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HAL Maasdam - Jan 4-18



 
 
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Old January 23rd, 2013, 03:12 AM posted to rec.travel.cruises
[email protected]
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Posts: 375
Default HAL Maasdam - Jan 4-18

Background Information: My husband and I are in our mid 70s. I booked
this cruise because there were three places it was visiting which I
had not been to before - St. Barths, Grenada and Bonaire. We have
cruised on this ship before - we were back to back on the Maasdam in
2006. We like the ship. We drove to the cruise because my husband
does not like the hassle in the airport. This also meant that I could
take as much luggage as I wanted for no extra charge and I could take
my scooter which I need because I have difficulty walking the
distances required even on a small cruise ship.

Travel To Port of Embarkation: We drove from Maryland to Ft.
Lauderdale. We left on Jan 1st and did about 350 miles a day. We did
not stop to sightsee or visit. Just straight down I-95 instead of
byroads like we usually do. I had the hotels we are stopping at on
the GPS and the GPS just had I-95 on it for miles and miles and didn't
talk to us hardly at all. So we listened to NPR where possible.

Hotel Info: The night before, we stayed in the Hilton Garden Inn which
has a tour package. Breakfast, free parking for the cruise and a
shuttle to and from the port. The Hampton Inn apparently has a
similar package which may be cheaper, but it was farther away from the
port. We had the 11:00 shuttle. When we checked in with the shuttle
guy, he gave us two stickers to wear, and two more for the shuttle
back to the hotel, and also gave us a number to call if there was no
shuttle there. At 11:30, the luggage including my scooter were loaded
into a trailer and we were on our way to the port by 11:35.

Embarkation: Check-in was pretty quick as there was a special check-in
desk for Wheelchair and Special Assistance. We were able to go to our
room right away - by 12:30. We talked to our room steward later, he
has 31 rooms to do. For the lifeboat drill, they didn't tell us that
we didn't need to take our life jackets until we were all already out
on deck. Bob looked and said that the only people with life jackets
were the crew, so we didn't take ours. They put me on the scooter
back against the wall and people were put in front of us so I couldn't
see anything except the bottom of our lifeboats. I could definitely
hear as the loudspeaker and whistles were earsplitting.

Stateroom - We have a Lanai room on the Lower Promenade Deck and I
had thought I might be able to get out onto the Promenade Deck from
our room with the scooter. But the Lanai door has a lip of about 4"
and no ramp so it would be hard to get the scooter over it. The
scooter hangs up on all the thresholds out to the deck anyway - the
ramps are too steep. We have two reserved deck chairs outside our
room and the two mats for the chairs were in our room. The door is
mirrored on the outside. I went out on deck through our lanai door to
take pictures of the sail-away. To get back in there is a white
plastic card which you have to hold up to a sensor and when the light
is green (and it is very hard to see), you can quick open the door. It
is a VERY heavy door. A weaker woman than I am would not be able to
open it. I enjoyed being able to get out on deck quickly, but did not
make much use of our reserved deck chairs. Bob didn't care for it and
he never used that door.

The bed was made up as a king, and there wasn't enough room for me to
get the scooter past it to the other side of the room so we moved one
of the night tables over under the desk and shoved the bed over. That
made enough room for me to come in and park by the bed, although I
don't have an easy time getting to the nightstand or out of bed. We
ran an extension cord from the desk under the bed to my side of the
bed to plug in the power strip (for the scooter and computer). I
eventually put the phone on the floor next to the bed as I had other
uses for the nightstand. There was a small couch on the same side as
the bed, and on the other side is the TV, with the ice bucket under it
and the desk. The TV had Fox News on it which pleased Bob. We've moved
the chair from the desk over next to the couch because of the
nightstand under the desk. There are only two drawers in the two
nightstands and three more in one of the closets which also has the
safe in it. We had a safe which was opened with a number instead of a
credit card like last time. There are two hanging closets and we had
plenty of hangers, and one more with shelves. The steward kept the
room clean and the ice bucket filled and made us towel animals, even
though he had so many rooms to do. A couple of times he didn't get to
us until after we were back for dinner.

The bathroom had a tub and I asked for a shower chair so I could sit
and use the handheld shower, but they said it would be a safety
hazard. I think getting into and out of the tub is the hazard - not
sitting on a stool in it. I also had a real hard time getting the
shower to give me water that wasn't too hot. The bathroom had shelves
where Bob could keep his razor plugged in. He had his pill keeper
also on that side. I had mine on the other side, but the soap dish
was there, and it kept getting wet, so I moved it to the bottom shelf.
It is really nice to have a door that we can just open and it stays
open without having to put a chock in it. Bob opens the door and then
stands in the hall so that I can get out without running over anyone.
The same with the bathroom door. It opens out flat and stays stuck to
the wall rather than swinging.

Ship Info: There was no problem with being able to get an elevator
which I had to do with the scooter as I couldn't use the stairs -
unlike the last two ships I have been on (Princess was the worst for
this). After dinner we went up to the computer cafe. I hadn't been
able to sign on because I was to use the name that I was registered
under, but I was registered as RosalieAnn and I had to sign in as just
Rosalie. We had good internet access in the room although occasionally
I would lose the connection and then I could not log off. I found
through trial and error that I would have to reboot the computer in
order to log off. We were opposite one of the laundry rooms, but it
was out of service for the entire cruise. I think they were having
trouble with their ship laundry as the washcloths did not seem to be
really white in the beginning.

The Explorer used to have a handy little one column list that you
could fold and put in your pocket. Unfortunately that list has gotten
fat (2 columns) so it isn't as much use anymore. Also it never said
what dining room would be open for breakfast and lunch. After we went
to the wrong place once, we knew, but it was annoying the first time
because with a scooter we couldn't just run up a flight of stairs.

Dining: There was no way I could do the Lido on a scooter. If I was
lucky enough to get food, I would have no place to put it on the
scooter. I had to find a table and my husband had to guess what I
would want and bring food. On previous HAL ships, the staff has been
helpful when people are handicapped and having trouble, but that was
not the case here. Only once did someone offer to help, and we not
offered tea or water at the table. Also there were long lines at the
server stations, especially for ice cream. People would not be able
to decide even though there were only three or four choices. So we
never ate in the Lido if there was any other option.

We had Anytime Dining because there was a large Jazzsea group on board
and they took all the early dining slots on deck 8 and late dining is
too late for us. We got to the dining room every night just before 5
and always had nice table companions and good service and never had to
wait. Sometimes when we finished there were long lines waiting. We
did not go to the Pinnacle and couldn't even tell where the other
extra price dining room was - it wasn't on the ship deck plan. We did
get pizza from the grill once.

Food was generally good and Bob only ordered the anytime salmon about
twice. He liked the fish dishes, but he was annoyed to get a
non-cocktail sauce (with horse radish) for all the shrimp dishes. He
was only able to get the sauce he wanted once. I did get tired of the
fancy food - there is no need to spice up meatloaf with salsa. I was
able to have cranberry juice at breakfast until the last two days when
they ran out. But we had brought some of our own just in case, so we
had that. I loved the bread pudding in the Lido. I liked most of the
cold soups.

Activities: I didn't go swimming on the ship, and we didn't do any of
the other activities except trivia. We did Trivia a couple of times
and even won once, but the prizes are just pins now and not really
useful or attractive. Our table mates had gone up for the free foot
analysis, so we decided to do that. The guy said I was putting too
much pressure on my big toe and wanted to sell us some shoe inserts.
But I did not like them and returned them.

The Cruise Critics meeting was quite interesting. They gave us
coffee, tea, water and Bloody Mary's, cookies and pastries. The head
cook and the hotel manager and the guy who does the scheduling and the
cruise director were there.

Service: Good to excellent. Not so good in the Lido. Sometimes small
mistakes in the main dining room. Room steward was excellent. We did
have a problem with the toilet - it kept filling and wouldn't stop.
And there is no floor drain in the bathroom so Bob had to keep
flushing it every minute or so to keep it from overflowing into the
room. I called the front desk, and after a couple of non-answers, I
got Hoda and she said she would be right up. I walked out and opened
the door to the hall and there she was running up the hall. Within
about 5 minutes she had someone shut off the water, and then in 15
minutes she had the plumber replace the valve and all was OK again.

Entertainment: They had a good port lecturer and we could get his
lectures on the TV but we couldn't see the visuals that he had or not
much of them. The port shopping person and the excursion person also
had their presentations on the TV. We were able to hang out and watch
some of the Jazzsea performances which were excellent and we bought
some of their CDs. We didn't go to any of the shows, although the
sight lines are MUCH better than they were before - you can actually
see from all the seats.

Other: I heard other passengers coughing. And Bob got a cold after
about 4 days and gave it to me. (no fever and no stomach problems just
a runny nose and cough) He was finally coughing so bad I sent him to
the doctor. He hasn't gotten any better.

Disembarkation: Dis-embarkation went well. We had breakfast in the
dining room and about 9 our number and color was called. (They wrote
the color which was good as Bob thought we were Blue 2 and we were
really Purple 2). I rode the scooter off. They didn't even look at
the declaration form. We did have a problem getting our luggage to
the shuttle because there were almost no porters. We were told to go
to the door where they come in to get one or else someone else would
snag them.The shuttle was there waiting for us and took us right into
the parking lot where our car was parked.

Excursions - next
  #2  
Old January 23rd, 2013, 05:03 PM posted to rec.travel.cruises
Jo Tambornino Chayer
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 24
Default HAL Maasdam - Jan 4-18

wrote in message ...

Background Information: My husband and I are in our mid 70s. I booked
this cruise because there were three places it was visiting which I
had not been to before - St. Barths, Grenada and Bonaire. We have
cruised on this ship before - we were back to back on the Maasdam in
2006. We like the ship. We drove to the cruise because my husband
does not like the hassle in the airport. This also meant that I could
take as much luggage as I wanted for no extra charge and I could take
my scooter which I need because I have difficulty walking the
distances required even on a small cruise ship.

Travel To Port of Embarkation: We drove from Maryland to Ft.
Lauderdale. We left on Jan 1st and did about 350 miles a day. We did
not stop to sightsee or visit. Just straight down I-95 instead of
byroads like we usually do. I had the hotels we are stopping at on
the GPS and the GPS just had I-95 on it for miles and miles and didn't
talk to us hardly at all. So we listened to NPR where possible.

Hotel Info: The night before, we stayed in the Hilton Garden Inn which
has a tour package. Breakfast, free parking for the cruise and a
shuttle to and from the port. The Hampton Inn apparently has a
similar package which may be cheaper, but it was farther away from the
port. We had the 11:00 shuttle. When we checked in with the shuttle
guy, he gave us two stickers to wear, and two more for the shuttle
back to the hotel, and also gave us a number to call if there was no
shuttle there. At 11:30, the luggage including my scooter were loaded
into a trailer and we were on our way to the port by 11:35.

Embarkation: Check-in was pretty quick as there was a special check-in
desk for Wheelchair and Special Assistance. We were able to go to our
room right away - by 12:30. We talked to our room steward later, he
has 31 rooms to do. For the lifeboat drill, they didn't tell us that
we didn't need to take our life jackets until we were all already out
on deck. Bob looked and said that the only people with life jackets
were the crew, so we didn't take ours. They put me on the scooter
back against the wall and people were put in front of us so I couldn't
see anything except the bottom of our lifeboats. I could definitely
hear as the loudspeaker and whistles were earsplitting.

Stateroom - We have a Lanai room on the Lower Promenade Deck and I
had thought I might be able to get out onto the Promenade Deck from
our room with the scooter. But the Lanai door has a lip of about 4"
and no ramp so it would be hard to get the scooter over it. The
scooter hangs up on all the thresholds out to the deck anyway - the
ramps are too steep. We have two reserved deck chairs outside our
room and the two mats for the chairs were in our room. The door is
mirrored on the outside. I went out on deck through our lanai door to
take pictures of the sail-away. To get back in there is a white
plastic card which you have to hold up to a sensor and when the light
is green (and it is very hard to see), you can quick open the door. It
is a VERY heavy door. A weaker woman than I am would not be able to
open it. I enjoyed being able to get out on deck quickly, but did not
make much use of our reserved deck chairs. Bob didn't care for it and
he never used that door.

The bed was made up as a king, and there wasn't enough room for me to
get the scooter past it to the other side of the room so we moved one
of the night tables over under the desk and shoved the bed over. That
made enough room for me to come in and park by the bed, although I
don't have an easy time getting to the nightstand or out of bed. We
ran an extension cord from the desk under the bed to my side of the
bed to plug in the power strip (for the scooter and computer). I
eventually put the phone on the floor next to the bed as I had other
uses for the nightstand. There was a small couch on the same side as
the bed, and on the other side is the TV, with the ice bucket under it
and the desk. The TV had Fox News on it which pleased Bob. We've moved
the chair from the desk over next to the couch because of the
nightstand under the desk. There are only two drawers in the two
nightstands and three more in one of the closets which also has the
safe in it. We had a safe which was opened with a number instead of a
credit card like last time. There are two hanging closets and we had
plenty of hangers, and one more with shelves. The steward kept the
room clean and the ice bucket filled and made us towel animals, even
though he had so many rooms to do. A couple of times he didn't get to
us until after we were back for dinner.

The bathroom had a tub and I asked for a shower chair so I could sit
and use the handheld shower, but they said it would be a safety
hazard. I think getting into and out of the tub is the hazard - not
sitting on a stool in it. I also had a real hard time getting the
shower to give me water that wasn't too hot. The bathroom had shelves
where Bob could keep his razor plugged in. He had his pill keeper
also on that side. I had mine on the other side, but the soap dish
was there, and it kept getting wet, so I moved it to the bottom shelf.
It is really nice to have a door that we can just open and it stays
open without having to put a chock in it. Bob opens the door and then
stands in the hall so that I can get out without running over anyone.
The same with the bathroom door. It opens out flat and stays stuck to
the wall rather than swinging.

Ship Info: There was no problem with being able to get an elevator
which I had to do with the scooter as I couldn't use the stairs -
unlike the last two ships I have been on (Princess was the worst for
this). After dinner we went up to the computer cafe. I hadn't been
able to sign on because I was to use the name that I was registered
under, but I was registered as RosalieAnn and I had to sign in as just
Rosalie. We had good internet access in the room although occasionally
I would lose the connection and then I could not log off. I found
through trial and error that I would have to reboot the computer in
order to log off. We were opposite one of the laundry rooms, but it
was out of service for the entire cruise. I think they were having
trouble with their ship laundry as the washcloths did not seem to be
really white in the beginning.

The Explorer used to have a handy little one column list that you
could fold and put in your pocket. Unfortunately that list has gotten
fat (2 columns) so it isn't as much use anymore. Also it never said
what dining room would be open for breakfast and lunch. After we went
to the wrong place once, we knew, but it was annoying the first time
because with a scooter we couldn't just run up a flight of stairs.

Dining: There was no way I could do the Lido on a scooter. If I was
lucky enough to get food, I would have no place to put it on the
scooter. I had to find a table and my husband had to guess what I
would want and bring food. On previous HAL ships, the staff has been
helpful when people are handicapped and having trouble, but that was
not the case here. Only once did someone offer to help, and we not
offered tea or water at the table. Also there were long lines at the
server stations, especially for ice cream. People would not be able
to decide even though there were only three or four choices. So we
never ate in the Lido if there was any other option.

We had Anytime Dining because there was a large Jazzsea group on board
and they took all the early dining slots on deck 8 and late dining is
too late for us. We got to the dining room every night just before 5
and always had nice table companions and good service and never had to
wait. Sometimes when we finished there were long lines waiting. We
did not go to the Pinnacle and couldn't even tell where the other
extra price dining room was - it wasn't on the ship deck plan. We did
get pizza from the grill once.

Food was generally good and Bob only ordered the anytime salmon about
twice. He liked the fish dishes, but he was annoyed to get a
non-cocktail sauce (with horse radish) for all the shrimp dishes. He
was only able to get the sauce he wanted once. I did get tired of the
fancy food - there is no need to spice up meatloaf with salsa. I was
able to have cranberry juice at breakfast until the last two days when
they ran out. But we had brought some of our own just in case, so we
had that. I loved the bread pudding in the Lido. I liked most of the
cold soups.

Activities: I didn't go swimming on the ship, and we didn't do any of
the other activities except trivia. We did Trivia a couple of times
and even won once, but the prizes are just pins now and not really
useful or attractive. Our table mates had gone up for the free foot
analysis, so we decided to do that. The guy said I was putting too
much pressure on my big toe and wanted to sell us some shoe inserts.
But I did not like them and returned them.

The Cruise Critics meeting was quite interesting. They gave us
coffee, tea, water and Bloody Mary's, cookies and pastries. The head
cook and the hotel manager and the guy who does the scheduling and the
cruise director were there.

Service: Good to excellent. Not so good in the Lido. Sometimes small
mistakes in the main dining room. Room steward was excellent. We did
have a problem with the toilet - it kept filling and wouldn't stop.
And there is no floor drain in the bathroom so Bob had to keep
flushing it every minute or so to keep it from overflowing into the
room. I called the front desk, and after a couple of non-answers, I
got Hoda and she said she would be right up. I walked out and opened
the door to the hall and there she was running up the hall. Within
about 5 minutes she had someone shut off the water, and then in 15
minutes she had the plumber replace the valve and all was OK again.

Entertainment: They had a good port lecturer and we could get his
lectures on the TV but we couldn't see the visuals that he had or not
much of them. The port shopping person and the excursion person also
had their presentations on the TV. We were able to hang out and watch
some of the Jazzsea performances which were excellent and we bought
some of their CDs. We didn't go to any of the shows, although the
sight lines are MUCH better than they were before - you can actually
see from all the seats.

Other: I heard other passengers coughing. And Bob got a cold after
about 4 days and gave it to me. (no fever and no stomach problems just
a runny nose and cough) He was finally coughing so bad I sent him to
the doctor. He hasn't gotten any better.

Disembarkation: Dis-embarkation went well. We had breakfast in the
dining room and about 9 our number and color was called. (They wrote
the color which was good as Bob thought we were Blue 2 and we were
really Purple 2). I rode the scooter off. They didn't even look at
the declaration form. We did have a problem getting our luggage to
the shuttle because there were almost no porters. We were told to go
to the door where they come in to get one or else someone else would
snag them.The shuttle was there waiting for us and took us right into
the parking lot where our car was parked.

Excursions - next

Rosalie thank you for this part of your review...looking forward to the next
part

Jo


 




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