603 Holland America Maasdam Cruise Reviews

My cruising backgound since 2012. Celebrity 6, HAL 4, RCI 3, Carnival 1, Princess 1, MSC 1. I titled this review "A New Winner" because HAL is my new favourite cruise line, previously Celebrity. It was a close call and HAL was ... Read More
My cruising backgound since 2012. Celebrity 6, HAL 4, RCI 3, Carnival 1, Princess 1, MSC 1. I titled this review "A New Winner" because HAL is my new favourite cruise line, previously Celebrity. It was a close call and HAL was preciously my 2nd favourite. So why the new winner? I have found, in the past, the two lines to be comparable, the defining point was the food on this cruise - I could not fault it. Anyway, here's how my 5th NZ cruise went. Why 5 NZ cruises? This one was because my travelling companion had not previously cruised NZ. She had preciously visited the south island but not the north. We organised a 7 day, pre-cruise tour, of the north island by rental car and staying at pre-booked motels. The itinerary for this cruise was fairly standard NZ except for the inclusion of Oban on Stewart Island off the southern point of the south island. As it turned out, weather prevented going ashore there. We boarded in Auckland after doing a morning Segway tour of Devonport. We breezed through boarding procedure, no delays or hassles. Our cabin was ready so we dumped our carry-on stuff and went to meet up with a friend couple who had joined us for this cruise. My initial impression of Maasdam was that it was, obviously, and older ship but in excellent condition. It has been very well maintained and no excessive wear and tear evident. Decor was tasteful but a little dated, no problems there the same for our cabin. More on that below. We my companion and our two friends chose anytime dining, which turned out to be about 7.30 each night later than I prefer but suited us better as earlier dining clashed with happy hour and trivia. We tried the main dining room breakfast one day only but preferred the Lido. Lunch was always in Lido. The Lido was great, plenty to choose from with a different roast each day and plenty of variety of other foods and desserts, including ice cream. There was plenty of fresh fruit daily, apples, oranges, bananas, plums, peaches, cherries and strawberries! There was also a lido special seafood lunch with king prawns, lobster, small crayfish, mussels etc. There was plenty to go around. We only had one dinner in the Lido and were quite happy with that too but the offerings in the MDR were so good. We never had a problem finding somewhere for the four of us to eat in the Lido. It was often very busy but seating was not a problem. Another plus, for some, is that most of the food was served to you. Less chance of guests needlessly handling stuff. No problems or delays ordering drinks, staff were quick to offer tea, coffee etc. MDR. This was a deal breaker. Maasdam was truely excellent in service, quality and variety. Up until now Celebrity (IMHO) pipped HAL by offering a little more variety. Celebrity have, of late, cut back an variety to the same level as HAL so it came down to the food itself. I can say, for the first time, I did not have one dish I could not say I was unhappy with. There was usually more than one dish in each course I would have liked. All dished I ordered were done pretty much to perfection. Presentation, quality ingredients, serving temperature were all great. A couple of the steaks served up to us were a touch overdone to what was ordered but not enough to spoil their enjoyment. Serving of courses was not rushed nor dragged out. The seemed to come out when we were ready. Only one of our group returned a meal in the 12 days and that was only because it was not what she thought it was, nothing to do with the cooking. We had an excellent meal in Sel de Mer. No complaints there. Entertainment. If anyone has read previous Maasdam reviews they will already know that there are no production shows. And we didn't miss them. There were entertainers and the ones were saw (we didn't see them all) were all good to great. A professional dance couple (G), impressionist (VG) and a special mention for singer/guitarist Patrick McMahon who I have seen on two previous cruises and he never fails to impress with his energetic (understatement) and very entertaining performing. Renditions of Neil Diamond, Johnny Horton, Willie Nelson, songs, among others. I think "Copperhead Road, has become his signature song. My days were filled in with (excellent) Microsoft workshops, I have done these on previous cruises and always learn something new, trivia (usually two a day in the Crows Nest which seemed to coincide with Happy Hour - buy one drink and get another the same for an extra $2. There was a slight American bias in the questions but there were also New Zealand and Australian ones thrown in as well. We did reasonably well. Spent time playing 500 too. We didn't have a deck of cards with us but on enquiring at guest services if we could by some, we were given a deck. Cool. Weather. Blessed, as they say, with good weather almost every day. Goldilocks weather, not too hot, not too cold, just right. Had a little rockin' and rollin' between Oban and Fiordland with a few bumps in the night but it lulled us off to sleep. Only moderate swell across the Tasman and Bass Strait. We were able to enter Fiordland and had great weather with a little wind. My fourth time here and it never fails to impress. Tours. We didn't do any ship tours. We did one pre booked, one booked on arrival in port and another self guided. I also spent a little time geocaching in port. Disembarking. Due to the Coronavirus the NSW government required that we do a self assessment and complete a form to describe any respiratory issues. It struck us as odd that this was done in Sydney but we could wander around Eden the day before without it. We had a total immigration check, guests and crew, before getting off in Hobart. This all went very smoothly causing little delay, unlike US immigration last November in Puerto Rico that was a debacle going overtime by two hours or more and ending in fist fights among people wanting to reboard. Other stuff. Well stocked games room and library. A room for bridge players. Comfy bars that never seemed too crowded. Two promenade decks. Deck tennis and ping pong available. Plenty of loungers around main pool and no lounger hogging. Cruise Director was great as was the Captain who was visible around the ship at times. Friendly crew, always a smile and hello in passing. There's probably other stuff I've forgotten but nothing of any consequence. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
The cruise seemed like a good way to see SW Australia while kids school is out, here in the States. Well, we did see Australia and it’s beautiful. But the cruise on the other hand... Maasdam is an outdated ship in desperate need ... Read More
The cruise seemed like a good way to see SW Australia while kids school is out, here in the States. Well, we did see Australia and it’s beautiful. But the cruise on the other hand... Maasdam is an outdated ship in desperate need of renewal and refurbishing. Multiple repeated issues with plumbing, door keys, internet connectivity and so on. Indifferent restaurant service with a lot of attitude. Numerous billing "mistakes" by beverage service (of "catch me if you can" variety) requiring multiple reminders to be fixed. Cheap food selection. Crowded buffets with ridiculously long food lines and no tables available. Arrogant front office reps with selective memory - any issue requires multiple explanations to different people. Randomly changing "all aboard" times with no regard to customers' own booked tours and excursions. Idiotic beverage rules and limits accompanied by humiliating search process every time one boards the ship. Staff is unaware of how HAL's own services and products work - e.g. gift cards. No recourse for crew and service “mistakes” and screw-ups, no apology, no discount, no credit - just "oops, sorry" at best. For on shore excursions HAL routinely charges over 3x of the prices available through independent booking (e.g. private city tour $1700 USD vs $500 USD available independently.) Limited selection of tours through HAL. Limited or non-existent selection of combo tours visiting multiple places in one tour. We’ve been on several cruises with other companies before. While the quality usually varies with price, this is probably the first time where the cruise experience was so comically bad that it didn’t really matter if it’s a good deal price-wise or not. Makes me wonder how Holland America is managing to stay in business... Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Cabin is smaller than any we have occupied on 18 prior HAL cruises (with the possibe exception of when we sailed on the MS Prinsendam) Pros: Centrallylocated amid ship. Easy access to Dining Room and Atrium area. Obstruction of view ... Read More
Cabin is smaller than any we have occupied on 18 prior HAL cruises (with the possibe exception of when we sailed on the MS Prinsendam) Pros: Centrallylocated amid ship. Easy access to Dining Room and Atrium area. Obstruction of view only about 35%. Friendly, efficient cabin stweards Yusuf & Nicko. Cons: Immediately below main gallery--constant noise (thudding, scraping of heavy objects, banging, etc. most of the night well into the wee hours of the morning). Minimal options for "mini-bar"--just sodas & water--no refrigerator. (Disadvantage for 4 & 5 star Mariners) Air condtioning inadequate to comfortably cool the cabin. Corridor outside the cabin is also noticebly warmer than most other interior public spaces on the vessel. Only a single electrical outlet in the area of the small desk. Outletr in bathroomis not capable of receiving polarized (let alone grounded) plugs. No USB receivers. Fortunately, cabin stewards will provide a power strip if you request one. Your mileage may vary, Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
This itinerary has been a bucket list cruise for a number of years. By the time we were finally able to book it, it had become an EXC cruise. I am so pleased with the lectures given by the EXC naturalists. What an amazing group! ... Read More
This itinerary has been a bucket list cruise for a number of years. By the time we were finally able to book it, it had become an EXC cruise. I am so pleased with the lectures given by the EXC naturalists. What an amazing group! Chris Cook, the leader, is not only knowledgeable but entertaining. Erin, the crocodile specialist, is absolutely amazing! I was impressed with every one of them. Dr. Anita Heiss joined the cruise in its final days to add her expertise as well. I chose Holland America over other lines who do the circumnavigation for the itinerary which included Komodo Island and Tasmania. These two were the highlights for me. We saw the dragons and went to Gunns Plain Cave in Tasmania to see the elusive glowworms that I have wanted to see for so long. Other highlights were the ship's excursions to Billabong Sanctuary out of Townsville, trike ride in Broome, Wildlife (at marvelous Healesville) and Wineries out of Melbourne and private excursions to Litchfield, Yanchep and Pinnacles National Parks. I highly recommend any excursion which includes Healesville. It is a division of the Victoria Zoo which Chris Cook is affiliated with. We saw so much there. It is not to be missed as the Victoria Zoo does things the right way. We enjoyed trivia where we met wonderful partners from around the world. Food exceeded expectations and service was excellent. Our steward was exemplary. Our cabin was spacious with lots of storage. Only disappointments were missing Exmouth and Kangaroo Island, both tender ports. Seas were extremely rough and Captain Ryan Whittaker made the right decision not to attempt tendering. I regret not booking one of the zodiac tours. Those I heard from really enjoyed them. By the time I had an opening in our schedule and slots available, the weather had turned rough and we had colds which made us not game for it. The Maasdam is one of Holland America's older ships along with its sister ship the Veendam. I love both of them. The Maasdam is clean and well maintained. I would not hesitate to sail again on either of these. Their size and design is just what I like in a ship. The entertainment was better than expected. Initially EXE cruises did not have traditional entertainment. We enjoyed the shows most nights. Our favorites were IDA (very talented sopranos from the West End), the Jersey Tenors, and the OZ Boys. All three performed multiple shows which we enjoyed. I highly recommend joining your roll call group for any cruise. We enjoyed our three tours arranged through our active roll call. I arranged one to Litchfield National Park out of Darwin and enjoyed trips to Yanchep/Pinnacles National Parks out of Freemantle and a wine tour to to the Borossa Valley out of Adelaide planned by others. We enjoyed meeting others from roll call and the meet and greets (formal and informal) were well done by leaders from our roll call. We were even able to arrange shared cabs from airport to hotel and hotel to ship on roll call. We made our own hotel reservation at a reasonably priced hotel I found through others' recommendations here on CC. Had our ship embarked at the Quay where we disembarked, we could have walked to the ship. Overall I am glad we took this cruise and would consider EXE itineraries to other locations. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
I used to sail HAL all the time.... I will not anymore Many long term cruisers defend her to the hilt despite reality. Dont listen to them.....its not good Went on this cruise to see WW2 history....it was an Exec-Cruise , meaning ... Read More
I used to sail HAL all the time.... I will not anymore Many long term cruisers defend her to the hilt despite reality. Dont listen to them.....its not good Went on this cruise to see WW2 history....it was an Exec-Cruise , meaning that there would be lots of enrichment.... A lot of veterans both Australian and US signed on. We were 2/3rds of the 1200 passengers about 800. Well here is what happened. 1. about 10 days into the 30 day cruise HAL either fired the lecturer or he quit leaving us with no history. 2. Some passengers volunteered to substitute for free.... but were severely restricted by HAL on what they could say or do....... everything had to be 'Political correct based on Seattle very left wing anti military/us personal attitude. 3. This political correct attitude prevailed... several times we stopped at major sites and Vets wanted to hold a small memorial on the ships aft, We were told no way we dont want to offend anyone.... It was disgusting Final on the last day they did a pathetic mini memorial in the the theater...... too little too late Many times we Vets had to gather in secrecy to say a prayer and honor the fallen... I was enraged and disgusted.... 4 with the departure of the historian... hal brought on some lame natural history guy and a touch-e-feely sociologist...giving a limp wristed take on the countries....Pathetic That amigos...is the EXEC cruise your likely to get.... a canned, waterdown, political correct bunch of crud. The ship boarding: Pick up from airport was outstanding.... and boarding swift and easy...excellent Cabin :deck 5 was a ocean view..... great bed, great bathroom, great stewards The ship: wonderful condition, decor and layout nothing wrong Cruise Director: a joke was more interested in getting off in Sydney than being there. Captain: a political correct jerk who wanted Seattle to tell him what to do every day... Entertainment: Bring some CD's its pretty sad Food: Lido..... golden corral at sea... Good Chinese, Breakfasts good Powdered eggs unless you get the omlet guy to give you real ones. Super wait staff... Breakfast the only reasonable chance to get anything nice. Main dining room: Once was enough....like a being in the Jewish Catskill resorts Pinnacle: was not dumb enough to try Poor quality, presentation, service, atmosphere..sad place Dive in: Not that bad.... best make a taco salad Burgers very very greasy Bars: waterdown drinks marginal happy hour Summary: several days I did not even eat at all...... a first of a cruise. menus were torture After 28 days I was Glad to get off... In truth this ship was the only one that could take me to the special spots like Iwo Jima, Saipan, Guadelcanal, Iron Bottom sound They had me...no other option.... Thats about it.... a boat ride and your on your own.. Worst of all HAL did not care that they rooked hundreds of vets into thinking this would be special history tour.... it was special alright... special disappointing....I wanted so much to like it... but HAL would not let me. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We enjoyed this cruise on the Maasdam. We paid a low price, less than $100 a day per person plus port fees and gratuities. Our stateroom was clean and roomy for an inside and we appreciated the full size sofa. The food was very good in ... Read More
We enjoyed this cruise on the Maasdam. We paid a low price, less than $100 a day per person plus port fees and gratuities. Our stateroom was clean and roomy for an inside and we appreciated the full size sofa. The food was very good in both the dining room and the Lido. It seemed that HAL tried to have something for everyone. As a pescatarian and a vegetarian we could almost always find something we wanted to eat. We knew we could have availed ourselves of the special menu service and ordered a day in advance, but meals in the dining room tended to take one and a half plus hours. We didn't want to do that three times a day. The staff was friendly and competent. No complaints. The muster drill was disorganized with staff members shouting out names and cabin numbers to take attendance. Quite a number didn't appear to be there but people were walking back and forth while this was going on. After 45 minutes of this some elderly people left. HAL has a range of activities on offer, some revenue generating. There were many talks and we attended and enjoyed most of them. We also played trivia twice a day. The shopping was there but more subdued than other lines. The small pool was closed on multiple days due to the weather, which was not great; a typhoon in the general area was blamed for two missed ports. You couldn't swim laps in the pool. One main point to mention is not to rely on the times posted on the HAL websites as to times in port for arranging independent shore excursions. They are misleading. The actual times vary considerably. Sometimes it seemed the weather was responsible but other times there was no reason that we could see. For example, when we missed a port due to weather making tendering not possible, rather than arrive that much earlier at the next port, we had another day at sea. Especially since that next port was in a different country with difficult immigration requirements, an earlier arrival would have been preferable. In that particular port, Otaru in Japan, we were given a 1:30 time slot to meet with Japanese immigration officials who came on board to fingerprint and photograph. About eight officials for 1250 passengers, so you can imagine the length of that line. We objected to the time, which after the formalities and shuttle to town would have given us less than two hours in that port. We were given an earlier time but I feel sorry for those who said nothing. Further in that vein, we objected to the late disclosure of the HAL requirements for our independent tour of a Russian port. It is not helpful to advise us after we are on board that tour vouchers must contain the name, DOB, and passport numbers on separate vouchers for each person plus a separate list/letter about the tour containing similar information. HAL did telephone the tour company from the ship when we complained about this policy, which the tour company said is not accurate, and eventually things were fixed up but it was aggravating. No Russian officials looked at our voucher when we got off the ship. We appreciated the shuttle buses in each Japanese port which I believe were arranged by the town. If it was HAL, then I commend them for this. There were also information booths set up with free wifi tents in some locations and we were welcomed by dancers and drummers in some towns. The bar staff and photographers were low key. There were no production shows but entertainment in several lounges as well as a singer, violinist or pianist in the show lounge in the evenings. This was not a scenic cruise. Sometimes we were shrouded in fog all day and mostly there was nothing but water to see - no visible coastline. We enjoyed the afternoon teas and partook a couple of times after our return from time in a port. There were many DVD's to obtain from guest services for free and the regular channels were fine. For some reasons the news channels were blocked in Russian ports. There is a design flaw with the remote as you had to extend your arm completely over your head to change channels. Or stand up. The TV was too far back on the shelf which blocked the signal from the remote. The ship was otherwise fine in repair and appearance. There were a few roof leaks in the Crows Nest which were quickly attended to. Three ports were cancelled in this port intensive cruise out of nine, due to weather. I appreciated that the port talks were about how to get around and what to see in each stop not a thinly veiled attempt to sell HAL shore excursions. We were each given a $100 account credit, in addition to port charge refunds, to make up for the missed ports. This was a generous gesture. All in all we were satisfied with our cruise for what we paid, however, my millennial daughters who travelled with me advised she will not cruise again until there is fast and free wifi on board, something she thinks should be a given. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We booked this highly-touted HAL EXC 6-Week Japan/ Western Pacific cruise back in May 2018, & expected great things. Suffice it to say that it turned out to be the most over-hyped & disappointing cruise we've every endured! ... Read More
We booked this highly-touted HAL EXC 6-Week Japan/ Western Pacific cruise back in May 2018, & expected great things. Suffice it to say that it turned out to be the most over-hyped & disappointing cruise we've every endured! We feel that the HAL marketing team sold us a bill of goods, & are guilty of false advertising at the very least! The HAL EXC cruise concept (available only on Maasdam) promotes the heavy use of its fleet of on-board Zodiac small craft (exactly 9 of them were strapped down on the bow) for more indepth exploration!! Right up until the day we departed TX for JAPAN, we received HAL emails recommending we book our HAL Zodiac excursions in advance, because there were limited seats & they were selling out fast. Imagine our surprise (once we embarked in Yokohama in mid August) to learn that there would be NO HAL EXC Zodiac tours available during our entire 43 day odyssey down to Sydney!! The HAL EXC concept involved a heavy schedule of lectures on sea days in both the showroom at sea and the Wajang theater, covering Pacific region flora and fauna, WW2 battles & history, Asian/Japanese cultrure, photography, future NASA Space exploration, etc. Unfortunately HAL has chosen to eliminate the staff videographer position & none of these EXC presentations were videotaped for the convenience of those who would have preferred to hear the lectures in the privacy of their rooms. Thus, the lecture venues were always jam-packed with ill-tempered passengers jostling for the best seats. Unfortunayely Maasdam staff frequently jammed extra folding chairs into the aisles creating extremely unsafe conditions that would have given fire marshalls heart attacks. The male cruise director, who shall remain nameless, was the most unfriendly, colorless, unexciting, boring individual we've ever encountered in almost 50 cruises. He let everyone know, on a daily basis, that he was even more eager than we were to be disembarking in Sydney at the end of his contract!! We feel the cruise director was overworked, under-staffed, & in way over his head!! Overall, we feel the Maasdam is too small, too old, and too poorly laid out to support the noble objectives of the HAL EXC in-depth cruise concept!! Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
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
Maasdam is the oldest vessel of HAL. I was skeptical about the condition of the ship. I was wrong. The ship is in excellent condition, very clean and easy to navigate. The cabin is big with lots of storage .. However the TV was ... Read More
Maasdam is the oldest vessel of HAL. I was skeptical about the condition of the ship. I was wrong. The ship is in excellent condition, very clean and easy to navigate. The cabin is big with lots of storage .. However the TV was disappointing, very old and usually there was no signal in in port like Yokohama. There is only one outlet and we had to ask for an extension cord. Food in the dining is good. We had dinner one night in Pinnacle Grill. It was good but not much better than the dining room and we didn't go back. Canaletto is of good value. We had extremely hot weather, 35 plus degrees in the first week, except in Korsakov, Russia which I think is a waste of time. There is absolutely nothing interesting there. Japan was hit by two storms during our trip. In Hakodate we had to sail early to return to Yokohama . Hakodate is an interesting little town. Five hours is absolutely not enough. We enjoyed all the entertainments especially the lady pianist. We love HAL. We will definitely return soon Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
We have cruised HAL in a number of locations but really wanted to try one of their smaller ships. We also were very interested in the EXC program and the itinerary around Japan. As always HAL knows what its doing-embarkation, ... Read More
We have cruised HAL in a number of locations but really wanted to try one of their smaller ships. We also were very interested in the EXC program and the itinerary around Japan. As always HAL knows what its doing-embarkation, disembarkation were fine. The captain did an excellent job of avoiding (as much as he could) typhoons which caused him to shorten our time in the last port. The lectures/talks were good. Dr. Kam was excellent and covered a variety of topics related to Japanese culture, art, customs. He explained much about Japanese society, habits and norms. The ship is a bit 'tired' and needs some renovation especially in the cabins. There were scratches/mars all along the baseboards, there was a crack in the sink, a dent in the tub and signs of rust/wear in many places. Wallpaper was beginning to peel. Public spaces seemed to be okay but cabins not so much. HAL personnel were friendly,helpful and efficient (except when they got to chatting with customers and ignored other customers). Entertainment-the jazz quartet was very good; the piano/violin not quite as good and the other singer in the lounge was pretty bad although he attracted a large following. Shore excursions-we took 2 HAL excursions for Shimizu and Otaru. They lived down to our expectations. The guide on the bus for Shimizu was not very good, did not give us good instructions (like wait for her to pay for our admission to the shrine) and that was disappointing. In Otaru-the guide was marginally better and the Herring Mansion was well worth seeing but I'd recommend grabbing a taxi and doing that on your own. We used "Tours by Locals" for Osaka, Vladivostok, Hakodate-they were great and that is definitely the way to go. While the HAL tours sped by, we were getting in depth information as well as seeing things the tours missed. In Kanazawa we used Kanazawa Tours and they also did a very good job. HAL ran shuttle buses in a couple of ports and that was very good. In some of the smaller cities, the 'passenger terminal for ships' was located far from the downtown or other areas of interest. But many of the cities were clearly delighted to see the ship and sent out bands, entertainment,balloons to welcome us which was fun. The other issue with the cruise was the weather especially in the Southern Japanese ports. It was hot and Very humid-to the point of sapping energy and really making it difficult to enjoy doing much of anything. I realize that HAL was running this cruise as part of a trip from the West Coast of the US but perhaps it should consider doing it in the spring or fall when the humidity might be more manageable and less chance of typhoons/cyclones. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
This was one of few cruises out of San Francisco with a tour of Alaska and onward to Japan (21 days) with a circle Northern Japan for an additional 14 days. Itinerary: This ship visited several ports not normally on the Alaska cruise ... Read More
This was one of few cruises out of San Francisco with a tour of Alaska and onward to Japan (21 days) with a circle Northern Japan for an additional 14 days. Itinerary: This ship visited several ports not normally on the Alaska cruise circuit including Unalaska (Dutch Harbor) and Nome (tendering was canceled due to weather), three ports in Russia, and a couple in north Japan before stopping in Yokohama, then circle Northern Japan. It was refreshing visiting new ports in Alaska which provided a quiet non-touristy environment with free shuttles to town. The usual Ketchikan and Victoria were the normal hustle and bustle. Wanted to get a "There's no place like Nome" shirt, but due to weather, we could not get off the ship, which continued on its journey towards Russia. Russia required visas and we were not allowed to get off the ship unless we had a visa (difficult to get in the U.S.) or booked an excursion (which provided a group permit to get off the ship in lieu of a visa). Based on reviews of the ports, we opted to stay on board. Japan was very welcoming at each city with taiko, dancers, signing, and other entertainment at most ports (viewable from deck), and free transportation to the city center when needed. Yokohama was the large port with Chinatown and business areas within walking distance. The ship visited several Japanese cities with a similar experience before going to Vladivostok where we did take an excursion. In Vladivostok, the excursion was high priced and not worth the cost. We visited a Russian church, a hill where we could view the city waterfront, a natural history museum, a WWII submarine partially restored and the town square, all of which would have been walking distance if we were allowed to walk around unescorted. We were brought to a single tourist shop, but shopping, at least for cruise passengers, is unmature. On board, we had exchanged some money for souvenirs and ended up exchanging it all back once on board. At least we are now able to say we visited Russia, but we would not visit again unless it is on an independent overland tour or maybe river cruise. Traveling to Russia and Japan and between them required passport inspection which was very tedious with lines across the ship, but at least inspection was on board and it is not the cruiseline's fault its passengers have to endure this. However, a relative traveling with us, a resident of Japan, was apparently directed the wrong way by ship personnel and missed initial Japanese inspection. He was detained, and ship personnel accompanied him on shore to Japanese immigration where they sorted things out (I think they stamped him out so that he could come back in). This detained the ship a while before it was able to depart from the port. Dining was pretty good, but we missed the souffles and other fancy foods we remember from old cruises, and after several weeks, the same basic food kind of got tedious. It was nice to have a choice of soft serve or real ice cream at the buffet (served in waffle or regular cones or bowls) though the selection of flavors was minimal (They should get more flavors and rotate them). As with other cruises, food is prepared by European style chefs who know nothing about ethnic nor even regional foods. Though sushi was regular at the buffet, we, along with lots of crew, ended up going to sushi restaurants in Japan. Western food was okay, but suffered from a lack of variety. Then again, it was nice not worrying about gaining weight on a cruise. Hours were a little off our schedule, so it was pretty often when we were hungry, there was nothing to eat. At the buffet, changeover between meals (like between breakfast and lunch) had distinct and lengthy closures when nothing was available. Same with water and coffee machines which rotated and shut down often, commonly with no cups available either. Enrichment lectures were a joke. The cook/chef failed to follow her own instructions, and though she was supposed to be demonstrating Asian food, it was obvious that she had little experience in cooking, and confused Japanese and Chinese cooking. The Doctor who provided Japanese cultural lectures had no knowledge of Japan - we got more information from the newspaper circulated daily onboard. He was apparently a retired dentist (hence "Doctor") who blamed everything in Japan on millennials, with the explantion, "well, you know millennials". The natural history lecturer out of a Southern California community college, was dry (boring!) and was apparently lecturing to an introductory geology class. The biology lecturer surprisingly was very dynamic and entertaining, and imparted more knowledge about geology than the geologist. Entertainment was particularly disappointing with a few bright stars. There was no dancing or Vegas show type entertainment, with generally a few one person acts singing or playing musical instruments, and a mentalist. One group was vastly inexperienced, scheduled to give two shows, but they only had one show they could do. Singers were generally poor and the lack of talent would not have been acceptable for a small community theater. The lounge groups (performing in the bars and atrium) were generally very good and vastly better than most of the star performers. The Maasdam is ready for retirement (and we were even told it was on sale and would be leaving the Holland fleet). Things are worn out everywhere. Our room had a CRT analog TV, the shower head was broken, plugs were loose, and things wearing out. We felt our room did not heat enough and we heard many others complain of even colder rooms (this was in Alaska) and once we got to summery Japan, our cabin was still cold, but became bearable. Others became very hot, and the elevators to the buffet and the buffet became excruciatingly hot. Our cabin , E390, was an accessible cabin, so we had a wide door and a little more room than others, with very convenient access to the deck. Our rooms were guarantee rooms and that is what we got. We noticed that there were other passengers who could have used accessible cabins, but apparently they ended up in regular cabins. The problem with our cabin was that from the sofa, you can't see the TV, and we had to be careful not to flood the washroom since the floor including shower was flat, and the shower curtain had to be positioned just right. We had concerns about this deck with the promenade right outside the window, but the heavy tinting provided reasonable privacy, and we did not notice any extraneous noise other than muffled talking (the lengthy cruise meant older passengers - it might be different with more kids around). There was an outside bench close to our window. We thought about moving it a foot or two down, but it was bolted down. Crew was very attentive. We commented about the hardness of our bed and the steward provided a foam cushion which helped things immensely. In general, all crew was very helpful and attentive, showing a positive attitude, contentiously helping the passengers. We even tipped the wine steward, though we never ordered any wine). However, at Yokohama, there was apparently a substantial crew change with new crewmembers being less attentive and helpful. At the buffet, suddenly, tables were not cleaned, water/coffee service disappeared, and everything in general became unkempt. At the evening snack, we recall watching a young Filipina, acting in charge, busy flirting with the bus personnel. She did not bother to do any work at all and even got irritated when someone asked for some cups for water. In summary, we would not go on the Maasdam again unless it was renovated. We'll still consider Holland (This was our second cruise with them) and generally prefer another cruiseline though it will take an additional 90 days to reach Elite which appears to provide real affinity benefit. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
We like Holland America. And we selected this cruise because of the itinerary. We were on the ship for 8 weeks starting in San Francisco on June 18. The Maasdam went to a lot of ports in the first 3 weeks. Namely Ketchikan, Sitka, ... Read More
We like Holland America. And we selected this cruise because of the itinerary. We were on the ship for 8 weeks starting in San Francisco on June 18. The Maasdam went to a lot of ports in the first 3 weeks. Namely Ketchikan, Sitka, Anchorage, Kodiak, Valdez, Homer, Haines, Juneau (where we did a helicopter flight to 2 glaciers), Wrangell. We saw Hubbard Glacier up close and also College Fjord. Then we did the Inside Passage and went south to Vancouver (the only rainy day) and on to Port Alberni and Astoria before returning to San Francisco. This was the end of 3 weeks. We then started north again and went to Seattle, Victoria BC, Ketchikan, Sitka, Dutch Harbour (and Unalaska), and then on to Nome. This port even the captain hadn't been to and he still hasn't because the seas were too choppy for a safe tender journey. So we missed it unfortunately. Then we went on to Petropavlovsk in Russia and from there to Kushiro in Japan. All brilliant places. Our second 3 weeks ended in Yokohama, Japan. And so the last 2 weeks of our cruise started. Yokohama is a very modern city and it is quite easy to get around. Our next port was Shimizu, then Kobe, Takamatsu and Kochi where it was market day. Very hot in Japan in August though. Kanazawa was lovely. Then we went back to Russia to see Vladivostok and Korsakov. From there back to Japan. Otaru is a lovely town with great shopping. Our last port before returning to Yokohama was Hakodate. Also really nice. So all in all a great cruise with lots of very different ports to visit. We really enjoyed it and we met great people on this cruise. We would certainly do this cruise again if we could. We did not use the ship's shore excursions as they are too expensive. We went on independent tours with local touring companies and they were great. Some were booked by us (and listed on the relevant Cruise Critic Roll Call pages)and some by other Cruise Critic members Embarkation went very smoothly, disembarkation was also great as long as you waited until the last moment and most people were gone. The Maasdam is an EXC ship and therefore hasn't got the production shows that other ships in the fleet have. There were lots of lectures relating to the areas we sailed through. But we enjoyed that. We especially enjoyed Naturalist Gloetta, she is a marvel and so enthusiastic. Everyone loved her and at the end there was standing room only. But still, every night there was some show, either singer(s), piano players, violinist, even a rock and roll band and a hip hop group. Plenty of things to do We especially liked Lee the piano man. We sat most nights around the piano and sang our hearts out. Really great fun. Dining was hit or miss. Some meals were absolutely fabulous and others so so. Breakfast and lunch were mostly good. The crew is fantastic, from cabin stewards to bar staff to Lido staff and also the dining room. Laundry was done perfectly. Were there any hiccups? Sure, there always are small problems, but they were overcome and we all learned from it. Would we sail Holland America again? Absolutely. Our next cruise will in December, again on the Maasdam. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
Maasdam cruise to Alaska 2019 Positive Experience: Our Holland American Line (HAL) cruise consultant, Amy, was a great help to us in managing our cruise including a cabin upgrade. The ship is beautiful, very clean and in excellent ... Read More
Maasdam cruise to Alaska 2019 Positive Experience: Our Holland American Line (HAL) cruise consultant, Amy, was a great help to us in managing our cruise including a cabin upgrade. The ship is beautiful, very clean and in excellent condition. The HAL staff in all areas was very friendly, competent, and professional. Our cabin stewards UGIH and Deni were the best we have had on any cruise we have taken. For a pleasant change, the internet, while expensive, was the fastest we have ever experienced on a cruse by a factor of ten. Boarding and disembarking was fast and efficient. Negative Experience: The TV news stations, CNN, BBC, Fox were not available most of the time and on an unpredictable schedule. The “no signal available” message was even on all day while moored in locations like Anchorage & Juno AK and Vancouver & Astoria OR. With all the electronics that is on that ship, they can’t find a satellite signal?. On a Maasdam cruise two years ago they found a signal in places like Pago-Pago, New Caledonia and Vanuatu. The food in the main dining room deteriorated since our last Maasdam cruise in 2017. I ordered prime rib that was so tough that cutting it with a table knife was difficult and I could not chew it enough to swallow. I doubt that it was even prime rib. My wife had strip steak that was very tough and four others at our table had similar problems with their strip steak. My wife and I are not “meat and potatoes” people but it appeared to us that the chief tried to outdo himself with mostly “gourmet” offerings every night. An example of some choices in one meal: Foie Gras with Apple Tarte Tatin, Sunchoke Soup, Lemon Grass Coconut Tofu Curry, Pan-Seared Cobia. Additionally, at least four times per day we would be approached by a staff member trying to sell us on the pay restaurant Canaletto. We had dinner there one evening and the food was good but not as good as our two previous Maasdam cruises or our neighborhood Italian restaurants. The laundry service was poor. Anything that we sent that required pressing had to be sent back because it was wrinkled. My wife and I are both retired corporate executives and strongly suspect that there was a change of management or operating budget on the Maasdam since our last cruise. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
We love Alaska. This cruise showed up with a three week itinerary hitting ports we had not seen before, as well as several of our favorites and terrific glacier cruising days. We noticed it was booked as an “In-Depth” cruise, but ... Read More
We love Alaska. This cruise showed up with a three week itinerary hitting ports we had not seen before, as well as several of our favorites and terrific glacier cruising days. We noticed it was booked as an “In-Depth” cruise, but didn’t really know what that meant. This cruise turned out to be our favorite and totally unique. This is not for everyone. I noticed several reviews complaining of the cruises on Maasdam being “boring” with lack of “entertainment” and poor food. Those cruisers are possibly looking for Broadway shows and five course dinners in a floating luxury hotel?? What the Maasdam offers is exactly what we love: On board were nine “experts” in various fields who provided infirmative educational and entertaining presentations throughout the three week cruise. Sea days and port days had a variety of fantastic lectures. Instead of ten offerings of trivia, bingo, and EXC tour sales pitches, we had geology, oceanography, culture of the Tlingkat people, tales of the Iditarod, Yukon river canoe stories, lectures on bears, whales, professional nature photography, art and craft demonstrations of the Alaskan Native cultures, and detailed information about each port including history and how to get about the port area on your own. And much more. Music, poetry, story-telling, all related to the Alaskan areas we were visiting. Besides all of these great offerings, we found the presenters to be very accessible for in depth personal conversations at meals and between programed activities. We eagerly grabbed our When and Where activities schedule for each day and made decisions about what to attend. For folks who enjoy education, information, and an in-depth look at the culture, history, and environment of places you are visiting, the Maasdam is a gem! As for the ship, it is older, but we found it to be clean and in great order. Stylish, comfortable, and plenty of outside areas for viewing. Our cabin on Main Deck, ocean-view, was very comfortable, clean, and functional. A with all older ships, you can find discolored grout or patched rust spots, on the Maasdam older TV system. But, as stated, she was clean and everything worked well. She even still has a great library (lacking on the newer ships!), and a self-serve laundry room! Food worked just fine for us. We are not up-scale diners. We love grazing the Lido buffet, hitting the Dive-In or pizza stations for a change. I am a pescatarian with a milk allergy, and I was able to find good food options for every meal. Plenty of fresh salad material, great fish dishes (mostly incredible salmon options), a variety of dinner side dishes including multiple presentations of rice dishes. Dessert station made sure to have a non-dairy sorbet available most days. Breakfasts included traditional options (eggs, meats, breads, hot cereals, etc) plus rice congee, miso soup, and plenty of fruit. You will not find Broadway productions, but there were multiple excellent entertainment options including magicians, comedians, singers, musicians. You will not find waterslides, rock climbing walls, outdoor movie screens, or other theme-park type experiences. You will find a solid comfortable ship, great outdoor areas for viewing the majesty of nature, and a wealth of intelligent in-depth education. Perfect for us! We’re booked on another Maasdam adventure, coming up soon. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
We picked this 21 day cruise, longer than most Alaska cruises, because we love Alaska and the ship went to ports not often visited by cruise ships. The Maasdam is a relatively small ship that has a great variety of decks to view glaciers, ... Read More
We picked this 21 day cruise, longer than most Alaska cruises, because we love Alaska and the ship went to ports not often visited by cruise ships. The Maasdam is a relatively small ship that has a great variety of decks to view glaciers, etc. Cabin was standard but we loved that the bathroom door had a magnet that would hold door open so you don't have to turn on a light at night to use the bathroom. We only ate at Lido - Food was OK, but "hot" food was almost always cold. According to the crew, the salmon served were pink salmon - the second least flavorful of the 5 species of Alaska salmon - I expect a premium cruise ship to serve quality salmon - at least they were Alaska salmon, not farm raised. This cruise was an Exc In-Depth cruise - the program was basically in disarray; only Kent Syverson, a glacier geologist, was excellent; others provided little of value. The evening entertainment was mostly very good - there were no ship singers and dancers - a good move. The sound system/speakers in the showroom were excellent - much better almost distortion free sound than on the other 3 Holland America ships we have been on. Housekeeping service was very good. Lido service was friendly but seemed to be understaffed - most of the time we got our own coffee, tea, and refills. The ship had some problems with managing tendering - it was such a long time to get ashore (about 2 hours) in Juneau that we decided not to even go ashore. In the crew's defense, they did better on some later tenderings. Cruise director Lance did a credible job of providing Port information. The woman in charge of Shore Excursions gave a couple of briefings on available excursions that showed she knew nothing about Alaska or what a National Park was - after the 1st week she didn't give more briefings. Weather was wet much of the trip but that's the chance you take in Alaska. We would go again. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary. As with most HAL cruises, it was port intensive. On board were a geologist, naturalist, a chief of the Tlingit people, an indigenous wood carver and a couple who shared their music, stories ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary. As with most HAL cruises, it was port intensive. On board were a geologist, naturalist, a chief of the Tlingit people, an indigenous wood carver and a couple who shared their music, stories and experiences living in Alaska. We were able to learn from these presenters and interact with them daily. In addition, there was evening entertainment, including, singers, comedians and magicians. This cruise was an opportunity to visit small ports that were more authentic, without the multitude of jewelry shops lining the sidewalks. We were able to support local businesses and speak with the people who lived in these communities. Of particular interest and enjoyment was Port Alberni, British Columbia. We sailed up the Alberni Inlet and were received with the warmest welcome that we have ever had in another port. To begin with, a group of indigenous people canoed to our ship (which was tendered) and sang a welcome song. On shore, the local people were there to greet us and assist us in any way. The Book Club participants dressed in period costumes, the indigenous peoples did a welcoming dance, volunteers offered rides to see local attractions. As it was a Saturday, there was a wonderful Craft Market on the Quay. There were offers of free local tours. When we admired the restored logging trucks at the Quay, we were personally driven to the Industrial Heritage Centre, where they have restored numerous vehicles and machinery from the logging hey days of the area. There were vintage trucks and antique machines that have been restored over the past 35 years by a group of dedicated, enthusiastic volunteers. The volunteers showed us around the various vehicles, giving a history of each one. Unfortunately, their steam train is currently out of service. When it is running, it goes from the original train station to the Historic R B McLean Lumber Co. site. If this attraction is restored, it would be a wonderful addition for cruise visitors. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
I had been to Alaska on a one week guy;s fishing trip on the Kenai Peninsula, and a one week family, adventure small ship cruise in SE Alaska. The itinerary for this cruise caught my attention, as well as the smaller size ship, and EXC ... Read More
I had been to Alaska on a one week guy;s fishing trip on the Kenai Peninsula, and a one week family, adventure small ship cruise in SE Alaska. The itinerary for this cruise caught my attention, as well as the smaller size ship, and EXC In-Depth program. I was not disappointed. Indeed, in many ways, my overall experience exceeded my expectation. True, the zodiac excursions did not come about, and the SE Alaska weather was rainy and cold, But, the quality of the In-Depth programs and presenters, the less frequented ports of call, the scenic cruising (especially Hubbard Glacier and College Fjord), and the on-board entertaintainment and activities made for an exceptional cruise. In the dining room, food quality was good, presentation excellent. The Pinnacle Grill dinners were excellent in both quality and presentation, though the service was slow at times, due, I believe, to understaffing. Overall, however, HAL's signature service was in evidence throughout the ship. The Maasdam is an older ship, but has been well-maintained, and the tasteful refurbishment of the public areas last year makes for a pleasing environment. Though very comfortable and well-serviced by our fantastic cabin stewards, our cabin could use some updating, and the bathtub replaced by a walk-in shower. Neither, however, got in the way of our enjoying a memorable time in Alaskan and Pacific Northwest waters. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
Here is our secret for a great cruise. Prior to embarkation and having read all the wonderful marketing material, we discount the hype by 20 per cent. Now let's be honest. Have you ever had a burger or sandwich that looked as good as ... Read More
Here is our secret for a great cruise. Prior to embarkation and having read all the wonderful marketing material, we discount the hype by 20 per cent. Now let's be honest. Have you ever had a burger or sandwich that looked as good as the one on the T.V advertisement? Of course not. The Maasdam is now the oldest ship in the fleet but all public spaces are well maintained. In fact we believe the Rotterdam dining room and the Theatre/Showroom are beautiful. The size of the ship is a plus as there are plenty of seating in quiet places. We never waited more than a a couple of minutes for the elevator. During this 24 day crossing from Auckland to San Francisco there were about 11 sea days and this was when the library was appreciated. It is a great place to read about the American founding fathers American politicians and presidents, American sportspeople, and well known American authors. I particularly appreciated the stories of the American heroes of the integration of black Americans. Well, we must understand this is an American owned company. For the same reason we gave up on Trivia. Our cabin 140 on deck 9 was a disappointment. It was past being tired, it was exhausted and it was dominated by a four seater settee in dark brown vinyl that most likely could fold out into a bed. It looked like a refugee from a Salvation Army charity shop. But get this. Its unwanted presence in our tiny space now placed us in a Vista Suite which raised our gratuities to $16.00 U.S per day per person. The redeeming feature was the large covered balcony. Our total gratuity bill was around the equivalent of $1,100 Australian dollars. To the rest of the world that pays a livable wage to all workers this is a hangover from the days of the 18th century English Poorhouse where the poor were dependent on charity to survive. Meals in the Rotterdam dining room were very good, and while we avoid the rugby scrum of the buffet we were forced there when the dining room was closed. The food was surprisingly good. staff were better than good, they were wonderful. Entertainment was soloists such as a guy playing the flute while jumping all over the stage, a magician, a girl playing the piano accordion etc etc. And get this one. One evenings entertainment was a nature movie with the ship's talented musicians playing mood music. There were lots of complaints when usually the best nights entertainment is the crew, was relegated to 11.00pm. the Cruise Director known as K.K was the best we have ever seen. So here is the bottom line. We enjoyed this cruise and we love so much about HAL. Our 20 per cent discounting of the marketing hype was about right for the ship in general, but we should have discounted the cabin by 30 per cent. ps The guest lecturers saved us from being bored to death. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
When we booked last year we didn't know it would be an EXC cruise. We thought we'd give the new product a go but it seems to be a cost cutting venture. We went to the major ports of Noumea, Port Vila and Auckland on sundays when ... Read More
When we booked last year we didn't know it would be an EXC cruise. We thought we'd give the new product a go but it seems to be a cost cutting venture. We went to the major ports of Noumea, Port Vila and Auckland on sundays when everything is closed and the other days to beaches where it didn't matter. The cruise hopped around with no order or reason to be in these ports on sunday....maybe cheaper docking charges? Entertainment was very poor with nothing organised for sea days other than lectures on photo, computers and upcoming ports given with no enthusiasm. The were lots of BBC wildlife documentaries on both the main stage and on the Tv in cabin. We have yet to find what the cruise director KK did other than make introductions on stage. Entertainers were " more classical than fun" and their appearance times were hard to fit in with dinner in the dining room. There were no fun activities and you felt you were in an old folks home although they have more organised for them! Everything was dead after 11pm. Food was plentiful but tasteless. One night after a drinks get together at 7 and then going to the show until 8.45 we found the restaurants were closed and we were told to order room service to get anything. The Explorations coffee shop closed at 9pm and you could only get tea or coffee from the Lido if you were lucky enough to find some milk. The whole cruise lacked atmosphere, not what you want on a long awaited holiday! The ship is old but spotlessly clean. The cabins are large and well equipped. The crew are amazing, always helpful and smiling. They made the trip worthwhile! The ports visited were Ok but as I said some would have been more enjoyable if they were open. The beaches and snorkeling were wonderful. HAL excursions were over priced and much cheaper and better bought on shore run by the locals. Come on Holland America pick up your game and give us back what we came to expect from you. There were a lot of us complaining about this voyage and we hope all cruises will not become EXC. We will be watching as we have booked South America and Antartica for next year and if it's an EXC we will be cancelling. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
Because of the ports of call around the Pacific and previous cruises with HAL had been quite good. Embarkation at Brisbane was fine. Our Neptune suite felt like the same as previous on the other HAL cruise, very comfortable and ... Read More
Because of the ports of call around the Pacific and previous cruises with HAL had been quite good. Embarkation at Brisbane was fine. Our Neptune suite felt like the same as previous on the other HAL cruise, very comfortable and immaculately clean. How ever, the joy seemed to stop there! It appeared that the staffing levels had been reduced and things just took that little longer for serviceand attention. Prices have certainly increased and being in US$ for an Australian NZ Pacific cruise was a bit of a pocket hit when the service charge was then added. As we're the tours. This resulted in many of the passengers taking local tours upon going ashore. Including several US passengers. I will blame ourselves for not realising that it was an exploratory cruise with lectures mainly for entertainment. The result was a very dull and boring onboard cruise. At least during the day there could have been some life around the pool area. Nothing! People sat around bored looking at each other, looking at each other. If it wasn't so sad, it could have been funny. Then there's the food!! Oh dear!! The food was the worst I've had on the past 23 years of cruising. I am sure they constitute left overs in an attempt to make a curry. The curries were so bad, twice I attempted and had to bring to the attention of the food manager. The lunchtime pizza's were so heavy with grease, they were stuck to the pizza pan! I think the cheese was not pizza cheeses? Dining room food was OK, but the standard certainly has dropped. OXTAILS! My Lord, my mother served that on tight money days and it is now served as cruise cuisine. No more veggies served on the side, all piled under the meat selection and often not hot as the over run servers can't get it to you in an acceptable time. I do not fault the servers, they are marvellous, just not enough of them. As for the food quality and selection, again no fault of the kitchen hands, this come from above them. Being mainly Indonesian or Indian in the kitchen, they know how to make a good curry or Indonesian food, but cook what they are told to. The evening entertainment in the bars mostly were over before evening dinner was finished and the crows nest entertainment was a recording DJ when there was some passengers to try and entertain. The passengers were an older interesting mix but they were still alive and they were also disappointed in the lack of entertainment Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We did a Auckland to Sydney cruise on the Maasdam just prior to Christmas last year. Needed to go to sea again(yes I am getting hooked) and found a great deal for a Brisbane to Auckland via South Pacific so jumped at it. Booked a ... Read More
We did a Auckland to Sydney cruise on the Maasdam just prior to Christmas last year. Needed to go to sea again(yes I am getting hooked) and found a great deal for a Brisbane to Auckland via South Pacific so jumped at it. Booked a outside cabin and a few days before we left we’re given a free upgrade to a balcony suite.woopee. Embarkation was as smooth as we had come to expect,this was our 6th HAL cruise and we were on board and enjoying lunch by 1.30pm. Cabin was great,level 9 forward. Nice size plenty of space and storage. HAL might want to upgrade the tv as the sets are getting a bit old. Quickly slipped into a routine. Cabin stewards introduced themselves that day and as usual greeted us by name thereafter. A few sea days in the cruise but days went quickly between talks workshops trivia etc. Blessed by good seas and weather throughout. The 3 excursions we went on ran like clockwork. The islands we visited were interesting and in most part beautiful. The colour of the water wow. Friendly locals. No complaints at all. Really appreciated the Mariners presentation and lunch. It’s just one of the things that HAL do that puts them above others in my opinion. It was only a 14 day cruise but we covered nearly 4000 nautical miles. Would recommend to anyone especially those thinking about doing a long voyage to test their ability to manage sea days. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
The exotic itinerary and smaller port destinations made this voyage our choice. Papua New Guinea, 3 stops including the Trobriand Islands and Conflict Islands; Timor Leste, 2 stops on Borneo. Palawan in the Philippines to see the ... Read More
The exotic itinerary and smaller port destinations made this voyage our choice. Papua New Guinea, 3 stops including the Trobriand Islands and Conflict Islands; Timor Leste, 2 stops on Borneo. Palawan in the Philippines to see the underground river. Starting from Singapore, a favorite city of ours, allowed us to take a few days before leaving to explore the wonderful Gardens by the Bay and delicious multicultural city, on to the night zoo and Jurong Bird Park. We also enjoyed staying on in Brisbane at the end. Outstanding! What made this cruise truly exceptional (besides our most excellent large cabin) was that it is on the Maasdam which is now an EXC ship. That means in depth destination lectures and shore excursions. Every sea day there were multiple experts giving interesting lectures on South-East Asia, history, culture, ecology, coral reefs and the danger they are in, sea life, photography, local cooking demonstrations. For once there were more enrichment lectures than I could manage to get to, because sometimes you just want some quiet time to enjoy the sea and the ship. Now I can say I know something about this area and it's extraordinarily diverse marine life, and the ancient cultures that still live a natural life. This is really different and I hope Holland America keeps up EXC cruises! I can't wait to go on another one. There were also more traditional fun events like a St. Patrick's day bar crawl with silly games for those who aren't interested in more in-depth destination knowledge. Also the association of BBC with Holland America had BBC specials shown, such as about Birds of Paradise and those who chase after them, behind the scenes specials and more. Plus a live-orchestra showing of BBC Earth. Very special. It was rather awe-inspiring to see the 5 tribes of Kitava Island sail away at the end of the day in their hand hewn ships after lining up to sell us carvings and other crafts. We also rode in one of their craft from the beach to a small island, Nuratu, where we snorkeled a bit despite a bit of rain. A view of another life that you don't often see. How often do you get to islands with no banks or hotels? Also the Conflict Islands, owned by an Australian and now a center of research on reefs and marine life. Excellent snorkeling there. A real paradise. I do wish the shore excursions were more reasonably priced. But we were able to get together with others on cruise critic for some tours ahead of time, also I arranged private tours for the 4 of us in our party at some stops. Plus taxi tours and local parks make good destinations. As for onboard experience, the food was very good, better than some other cruise lines I've been on. Is there the occasional miss? Sure, but also dishes that were creative and delicious. (I didn't think the French Onion soup was good for example.) But overall, good menus with a number of choices including vegetarian, excellent service from the staff throughout the ship, and always something I wanted to eat. I rather looked forward to ordering the steak on the always available menu in the dining room, very tasty with good sides. The buffet had the staff dishing up the food which sometimes created lines, but usually waiting a little bit would see a lull where you could walk right up and get what you wanted. The salads were delish for lunch, and again, if there's a line, just wait a little while or try the other side - ready made sandwiches were easy to pick up. The pool side grill had great Chicago style hot dogs (other styles available), yummy crispy fries, and good burgers too. And a taco bar. Enjoyed that! Room stewards are very good and I enjoyed the towel animals every night, and the big display they did on the last day around the pool, hundreds of towel creatures, some life sized and fully dressed. Another nice touch: the presentation of the next day schedule along with a card with a different travel quote, and other communications such as time changes placed in a nice folio on the bed. So I high recommend Maasdam especially for the EXC expert lectures. Best daily schedule of any ship I've ever been on for my taste. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary. What we didn’t know was the cruise was not only an EXC voyage but an In Depth sailing as well ( Holland America needs to do a better job marketing this product). Every sea day was packed ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary. What we didn’t know was the cruise was not only an EXC voyage but an In Depth sailing as well ( Holland America needs to do a better job marketing this product). Every sea day was packed with guest speakers and specialists in history, culture, science and nature, art, photography, food and vine for the regions and countries we would be visiting. Plus the EXC ship staff prepared us for each port visit with practical information to get out on your own or to take an organized ship tour. The staff on the Maasdam were outstanding. We found everyone to be warm, friendly, professional, and service oriented. To mention several exceptional staff, Florin, the Hotel Director, John and Frances from Guest Services, Best, Evi, Christopher, Sara Jane, Nutdawana and Robert provided an excellent experience in the Lido as well. Because of our wonderful experience, we are now Holland America loyalists!! Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
WE took this cruise because we were interested in the ports of call. If we had known in advance that HAL was only interested in the passengers going of EXC tours we wouldn't have taken this cruise. Most of the stops we out of the way ... Read More
WE took this cruise because we were interested in the ports of call. If we had known in advance that HAL was only interested in the passengers going of EXC tours we wouldn't have taken this cruise. Most of the stops we out of the way at some large container port. The cruise director failed to inform us in advance about possible shuttles our of the port. At some of the ports they offered no free shuttle and you could only get out by expensive taxi. As 5 star mariners we have known better cruises with HAL. When in Hongkong they forgot to inform their staff that ONLY the people who went to Macau were not allowed to get off the ship after returning from Macau. We still had half a day left to explore. After a big row with the staff the cruise direction eventually gave out a message that we could leave the ship again. Bad work!!! The entertainment was not exsistent or poor except for the Chinese lady playing the accordeon.On seadays there was NO entertainment except talks for the EXC people. There was no music band on the deck and elevator music played the same music every day. Our cabin was good and spacious as it was a suite and the staff their usual friendly self. Everything was clean. As there were many people with bad cold including me we expected staff to make sure people didn't touch the food or fill their water bottles at the macine themselves.This did not happen. What happened to the coctail party for the past mariners? We didn't get one invitation although we are 5 star.All in all I would say this was not the best cuise we have been on. We will think twice about booking HAL again. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
To discover Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam. It was a wonderful cruise (our fifth). We loved the Maasdam, especcially the crew members of the EXC tours and our EXC Guide Matthew. We cruised before with ... Read More
To discover Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam. It was a wonderful cruise (our fifth). We loved the Maasdam, especcially the crew members of the EXC tours and our EXC Guide Matthew. We cruised before with the Zuiderdam, Koningsdam en Amsterdam. Maasdam is the smallest ship of the fleet. We loved the space on board and the personal service and assistance was very very good! We love that we are going to sail with the Maasdam again in May 2020. We loved the Pinnacle Grill, we often went there for lunch. It was the maiden voyage to Hong Kong, our ship was the first one who used the new cruiseterminal. Our captain arranged that in the night, our ship was going to cruise into the channel (in the center of Hong Kong) to watch all the wonderful lightshows and fireworks. We couldn´t used the Zodiacs from the Maasdam during our cruise in Asia and now we are going to Alaska with the Maasdam and we booked an excursion with the Zodiac from the Maasdam! Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
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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