We are a fit couple in our early 70s. Having had a great first cruise to Alaska with HAL we decided to take the South America trip. We went from Buenos Aires to Valparaiso. The public areas of the ship were spotless and someone was always polishing something. Our Verandah stateroom was clean but dated. The bathroom was very poor. Having paid top money we did not expect a chipped bath, painted tile grouting which was peeling off and black mold in places. I have the photos. I found a small bottle of mouthwash and a hair grip in the bathroom cupboard.The door frame had been hastily repainted and the other side had no paint on at all. The verandah furniture had been badly repainted too.It was tatty. HAL proclaim they are saving the planet but having a spa bath is very wasteful and not hygienic. Climbing into a bath to have a shower is so last century and dangerous to the elderly in rough weather. The food was excellent. The 'open dining' idea is good as you meet different people every meal. Lunch in the LIDO was a bit of a scramble and the meal could be cold by the time you found a table. The drinks policy is archaic. Other cruise lines allow you to purchase drinks ashore. The wines were far too expensive and people said they had never drunk so little at table. The ship is considered a 'hotel' but the cost of wifi was disgraceful. They said it was because it was satellite. Most people would have been happy with any wifi near a port FREE. We go on a cruise to visit places we could not visit solo. eg.The Falklands, Cape Horn. We want to see places, talk with locals, wander about at leisure and experience things. We were very disappointed with the 'at sea' days. There were no guest speakers.Some of the Senior crew gave talks but we did not want to learn how to cook, play cards, or the 'pokies'. We can do that at home. The shows were on too late for us 'oldies' and the musicians playing the bars were pathetic. No wonder the rooms were empty. The exception was the Piano/violin couple, Adagio. They were superb but when we pointed out to HAL staff that people coming out of the dining room laughing and shouting while they were playing was rude and disrespectful, they said they would do something about it, sent us a plate of chocolates and did nothing. A simple notice, saying QUIET PLEASE was all that was necessary. The tour instructor was awful. His talks were garbled from his laptop. Ask him anything else and he did not have a clue. Someone said he had swallowed a tour leaflet! The talks were shallow. He said he had been doing them for 3 years! One years talks 3 times! Even the Captain had to intervene when he did not know about fish farming in the Darwin Channel. Only 70.000+ people work in fish farming out of Puerto Montt! It was unfortunate that the 3 days cruising the Chilean Fiords was shrouded in cloud and mist but it cannot have been the only time it happened. Why were there not extra things put on for us? The trips from the ship were very expensive for what they were, and too short. Trying to get 160 people onto tenders, then onto buses and then a ferry to Magdalena Island was very time consuming. Perhaps more trips with less people might be better. We took a bus tour round Buenos Aires for $20 for 2 lasting 4 hours with lovely photos of us and a CD of the places we had seen given to us at the end. HOW MUCH was the trip arranged by HAL?  

Would not use HAL again

Zaandam Cruise Review by kirsten Somerset

1 person found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: November 2014
  • Destination: South America
  • Cabin Type: Vista Suite with Verandah
We are a fit couple in our early 70s. Having had a great first cruise to Alaska with HAL we decided to take the South America trip. We went from Buenos Aires to Valparaiso. The public areas of the ship were spotless and someone was always polishing something. Our Verandah stateroom was clean but dated. The bathroom was very poor. Having paid top money we did not expect a chipped bath, painted tile grouting which was peeling off and black mold in places. I have the photos. I found a small bottle of mouthwash and a hair grip in the bathroom cupboard.The door frame had been hastily repainted and the other side had no paint on at all. The verandah furniture had been badly repainted too.It was tatty. HAL proclaim they are saving the planet but having a spa bath is very wasteful and not hygienic. Climbing into a bath to have a shower is so last century and dangerous to the elderly in rough weather.
The food was excellent. The 'open dining' idea is good as you meet different people every meal. Lunch in the LIDO was a bit of a scramble and the meal could be cold by the time you found a table. The drinks policy is archaic. Other cruise lines allow you to purchase drinks ashore. The wines were far too expensive and people said they had never drunk so little at table.
The ship is considered a 'hotel' but the cost of wifi was disgraceful. They said it was because it was satellite. Most people would have been happy with any wifi near a port FREE.
We go on a cruise to visit places we could not visit solo. eg.The Falklands, Cape Horn. We want to see places, talk with locals, wander about at leisure and experience things.
We were very disappointed with the 'at sea' days. There were no guest speakers.Some of the Senior crew gave talks but we did not want to learn how to cook, play cards, or the 'pokies'. We can do that at home. The shows were on too late for us 'oldies' and the musicians playing the bars were pathetic. No wonder the rooms were empty. The exception was the Piano/violin couple, Adagio. They were superb but when we pointed out to HAL staff that people coming out of the dining room laughing and shouting while they were playing was rude and disrespectful, they said they would do something about it, sent us a plate of chocolates and did nothing. A simple notice, saying QUIET PLEASE was all that was necessary.
The tour instructor was awful. His talks were garbled from his laptop. Ask him anything else and he did not have a clue. Someone said he had swallowed a tour leaflet! The talks were shallow. He said he had been doing them for 3 years! One years talks 3 times! Even the Captain had to intervene when he did not know about fish farming in the Darwin Channel. Only 70.000+ people work in fish farming out of Puerto Montt!
It was unfortunate that the 3 days cruising the Chilean Fiords was shrouded in cloud and mist but it cannot have been the only time it happened. Why were there not extra things put on for us?
The trips from the ship were very expensive for what they were, and too short. Trying to get 160 people onto tenders, then onto buses and then a ferry to Magdalena Island was very time consuming. Perhaps more trips with less people might be better. We took a bus tour round Buenos Aires for $20 for 2 lasting 4 hours with lovely photos of us and a CD of the places we had seen given to us at the end. HOW MUCH was the trip arranged by HAL?
 
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Cabin Review

Vista Suite with Verandah
Cabin A 6159
Our Verandah stateroom was clean but dated. The bathroom was very poor. Having paid top money we did not expect a chipped bath, painted tile grouting which was peeling off and black mold in places. I have the photos. I found a small bottle of mouthwash and a hair grip in the bathroom cupboard.The door frame had been hastily repainted and the other side had no paint on at all. The verandah furniture had been badly repainted too.It was tatty. HAL proclaim they are saving the planet but having a spa bath is very wasteful and not hygienic. Climbing into a bath to have a shower is so last century and dangerous to the elderly in rough weather.
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