This was our second cruise on the Maasdam, only this time we left from Norfolk, VA, which turned out to be a bad choice, particularly in the winter. The first two days and the last two days subjected us to rough Atlantic waters and, ... Read More
This was our second cruise on the Maasdam, only this time we left from Norfolk, VA, which turned out to be a bad choice, particularly in the winter. The first two days and the last two days subjected us to rough Atlantic waters and, consequently, limited our "on-deck" activities to the inside of the ship for that length of time and decidedly limited our ability to dance and have a cocktail before dinner in one of the lounges. It also slowed the ship enough for it to be late getting into Norfolk, both at the beginning and end of the cruise, affecting our transportation home at the end.
The Maasdam, an older HAL ship and smaller than some of the newer ones, still offers amenities that pleased our (my wife's and my) sensibilities. While our location aft on Main deck was tolerable to us, that location in rough weather leaves much to be desired. Nevertheless, the food, while hardly haute cuisine, was good and in good variety. We pretty much kept to the Lido Deck buffets, although when the menus for the dining room indicated exceptional offerings, such as Lobster Tails and Escargot, we got back to more formal dining.
HAL food servers -- indeed the entire staff -- are dedicated to serving you well and go out of their way to keep you happy. The Filipino and Indonesian staff members are a perfect delight. They are well-mannered, polite, smiling and professional and contribute much to the enjoyment of the cruise.
Entertainment, diversions, activities provide acceptable choices.
As for formal nights, I put my tux on once out of three nights and then forsaked it for a suit, as did most male passengers. I suppose formal nights serve their purpose: The women manage to look good in their formal wear. But I expect that putting on a tux is losing its allure at a rapid pace.
Necessary security measures proved to be no hassle. Ever since we took a ship's tour on one of our earlier cruises and ended up at a shopping center for an hour or more, we do our own thing with port taxis and/or ferries. For the uninitiated, however, the tours serve their purpose.
Tipping, now deducted by the cruise line in a lump sum, seems to be an excellent way to make sure that no one gets overlooked. Those that served us well, of course, got extra tips from us at the end of the cruise, with particular plaudits going to the cabin attendant(s) who were attentive and hovering when needed.
Another point of satisfaction is with the theater where fairly current films are shown. Interesting films, and free popcorn, of course, helped divert us when we were not in the mood for any of the other adequate diversions on the cruise.
In summary, food: B+; cabins B- (only because of location aft); dining/food staff: A+; food itself A- to B+; Entertainment B+ (A for enthusiasm and desire to entertain you); Staff generally, A; Port of Norfolk: C- (and I'm being polite). Front Desk Staff: A. Deck Service: What deck service? Maybe we were recreating on the wrong deck when the seas finally calmed down.
All-in-all, an acceptable and enjoyable cruise with some aspects named above marginally okay. We still intend to do it again in the not too distant future, perhaps on a bigger ship. Read Less