This is the third time we have sailed on the MAASDAM in the past 4 years. She is still a well cared for ship and will undergo renovation in the spring of 2006. We sailed the second half of the 35 day transatlantic roundtrip from Boston. We boarded at Rotterdam for the return trip to Boston. The unique itinerary was the primary factor in selecting this cruise. The countries visited included France, England, Ireland, Faroe Islands, Iceland, Greenland and Newfoundland.
The Indonesian and Philippine crew get high marks for friendly professional service for the entire 18 days. The crew's ability to consistently provide high quality service is remarkable and a testament to Holland Americas commitment to service aboard its vessels.
The food was consistently good with some interesting and exceptional entrees and desserts. I especially enjoyed the Indonesian dishes and looked forward to them throughout the voyage.
The passengers were mostly older so be prepared for walkers and wheelchairs.
The entertainment was typical with musical reviews, lectures and individual performers.
France: The port of Le Havre is about a 2 ½ hours bus ride to Paris. We took the excursion that took you to Paris for a sightseeing trip around the city along with lunch at a café. The experience was perfect for us and is recommended. We got to see the city in comfort with several stops for photos and the lunch. We were back at the ship in plenty of time and well relaxed. If you would like to see the city and worry about the limited time this would be the excursion to consider.
England: Plymouth is a large town and you can walk shop and see the sites. A continuous shuttle to town center and back was available at the pier as well as taxis.
Ireland: Cobh is a small town within an easy walk from the pier. The ship provided a number of excursions into the countryside, but we chose to walk the town, visit a flea market and take the local bus (1 Euro person) as it ran its 45 minute route ending up in the center of town. This is an inexpensive way to soak up local color and see the surrounding community.
Dublin is a large city and fun to walk around. We took the city tour then spent the rest of the afternoon shopping and walking around.
Faroe Islands: Torshavn is a small town with limited stores and things to see, but fun to walk. There are local taxis for hire and one small van that a group could hire. There are a few historic sites that you can visit and the taxi could be a cheaper way to go for a few people. Negotiate a price for the ride. We paid 45 dollars (plus tip) for the hour's ride for 5 of us, which is what the excursion was charging person.
Iceland: Akureyri and Isafjord are small towns with interesting vistas. We took the excursion to see the countryside at Akureyri and enjoyed the trip. Our guide provided a lot of information about life in Iceland. Isafjord sits in a beautiful fjord with limited stores etc. Take sweaters and warm clothing for Iceland and Greenland. The temperature was in the 40's for several days and people were buying sweaters and jackets.
Greenland: Prince Christian Sound was absolutely beautiful. We sailed all day through the sound on our way to Qaqortoq. Qaqortog is small with a tourist information center near the pier along with local people selling items of interest to the tourists.
Newfoundland: St. Anthony is small and there is nothing to see or do here. We were there on a beautiful sunny day but just walked around a bit. Cornerbrook is a larger town within a 15-20 minute walk from the ship. There are some fun stores and interesting scenery.
This was an enjoyable cruise with interesting scenery and ports of call that are seldom visited. I understand that the MAASDAM will repeat this itinerary in the summer of 2006.