This was our 16th cruise but only our second with HAL. We had a particularly bad trip with them in 2016, but decided to give them a second chance (we also got a great deal on the price!) We had to catch the ship in Auckland so flew out there from Vancouver, spent a couple of days sightseeing before boarding the ship. Embarkation was a breeze since there were only 400 of us boarding the ship for this leg....no lines and I think we were having lunch in the Lido 15 minutes after arriving at the port. The ship is getting on a bit in years, but the crew work assiduously keeping everything shipshape. We travel with another couple and the four of us have generally low expectations, so when things go exactly as planned, that is a bonus. When things don't always go as planned, well just roll with the punches and be prepared to be flexible. We had a great cabin, just an oceanview, but one that is slightly larger than average and that makes a tremendous difference. HAL crams the cabin with furniture, but some of this can be shifted out of the way....however, since we don't do much more than sleep and shower in the cabin, it was more than adequate for our requirements. One day, there was no hot water but a call to the passenger services brought a technician within an hour and he had it fixed in 10 minutes. One day there was a bit of an odour from paint thinner which, since I am a wood-worker, didn't bother me in the least. In any case, HAL gave us an additional $25 in on-board credit in compensation. The meals in the main dining room varied from fair to excellent, with the occasional "clanger". This was the first time I have ever sent a meal back: once with raw duck breast that could have been mistaken for india rubber, and one was a beef Wellington that was so tough that the steak knife would not cut it. The executive chef insisted on serving beef, lamb and duck blood rare; however, we found that if you asked for it medium or medium well, it did not bleed when you cut it. At a Q and A session, I asked the chef why these meats were served so rare, in light of the warning in the menu against eating undercooked meats and sea food. His answer--listening "between the lines"--was that by including the warning, HAL was playing "cover their butt". That is, if you got sick from eating undercooked food, they could say you had been warning and ate it anyway. The entertainment was good, particularly the 10 person dance troupe--best I have ever seen on a cruise shit, bar none! The troupe singers were OK, but pretty standard. The itinerant entertainers were good, but with one exception, they were all musicians or singers and we would have appreciated a little variety. The Enrichment at Sea lecturers were so-so. The Australian ex-Army officer provided 14 lectures on a minor WW II campaign in Papua New Guinea whose importance he blew up all out of proportion to the campaigns in the Pacific. He also read his graphic texts word for word (I almost expected him to pronounce the punctuation when it came). The astronomer reminded me of some of the poorer professors I had in college. The one who was really great was the Hawaiian Kainoa. He talked about the history and culture of Polynesia, illustrated with humorous anecdotes about his own growing up in Hawaii. He had great graphics, no notes, and a great speaking voice. Superb! We also enjoyed the troupe of Maoris who were with us from Auckland to Tahiti and the Hawaiians that stayed with us until La Haina. Both groups provided an excellent insight into these two different aspects of Polynesian culture. We only took one ship's tour--which re-inforced the reason why we generally don't take them. There were about 30 of us in a vehicle that was a cross between a bus and a truck which was fine if a little uncomfortable. Unfortunately, there were about six or seven of these buses on the tour, so that at least stop there were probably 200 people trying to crowd into an area that would comfortably accommodate about 50. Then, there is always the wait for the stragglers at each stop. The staff was absolutely great in all areas, even the ones in customer services that other writers seem to find problems with. Overall, we enjoyed ourselves enough to purchase a future cruise credit.

A very good cruise, but not excellent

Maasdam Cruise Review by Ray23

2 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: January 2017
  • Destination: South Pacific
  • Cabin Type: Large Ocean-View Stateroom
This was our 16th cruise but only our second with HAL. We had a particularly bad trip with them in 2016, but decided to give them a second chance (we also got a great deal on the price!) We had to catch the ship in Auckland so flew out there from Vancouver, spent a couple of days sightseeing before boarding the ship. Embarkation was a breeze since there were only 400 of us boarding the ship for this leg....no lines and I think we were having lunch in the Lido 15 minutes after arriving at the port. The ship is getting on a bit in years, but the crew work assiduously keeping everything shipshape.

We travel with another couple and the four of us have generally low expectations, so when things go exactly as planned, that is a bonus. When things don't always go as planned, well just roll with the punches and be prepared to be flexible.

We had a great cabin, just an oceanview, but one that is slightly larger than average and that makes a tremendous difference. HAL crams the cabin with furniture, but some of this can be shifted out of the way....however, since we don't do much more than sleep and shower in the cabin, it was more than adequate for our requirements. One day, there was no hot water but a call to the passenger services brought a technician within an hour and he had it fixed in 10 minutes. One day there was a bit of an odour from paint thinner which, since I am a wood-worker, didn't bother me in the least. In any case, HAL gave us an additional $25 in on-board credit in compensation.

The meals in the main dining room varied from fair to excellent, with the occasional "clanger". This was the first time I have ever sent a meal back: once with raw duck breast that could have been mistaken for india rubber, and one was a beef Wellington that was so tough that the steak knife would not cut it. The executive chef insisted on serving beef, lamb and duck blood rare; however, we found that if you asked for it medium or medium well, it did not bleed when you cut it. At a Q and A session, I asked the chef why these meats were served so rare, in light of the warning in the menu against eating undercooked meats and sea food. His answer--listening "between the lines"--was that by including the warning, HAL was playing "cover their butt". That is, if you got sick from eating undercooked food, they could say you had been warning and ate it anyway.

The entertainment was good, particularly the 10 person dance troupe--best I have ever seen on a cruise shit, bar none! The troupe singers were OK, but pretty standard. The itinerant entertainers were good, but with one exception, they were all musicians or singers and we would have appreciated a little variety.

The Enrichment at Sea lecturers were so-so. The Australian ex-Army officer provided 14 lectures on a minor WW II campaign in Papua New Guinea whose importance he blew up all out of proportion to the campaigns in the Pacific. He also read his graphic texts word for word (I almost expected him to pronounce the punctuation when it came). The astronomer reminded me of some of the poorer professors I had in college. The one who was really great was the Hawaiian Kainoa. He talked about the history and culture of Polynesia, illustrated with humorous anecdotes about his own growing up in Hawaii. He had great graphics, no notes, and a great speaking voice. Superb! We also enjoyed the troupe of Maoris who were with us from Auckland to Tahiti and the Hawaiians that stayed with us until La Haina. Both groups provided an excellent insight into these two different aspects of Polynesian culture.

We only took one ship's tour--which re-inforced the reason why we generally don't take them. There were about 30 of us in a vehicle that was a cross between a bus and a truck which was fine if a little uncomfortable. Unfortunately, there were about six or seven of these buses on the tour, so that at least stop there were probably 200 people trying to crowd into an area that would comfortably accommodate about 50. Then, there is always the wait for the stragglers at each stop.

The staff was absolutely great in all areas, even the ones in customer services that other writers seem to find problems with.

Overall, we enjoyed ourselves enough to purchase a future cruise credit.
Ray23’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Large Ocean-View Stateroom
Cabin EE EE419
The four cabins that look over the stern on the lower promenade deck are slightly larger than most oceanviews. Perhaps it is only a couple of square metres, but it makes quite a difference. Adequate storage space (suitcases under the bed), bathroom counter a little on the small side, only one electrical outlet, great bed. Outstanding cabin stewards!
Lower Promenade Deck Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews