A great reputation is a wonderful thing only if you live up to it. When we book our cruise for July 20th on the Rotterdam we were told by our travel agent and past cruisers it would like no other cruise we had taken. The service would be fantastic, the food incredible, in short the "trip of a lifetime."
We were disappointed. The service was below average, the food good but average, the check-in line hot and long, the cabin unprepared.
If we had expected average maybe we would have satisfied. But we expected more of HAL. From our experiences Princess is a better choice and Renaissance is as good.
In fairness the other passengers we spoke with said HAL has always been much better. The repeat costumers should not have apologize for the short comings of the cruise they are on!
I was on the same cruise# 7004 other than the anemic Broadway shows we had the best time of our lives. Been on 9 (only once before with Holland ) and found the food service penthouse excursions to be very well done. What happened?? Did you miss the volcano????
We sailed on the Rotterdam VI to the Mediterranean and had a fabulous cruise. Everything was certainly well above the other cruise lines. The room (more spacious), food, service, amenities, etc. were superior. It was the fourth cruise on Holland America and it remains our favorite, of the 12 cruises we've taken. Our next is Scandinavia/Russia August 2003 on Royal Caribbean (fifth with them); however, we're looking for something "spontaneous" to take on Holland America before then. What a shame you had a bad experience. I certainly wouldn't give up on them.
We were on the same cruise. For the first two days I kept thinking, "They weren't ready for us." This was especially true of the cabin steward. He was efficient, but not outstanding. The leather bound book of general information, stationery, etc. didn't even appear until the 3rd day! We never did get laundry and dry cleaning bags. (which was OK because we didn't even use the service.) Then things seemed to settle in. Our dining room stewards never introduced themselves, but gradually loosened up and by mid-cruise were quite friendly. Their service was impeccable, however. Interestingly, the worst service we had was in the "specialty restaurant". The manager was quite haughty and the waiter just plain bad news. He continually reached in front of me to serve my daughter.
Speaking of my daughter (age 18+), she liked being able to go into the Crow's Nest. On Princess, the disco-type nightclub was only open to the 21+ crowd.
On the plus side, we loved the Rotterdam and all the deck space. Found it much superior to the Dawn and Sun Princesses, which we took to the Caribbean. We especially liked all the small, intimate gathering areas and lounges, and the fact that the Lido restaurant had trays. We also thought the variety in the Lido buffet was better than Princess' Horizon Court. We thought HAL did a much better job with shore excursions. They also got our documents to us much earlier than Princess had. Our prime reason for choosing this cruise was the itinerary and we were not disapointed. On our next cruise we will most likely consider HAL again, even though this one wasn't perfect. But then what in life is?
I was on the Aug 13th cruise after you. I would have to agree with you. I was on my honeymoon and in a mini suite and expected to be pampered beyond belief. Our cabin steward hardly ever saw us and didn't do anymore than if you were staying in a hotel. We did enjoy the pool on the aft deck but the service out there was awful also. We ended up getting to know one of the employees on the boat and found out some behind the scenes going ons. One was that the Hotel Manager (manager of all customer service) was on his way out in September and that he only did things exactly by the book which meant no going above and beyond. My parents are on the same cruise right now and so far are haveing a wonderful time but there is also a new hotel manager on board. I have heard the same thing as to not give up on HAL so I think our next is going to be the Alaska cruise.