My wife and I have been cruising for 20 years, and this was our first sailing with Holland America. We have sailed with Princess, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian, Carnival, and Oceania, enjoying 266 days at sea. After sailing on the Maasdam ... Read More
My wife and I have been cruising for 20 years, and this was our first sailing with Holland America. We have sailed with Princess, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian, Carnival, and Oceania, enjoying 266 days at sea. After sailing on the Maasdam for a 33 day south pacific cruise we Won't use Holland America again. The major concern of mine was the lack of service, lack of maintenance, and little concern for our safety. No matter what the positive reviews in the past say, the ship is not a luxury ship. Deferred maintenance and a crew cut down to the absolute minimum, has helped the Maasdam age beyond its years.
The most important part of this review is about safety. I have never seen such a lack of concern for safety on any other ship. The muster station drill was held outside on deck six under our life boat. This drill was held dock side along side the port. With the noise of equipment working below, the safety team tried to communicate the safety drill with bull horns under each life boat. I could not hear half of the instructions because of competing noise. Life jackets were left in the cabins, and we were told that in case of an emergency, we would go to our cabins, and there we would be told how to use them?? How in the world is that going to work in an emergency? At least I have had proper instructions on other ships about the life vest. I'm sure other first time guests had no clue how to properly user it. The safety issues continued during our first tendering port in Lahaina, HI. where it took FOUR hours for us to make it ashore. One of the four Maasdam tenders (lifeboat) was not operational and was stowed back aboard. This left three tenders to bring people to shore. The condition of the remaining life boats were not up to the standards I have seen on other ships. The life boats smoked with large plums of blue smoke, had plastic windows that you could not see through, damaged hand grab rails you could not use to enter the boat ,peeling paint on the outside. The under staffed life boat team could not keep up. The Captain finally hired private boats from shore to help with the Maasdam's failing life boats. He also added help from the undertrained buffet staff to help with the tender operation. This continued for the many remaining tendering ports . Not a good thing if you needed the life boats at sea. It gets better, the Maasdam lost power 1000 miles south of Hawaii and was drifting motionless for about an hour, using the side thrusters to steer the ship. At that time I kept thinking, how is that going to work with the life boat problem! The last straw for me was on the last week returning to San Diego, when the inner door to my muster station on deck 6 forward was TIED closed with a large rope for a repair of the outer door. The outer door to my life boat was totally removed, and the inner door held closed with rope and heavy sand bags so no one could use it! How in hell was I to get to my muster station in an emergency! There should have been someone stationed at that door in case it needed to be opened: short staff again. I have NEVER seen an emergency exit door tied closed. SHOCKING. I guess saving money is more important to Holland America Line than safety.
The crew on the Maasdam were the saving grace of this cruise. Always quick to smile and help, but again woefully under staffed. Six waiters in the entire buffet working like mad trying to wait tables , serve coffee, and clean dirty dishes off tables. An impossible task that left dirty dishes piled up on tables and overflowing dirty dish bus stations. Daily I was trying to find a clean table. HAL is taking advantage of its help , and not in a good way.It was worse around the rear pool and the Lido terrace with only ONE person to clean up dirty dishes , clean the area around the pool side deck chairs including removing and replacing the used towels. The wood floor at the poolside terrace was stained with food/grease below the outside tables. The bases of those tables were filthy, covered with old food/dirt. That area of the buffet had not been cleaned in a long time. Again dirty dishes piled three levels high at the table busing station.
The lack of care was every where. Water leaking on the food from the ceiling of the buffet, wet carpets around the ship constantly being dried out with numerous electric fans. People were constantly complaining about the AC not working in their cabins, the smell of diesel fumes so bad in some cabins on deck 4 and 5, the door was left open with a fan running to clear the smell. People were leaving the ship early in Bora Bora, because of nonworking AC , and the high temperatures in their cabins.
I wish there were more honest reviews of this ship on this board. It is obvious some people are loyal to HAL no matter how bad it gets.
Save your hard earned money for a cruise line that cares about your safety , not about saving money at yours; and the crews expense.
Imagine opening the lid to the toilet in your room seeing the Holland America logo floating on the water close the lid...Push the button! Read Less