quite aware that we had not purchased the most expensive room on the ship but we expect a clean room that satisfies indoor air quality standards. We advised the front desk on the second day that we had two asthmatics in the room. They told us they would move our room. This was an acceptable answer as we knew the ship had many available rooms that were not under the ship's smoke's stacks. They called back several hours later and advised that they had no equivalent room and they would not move us to a room that they considered an upgrade. The next day, the air return belched soot again all over the floor and my oldest son's bed. I called immediately and asked that the sheets be changed and the floor vacuumed. Only the sheets were changed. No HEPA vacuums are used on the ship ever and the soot was cleaned up off the floor with a regular vacuum a day later. The "black particle" and/or "dirt" problem from the ventilation system was a problem that the crew clearly knew about and yet Holland America did not warn us about this problem and we had nowhere to move to. You do not leave a family with two asthmatics in a room with an indoor air quality problem. That is simply being reckless with the health of your guests. Moreover, the solution was not to hand us a $50 liquor card. Entertainment on this cruise was minimal either due to ship's size or some other reason. Evening dining with our table staff was good but the dining room did appear understaffed. Servers were very nice. See comments on other service above. Teen activities were also minimal possibly due to the average age of the guests. There were plenty of rooms to which our family could be moved. And, I can guarantee that many of these rooms did not have the equivalent soot all over the room as was so blithely exclaimed by another front desk male crew member. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
Chosen for location and timing. Ship was old and tired with many problems including air conditioning, tenders, internet system (awful) and plumbing. Nice staff could not overcome these many issues in my rating. The high end, Pinnacle ... Read More
Chosen for location and timing. Ship was old and tired with many problems including air conditioning, tenders, internet system (awful) and plumbing. Nice staff could not overcome these many issues in my rating. The high end, Pinnacle restaurant was quite disappointing. Exercise area was small; certainly not large enough in early morning to accommodate the many users. Food overall was excellent. Cabin staff excellent. I'd avoid this ship if possible. They "nickel and dime" you with expenses. We've been on eight cruises on 5 lines and this one garnered our lowest rating. Cabin OK except for mechanics. Activities were good especially the culinary art activities. Ports were OK especially those in Peru and Ecuador. I would not choose this ship again and less likely to choose Holland American. Departure city of San Diego was great... weather, easy port location, lots to do, airport close, GasLamp area was convenient, fabulous zoo, much more. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
I chose the itinerary so that we could go to Machu Picchu post cruise. The itinerary was a bit shorter than we would normally cruise. The embarkation in San Diego was great and uneventful. The disembarkation in Lima was another story, ... Read More
I chose the itinerary so that we could go to Machu Picchu post cruise. The itinerary was a bit shorter than we would normally cruise. The embarkation in San Diego was great and uneventful. The disembarkation in Lima was another story, which was bad due to the Callao Port. It was a freight port without passenger terminal facilities at all. Port authority supposed to provide shuttle services to the port gate as well as to San Miguel Mall. But the small vans used for the gate shuttle were obviously not adequate and late to move passengers who had independent arrangements for both days (March 8th and March 9th). This was the first HA cruise where we found the service and on board activities were bad or non-existent. There were not enough people in the front office resulting in long line ups. In the dining room two servers had to service 30 passengers resulting in 2.5 hours dinner time. The traditional on board activities like dance instructions, taichi classes, golf putting and chipping contests, ring toss and sand bag toss games were all but disappeared. They cut the librarian position as well. For some reason the cruise director or captain did not announce whether the ship was cleared to disembark in any of ports we visited. To add insult to the already bad situation we encountered a bad sewer back up in cabin 562 and it was a mess, not to mention that they ruined our luggage. It is being pursued now with HA for our damage. Entertainments were not as good as before so we skipped most of them on this cruise. Instead we watched several movies. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
My wife had never been to Australia or New Zealand, so we chose the Maasdam for our 8th cruise so we could catch some of the highlights of both countries easily. Embarkation was quick and smooth. The ship is showing it's age, ... Read More
My wife had never been to Australia or New Zealand, so we chose the Maasdam for our 8th cruise so we could catch some of the highlights of both countries easily. Embarkation was quick and smooth. The ship is showing it's age, but it seemed to be kept in good condition. The staff in the Club Hal kids club kept my 4 year old daughter well entertained. The various excursion we went on were pretty good, not the best value for money, and sometimes a bit disorganised. We used the free shuttle buses a number of times and found the service very good. Our dining experience was going well until day 10 of the cruise when my wife found a cockroach type insect cooked with her vegetables in her salmon dinner (This was in the main dining room, deck 8, table 19, 5:30 sitting). We called the waiter over, he was just as horrified as us. We then complained to the manager and the head chef, but most of their "apology" consisted of an explanation of how many insects there are in Austrailia and New Zealand at this time of year. My wife told them that she wanted to have a look at the kitchens herself so that could regain her confidence in Holland Americas food preparation standards, they scoffed at the notion, but assured us though that our complaint would go all the way to head office. Head office didn't seem to care as we heard nothing back. We then took our complaint to the front-desk (it was the first they heard about the cockroach find), explaining that we had lost all confidence in the food, the front desk said they would look into the issue further and get back to us. They did not get back to us. Feeling ignored, we cancelled out daily gratuities, citing the cockroach, still nobody cared. Next we cancelled our next cruise with Holland America, and stopped making ship-board purchases. Overall, the "foreign object in food" find, as they called it was disturbing and disappointing, but it was Holland Americas handling of the incident that ruined the cruise for us. We were fobbed off at every turn and no effort was made to restore our confidence in their food preparation standards. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
We chose this cruize because of the amazing locations packed into the Christmas Holiday. The service and food were exactly what we have come to expect on Holland America and we were not disappointed. Through the ports and shore ... Read More
We chose this cruize because of the amazing locations packed into the Christmas Holiday. The service and food were exactly what we have come to expect on Holland America and we were not disappointed. Through the ports and shore excursions, plus watching from the ship, I saw over 120 new species of birds. (I am a hard core birdwatcher and we chose wildlife tours that would enable me to identify the new birds). The wildlife opportunities plus natural beauty made this itinerary feel like getting Alaska and Hawaii plus marsupials all in one. Really astounding nature that should be on everyone's bucket list. A few aspects of the itinerary made this stand out against other similar itineraries--one was the scenic cruising of Fijordland National Park. Another was a day of scenic cruising before the final port of Auckland. This allowed the ship to circle spectacular White Island twice (once for the port side and once for the starboard side. The day we visited there were dramatic plumes of smoke and sulfurous gasses coming out. The sun shown on the yellow-sulfur deposits. The power of geology was in full force. Later that day, while we sat at dinner we notice a large number of giant petrels feeding in a group. My teen, well trained from so much wildlife watching said "there must be something feeding below." Just then a pod of about 7 orcas started breaching. On a medium-sized ship, it was still our own private moment with the sea. The only negative we had was the "Loft" teen program on this ship. There were about 15 teens onboard during Christmas holidays, as we had predicted. Unfortunately, there were enough younger children that all the club HAL space was used for them. My daughter really missed having a hangout where she could reliably find her friends. Instead, there was a daily schedule that they had to follow being shuttled around to different locations--Hudson Room, Lido, etc. The teens were not impressed with being told to follow a schedule. So we would be leary of booking the Maasdam again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
We chose this cruise to see several ports we had not visited before. Kodiak, Homer and Sitka. My husband was looking forward to fishing for Halibut for 6 hours in Homer. We had a private tour in Kodiak. It was a dream cruise. ... Read More
We chose this cruise to see several ports we had not visited before. Kodiak, Homer and Sitka. My husband was looking forward to fishing for Halibut for 6 hours in Homer. We had a private tour in Kodiak. It was a dream cruise. Unfortunately, the weather did not cooperate and a storm apparently "suddenly" appeared and we did not make port in Homer, Kodiak, Sitka nor did we cruise the Hubbard Glacier. We were told about the storm after we asked a security person when we were getting on board after an excursion in Anchorage. We asked because we had heard another guest talking on her cell about the itinerary being changed. There was no mention of an itinerary change before we left the ship for our day in Anchorage. The ports of Homer, Kodiak, Sitka and cruising the Hubbard Glacier were eliminated . We had two extra days at sea trying to get away from the storm. We never did have noticeable impact from the storm, just some rain. So we ended up in Skagway for a day. Then "cruised the inside passage" for another day. Then stopped in Victoria B.C. from 8 am to 11:30 pm on our last day with no new excursions added just excursion time changes (much too much time in Victoria). I appreciate the "fact" that the Captain was getting the ship out of harm's way but cannot believe he knew nothing of this storm before this and believe we should have been told earlier that there may be a storm coming in and our itinerary might have to be changed. (We did hear rumors of a possible storm from shop keepers in Gridwood and even in Icy Strait several days before Anchorage!) I did see that some ports and cities in Alaska did have high winds and power outages, but do not know the extent of the storm at sea. Did they really have 25ft waves at sea? Our compensation for this cruise was a $50 per person credit to our account and "Future cruise Credit equal to 10% of the base fare paid for this 14-day voyage" to be used within one year. The condition of the poor Maasdam was not good. Several leaks in the Lido and Crow's nest when it rained. Cracked window in the Lido. Other minor issues noted. Several elevators out of service for days. I know she is being sold and therefore it seemed she was not being maintained very well. At least the staff were excellent whether in the dining areas, rooms and front office. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
We decided to go on this cruise for a number of reasons .We had never been to Alaska before and wanted to see this majestic place ,as we have heard the views were fantastic . and this turned out to be very true .I truly enjoyed the ... Read More
We decided to go on this cruise for a number of reasons .We had never been to Alaska before and wanted to see this majestic place ,as we have heard the views were fantastic . and this turned out to be very true .I truly enjoyed the mountain's and the emerald and turquoise waters, That was really a surprise to us as we did not imagine those colors of water were in that part of the world .It was a 14 day as we like longer cruises .We have been on a few Grand cruises as long as 89 days .We are four star and enjoy that status. We also wanted a relaxed atmosphere as we were told Alaska cruise was .For us it was different as we usually travel to warm places ,or very exotic ports where there is a lot to see and do .Most of the ports we did on our own as the excursions were a bit pricey .We had a good time over all .We were able to see animals and Eagles' at various places in the ports and also the salmon swimming upstream is a site to see .The weather was good for the most part some sun some rain and clouds . The ship was nice we have been on the Maasdam before to other destinations. Our cabin was an ocean view on the fourth level mid ship and was just fine with us. Our cabin man was fantastic and kept it very clean and enjoyable .We ate breakfast either in the lido or by room service and both were very good .The food overall was satisfactory not the best or the worst. The singers and dancers were wonderful and were very enjoyable. We went to every show .The other entertainment was good also .I found the service good as well .I don't think we would go again as once was enough for us but we are planning another long Asia cruise with HAL next October 2017 on the Amsterdam . We love to cruise and will continue to travel until we are not able to .God willing that will be a long time from now .Hope to see you cruising sometime . Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
this is the second time we have done this 14 day cruise. although this time we did have rain at every port, it did not stop us from having a great time. we most enjoyed our visit to Icy Strait Point and Hoonah. the best shopping in the ... Read More
this is the second time we have done this 14 day cruise. although this time we did have rain at every port, it did not stop us from having a great time. we most enjoyed our visit to Icy Strait Point and Hoonah. the best shopping in the cannery, especially in the Native American shop, of the entire trip. We were 3 generations and the children ages 12, 9 and 7 had a great time in their Hal Kids groups and never wanted to leave or go ashore! Also i will say that the ships dancers and singers on this cruise were the best i have ever seen on any ship. just outstanding in their voice ranges and the dancers, especially the russian trained men were amazing. overall we enjoyed the ship but do think that the lido choices for lunch were a bit slim with the new Homestead dining...we all missed being able to scoop out pineapple, bananas, etc and not just have fresh whole fruit and a bowl of mixed, mostely melon fruit as an option. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
We chose this cruise for its ports of call. And we were very pleased with ALL of the ports. It was a great sized ship as we were able to dock at ALL of the ports, no tenders--Yipee. Embarkation and disembarkation were extremely ... Read More
We chose this cruise for its ports of call. And we were very pleased with ALL of the ports. It was a great sized ship as we were able to dock at ALL of the ports, no tenders--Yipee. Embarkation and disembarkation were extremely smooth. The food was average. Some too salty, some of the meats too fatty and chewy. In the main dining room fish one night was "fishy" tasting. Crew was fabulous. Everyone friendly and helpful. There was a lot to do one the ship especially on the sea days. Something for everyone. The entertainment was great. Really enjoyed the singers and dancers and the HAL Cats band. The Ocean Bar had a great trio most nights. The computer classes by Meghan were superior--great idea & service and great teacher. The Thermal Spa was a little disappointing as it was smaller than the other HAL ships. Also the Women's locker room doors seemed to remain open most of the time despite repeatedly complaining and repeatedly closing them each time I was in there. The Women's locker room opens to the hallway on one side and into the spa with treatment rooms directly across and adjoining the locker rooms. Once, while I was dressing, a staff member paraded a MALE thru the women's locker room as it was faster to get out of the spa that way! We were locked out of our room for over 3 hours waiting for the locksmith. The key mechanism's battery had died. The shore excursions were wonderful. There were choices for everyone's ability and interest. We took one on each port and they never failed to please us. Great guides who are friendly and informative. I took my sister for a "big number" birthday celebration. There were to celebrate it in the dining room on the first Gala Night and failed to do so. When spending this much money for a Veranda Suite, it should be in perfect condition. Also HAL had advertised that ALL of the Suites on all ships had new coffee makers and Bose Docking Speakers. Our suite DID NOT have them. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
This was our very first cruise, but I can't imagine making a better decision! The 14 night Great Alaskan Land Explorer itinerary caught my attention right away. At 45 days out, we got a great price so I booked an inside room for ... Read More
This was our very first cruise, but I can't imagine making a better decision! The 14 night Great Alaskan Land Explorer itinerary caught my attention right away. At 45 days out, we got a great price so I booked an inside room for myself and my 2 sons, ages 10 and 12. I know my review will be fairly long, but hopefully it has some good tips for first timers. We were due to arrive into Seattle at 11 am on the day of embarkation, instead we were delayed until 2 pm due to weather. Booking the HAL transfer seemed like it may have been a little pricey when paying for more than 2 people, but it provided great peace of mind as a new cruiser. We were able to easily find representatives at the baggage carousel and everyone was helpful and professional all the way through the embarkation process. Showing up a little bit later meant that we barely had any line to wait in and we breezed through check in. In the future, I'd prefer to arrive a day or 2 ahead of time so flight delays aren't as big of a worry. The ship itself was very well maintained. We saw them cleaning windows, etc at every port. The decor could use some overhaul. There were some finishes that seemed worn. But, really, that was cosmetic and the crew really worked tirelessly. The Maasdam has all the necessities and then some to be comfortable. Our major concern was the reputation of HAL being for a much older crowd and we were afraid of formal nights. We worried for no reason. Everyone we encountered was friendly. You saw kids around, but you barely noticed them since they were all well behaved. The older guests were fun and lively. I was a little worried when we heard that our sailing would include a number of square dancers. It turned out that they was a lot of fun to watch and were happy to teach anyone and include them. There was no hesitation to strike up a conversation from the time we trudged to the mandatory drill on the 6th deck during the first hours to the pick up line outside the terminal after disembarkation. As for worries about gala nights? The boys were fine in a button up shirt and tie. They probably would have been fine in khakis and a polo shirt (their uniform most days) if we didn't have suits. The suit jackets weren't necessary, though most men did wear them. There were even some who got dressed up in tuxes. Otherwise, just going to the lido was a fine, casual alternative. Our inside cabin was moved at the last minute. I wasn't thrilled that we went from a quad to a triple and to the lowest floor. But, it really worked out fine after my first day freak out. Once we had the beds separated into two, got the suitcases under the beds, and had the chair/table removed our room, it felt so much larger and comfort was no longer an issue. We were in the very middle of the ship and felt little movement nor had issues with noise. I had packed sea bands, ginger candy, ear patches, and an econo bottle of dramamine. None were needed. You can ask for meds at the front desk for free, if necessary. The water was pretty calm the entire 14 days. The good news? Since we couldn't get a paid upgrade to oceanview (we were offered upgrades but for a 3-4 person room, it was far more difficult than for 2), the free inside cabin upgrade turned out to be a great thing. We had only a small shower. No issues with a too tall tub to hurdle over. Plus, I believe this also gave us more space in the main room, which counts when it's 3 people in there for 2 weeks. The other benefit was that without windows, there was no issues with 20 hours of sunlight. We were just as happy watching the midnight sunset from the crow's nest, the back of the lido, or a number of other spaces around the ship. It rarely felt like any space was over crowded other than peak times at the lido, the 8:00 show (the 10pm was up to 90% less crowded), or if you wanted a lounge chair in the crow's nest occasionally. We had to wait in line for open dining in the main dining room twice, but that was fixed by either dining by 5:30 or after 7:30. I had very little expectation about the caliber of entertainment we'd see on board, but was very pleasantly surprised. The 4 main singers were incredibly talented, as were the 6 dancers. The guest entertainment was even more impressive. I'm only in my late 30s, but knew almost every song from the 60s to present day and had a lot of fun singing along or laughing at the comedy. Most of the comedy was family friendly. The few jokes that weren't still were relatively tame without feeling forced. I wasn't impressed by some of the activities like bridge lessons, casino lessons, etc but we were never bored. I really enjoyed Jeanette, the location expert's talks about Alaskan life, wildlife, and the ports. I attended some of the culinary events (with free champagne), a free whisky tasting, and even checked out some of the shopping events. I only ended up purchasing some duty free liquor, makeup, and a bottle of Marc Jacobs perfume. I didn't find the jewelry to my taste and while the tees/sweatshirts were a decent price, I bought a few for about $5 in ports instead. But, it was easy to forget your jackets, etc and pick them up for under $20 on board or at any stop if needed (mid-July temps ranged from 50 to 80 for highs). I was surprised how affordable souvenir shopping was most places, with the exception of Victoria being a little less impressive IMO. Service is really where the crew of the Maasdam shined. The Indonesian/Filipino crew was extraordinarily hard working and friendly. Sometimes I wished they would take more breaks. Our room was attended to twice a day by Iwan and Eris.They were responsible for about 30 rooms. I was sure to tip them often. I found it was really smart to come prepared to do laundry ourselves. You can get quarters at the front desk. Wash is $2, dryer is $1. There is powdered soap for free, but we brought our own soap pods and did laundry every other day. Most people just did wash once or twice on sea days. We avoided the crowds by going late around 9 pm. I thought I was missing out by only booking two excursions ahead of time. But, I found most people came with their own plan or just intended to walk around in most cities. The high speed ocean raft in Sitka turned out to be the best. We went at noon, as one of the last ones out. The weather wasn't great, but that made it more fun and we were able to see many more things than the earlier groups and got to stay out later with a ride back to the ship afterward. I was scared it would be too rough. We got knocked around a lot but never felt out of control or endangered. We also booked a hovercraft ride to the Taku glacier in Juneau. It was pretty awesome (not for mobility challenged), but only worth the expense if it really calls to you. Otherwise, there are cheaper excursions and we missed out on the Mendenhall glacier and other excursions. We didn't book ahead of time in Anchorage and found Salmon Berry Tours across from the visitor's center. Our guide was amazing and our group of 10 got such personal attention. The wildlife center had 3 buses of HAL excursion guests, but our guide knew every animal by name and really let us experience more. We saw Dall sheep and moose by the side of the road and were able to stop as needed for restrooms, pics, etc. She also took us up the tram at the Alyeska resort where my kids got to play in some ice and threw snowballs at each other for a few minutes while wearing short sleeves in July. Now the important part, the food! We never had a chance to get hungry. We tried the main dining room for all meals, but found it was easiest to follow the crowd to the lido for breakfast. It was great to have so much variety. Both sides of the lido had most of the same items, but one also had a dedicated Asian section. I tried the rice 'pudding' one morning with tofu, garlic, etc. It tasted like miso, but wasn't for me. That was the cool thing though, you could try anything without much risk or obligation. There was always a full English breakfast available, quick continental items, or made to order fried eggs/omelets. Even when the meal hours were over, there was always something available. The Dive In opened at 11:30 most days and served really good burgers (or portabello sandwich or even chicken) with fries. My son loved the Dive In sauce. You could bring anything you wanted back to your room, so burgers were always a good choice if we wanted to sit around and watch a movie. In room dining was pretty good too, but usually had a 30 to 40 minute wait. The meals in the dining room were mostly good. The vegetarian selection wasn't always great (curries were good but I don't like coconut milk, I didn't like bread-y things like veggie pancakes). Stuffed eggplant, mushroom ravioli, and a lunch roasted veggie wrap were my faves. You could also order as many appetizers/entrees as you wanted, eliminate the chicken/fish from a salad or ask for sides of veggies. Sometimes the food wasn't hot or had been cooked in advance. But, overall, it was elegantly presented and well worth the wait. There was a cold fruit soup every night. Some were like smoothies, but not bad. We just preferred the hot soups or the kids enjoyed seafood plates. We usually drank water with dinner. Many people ordered wine packages, but most people declined the expense. I prefer beer or mixed drinks but I usually just had drinks during the 4-5 pm or 9-10 pm Happy Hour in the Crow's Nest where all drinks were buy 1 get one for $1 (included non alcoholic mocktails). I often carried them down to the dining room or to the show room. I ordered my boys the $50 soda cards before our trip, which cost $25. Each soda came to $2.01 with tip, so they were about to have 24 or 25. We had a lot of balance left over the last day. Unused gift cards can be refunded, but I wasn't sure how it would work with the soda card since it was discounted. We really enjoyed our trip. The Maasdam was a great introduction to cruising and we look forward to similar trips. The smaller 1,200 passenger capacity seemed just right. We were able to make some wonderful friends we saw often, yet met new people every day. My boys wouldn't go to club HAL since they were at the upper end of the 7-12 Tween age range, but they had no problems with boredom. They caused no problems and navigated the ship with ease. It was truly the trip of a lifetime. With our new knowledge and experience we will know in the future how to par down our luggage and optimize our fun. Cruise Critic was really the best source of info as a first timer. A couple other issues--we survived with almost no internet! Yes, 14 days. Amazing. We only turned our phones on in ports. There was pretty much no T-Mobile coverage outside of Seattle, but we found some roaming was included with any of their plans so we were happy. I ran close to my limit on data and was able to add more for $15 (which lasts for up to a week). The roaming on GCI and AT&T worked well when we weren't going to waste time sitting at a library or McDonalds for free wifi. Internet access on the ship was 75 cents/minute or could be bought in packages that weren't worth the price IMO. If you do purchase any be sure to log out or the time will not stop counting against your account. They said if you set up an account you could surf the Holland America website (and maybe a couple others) for free, but I couldn't get it to work. The Explorations cafe area had plenty of books, games, magazines, etc to keep you busy and you could always order movies for free from the front desk if the featured movies on the TV didn't work for you (they played on repeat the day after they were played in the ship's theater--stuff like Jungle Book, My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2, etc). Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
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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