Cruise Ratings
See Reviews For
Sail Date: August 2012
HAL should consider changing the name to the Marlborodam. Contrary to almost all other cruise lines HAL allows smoking indoors in Casino when it is an operation. With the open area the smoke drifts into other adjacent areas. We also had ... Read More
HAL should consider changing the name to the Marlborodam. Contrary to almost all other cruise lines HAL allows smoking indoors in Casino when it is an operation. With the open area the smoke drifts into other adjacent areas. We also had the misfortune of having a cabin next to a cigar smoker so our veranda was not a getaway. Finally the rear deck of the Lido deck also allows smoking. Only one side has ashtrays but that does not stop smokers from walking around the entire deck smoking away. Departure in New York was relatively quick and the baggage arrived in the room before 4. The cabin, a Verandah Suite was spacious for 3 people and provided enough storage spaces for clothes. The problem was a large bulge in the carpet in the middle of the cabin that could cause you to trip. The room stewards were the most capable of the entire crew once they understood what you needed. Also it takes a few days to figure out the light switches. What we noticed in the next few days was the need for maintenance on the ship. On the Lido deck, the ice machine was out of order the entire trip, the coffee machine was working off and on, a number of bathrooms had equipment that was not working. The ship needs an overhaul to bring it to reasonable standards. Having the crew doing work is a mistake. Whoever did painting on our veranda spilled more on the deck and the lifeboat below. The food on the ship was significantly below the quality of previous HAL cruise, except for the Pinnacle restaurant where we ate twice. The additional charge is well worth the quality and the service although it was slow on one night. This was a consistent issue on the ship in all dining venues and I think they were running short staffed since a number of entries arrived cold in the MDR. Also the food service staff, outside of the Pinnacle restaurant, had very poor English language skills. This resulted in the wrong meals being served, consistently requiring you to point to the menu for your selection and failing to bring the salad dressing on the side as requested. Some of us ordered breakfast in the cabin, with the same result. Wrong items, missing items and most importantly a failure to deliver in the specified time were the norms. The ship lets you specify a 30 minute window for delivery. Starting the 3rd day, the breakfast arrived from 15 to 40 minutes early. When we asked why the response was we were too busy in your designated time. The only thing they did early was knock on the door to pick-up the tray early. How can you depart from NYC and serve lousy bagels? There must have been a special at the cardboard factory since that was the consistency of the bagels. Also the "fresh" fruit was interesting. Do not order sliced bananas on room service menu! I had mystery meat on airplanes, but determining what was in the sushi was a greater challenge since the servers either did not know what you were asking or did not have a clue what was in it. In the pool area, avoid the grill since the hamburgers are precooked (according to a staff member) and then reheated. Also the chips with the "Mexican" buffet were stale and if you are wondering what the taco seasoning is, it is from a large container of Ortega taco sauce. On sea days you need to get your towel down by 745 if you want to sit by the pool since there are about 80 chaises. The rest of the pool deck has tables that remain empty for most of the cruise except when they serve food at the pool. Also on sea days avoid the pool unless you are traveling with children then they will find plenty of screaming companions. The other problem in the pool area is that you will be asked if you want a drink every 15 minutes. When I asked for a glass of water (not bottle), it never arrived. The pool deck is also used to sell you junk which appeared when you were at sea. This supplemented the effort on Deck 8. This brings me to the issue of alcohol, I do enjoy wine and cocktails but on this ship it was a constant push from the moment you arrived until the last night to sell you drinks or drink packages. I view the offer of a $19.99 all you can drink rum cocktail at the Hamilton departure party as an encouragement to get drunk in the 2 hour period. The wine packages are a REAL RIP-OFF. The so-called premium package of 3 wines for over $100 featured a list of wines you could buy retail at $9-12 each. The good news on wine is that HAL allows you to bring unlimited amounts on-board at departure. Paying the corkage is a better deal than their wine list and you get to really chose what you want to drink. The cruise and the assistant cruise directors were both screamers. Typical for a low end ship, there were too many announcements with the focus on selling you alcohol, bingo tickets and other junk. It was clear that the sales of excursions were not doing well. Actually by docking in Hamilton, you could schedule your own trips without paying the ship's markup. One incident occurred to another passenger, which we heard when we were standing in line at ship reception. HAL had cancelled the post trip excursion of NYC due to lack of enough passengers. One couple was trying to get their money back for the entire excursion. The ship said that they would have to still pay for the airport transfer which was still going to leave at 9am. The couple said that their flight was at 8pm so why would they want to spend 10 hours at the airport. HAL said they failed to cancel in time but the couple said you did not cancel the excursion to after that time. CATCH 22 is alive and well at HAL. The entertainment ranged from poor (HALCats and Street Corner Symphony) to very good (comic, Kevin Jordan). These are our personal reviews but also how long the audience stayed for the performances. HAL should actually listen to the dialogue of Kevin Jordan since he pointed out many of the issues highlighted in this review. He got the greatest applause when he suggested that Formal Nights were just an excuse to get you to buy a photograph. From our cabin to the Pinnacle restaurant we had to walk through 4 separate locations trying to get you to pose. Again there was a language barrier since they did not understand the word NO. Actually I think it was a sales commission barrier. Actually the greatest criticism belongs to fellow passengers that are unable to control their children. Two examples come to mind. One was the child that ran up and down Deck 9 every morning and afternoon yelling the entire time. You could use her as an alarm clock. The second more interesting one occurred near the movie on the last night. For some reason there was no popcorn available and the child was screaming for popcorn. Rather than controlling the child the father also started screaming about not having any popcorn. My sympathies go to the crew when they have to deal with these types week after week. Finally the vast majority of the children were behaved and it is a credit to these parents. We heard from a crew member that there was going to be big changes in the crew on the day we docked since there were too many complaints about the ship. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2012
My family of three recently sailed on the Veendam from New-York to Bermuda. I have over 10 cruises under my belt and this was my first experience on a HAL ship. I have previously sailed on Celebrity, Princess, RCL, NCL, Costa and Carnival ... Read More
My family of three recently sailed on the Veendam from New-York to Bermuda. I have over 10 cruises under my belt and this was my first experience on a HAL ship. I have previously sailed on Celebrity, Princess, RCL, NCL, Costa and Carnival cruise ships. I chose this particular cruise at it docked in Hamilton and not further out in the Royal Dock Yards. This and the devotion of the crew were the only positive aspects of my cruise experience. My main complaint is with HAL and its decision to change the original lay-out of the ship. There used to be two pools. HAL decided to add more staterooms at the expense of the pool which was located at the stern of the ship. Yes, HAL did add some small hot tubs but this is no substitute for a pool when cruising in warm climates. The air conditioning in our stateroom was not up to par. I could well be wrong but I question whether by adding those extra staterooms and converting sea-view staterooms on the ship's lower promenade deck to balcony staterooms caused undue stress on the ship's original air conditioning system. The maintenance person who came to investigate suggested I keep the bathroom door closed as well as the curtain separating the closet area to the rest of the room. I did so with minimum effect. My other complaint is the ugly net under the ceiling of the main dining room. Based on previous cruise critic messages the net has been in place for quite some time. From what I'm told, it's there to catch falling debris. Is it becoming a permanent fixture? I have an original suggestion: Fix the ceiling and get rid of the net! Having only one pool was of particular note on this cruise. A passenger had a digestive issue in the pool. The pool had to be emptied and cleaned meaning the pool was not available, and this, on a sea day. Also, HAL should enforce its no diving rule.; with the pool as full as it was, there is an accident waiting to happen. There is also a lack of deck chairs. More could be added on deck 12 as well as aft and at the bow of the lower promenade deck. Also, HAL should not allow passengers to reserve chairs and leave them unoccupied hours on end. Also HAL should enforce its no diving sign, there ia an accident waiting to happen I paid a premium price for this cruise and I came back feeling I did not get value for my hard earned money. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2011
My wife and I are both retired. I was a wine consultant and my wife a medical professional. We both enjoy the sun and we both enjoy Cruising. Because of when we had to book in at Gatwick, we stayed overnight at the Gatwick Worth Hotel and ... Read More
My wife and I are both retired. I was a wine consultant and my wife a medical professional. We both enjoy the sun and we both enjoy Cruising. Because of when we had to book in at Gatwick, we stayed overnight at the Gatwick Worth Hotel and left our car at Gatwick. We flew from Gatwick to Montego Bay to join our ship Fred Olsen's Braemar. This was to be our third cruise on this ship and our second aboard Braemar. The ship was "stretched" a few years ago, with a new piece inserted in the middle. This on deck 5 is where the library is found easily by the sound of snoring. There are 7 or 8 bars around the ship from pool bars to quiet club bars. Also 3 Restaurants, one of which is buffet style. Wherever you eat the food is superb. Michelin style.The waiting staff were excellent, attentive and friendly. There was an excellent wine list, reasonably priced.There are two entertainment areas so there could be two different shows on at the same time.The shows were excellent, West End standard. Other features are 2 pools, 2 jacuzies a golf driving range and other sporting activities including carpet bowls, shuffleboard and putting. a fully equipped fitness centre and beauty salon. Plenty of shops with reasonably price goods. There is an internet room, and other activities such as Quizzes, Lectures and special interest subjects plus talks on ports of call. Like all cruise lines their excursions are expensive. We did 2. In Cozumel I visited Mayan Ruins while my wife took the scenic tour. In Cuba we toured panoramic Havana taking in a rum factory.At every port we could get off ship and do our own thing. We did this a lot with other passengers hiring mini-bus taxis. By doing this we could go and stop where we wanted. We did this in Tortola, Martinique and Bermuda. Other ports we just wandered around the local area. The cruise finished in Bermuda where we disembarked. This was done very efficiently by deck. We then were taken to the airport to fly home.This was a super cruise on a super ship that I would recommend to anyone. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2011
This is our 2nd Cruise both with Norwegian. We love the free-style type of cruising. Our cabin was neat & clean & with the balcony, what a view. Our cruise director Johnny Cash Santos was great along with our cabin steward. Both ... Read More
This is our 2nd Cruise both with Norwegian. We love the free-style type of cruising. Our cabin was neat & clean & with the balcony, what a view. Our cruise director Johnny Cash Santos was great along with our cabin steward. Both restaurant's (grand pacific and magenta) were great with the grand pacific having a little better view and piano music. Food was good in both. Had room service quite a bit and that was on time and no mistake on our orders. The shows were fantastic each night. Can't say enough about the crew and service. Bermuda was beautiful, the water so blue, the beaches unreal and the excursion to the Bermuda Zoo & Aquarium was very good. Only 2 minor complaints. 1st the Atrium with the Big wi-fi screen was distracting (liked the Dawn better with garden type Atrium). Also on our trip home from Bermuda the last night was quite a ride with 15ft waves and winds up to 50mph so the ship was rocking & rolling. My Step-daughter got very seasick to the point of calling the ship's doctor but was told she had to go down to see him or they would send up a wheelchair (but with a cost) which I thought was wrong but maybe that's Norwegian's policy. Other than that the Cruise was great, can't wait to go again. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2011
Such a majestic ship! You must have been a beautiful fair maiden in your earlier voyages. Sometimes you must learn how to bow out, and rest awhile, so that you can be restored to your greatness, for you are owed that honor, for being ... Read More
Such a majestic ship! You must have been a beautiful fair maiden in your earlier voyages. Sometimes you must learn how to bow out, and rest awhile, so that you can be restored to your greatness, for you are owed that honor, for being such a gift for your travelers. Unfortunately, you were commanded to be pushed way over your limits, so I will begin: your plumbing was in such poor condition that on most decks, the foul smell followed the raw sewage, backing up into staterooms- (our stateroom and other customers), although your wait staff and cleaning attendants tried their very best to help, the food was extremely poor, in taste, freshness, and style. (at times it tasted "first day at camp") Stateroom staff were efficient, even though they had to work within a very dysfunctional system, of who is really in charge- Supervisors were uninterested in helping, until stronger advocacy requesting alternative accommodations were finally heeded, as other passengers were having the same challenges. Snacking was limited, leftovers from the day before were served, frozen pizza, stale finger sandwiches, and not so fresh fruit. Bizarre soft drink, wine packages, and alcohol pushers at your dinner table, were very disheartening too. Royal Caribbean, please take care of Explorer of the Seas, please remember, to look at the details that make people want to return for more-pay close attention to your ship's environment, prevent illness, from unsanitary practices-replace carpeting, furniture, bedding and beds! Create a wholesome balance of foods that "like" you. Consider "HER" and her children aboard, who spend their hard earned pay to come aboard and choose to vacation on your good ship. Read Less

Find a Cruise