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6 Holland America Perth (Fremantle) Cruise Reviews

This will be my first review on Cruise Critic, but after meeting some CC people aboard MS Maasdam (Jan 6 2019 Freemantle-Singapore), I thought I’d contribute. This was a birthday/Winter getaway with apparently interesting stops, our 20th ... Read More
This will be my first review on Cruise Critic, but after meeting some CC people aboard MS Maasdam (Jan 6 2019 Freemantle-Singapore), I thought I’d contribute. This was a birthday/Winter getaway with apparently interesting stops, our 20th cruise and 4th on Holland America. We loved our previous HAL cruises (Zuiderdam and Prinsendam X 2). Sadly, this trip did not meet our expectations from HAL. The question is whether it is this particular ship or a new marketing model. Overall, the first impression is nickel-dime’ing. Quarters to use the laundry washers and dryers? Second impression, max effort to ‘sell’ something/profit incentive (I’ve never seen a captain appear and host a jewelry store sale event, speaking to shoppers - more so than at various Mariner events and meet-the-captain galas). This begins with surprisingly high excursion fees, often over double the cost for the same excursion online. Particularly galling is contracting with a local operator to sell ONLY through HAL excursions, i.e. blocking independent online or walk-up bookings; example - Dili East Timor: Hop On Hop Off is advertised at $45, with a stop at the cruise port. HAL contracted to do the booking for $79.95. They were not allowed to sell tickets to anyone not on a HAL excursion. Entertainment: cruise director was brand new (reportedly third in recent months). There were no “shows/productions”. There were individual entertainers, some quite decent, but not every night. Some ‘science/wildlife’ lectures were informative for those interested. Event scheduling seemed haphazard, e.g. captain’s reception and festivity at 7:55 PM, show start at 8:00 is only one example. There were many. Seems they are trying to appeal to a ‘younger’ clientele (average age still appears to be 70, with lots of older folks with walkers/canes/wheelchairs). The introduction of Zodiac inflatable excursions is new, and from reports (can not verify), some were disasters, acknowledged by the zodiac drivers that a monetary adjustment should be expected. Selections of cruise stops - sounded off the beaten track, and they were, not necessarily all bad but certainly raise some questions. Geraldton, Exmouth, Broome? Interesting introduction to relatively barren Western Australia (Exmouth often the hottest spot in the world - we saw 113* F). Komodo Island was a highlight and a big factor in selecting this cruise. It was worth the effort. Assumed (wrongly) that th Bali stop was the ‘known tourist destination. Actual stop was at a North Coast port, out of reach of any better known or advertised sites (e.g. Ubud). Probolinggo? Surabaya? O.K. Expensive, long excursions to Mt. Bromo were highlights available, but not sure how many took advantage. We did not, arranging our own private tours. An advertised 10 hour excursion from Semarang to the ancient temple of Borobudur was offered, and many booked it. They arrived back at the ship almost an hour late. Mixed reports,some loved the visit, but all mentioned huge crowds and difficulty getting pictures (including a professional photographer). The ship: getting OLD. Our vista suite had numerous wooden shims in the sliding glass door, presumably to stop it from creaking/rattling. They did work, if looking a little flakey. No complaints about our cabin/Port side. starboard side Vista suites had water (strong rains puddled on verandas) seep under sliding doors, wetting carpeting and personal items/luggage on the cabin floor. Food: no issues, and generally decent. Some local/Indonesian offerings were excellent. Very little local fruit offered - small plates purportedly put out at 11:30 were gone by 11:45, too bad if you weren’t there. Almost none in the evenings. We are not picky or demanding foodies, and more often than not eat at the Lido/buffet. Surf and turf (one night) in the dining room was very good. Overall, mixed emotions. May or may not give HAL another try (not on Maasdam). A little disappointed with this cruise, being a HAL fan. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
Chose this cruise for the time of year and itinerary. Malaysia, Maldives, Sri Lanka and more and combined 2 back to backs for a total of 40 days. Love the ship, hated lack of good entertainment and better ship activities other then ... Read More
Chose this cruise for the time of year and itinerary. Malaysia, Maldives, Sri Lanka and more and combined 2 back to backs for a total of 40 days. Love the ship, hated lack of good entertainment and better ship activities other then lectures 3 and 4 times a day. Zodiac expensive tours part of this new program. Would not do another. Ship is our favorite, were on it last year. Stewards and waitstaff best ever. Hope this program doesn't make it and we go back to normal with dancers and singers and craft classes, pool acitvities. Change is not always good. We are 4 star and hope this does not happen to all Hollands ships, as we only cruise on the small 1800 and below. Not a fan of floating Malls. Food has gotten better at least more vegetables at dinner. Always ate in dining room and very happy with meals and services, ever wine steward was great. Pinnacle grill was very good, we ate there twice. Tendering sometimes too long having waited for 1 hour and 20 minutes at one stop. Made tendering a lot quicker and more efficient when they hired local boats to help out. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
Cabin BA201- Can’t get the cabin temp below 72F. Have asked four times with no luck. Never accomplished. Cabin temp in direct line of AC flow did get to 70 at times if kept the balcony store closed and curtains pulled ... Read More
Cabin BA201- Can’t get the cabin temp below 72F. Have asked four times with no luck. Never accomplished. Cabin temp in direct line of AC flow did get to 70 at times if kept the balcony store closed and curtains pulled - Aussie sized (half size) whirl pool bathtub with high sides. Tub has rusted water drain, marked, and needs to be replaced. If you are 6 ft 2 in height and want to lie in the bathtub your feet will be on the wall. - Good shower - Marked toilet seat and needs to be replaced - Felt engine vibration, but not a problem for sleeping except when docking. Will wake you up if light sleeper - Counter space tight in bathroom but workable - No hot water during the night after 11:00 or 12:00 (last few days of cruise this problem was corrected) - Clothes Closet with safe tight but got everything in. Suitcases store under the bed - very nice decor - Otherwise good cabin which we enjoyed and would use again if they solve the AC problem and make required replacements Food- Reservation mistake. Ended up early fixed but was easy to change to open, deck 7. Staff very accommodating i.e. Hery main dining room, open sitting excellent, allowing us to change each night seating 2, 4, & 6 seat table. Met many interesting enjoyable passengers - Room service is excellent but coffee table for eating is tight - Mainly using dining room for dinner and lunch. Lido for breakfast and each time go on tour have breakfast in cabin. Food very good - Main dining room choice in menu is limited, often going off menu to french onion soup and salmon, both of which very good. - Had two dinners and one lunch in the Pinnacle Grill. Excellent food and service - Had one dinner in the Italian restaurant. Good service but not my preference in food. Cancelled our second reservation - Service in dining room ranged from very good to excellent Wine- I could not believe it. Limited Aussie wines and continually running out of wines. We are lucky and enjoy the New Zealand Kim Crawford, our favorite at home. Some of wine stewards attentive/ excellent. One or two were not and needed prodding $$$ - Ship nickels and dimes you i.e. purchase bottle water, purchase coffee lattes, extra charge for lobster even in Pinnacle Grill, expensive internet but is unlimited usage= did not have to worry about time spent, a huge feature for me since I needed to keep in touch with family company Reception staff- needs better training. Are pleasant but often without answers. Exception is Vanessa Digital Workshop- Unable to connect my laptop to the web. Written instructions provided by ship do not work for my Dell. Had to use Vanessa to set up computer. Good instructor on first leg but did not have the desired depth of knowledge i.e. could not set up my laptop for internet. Second leg instructor more knowledgeable and was great Entertainment- Ship has moved emphasis from shows to lectures, many of which were good to excellent - Piano man in piano bar was very good. Had several enjoyable evenings - Entertainment in Crows Nest Good - Good shows- i) Chinese lady playing special accordion was excellent. ii) Jersey Boys had good voices but needed a program manager. iii) Comedian good iv) musician playing several instruments was very good v) Magicians not to our liking Wake up call- always have a backup. One time did not work. One day unable to make wake up call. Line just ring busy. Staff who made a difference • Vanessa Christopher- Supervisor front desk • Rinato- Person in charge of room service • Adhy & Sigit- Persons who looked after cabin - Gym- fully equipped. Excellent. Had an air conditioning problem and had to use an industrial fan to attempt to lower temperature. 360 degree promenade for fast walking exercise or just casual walking at sea. 4 times around is a mile Rain water penetration- encountered a couple evenings of heavy rain, resulting in water getting into several cabins (rumored 35?) Sanitation- for both legs of the trip many passengers including myself came down with a heavy cold. I had to go to ship doctor for medication but still took 1.5 weeks to fully recover. When a ship has such an attack, normal experience is that procedure in buffet restaurant is changed from self serve to staff behind the counter serving you while you are in line for food. Not the case on the Maasdam. Only concern. Ship, which is old, was clean at all times Ship air conditioning- needs to be upgraded if they plan to use this ship in hot climates Ship decor- well done Ship layout- no problems except when coming out from deck 7 main dining room you have to either go down one deck or up one deck to walk to theater at front of ship Embarkation & Disembarkation- good Ports- we are on board because of the itinerary and tied in with our two months in Perth escaping Toronto winter - getting off the ship when ship tendered was backed up; but not a problem. We never missed our many private tours - many times docked at an industrial port and only a few times were there a ship shuttle into city/ town. Was never a problem since we were always on private tours Cruise Critic- there was approx 100 of us on the first leg. HAL missed an excellent opportunity to have officers attend the Meet & Greet, which was often our experience on other ships. Ruth did an excellent job in running the Meet and Greet, and web site on Cruise Critic allowing us to arrange private tours in almost all of the ports, with more tailored itinerary than Hal excursions and saved money. Great memories and wonderful passengers met Conclusion- good very interesting cruise notwithstanding the high temperatures. If you can take high temperatures would recommend, assuming ship solves the noted problems. Many sea days in itinerary were great for sleeping in and relaxing. Still looking for a holiday cruise where ship arrival is 9- 10 AM and departure early evening allowing me to be on holidays, not having to get up early for excursions Further info- drop me a note at deangayle@rogers.com and will try to provide i.e. private tours Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
I have sailed on Maasdam 4 times over the years, the last time just before she was refurbished in 2016 on a Caribbean cruise. Selected this cruise for its ports along the Western Australian coast and Indonesia and initially good value, ... Read More
I have sailed on Maasdam 4 times over the years, the last time just before she was refurbished in 2016 on a Caribbean cruise. Selected this cruise for its ports along the Western Australian coast and Indonesia and initially good value, bought this cruise at last minute. Writing from the value for an Australian (myself) and Canadian (wife) passenger costing point of view passengers. As a last minute booking we only had the choice of an inside cabin “guarantee” this was not a problem as usually that is what is usually offered and although we prefer a balcony or non obstructed outside cabin which are rarely available last minute. Always looking for different Voyages. Over last couple of years on last minute on MSC Divina as her ports of call of overnight in New York City, overnight in Bermuda (due to bad weather was missed and replaced with Madeira) overnight Ponta Delgada and overnight in Lisbon plus day stops in 4 Mediterranean ports to Genoa and TUI/Marella from Tilbury via Brugge,Amsterdam, Cherbourg, Lisbon and Corona Portugal, Gibraltar to Malaga. The ship is secondary to us. The ship was sparkling clean, cabin and servicing staff of Indonesian and Filipino were faultless, always greating you while passing you in hallways, always a smile on their face, especially if you developed connectionl with them, asking where they are from and thanking them for their service. Food overall very good, could not fault it for the choices selection. Ships deck staff and officers also greeting you, Captain very personable, as commented in other posts surprised that the shipping line now degrading his position by advising linking him to onboard sales. Come to the shops and meet the Captain on a jewellery sale. Entertainment was different from my last cruises, no cabaret dancing girls and boys, what a blessing. Overall it was very good. The Cruise Director on this cruise (believe she was the assistant who was filling in at that time for the actual cruise director), she didn’t have the finesse of cruise directors compared on past cruise such as introducing acts, her accent was hard to understand over the public address, and her comments over the public address and in person were sometimes cut and dry. Example at Komodo Island some persons were throwing objects into the water for the children in boats, her comment was “It was not allowed (or forbidden)to throw things in the water”, no mention of why ie we were in a national park, did not wish to encourage children begging, wanted to keep the oceans clean etc. Another occasion my wife asked a question regarding a matter not connected to the entertainment onboard, her answer was that was not her department, gave no other advise such as go to the front office, just not my department. Also her uniform was always a monotone colour, the same for every occasion and did not reflect her important position overall satisfaction with passengers on the cruise. Port visits wer a highlight of this cruise. Shore excursion were overall very expensive on this cruise not only for Australian, Canadian’s US and other nationalities. Example of a couple which for the Australian and Canadian are very expensive in equivalent AU$ and C$. Geraldton the lowest price excursion was “City Highlights and Maritime Museum” at US$79.95 or approximately AU$112.00/CA$105.45 while a city hop-on-hop off bus operated by city from the terminal was offered at AU$10.00 plus entry into the Marine Mureum AU$ 20.00 = AU30.00 would be appropriate US$21.45/Ca$28.25. Komodo Island Lowest shore excursion was US$104.95 onboard equivalent to AU$146.90/CA$ 138.44 on an upcoming cruise with P&O Australia on a exactly same excursion onboard was AU$104.00 or US$65.45/CA$97.70. This was the same pattern forall the shore excursion, some like Kuri Bay where one could only take a shore excursion or stay onboard. Celukan Bawang Bali where the port was on the north end of the island where their was no town highlights the e lowest price shore excursion Was called Munduk Highlights was a whopping US$229.95 equivalent to AU$321.50/CA$303.05. The only other option is doing things on ones own. Such as in this port a close by beach resort some 2-3 hours away. The next cruise by the ship to Sri Lanka and the Maldives the shore excursions offered by the ship were also excessively prices. My point is if you are an non US or EU passenger such as Australian and Canadians be careful selecting a cruise such as this one make sure that the cost of excursions are taken into account of the overall cost of the cruise or that you can do your own thing in port with the allotted time. Unlike Europe, Mediterranean and Caribbean where it is easy to hour on ones own. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
I chose this cruise due to pricing, but after getting the feeling of being nickel and dimed at every turn, is it all worth it. The potable water was so distasteful from the tap you had to buy water. At 4.25 US a bottle -you have to be ... Read More
I chose this cruise due to pricing, but after getting the feeling of being nickel and dimed at every turn, is it all worth it. The potable water was so distasteful from the tap you had to buy water. At 4.25 US a bottle -you have to be kidding. These small things that in the big picture would be of minimal cost would make all the difference Even soft drinks were charged for. Coffee was stewed no matter what time you went for a meal, Main dining room was nice, but the buffet became boring after a few days Staff levels are low and the buffet is really SELF SERVICE all you would need was the passengers to take the plate to the waiter station and HAL could reduce staffing levels more. Entertainment: what happened to a production show, all we had was solo comedians and a singer or two. Wonderful to see Patrick McMahon from Western Australian get a gig. BUT no production numbers or show. Where is the Razzmatazz ?? Happy Hour: 4pm you have to be joking Alcohol pricing: DONT buy online it was cheaper on board and when purchasing a wine package check the bottle price against the package price. Buying a three package was more expensive than individually. WHY ??? Gym and Spa: As a health professional, I had to walk out of a lecture due to a lack of evidence based practice that was being offered in the talk. What was being said was scientifically non factual and the personal opinion of the facility. BEWARE Finally I made a letter of complaint to management BUT they failed to respond before my disembarkation, I suppose that is "you're gone here comes another mug ", but this mug is like a dog with a bone. Holland America I am not going away.! Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
We chose this cruise for its itinery:- Esperance, Port Lincoln, Adelaide, Kangaroo Island. We arrived in Perth 3 Days before Cruise, imagine our surprise when on a visit to Freemantle the day before the Volendam was due to dock, there she ... Read More
We chose this cruise for its itinery:- Esperance, Port Lincoln, Adelaide, Kangaroo Island. We arrived in Perth 3 Days before Cruise, imagine our surprise when on a visit to Freemantle the day before the Volendam was due to dock, there she was!!! We stayed at Miss Mauds in Perth- best food anywhere. Embarkation was a little slow, but fairly trouble free. Cabin was good size, with plenty storage, and it was nice to have a shower over the bath for a change. Delivery of luggage seemed disorganised. Paying $2.00US per day for a very small fridge seemed like overkill as it is a necessity in this part of the world in summer. BEWARE DVD rentals incur $30US if not returned. We rented a DVD on the 2nd night, and returned it next afternoon. there was no Fee on my account on the 2nd last afternoon, but miraculously a $30 fee appeared overnight. A quick trip to the Service desk had this removed, BUT other people there had the same problem, a bit convenient for the fee to be hidden among other costs on the account! We are 59 and 65, we lowered the average age, most people were in their 70s & 80s. The food on this cruise was the best quality I have had for years, some times the quantity was a bit small, but you do not need much on a cruise. Delivery time of food in Dining room was quite slow. Port information was woeful, the worst I have seen. One of the tour staff informed us that the cuddly Corella feed exclusivly on eucalyptus leaves which make them sleepy and they fall out of the trees. Entertainment was very ordinary. Like most cruise lines, the misinformation as to taxis, tours and public transport was terrible. And the ship tours and shuttles a RIP OFF. Some ports provided free shuttles that the ship charged $16 for! In short good cabin and food, service a bit ordinary, Entertainment Bad.(Except for Tanunda Brass Band) I would not think of doing a tour organised by the ship. Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
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