I love HAL, and they get some things very right. The Maasdam is a beautiful ship. The food was good. Entertainment was above average, with numerous venues with live music. There were some great extras including a PEI Mussel bake and Cape Bretton music. But the ship has some major problems. As You Wish dining was an absolute disaster. Customers were booked into fixed dining, and then at some point were told there was no more fixed dining available and were booked into As You Wish. When we went down to the dining room the first night around 7:15PM, we were told that the dining room didn't have enough capacity for the number of As You Wish customers, and there was a 1 1/2 hour to 2 hour wait time to be seated, and that you had to physically stand on line for that time. It was strongly recommended that we eat at the Lido (buffet) instead, and that we make reservations for the remainder of the cruise. When we went to the Lido, it turned out that the Lido closed supposedly at 8PM, but they actually shut it down about 10 minutes early. On subsequent nights I made advanced reservations (which worked out in the dining room), but you could only make reservations at either 5:15PM or 7:45PM. These times corresponded to early and late seatings. This is the first cruise ship I have ever been on where you could actually get locked out of dinner. My wife has a handicapped scooter. We have been on numerous cruises before with the scooter, and at night we just leave it parked outside the cabin. The Maasdam has a policy where they take the scooter from your cabin at about 10:30PM and then return it in the morning at about 7:00AM. This left me very insecure. What happens if there's an emergency at night? We would be stranded in the cabin. Further, I forgot to take the battery in for charging on two nights and couldn't access it. Those gripes aside, the ship has a lot going for it. The dining room is absolutely magnificent (if you can get in.) There is a full buffet (of course), although it is not open 24/7. Dinner was about 5:00PM to 8:00PM. Then the buffet closed and reopened from 11:00PM to 12:00PM. This was a real issue due to the disaster in the dining room. There is another area on the far side of the pool which has hamburgers and hot dogs. There is also a Mexican buffet there, but only on certain cruise days. There are 2 pay restaurants. One is tied into Le Cirque, and charges $40pp extra. The other is an Italian restaurant which is physically located in the buffet, which charges $10pp extra. On the first 2 days of the cruise HAL mandates servers rather than buffets as they are concerned with the Norwalk Virus. This means that things like the Mexican Buffet are closed during this period. The food was actually better than other cruise lines I've been on. There is an eggs benedict bar every morning, although it's not as elegant as I've seen it on other HAL ships. The soups were actually edible, which is more than I can say for other cruise lines. On some nights the menu in the main dining room was rather strange and I couldn't find anything. There is salmon available every night and I had that instead. The salmon was excellent. There were 2 nights with lobster. The last formal night was surf and turf, but you could get 2 lobster tails if you wanted. One of the earlier nights had a half lobster as an appetizer. There were several food events at the pool as well. One was a clam bake, which turned out to be more of a PEI (Prince Edward Island) mussel bake. This was excellent. The second was a special breakfast where they brought on board a duo to play Cape Bretton music. For this breakfast they served pancakes and crepes. I really appreciated that. Entertainment on the ship centered around the theatre. There were 3 nights of review acts which have become so common on cruise ships. There were also 2 nights of comedians. Additionally, there were 2 special shows - one with the Cape Bretton duo mentioned above. On another night, members of the staff put on an Indonesian show which was excellent. This included music and dances from Bali, Jaffa, and Jakarta. There were several venues with live music. One was a trio which played jazz. A second was a pianist and violinist which played quasi classical music. Very nice. The staff was lovely and very friendly. One thing I appreciate which the ship did very well as to have on-board activities geared around the location you were in. We went in June, and the weather was very spotty. Typical weather was cold (high 50's to low 60's) and rainy. We lucked out and had beautiful weather for the major ports of Quebec City and Montreal. Boston weather was terrible. There's not all that much in the other ports - Bar Harbor, Halifax, Sydney, and Charlottetown. I'll review the ports separately.

Good Ship with some real problems

Maasdam Cruise Review by froggy500

Trip Details
I love HAL, and they get some things very right. The Maasdam is a beautiful ship. The food was good. Entertainment was above average, with numerous venues with live music. There were some great extras including a PEI Mussel bake and Cape Bretton music. But the ship has some major problems.

As You Wish dining was an absolute disaster. Customers were booked into fixed dining, and then at some point were told there was no more fixed dining available and were booked into As You Wish. When we went down to the dining room the first night around 7:15PM, we were told that the dining room didn't have enough capacity for the number of As You Wish customers, and there was a 1 1/2 hour to 2 hour wait time to be seated, and that you had to physically stand on line for that time. It was strongly recommended that we eat at the Lido (buffet) instead, and that we make reservations for the remainder of the cruise. When we went to the Lido, it turned out that the Lido closed supposedly at 8PM, but they actually shut it down about 10 minutes early. On subsequent nights I made advanced reservations (which worked out in the dining room), but you could only make reservations at either 5:15PM or 7:45PM. These times corresponded to early and late seatings. This is the first cruise ship I have ever been on where you could actually get locked out of dinner.

My wife has a handicapped scooter. We have been on numerous cruises before with the scooter, and at night we just leave it parked outside the cabin. The Maasdam has a policy where they take the scooter from your cabin at about 10:30PM and then return it in the morning at about 7:00AM. This left me very insecure. What happens if there's an emergency at night? We would be stranded in the cabin. Further, I forgot to take the battery in for charging on two nights and couldn't access it.

Those gripes aside, the ship has a lot going for it. The dining room is absolutely magnificent (if you can get in.) There is a full buffet (of course), although it is not open 24/7. Dinner was about 5:00PM to 8:00PM. Then the buffet closed and reopened from 11:00PM to 12:00PM. This was a real issue due to the disaster in the dining room. There is another area on the far side of the pool which has hamburgers and hot dogs. There is also a Mexican buffet there, but only on certain cruise days. There are 2 pay restaurants. One is tied into Le Cirque, and charges $40pp extra. The other is an Italian restaurant which is physically located in the buffet, which charges $10pp extra. On the first 2 days of the cruise HAL mandates servers rather than buffets as they are concerned with the Norwalk Virus. This means that things like the Mexican Buffet are closed during this period.

The food was actually better than other cruise lines I've been on. There is an eggs benedict bar every morning, although it's not as elegant as I've seen it on other HAL ships. The soups were actually edible, which is more than I can say for other cruise lines. On some nights the menu in the main dining room was rather strange and I couldn't find anything. There is salmon available every night and I had that instead. The salmon was excellent. There were 2 nights with lobster. The last formal night was surf and turf, but you could get 2 lobster tails if you wanted. One of the earlier nights had a half lobster as an appetizer.

There were several food events at the pool as well. One was a clam bake, which turned out to be more of a PEI (Prince Edward Island) mussel bake. This was excellent. The second was a special breakfast where they brought on board a duo to play Cape Bretton music. For this breakfast they served pancakes and crepes. I really appreciated that.

Entertainment on the ship centered around the theatre. There were 3 nights of review acts which have become so common on cruise ships. There were also 2 nights of comedians. Additionally, there were 2 special shows - one with the Cape Bretton duo mentioned above. On another night, members of the staff put on an Indonesian show which was excellent. This included music and dances from Bali, Jaffa, and Jakarta.

There were several venues with live music. One was a trio which played jazz. A second was a pianist and violinist which played quasi classical music. Very nice.

The staff was lovely and very friendly. One thing I appreciate which the ship did very well as to have on-board activities geared around the location you were in.

We went in June, and the weather was very spotty. Typical weather was cold (high 50's to low 60's) and rainy. We lucked out and had beautiful weather for the major ports of Quebec City and Montreal. Boston weather was terrible. There's not all that much in the other ports - Bar Harbor, Halifax, Sydney, and Charlottetown. I'll review the ports separately.
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Cabin Review

Standard Interior Stateroom
Cabin N
Standard small inside cabin. Had an extra bed for my grandson.
A Deck Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins