5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
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
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2018
For fellow Aussies If you get in this cruise ship: - make sure you got with you a travel adaptor for Australian and New Zealand appliances for use in Europe. You are not going to find any of them on the ship and you will not be able ... Read More
For fellow Aussies If you get in this cruise ship: - make sure you got with you a travel adaptor for Australian and New Zealand appliances for use in Europe. You are not going to find any of them on the ship and you will not be able to use or charge any of your electrical or electronic devices. - bring a calculator with you mate. The dollars you pay and see on the receipts, everytime you fancy a drink or purchase an item, are american not australian. - in case you missed that, there is a "hotel service charge" $15 US for every day and every passenger. Are you still got the calculator with you mate? - dreaming about the buffet? Sorry mate, but there is not much difference between the ship buffet and your local takeway. At least the ship crew is serving your food in small portions so you will not get fat during the cruise. - at nights, there are a few singers and a music band who are going to entertain you, especially at the show room. What do you expect? Moulin Rouge? In your dreams mate. - the tv in our cabin was small. I had to stay close to watch a movie during some boring days and nights. - it was so exciting to get out of the ship in every port. - the shower shampoo in the cabin smell nice. - a few exciting nights playing with puzzles and readings books. - some magnificent sunsets. - sometimes I had a feeling that I was in a retirement village. That's all for the moment. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2018
We chose the cruise for a couple of reasons. Firstly it covered Christmas and New Year. secondly we live in Fremantle so only had to fly one way then cruise back to our home port. We enjoyed the ports although most of them we had ... Read More
We chose the cruise for a couple of reasons. Firstly it covered Christmas and New Year. secondly we live in Fremantle so only had to fly one way then cruise back to our home port. We enjoyed the ports although most of them we had visited previously. The one big disappointment on this cruise was the dire entertainment programme. There wasn’t a single production show. On 2 evenings a film was shown in the theatre. Most of the entertainers were not what I would call top class - second rate mainly. We were not the only people who were surprised at the standard of the shows. It would certainly put us off choosing Holland America again without doing some serious research into the on board schedule. Overall the food was good and varied. Wine prices, like most cruise ships, are too high. Drinks packages are not an option for us as we don’t drink enough to make it worth it financially. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2018
We chose this cruise because we wanted a quiet restful trip. We did our research and discovered that Holland America are aimed at an older age group with not so many families/children on board. We found the Maasdam suited us perfectly. The ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we wanted a quiet restful trip. We did our research and discovered that Holland America are aimed at an older age group with not so many families/children on board. We found the Maasdam suited us perfectly. The Service and quality of food on this ship was excellent!! We didn't make use of the Casino as that's not our thing. There were plenty of bars and areas to sit and read or just relax. We mostly ate in the Main Dining room or had room service. We sat in the open dining on Deck 7 on the Port side and our waiter Imam & Wine Steward Iyvette were both lovely and looked after us very well. We enjoyed the Burgers at the Dive In Burger Bar on the Lido Deck.We did our sums and decided to take our own Wine on board as we weren't prepared to pay $827Usd each for a drinks package and we are so glad we didn't. We bought 13 bottles of Wine and 1 of Champagne on board and paid the $18Usd Corkage on 12 of them and it was still much cheaper to do this than get 2 drinks packages. We only had a couple of beers during the day from time to time and drank wine with our dinner each evening and occasionally in our room and had a cocktail/beer after dinner a few times plus the odd coffee - with the cost of our Alcohol purchased before boarding and all other drinks we still only spent about $650Usd. We made use of the free water refill at the Lido bar. The Itinerary was fabulous as we got to see parts of Australia we had never visited before and the parts we loved we will visit again. We haven't cruised a lot before and found the continuous up selling a bit annoying but you can always say no. The entertainment was just ok. We spoke to some people who said it was average and others who thought it was ok. We didn't do any shore excursions as we have been to some of the places and hired a car and did our own thing in other places so I cant comment other then to say we thought they were expensive. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2018
Many lovely happy and pleasant dining and cabin crew. Food was really excellent. We tend to use the Lido more but the dining room was good too. Enrichment programs did not meet standard of previous cruises with HAL either in subject ... Read More
Many lovely happy and pleasant dining and cabin crew. Food was really excellent. We tend to use the Lido more but the dining room was good too. Enrichment programs did not meet standard of previous cruises with HAL either in subject matter or knowledge and standard of some presenters. Nor did the port presentations by HAL staff or the evening entertainment (with one exception) meet our previous experiences. Many very elderly passengers on board which did slow shore excursions down. Idea of having cooking demonstrations by Australian chefs was excellent although only one class by each of two chefs wasn't enough when you consider America's Test Kitchen is on most days on other ships. Chefs included interesting recipes using Australian produce. Some port tours were very good but tours which simply go to the shopping area in Margaret River WA and to quite uninteresting sites on Eyre Peninsular need reviewing. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2018
I chose this cruise as we wanted to start in Sydney, spend Christmas and New Years on the ship and visit the west side of Austalia; get to see ports off the beaten track. The staff is amazing and go above and beyond to be friendly and ... Read More
I chose this cruise as we wanted to start in Sydney, spend Christmas and New Years on the ship and visit the west side of Austalia; get to see ports off the beaten track. The staff is amazing and go above and beyond to be friendly and helpful. The excursions are very expensive and we always book privately or rent cars, join other cruise critic members on smaller and less expensive (by far) excursions. The one excursion we booked with HAL was a zodiac boat tour of Kuri Bay and was so disastrous, we were given our money back. The food is good, but not exceptional. I find it greedy that there is already a helfty surcharge at The Pinnacle (considering the cruise has already been paid for), but you have to pay extra to upgrade to lobster or have an extra main. The entertainment was inconsistent - either good, only a couple were exceptional, nonexistent or really bad. The onboard naturalists and historian were very interesting and I really enjoyed the EXC portion of the cruise. I found tendering good and exiting the ship at ports efficient. Overall we found the cruise very enjoyable but HAL has certainly cut corners in places perhaps they shouldn't. It should be noted that the Maasdam is clearly 3* not 4* rating, so if you pay for 3* you're getting you're money's worth. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2018
We choose this cruise ship because of its very interesting itinerary. It stops at all ports in New Zealand and most of the Sothern/western Australia. We booked both segments, one 13 days from Auckland to Sidney and thence 16 days to Perth. ... Read More
We choose this cruise ship because of its very interesting itinerary. It stops at all ports in New Zealand and most of the Sothern/western Australia. We booked both segments, one 13 days from Auckland to Sidney and thence 16 days to Perth. But we made an error to book into a 29 days journey on a 25 years old boat, a small ocean liner by today's standard. In my mind, the age and the size by themselves is not a problem, giving HAL is known for its great service and food. Well, how wrong we are. Our ordeal started immediately upon boarding. On the surface, the ship had a cosmetic makeover and our stateroom is pretty updated and we do not have a complaint about it, even it is an inside cabin, room 744, on the lowest passenger deck, deck 4. However, the devil is in the details. My major complaint, and it is real, is that I got locked in a toilet in the Ledo Deck men's public. That bathroom is divided into two sections, the toilet and the uraine stall plus the washing sink. between them there is a sliding pocket door, that public bathroom has no emergency alarm bottom as the other public bathrooms do. HAL did not bother to install a new sliding pocket door when they renovate the ship most likely it is expensive and involves opening up the structure which may affect integrity. So, not only it will not latch, but when I got into the toilet side, the door got stuck and I could not open the door after using the toilet. I am physically a very fit person, I tried everything I could to either open the door or tried to signal my wife who was reading a book only 20 feet away out side on a lounge chair. Because the structure of the door and the bathroom, my phone could not receive any wifi signal and my bang on the wall or door was not heard. Finally, after struggled for 15 minutes, some one came in to use the bathroom and was able to call a crew member to release the door. I was saved. I did report the incident to the front desk immediately. The lady at the desk was kind enough to accompany me to the bathroom the examine the pocket door, Of course, by that time, the crew had "repair" the door so it opens and close properly. I know it will fail again, if it is not replaced or disabled. In the few days after the incident, no warning sing was posted on the door. Only after a week or 10 days after, I saw the door had been disabled by the management. Apparently, there are enough incidents in that bathroom similar to my experience. My bad experiences on this ship did not stop with the incident. Bad management shows every where in my 29 days with the cruise. Here are a few major ones that I can echo most of the problems from the people I have talked to and my own obersercation. 1. The quality of the cooking. Please note that I am NOT complaining about the food ingrediances, but the cooking. With few exceptions, the food are very well overcooked. That includes, almost all the fish, sea food, vegitable and meat. My wife incidentally met the chef and compalint about the over cooked fish, so it did improve after 10 days of hard "rock fish" meals.She failed to mention that "rubber band" asperigus knife cannot cut through, so we stopped to order any thing that has asperigus in it. You get the same thing over and over every day in Ledo buffet, the main dining room has more veriety, but because of the cooking, most of the time, it is not a very enjoyable dining. I've heard rave reviews for the hamburger joint next to the pool, but we are not a fan in hambergers and those high salt conent greesy french fries. 2. Lack of entertainment. From MANY four-five HAL stars(over 200 days on HAL) curisers including the lady at the future cruise desk who represented HAL told me that this cruise had cut back entertainment and replaced it with EXC or enrichment talks. It was such a boring ship, there is no music on the ship during the day, lots lots of "talks" or EXC presentations and movies. Its like a dead ship. After 6pm, some "entertainment" is provided, but everything is like from the stone ages. Music is from the 70's or older, good singers on stage are few and far in between, "Avita" was provided three times. Piano bar is handled by only the same person for the entire 29 days from 8-close, he is over worked and ran out of voice. The lone comedian gave the same "jokes" night after night, even after "new material" was announced one night. However, people flock into the theater 1/2 hour before the show starts because there is nothing eles to do on the ship. The Library has the most crowd because it has the most game and book to kill time. 3. Over priced excursions. You can find the same excursion from other providers at half or third of whats offered. I am so sorry that we did not know that the members of the cruise critic have organized excursions on this ship, but you live and learn. All in all, I will not join HAL again given the knowledge that HAL and Carnival, its parent company, had severly cutting corners in recent years. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
Enjoyed H.A.L some time ago and decided to join friends on this 12 night cruise around New Zealand and to Norfolk Island. Most of the cruise en counted bad weather for the time of yearn around New Zealand. Well we never got to land on ... Read More
Enjoyed H.A.L some time ago and decided to join friends on this 12 night cruise around New Zealand and to Norfolk Island. Most of the cruise en counted bad weather for the time of yearn around New Zealand. Well we never got to land on Norfolk Island , the swells too big, a shame but nothing you can do to change that. The ship has H.A.L. new E.X.C. ,we were not a fan of this as it cuts done the amount of entertainment on the ship. Staff told us this is the only ship in the fleet with EXC and it appeals to limited folk from what we heard from others. The ship had only 972 on board this cruise and as it takes 1250 , tender times were good for the most part. Entertainment was very limited and some sub standard.The Cruise Director seemed to do everything with no helpers. The ship is old , but staff excellent in all departments. Our first cabin 545 had so many noises (sounded like steel on steel in the outside wall) we could not sleep.We were moved to 555 , this also had unacceptable noise ! We were then shifted to 556 which was fine apart from the shower control. Dining Room and Buffet both had cheerful and excellent staff as was the cabin staff.. Not 5 star by any mean,s , not even a fridge in the cabin, however the ship is kept clean and tidy by the crew at all times (with a smile) Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2018
We wanted to go to Norfolk and it was on the itinerary so chose this cruise over others because of that mainly. It also went to other places we were interested in and so we saved our money and booked it. We traveled to Norfolk but ... Read More
We wanted to go to Norfolk and it was on the itinerary so chose this cruise over others because of that mainly. It also went to other places we were interested in and so we saved our money and booked it. We traveled to Norfolk but couldn't disembark as it was too rough. Talking with others was interesting as apparently the chances of getting onto Norfolk are about 2/7. We felt totally cheated and believe strongly this port should come with a warning so people can make an informed decision before paying. From the very start we were disappointed in things and by the time the cruise was half over all we wanted to do was go home. Having been on two other cruises with two different companies we had scope to compare our experiences and expectations with. There was no welcome aboard drink or even a welcome aboard except from the cabin stewards who were wonderful. Our cabin, 640, was really noisy and while part of this was vents in the passage that we were told were needing some adjusting (but it wasn't ever done) no-one could explain what caused the loud humming which seemed to come from the outside of the ship. After complaining four times over six days we were finally moved to 643 which was on the other side of the ship and it was blissfully quiet. The entertainment was really poor when it happened at all. Far too little to do on this ship and what there was really had limited appeal. The food in the Lido buffet was boring and the same things over and over again and the one time there were fresh stir fry veges they were gone in a flash. The waste was huge and you would think someone would start to question why this was happening. Excursions were way over priced and one we went on was triple the price Joe Public would pay. We learned to find our own on shore excursions and to be paying what it was actually worth. The price for bottled water was prohibitive as was the alcohol and then there was the 15% extra on top. The shops and casino were empty a huge amount of the time and that wasn't surprising when the cost of shop items was looked at. The staff stood around and looked totally bored which they probably were. There were some pluses though. Disembarkation was smooth and fast. It was a real plus. The Cabin Stewards were totally fabulous and the other crew were great as well.Cabin stewards always spoke to us as if they really cared and they knew our names. They couldn't be faulted. The Room Service was fabulous and the bowl of fruit in the room was really appreciated. When we chose a time for our morning coffee it was delivered on time and by such friendly crew. Absolutely fabulous service. Even with the positive things we would never travel with this company again. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2018
We cannot travel far from home at the moment due to family commitments so the 12 day around NZ was ideal. The boarding in Auckland was the easiest I have ever done and basically we just walked onboard with a few ID checks and the key card ... Read More
We cannot travel far from home at the moment due to family commitments so the 12 day around NZ was ideal. The boarding in Auckland was the easiest I have ever done and basically we just walked onboard with a few ID checks and the key card issuance. The ship was not full, about 900 passengers when she will take 1200, so there was a real feeling of space. We stayed in the Neptune 043 suite and loved it - heaps of room, a balcony to die for and nicely appointed throughout. This also gave us access to the Neptune Lounge, which I initially doubted we would use much, but as it turned out we became addicted to our quiet time in there with a decent cup of coffee and some nice snacks. It also came in handy when work intruded on the holiday and I needed something printed out and then scanned - this was the easiest I have ever managed to do this at sea. The food was of good standard - although a bit cold at times in the LIdo, service was faultless throughout and the activities were all well organised. The only criticism is that they seemed to be 'short' an act or two; there was no main production troupe so no dance shows and a couple of the entertainers they had were asked to do two or more shows, and quite frankly their material was not strong enough for this. Despite this, we felt entertained (mostly) and there was a really happy, friendly feel to the cruise, all the passengers were smiling and always ready for a chat over food, and the trivia teams were always happy to let others join in when they didn't have a full quota. Jonathon, the cruise director did an excellent job running these and just about any other entertainment. John in the piano bar was fabulous and the stools around his piano were always filled with people who had drunk enough to think they could sing (including us). Great fun there at night. We missed one port (Norfolk Island) due to rough weather and questions were asked as to whether ships should even go there as the success rate is not good apparently, but the captain circumnavigated it and took us off to see another island (no landing), and the tour charges were quickly refunded in full with no fuss. I would travel again on the Maasdam, she is probably not the newest ship out there but we enjoyed the layout and found everything we wanted. The shopping was a bit limited compared to others - not everyone wants high end jewellery, but this is minor and probably saved us some money. Read Less
Maasdam Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.1
Dining 3.0 4.0
Entertainment 3.0 3.7
Public Rooms 4.0 4.3
Fitness Recreation 3.0 3.7
Family 3.0 3.7
Shore Excursion 3.0 3.7
Enrichment 4.0 3.6
Service 4.0 4.5
Value For Money 4.0 3.9
Rates 4.0 4.1

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