This was Susan and my first cruise.But after we have tried Carnival and RCCL.I have read other reveiws and thought it was time to tell our thoughts on the Maasdam.On the whole the experience was great.The Maasdam staff was awesome group of people who all bend over backwards to please the guests.My wife being a filipina was glad to see so many of her country mates on the Maasdam.
The food in both the Lido and the formal dinning room was very good,and wait staff was excellent.Shows were good but the elderly age of the guests was, on looking back ,a little boring at times.Things to do are less on HAL ships,later in the evening.We meet a few younger couples and had fun with them,on board and off.
The best thing about cruising is meeting new people and food,we belive.
After comparing the other ships to the Maasdam,some problems need the attention of HAL.I have read in other reveiws about the biggest problem aboard Maasdam,atleast with us.We were literally frozen alive in our stateroom.The entire section around #706,was the same.No heat only AC air.We ended up getting a roll of duct tape and blocked all but a small section of vents to stay comfortable.This was the way it was the whole week.And the free bottle of wine(Turnig Leaf)was a far cry short of compensation for this hugely negative situation.Many other reveiws have mentioned the same problems with the room AC/ heat.
The HAL private island was great and food was the same good quality as on the ship.We missed Grand Caymen due to the captain feeling it was to bad of weather,even thou five other cruise ship guests said ,it was no problem.We talked to Zaandam guests on the HAL island,the last port of call on the Western Caribbean trip.This was a big disappointment to us.
The Maasdam needs to be dry docked and upgraded and refurbished after eleven years now, of wonderful service.Untill that has been done I would never take this ship ,again.I hope other vessels in HALs fleet this old do not have similar problems.But we are not going to ride the older ships in any fleet,if dry dock refitting has not been done.The price is not worth the risk.HAL is a great vacation at a descent cost,but the older ships need work.We are planning to take the HAL Panama cruise this year.We prey the ship is better than the Maasdam experience,MAINTANENCE wise.Still on the whole we prefer HAL over Carnival on any ship.To many lower crust drinkers on the "FUN SHIPS",for our interests.If you are middle aged(48,me)or prefer the slower paced cruise ,you can not loose with HAL.If you prefer the party animal mind set ,difinately try Carnival or NCL,they cater to the youth crowd.
Have fun and keep sailing!