We had a terrible cruise on the Rotterdam. We endured banging noises in our cabins which got worse at night making restful sleep an impossiblity. There was such a strong smell of rotten garbage in the cabins and even up in the lounges that we felt nauseated. They seemed to have problems with temperature control in cabins and lounges - we saw people with blankets wrapped around them sitting in lounges and we couldn't adjust the temperature in our cabins. You could turn the dial, but it didn't make any difference in the cabin temperature.
There were problems with the telephone message system and the wake-up call system. The toilets stopped working at one point. The carpeting and the windows were filthy. The crew and officers were sullen and often seriously impolite, to the extent that we even had doors slammed in our faces on two occasions. Food service in the dining room was very slow. On the night when the Baked Alaska was served, which is usually quite a production on cruise ships, some waiters were serving the Baked Alaska long before the parade of waiters began. Our Baked Alaska was sitting so long that the ice cream was mostly melted and we were served tiny servings to make the dessert stretch to serve everyone at the tables our waiter served.
There was no enforcement of no-smoking regulations. We saw a high ranking officer standing talking to a man who was smoking at the opposite end of the deck from the smoking area and no request was made for the man to put out his cigarette. Some foods were stale and near the end of the cruise, the ship ran out of some foods. There were unruly young children (not teenagers) whose parents obviously were not told to keep the children under control or even to make sure that they were not left wandering alone on the ship.
Preferential treatment was given to one group of passengers, which created a negative environment on the ship. It was like sailing on a run-down, poorly maintained old garbage scow. We spoke with several passengers who, like us, have sailed on other Holland America ships and they commented that this ship doesn't live up to the reputation of HAL ships.
To add insult to injury, when we wrote to the President of the cruise line to outline our concerns about the cruise, we received a letter stating that they were “thrilled” to hear about our cruise experience. I would have been appalled if I were responsible for this cruise line, but as a past passenger I'm insulted by the response of this cruise line to our concerns.