This is an old ship and looks it. There is a desperate need for repairs, paint, new carpeting, new furniture and various other fittings. The ship was commissioned in 1994. I found out that Ryndam will be transferred to P&O Cruises Australia in 2015 and renamed 'Pacific Aria'.
Having said that, the crew is really terrific and does its best to clean and make the ship as attractive as possible. Everyone on the staff is friendly and helpful, which is unusual in an age of curt, surly service personnel (as I experienced on another cruise line). Among those that should be mentioned for particularly positive service efforts are Warman & Muh the cabin steward (cabin 801, A deck); and Sabina, the excursion lecturer.
The food is of uneven quality. Some selections were mediocre (or worse): overcooked, dry tuna; tasteless and barely edible bratwurst; foie gras that had been ruined by baking; saltines to accompany a dessert cheese plate (!); average (but no better than average) lunches; the supposedly upscale Canaletto Italian restaurant; etc. A few dishes were excellent: crusted veal (on gala night); minute steaks that were tasty (the only really good lunch); yogurt parfaits with granola; salmon; a few others. I usually fixed a salad for lunch after early disappointments. Do not travel on Ryndam for gourmet food: you will be disappointed. Incidentally, do not eat on the Lido deck starboard side unless you enjoy hearing basketballs bouncing on your head.
The excursions were well designed and delivered. I’ve been on other cruises where the excursions were certainly not worth the cost; on Ryndam, they provide value for the money both for the sights and the convenience. Unfortunately, some were cancelled due to a lack of participation by guests. All of the local guides were good, although our guide in Bergen was flustered by the long wait for the funicular. The fjords and towns we visited were amazing and well worth the trip.
The internet connections were slow and expensive. There should be some intellectual content, such as lectures on current events, history or science.
Overall, I’d give the ship 3 (of 5) stars, mostly for the efforts of the crew in attempting to overcome the ship’s own deficiencies.
Functional cabin but nothing to get excited above. Awkward placement of some light switches.
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