1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2019
Here is our secret for a great cruise. Prior to embarkation and having read all the wonderful marketing material, we discount the hype by 20 per cent. Now let's be honest. Have you ever had a burger or sandwich that looked as good as ... Read More
Here is our secret for a great cruise. Prior to embarkation and having read all the wonderful marketing material, we discount the hype by 20 per cent. Now let's be honest. Have you ever had a burger or sandwich that looked as good as the one on the T.V advertisement? Of course not. The Maasdam is now the oldest ship in the fleet but all public spaces are well maintained. In fact we believe the Rotterdam dining room and the Theatre/Showroom are beautiful. The size of the ship is a plus as there are plenty of seating in quiet places. We never waited more than a a couple of minutes for the elevator. During this 24 day crossing from Auckland to San Francisco there were about 11 sea days and this was when the library was appreciated. It is a great place to read about the American founding fathers American politicians and presidents, American sportspeople, and well known American authors. I particularly appreciated the stories of the American heroes of the integration of black Americans. Well, we must understand this is an American owned company. For the same reason we gave up on Trivia. Our cabin 140 on deck 9 was a disappointment. It was past being tired, it was exhausted and it was dominated by a four seater settee in dark brown vinyl that most likely could fold out into a bed. It looked like a refugee from a Salvation Army charity shop. But get this. Its unwanted presence in our tiny space now placed us in a Vista Suite which raised our gratuities to $16.00 U.S per day per person. The redeeming feature was the large covered balcony. Our total gratuity bill was around the equivalent of $1,100 Australian dollars. To the rest of the world that pays a livable wage to all workers this is a hangover from the days of the 18th century English Poorhouse where the poor were dependent on charity to survive. Meals in the Rotterdam dining room were very good, and while we avoid the rugby scrum of the buffet we were forced there when the dining room was closed. The food was surprisingly good. staff were better than good, they were wonderful. Entertainment was soloists such as a guy playing the flute while jumping all over the stage, a magician, a girl playing the piano accordion etc etc. And get this one. One evenings entertainment was a nature movie with the ship's talented musicians playing mood music. There were lots of complaints when usually the best nights entertainment is the crew, was relegated to 11.00pm. the Cruise Director known as K.K was the best we have ever seen. So here is the bottom line. We enjoyed this cruise and we love so much about HAL. Our 20 per cent discounting of the marketing hype was about right for the ship in general, but we should have discounted the cabin by 30 per cent. ps The guest lecturers saved us from being bored to death. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
When we booked last year we didn't know it would be an EXC cruise. We thought we'd give the new product a go but it seems to be a cost cutting venture. We went to the major ports of Noumea, Port Vila and Auckland on sundays when ... Read More
When we booked last year we didn't know it would be an EXC cruise. We thought we'd give the new product a go but it seems to be a cost cutting venture. We went to the major ports of Noumea, Port Vila and Auckland on sundays when everything is closed and the other days to beaches where it didn't matter. The cruise hopped around with no order or reason to be in these ports on sunday....maybe cheaper docking charges? Entertainment was very poor with nothing organised for sea days other than lectures on photo, computers and upcoming ports given with no enthusiasm. The were lots of BBC wildlife documentaries on both the main stage and on the Tv in cabin. We have yet to find what the cruise director KK did other than make introductions on stage. Entertainers were " more classical than fun" and their appearance times were hard to fit in with dinner in the dining room. There were no fun activities and you felt you were in an old folks home although they have more organised for them! Everything was dead after 11pm. Food was plentiful but tasteless. One night after a drinks get together at 7 and then going to the show until 8.45 we found the restaurants were closed and we were told to order room service to get anything. The Explorations coffee shop closed at 9pm and you could only get tea or coffee from the Lido if you were lucky enough to find some milk. The whole cruise lacked atmosphere, not what you want on a long awaited holiday! The ship is old but spotlessly clean. The cabins are large and well equipped. The crew are amazing, always helpful and smiling. They made the trip worthwhile! The ports visited were Ok but as I said some would have been more enjoyable if they were open. The beaches and snorkeling were wonderful. HAL excursions were over priced and much cheaper and better bought on shore run by the locals. Come on Holland America pick up your game and give us back what we came to expect from you. There were a lot of us complaining about this voyage and we hope all cruises will not become EXC. We will be watching as we have booked South America and Antartica for next year and if it's an EXC we will be cancelling. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
Because of the ports of call around the Pacific and previous cruises with HAL had been quite good. Embarkation at Brisbane was fine. Our Neptune suite felt like the same as previous on the other HAL cruise, very comfortable and ... Read More
Because of the ports of call around the Pacific and previous cruises with HAL had been quite good. Embarkation at Brisbane was fine. Our Neptune suite felt like the same as previous on the other HAL cruise, very comfortable and immaculately clean. How ever, the joy seemed to stop there! It appeared that the staffing levels had been reduced and things just took that little longer for serviceand attention. Prices have certainly increased and being in US$ for an Australian NZ Pacific cruise was a bit of a pocket hit when the service charge was then added. As we're the tours. This resulted in many of the passengers taking local tours upon going ashore. Including several US passengers. I will blame ourselves for not realising that it was an exploratory cruise with lectures mainly for entertainment. The result was a very dull and boring onboard cruise. At least during the day there could have been some life around the pool area. Nothing! People sat around bored looking at each other, looking at each other. If it wasn't so sad, it could have been funny. Then there's the food!! Oh dear!! The food was the worst I've had on the past 23 years of cruising. I am sure they constitute left overs in an attempt to make a curry. The curries were so bad, twice I attempted and had to bring to the attention of the food manager. The lunchtime pizza's were so heavy with grease, they were stuck to the pizza pan! I think the cheese was not pizza cheeses? Dining room food was OK, but the standard certainly has dropped. OXTAILS! My Lord, my mother served that on tight money days and it is now served as cruise cuisine. No more veggies served on the side, all piled under the meat selection and often not hot as the over run servers can't get it to you in an acceptable time. I do not fault the servers, they are marvellous, just not enough of them. As for the food quality and selection, again no fault of the kitchen hands, this come from above them. Being mainly Indonesian or Indian in the kitchen, they know how to make a good curry or Indonesian food, but cook what they are told to. The evening entertainment in the bars mostly were over before evening dinner was finished and the crows nest entertainment was a recording DJ when there was some passengers to try and entertain. The passengers were an older interesting mix but they were still alive and they were also disappointed in the lack of entertainment Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
We did a Auckland to Sydney cruise on the Maasdam just prior to Christmas last year. Needed to go to sea again(yes I am getting hooked) and found a great deal for a Brisbane to Auckland via South Pacific so jumped at it. Booked a ... Read More
We did a Auckland to Sydney cruise on the Maasdam just prior to Christmas last year. Needed to go to sea again(yes I am getting hooked) and found a great deal for a Brisbane to Auckland via South Pacific so jumped at it. Booked a outside cabin and a few days before we left we’re given a free upgrade to a balcony suite.woopee. Embarkation was as smooth as we had come to expect,this was our 6th HAL cruise and we were on board and enjoying lunch by 1.30pm. Cabin was great,level 9 forward. Nice size plenty of space and storage. HAL might want to upgrade the tv as the sets are getting a bit old. Quickly slipped into a routine. Cabin stewards introduced themselves that day and as usual greeted us by name thereafter. A few sea days in the cruise but days went quickly between talks workshops trivia etc. Blessed by good seas and weather throughout. The 3 excursions we went on ran like clockwork. The islands we visited were interesting and in most part beautiful. The colour of the water wow. Friendly locals. No complaints at all. Really appreciated the Mariners presentation and lunch. It’s just one of the things that HAL do that puts them above others in my opinion. It was only a 14 day cruise but we covered nearly 4000 nautical miles. Would recommend to anyone especially those thinking about doing a long voyage to test their ability to manage sea days. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
The exotic itinerary and smaller port destinations made this voyage our choice. Papua New Guinea, 3 stops including the Trobriand Islands and Conflict Islands; Timor Leste, 2 stops on Borneo. Palawan in the Philippines to see the ... Read More
The exotic itinerary and smaller port destinations made this voyage our choice. Papua New Guinea, 3 stops including the Trobriand Islands and Conflict Islands; Timor Leste, 2 stops on Borneo. Palawan in the Philippines to see the underground river. Starting from Singapore, a favorite city of ours, allowed us to take a few days before leaving to explore the wonderful Gardens by the Bay and delicious multicultural city, on to the night zoo and Jurong Bird Park. We also enjoyed staying on in Brisbane at the end. Outstanding! What made this cruise truly exceptional (besides our most excellent large cabin) was that it is on the Maasdam which is now an EXC ship. That means in depth destination lectures and shore excursions. Every sea day there were multiple experts giving interesting lectures on South-East Asia, history, culture, ecology, coral reefs and the danger they are in, sea life, photography, local cooking demonstrations. For once there were more enrichment lectures than I could manage to get to, because sometimes you just want some quiet time to enjoy the sea and the ship. Now I can say I know something about this area and it's extraordinarily diverse marine life, and the ancient cultures that still live a natural life. This is really different and I hope Holland America keeps up EXC cruises! I can't wait to go on another one. There were also more traditional fun events like a St. Patrick's day bar crawl with silly games for those who aren't interested in more in-depth destination knowledge. Also the association of BBC with Holland America had BBC specials shown, such as about Birds of Paradise and those who chase after them, behind the scenes specials and more. Plus a live-orchestra showing of BBC Earth. Very special. It was rather awe-inspiring to see the 5 tribes of Kitava Island sail away at the end of the day in their hand hewn ships after lining up to sell us carvings and other crafts. We also rode in one of their craft from the beach to a small island, Nuratu, where we snorkeled a bit despite a bit of rain. A view of another life that you don't often see. How often do you get to islands with no banks or hotels? Also the Conflict Islands, owned by an Australian and now a center of research on reefs and marine life. Excellent snorkeling there. A real paradise. I do wish the shore excursions were more reasonably priced. But we were able to get together with others on cruise critic for some tours ahead of time, also I arranged private tours for the 4 of us in our party at some stops. Plus taxi tours and local parks make good destinations. As for onboard experience, the food was very good, better than some other cruise lines I've been on. Is there the occasional miss? Sure, but also dishes that were creative and delicious. (I didn't think the French Onion soup was good for example.) But overall, good menus with a number of choices including vegetarian, excellent service from the staff throughout the ship, and always something I wanted to eat. I rather looked forward to ordering the steak on the always available menu in the dining room, very tasty with good sides. The buffet had the staff dishing up the food which sometimes created lines, but usually waiting a little bit would see a lull where you could walk right up and get what you wanted. The salads were delish for lunch, and again, if there's a line, just wait a little while or try the other side - ready made sandwiches were easy to pick up. The pool side grill had great Chicago style hot dogs (other styles available), yummy crispy fries, and good burgers too. And a taco bar. Enjoyed that! Room stewards are very good and I enjoyed the towel animals every night, and the big display they did on the last day around the pool, hundreds of towel creatures, some life sized and fully dressed. Another nice touch: the presentation of the next day schedule along with a card with a different travel quote, and other communications such as time changes placed in a nice folio on the bed. So I high recommend Maasdam especially for the EXC expert lectures. Best daily schedule of any ship I've ever been on for my taste. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary. What we didn’t know was the cruise was not only an EXC voyage but an In Depth sailing as well ( Holland America needs to do a better job marketing this product). Every sea day was packed ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary. What we didn’t know was the cruise was not only an EXC voyage but an In Depth sailing as well ( Holland America needs to do a better job marketing this product). Every sea day was packed with guest speakers and specialists in history, culture, science and nature, art, photography, food and vine for the regions and countries we would be visiting. Plus the EXC ship staff prepared us for each port visit with practical information to get out on your own or to take an organized ship tour. The staff on the Maasdam were outstanding. We found everyone to be warm, friendly, professional, and service oriented. To mention several exceptional staff, Florin, the Hotel Director, John and Frances from Guest Services, Best, Evi, Christopher, Sara Jane, Nutdawana and Robert provided an excellent experience in the Lido as well. Because of our wonderful experience, we are now Holland America loyalists!! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
WE took this cruise because we were interested in the ports of call. If we had known in advance that HAL was only interested in the passengers going of EXC tours we wouldn't have taken this cruise. Most of the stops we out of the way ... Read More
WE took this cruise because we were interested in the ports of call. If we had known in advance that HAL was only interested in the passengers going of EXC tours we wouldn't have taken this cruise. Most of the stops we out of the way at some large container port. The cruise director failed to inform us in advance about possible shuttles our of the port. At some of the ports they offered no free shuttle and you could only get out by expensive taxi. As 5 star mariners we have known better cruises with HAL. When in Hongkong they forgot to inform their staff that ONLY the people who went to Macau were not allowed to get off the ship after returning from Macau. We still had half a day left to explore. After a big row with the staff the cruise direction eventually gave out a message that we could leave the ship again. Bad work!!! The entertainment was not exsistent or poor except for the Chinese lady playing the accordeon.On seadays there was NO entertainment except talks for the EXC people. There was no music band on the deck and elevator music played the same music every day. Our cabin was good and spacious as it was a suite and the staff their usual friendly self. Everything was clean. As there were many people with bad cold including me we expected staff to make sure people didn't touch the food or fill their water bottles at the macine themselves.This did not happen. What happened to the coctail party for the past mariners? We didn't get one invitation although we are 5 star.All in all I would say this was not the best cuise we have been on. We will think twice about booking HAL again. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2019
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary, particularly Sri Lanka. We had a wonderful time. The Maasdam is a beautiful, elegant ship. My husband and I like the size, even though the ship doesn't offer all of the variety of a ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary, particularly Sri Lanka. We had a wonderful time. The Maasdam is a beautiful, elegant ship. My husband and I like the size, even though the ship doesn't offer all of the variety of a larger one. We stayed in a Neptune suite, which was very nice with exceptional cabin stewards. We did develop a periodic leak close to the door. The staff was very concerned, but never could seem to solve the problem. Eunice in the Neptune Lounge was excellent. As always, the food on the cruise was very good; my husband and I could always fine a delicious choice. We chose the later fixed seating as always, in part because we enjoy going to a bar before dinner to listen to music but also because we enjoy getting to know the dining room and wine stewards. Speaking of music, we mainly went to the Ocean Bar where the ship had an excellent band from South America that performed a wide range of music. Otherwise for entertainment, we didn't mind the shift from entertainers to informative lectures. We did attend a few of the 10 o'clock performances in the showroom, but mainly we caught many of the historical/scientific/cultural presentations as part of the EXC program. They were very interesting and helped us better appreciate the cultures and environment of the stops along the cruise. The gym had a great variety (and good numbers) of equipment and programs, and the spa is always wonderful! We only went on three shore excursion from the ship, but they were great. We typically find our own local guides, but since several of the sites we wanted to see were some distance from the ship, I elected to stick to the safe side and go with the ship. The excursion to see elephants in the national park was exceptional. We saw scores of elephants, water buffalo, crocodiles, birds in the wild. The lunch spots were excellent too. On two of the excursions we stopped at gorgeous resorts with 5 star buffets for lunch. I do think that the information about the ports that is posted on the website could be improved. In many of the ports, there was nothing to see or do immediately off the ship; it would be disappointing if you planned to get off the ship and just walk around. There were stops at industrial ports, where it was a bit of a trick to even find the street with all of the taxis. These were minor problems for experienced travelers, but it would be nice to be forewarned. Overall the service, the food, the ship, and the activities were terrific. We are already looking at our next cruise on HAL. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2019
We chose this cruise because we loved the itinerary. I always wanted to see the Maldives and we hadn't ever dreamed of seeing many of the ports. The Maasdam is a partially refurbished old lady but the crew are always great and we ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we loved the itinerary. I always wanted to see the Maldives and we hadn't ever dreamed of seeing many of the ports. The Maasdam is a partially refurbished old lady but the crew are always great and we prefer the smaller ships. We don'r like arriving in ports and waiting in huge line ups. The cabin was a pretty basic twin porthole outside cabin on deck at the front. Unfortunately it was right above the thrusters so it got noisy when the ship was docking. A small enough problem when taken in context with a 40 night voyage. The other issue is the ancient TV set in the room. I know the whole point of travel is to get out and do things but some days you want to watch TV. We thought the food was great overall. We had any time dining but ate three quarters of our meals in the Lido where the selection was great and the staff friendly. A big shout out for the delicious burgers and fries at the Dive In Bar. The best on the ship. The speakers they had on this cruise were some of the best we have seen on a cruise ship. Terry Greenberg was thought provoking and entertaining and that goes for a few others as well. He gave talks on Asian history and culture in various countries and helped us to see the world through a different perspective. The evening entertainment was hit or miss. The band on the ship is consistently great and we enjoyed the BBC Earth series. We did not suffer from a lack of entertainment though a couple of the entertainers were definitely a miss. I found the service top notch. The crew on this ship seem genuinely happy to see you. From the room stewards to the dining room staff to the Lido deck staff they were all friendly and helpful. The only misstep they made was putting a strange menu on for the Mariner's Loyalty luncheon. I can't understand why they thought providing a two entree menu of stew or pollock would be considered a special lunch by loyal Mariners. We actually walked out on the lunch and went to the Lido for better food. We did not participate in the shore excursions so are not able to judge that but a couple of ports could have been better arranged. Two ports in Sri Lanka had a shuttle to the gate and then nothing but overpriced Tuk Tuks and taxis at the gate. Another port in Malaysia had a shuttle to the gate and then there were no taxis or anything else. The police at the port gate started phoning private cars for passengers but a lot of cruisers just got back on the shuttle and went back to the ship. They got a lot of complaints and by the time we got off the ship they had made better arrangements at the industrial ports. We embarked and disembarked in Singapore. What a great place. Other than their need for additional landing cards the port itself is attached to a mall and we even took the MRT from the airport. It was a breeze. We didn't stay there because the first night the ship stayed in port. If we go back there we would definitely spend a few days. It is a spectacular place. We would go and do another one on this ship any time. 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
Maasdam Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 0.0
Dining 3.0 0.0
Entertainment 3.0 0.0
Public Rooms 4.0 0.0
Fitness Recreation 3.0 0.0
Family 3.0 0.0
Shore Excursion 3.0 0.0
Enrichment 4.0 0.0
Service 4.0 0.0
Value For Money 4.0 0.0
Rates 4.0 0.0

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