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sailedonlyonce September 22nd, 2002 01:31 PM

Alaska sept14 average
Hello all,
I have read these boards for months getting ready for our cruise. A once in a life time cruise, S class suite and all to Alaska. We chose Holland because of reputation and service. We found this cruise only to be average in our opinion and others near us in the 7000 cabins as well. I can't even tell you the name of our cabin steward because we rarely saw him, and he did a very bad job at keeping our cabin clean. I asked him to remove some rotten fruit from our room, he said he would do it at night when he was going to bring the "new" fruit basket. We were shocked that he didn't remove the fruit imediately. The cabin steward was by far the most negative experience!
I would also like to let others know that the dress on this ship was VERY casual. They even let one man come to dinner in shorts. They did stop him at the door, but did let him come into the dinning room and eat. About 30% of people wore jeans on all but the formal night. Even the formal night there were many in just a jacket and no tie. I bought extra slacks for the trip...I could have saved money and not purchased them.
Meals! All evening meals were GREAT! and the service of the wine steward and wait staff was great. The Leido however was always croweded and you could tell they were trying to cut costs. One morning a half hour before breakfast was closed, they ran out of scrambled eggs. Five of use all wanted some and the server said simply we are out. One vetran cruiser requested they make more and the server said they they are closing soon and could not. I was shocked as were others in the service line. We went early and late for breakfast and never found a time that we could find seating. Many people wondering around with trays trying to find a table. We most days, took our food down to our room and had breakfast their.
We are glad we went to alaska and chose Holland mainly because if this was "GRAND" service I would hate to think of the service others get on other ships. The Ports were nice and tours great as well. (I would however book my own tours next time. Holland charged $98 for a $30 tour. We had heard you could do much better ashore, but we wanted to have the tours we wanted and we paid the price for a guarantee.)
My wife and I saved a long time for this trip and came away feeling like we didn't get what we paid for. If I were to do it again, I would NOT spend the money for the S class, I would get a veranda suite instead. I would also plan on booking my tours ahead of time or on shore. One thought we had, as we would like to go back to Alaska, is taking the Alaska ferry system next time.
I hope that this helps anyone who is taking a "cruise of a life time". I know that our cabin steward issue was a unique one, as our table mates all had grand service in this regard. I just don't know what else we could have done to motivate him. Alaska is worth seeing and if you are going this year or next have a grand time. I hope that this post puts atleast some concerns to rest for other first time Alaska cruisers.

Sept 14, 2002

SANDRAMARTINEZ September 23rd, 2002 02:20 AM

Re: Alaska sept14 average
I am sorry to hear that you were not happy with the cabin service. What was your cabin number? I will be in Suite 7002 on the 28th Zaandam to the Inside Passage and hope that I do not have your cabin steward!

Grandma8 September 23rd, 2002 11:36 AM

Re: Alaska sept14 average
We were on that same cruise, although we did not have an S suite. We had a verandah mini-suite and it was comfortable. The verandah was adequate in size and I don't think we would ever cruise without on. First crusie for us also. Our cabin steward was also NOT good. First thing we found was a 'dead' croissant wrapped in a dinner napkin and left sitting on the counter. Don't know how he missed that. We managed to spill a soda on the verandah first evening. Called for service and 90 minutes later our steward showed up and said he would clean it later when we went out of the cabin. One day he left damp towels (too damp to use). Sometimes our cabin was not cleaned until after 11:30 a.m. We also had a rotten orange but he NEVER removed it or replaced the fruit bowl. His name was Sahri. It may have been his first experience as a steward as I understand this is not typical service. We tipped him anyway but not sure what others would do in this situation??? Other than that we enjoyed the cruise. Did the renewal of vows ceremony and that was wonderful, much more intimate than we had anticipated. Will write a review and post as soon as I get caught up at home!

sailedonlyonce September 23rd, 2002 12:37 PM

Re: Re: Alaska sept14 average
well i'm sorry to say but if the stewards keep the same rooms, you will have our steward. His name was something we couldn't pronouce, but he went by Wan. You might try just being VERY specific with him we tried but didn't work too well. Maybe Wan was having a bad week, but from Gammy's post, maybe they are having problems with stewards. Tipping......We had left him a marginal tip, however we ran out of toilet paper the last morning, and Wan came to our door at ten minutes to 7 saying "you need to leave now". We hadn't even had our breakfast delivered yet, and the boat hadn't even docked. Needless to say we left our cabin and went straight ashore at around 8:15 am....the first numbers called. Wan was the only person we did not tip well on our cruise. I hope you get Dandan as waiter or Bernard as wine steward, two of the kindest people we met on the cruise. Bernard may be doing Marco Polo wine that week, he said they rotate up there. Oh, also you should make reservations for the Marco Polo this was a nice night for us as well. But like original post ,we had good food throughout our trip.
Take the train trip in Skagway! you can either book it on board or buy it ashore for about 1/3 the is worth doing at either price. We also did the nature walk in Juneo this was nice as well. Our table mates did the rafting, a mid 60 year old couple and they said it was nice, wear warm clothes for that they said.
Just another thought don't worry about the elevators and stairs being close to your room. The suites are sound proof....we didn't hear any hall noise, and only an occasional toilet flush from the next suite. Grammy can tell you as well we had several nights of bad weather, and MANY passangers were ill, and many of the crew as well. They even tried to airlift a passanger off the ship, and couldn't because of weather. Take meclazine, or call down to the main desk for the chewable tablets if you need. They were called sea-calm and worked very well.
Gosh as I read this, I don't want to scare you off, you will have a good time! The steward thing can be worked around I think or if it is really bad you could call the manager. (we didn't ,but should have I guess) I had an omelet most mornings in Lido, and seating being the only issue there, but you are a VERY short walk to take your tray back to your room if you so desire. We also enjoyed the extensive video collection they had, and watch several movies durring sailing days. The evening performances were good, and the view from the Crows nest was great for an afternoon cocktail.
I hope you have a good time on your cruise and enjoy the ports of call.
One hint, don't arrive at vancouver port too early, we did thinking we could get on teh boat early. They started boarding around 2pm. With your suite, you will have preferential embarkation so no need to sit waiting to board.

Dizy September 23rd, 2002 02:49 PM

Re: Re: Alaska sept14 average
This definitely is not the service one expects from HAL cabin stewards. Any we have had have been wonderful.

Did either of you speak to the Chief Housekeep or the Hotel Manager? If not, you should have done this immediately.

Usually the cabin stewards who are assigned to look after the Suites and/or Mini-Suites have been witht the company for a long time and are not "newbies".

Hope you mentioned this in your Questionaire. These are read by the Hotel Manager, who highlights good and bad points on each of them and then has a meeting with the Department heads and goes over each and every form. I have personally seen this being done.

Grandma8 September 23rd, 2002 03:04 PM

Re: Re: Re: Alaska sept14 average
No, we did not complain to the hotel manager, but we did make mention of our concerns in the survey. I could tell from observation that the stewards (generally) work very hard and, this being our first cruise, had nothing to compare to. I wouldn't want to cost someone his job or a reprimand unnecessarily. I forgot to mention that we tipped him $10.00 right up front when we spilled the soda and asked for a couple of extra wash clothes. Maybe he thought that was all he was going to get?!?! I thought he would see we were generous people and would respond in kind. Oh well, live and learn. I still had a wonderful trip and would do it again (on HAL) in a minute.

lougee1043 September 23rd, 2002 08:25 PM

Re: Alaska sept14 average
this sounds nothing like our aug 3 sail on the zaandam to alaska. cant believe the comments --if i experienced them i dont know if i would sail hal again.

sailed-- just wondering-- if you were in a full suite why werent you having breakfast and lunch in the kings room-- which is set aside for suite passengers only?????? im sure you had an engraved card in the room informing you of this feature as well as all of the other suite only functions on board

as others posted- did you make your comments known to housekeeping-- the front desk etc

most tours do cost more when booked directly through the cruise line but they do come with certain guarantees- you know in advance that you have space reserved. also, the ship will not sail without all the ship booked tours returning to the ship.. if you book on your own and the tour is late the ship could sail without you

regarding the potential of seasickness- i would suggest that you buy bonine an over the counter drug and start taking one on the day you fly and every day during your cruise- even if its a shore day. no side effects and it will make your life easier

sailedonlyonce September 24th, 2002 01:08 AM

Re: Re: Alaska sept14 average
What card in the room? Our steward didn't even show us our room or how to use the shower and tub which is not stright forward, but simple to figure out. We didn't know about the Kings room until about the 4th day of the cruise, when we were havning lunch in the main dinning room, and our matride' (spelling) asked why we were not eating in the Kings room. I can't even tell you the times that it was open, it was truely news to us. I guess we really didn't realize how bad the steward was until about 2 days into cruise, and we should have addressed the issue with the manager, but we were ashore and we just didn't. The only notice we had about any suite class perks was in the front of the notebook left at the bedside. It talked about dry cleaning service being free, we did use that to get clothes pressed and cleaned. There was nothing special about this book it was old and also listed the movies availalbe to barrow from the front desk. I guess no one explained all that was provided with the suite class, we did get invited to an indian lunch in Marco Polo, I guess that was a perk.
I was told that about the tours ashore, however there was plenty of time in each port to arrange even late day tours, except Juno I think. I was simply trying to inform others, as my post indicated, we were pleased with the ones we took.

:( Sound Like I need to try again, and know all that I paid for, we simply figured that was the way it was.

Post Edited (09-24-02 01:13)

Brad Krewson September 24th, 2002 07:19 PM

Re: Alaska sept14 average

We went on the Alaska cruise (7 Days) in 2000. We also had a suite. They showed us to our room. We had a small white card on our dresser telling us about the King and Queen dining room. (We had the King room) On this card it had times for breakfest and lunch hours. Also , throught out the cruise we were invited to a coctail party with the Capitain. Also we were invited to a lunchen with the Capitain and his crew in the crows nest. As you said you get free dry cleaning and both of us flowers on the first formal night.
It is too bad your TA tell you about the perks with a suite. We were advised by our TA and the steward left us information on all the dates and times on our dresser.

We sailed on the Zaandam ship also.

It was too bad you did not know about these perks sooner.

I hope your next cruise is better


Suki October 2nd, 2002 10:20 PM

Re: Alaska sept14 average
All you Zaandam cruisers -

How very disappointing. Hopefully you have all written (or plan to) HAL Customer Service in Seattle spelling out your horror stories - reporting them on board is one thing and, to a degree is good - BUT - nothing beats a letter to Head Office. I personally do not have total confidence in the 'end of cruise questionnaire' route!

Believe me, what you experienced is not the norm. As for 'things' overlooked, never picked up - I'd have dumped the offending items in the garbage can and then moved that to the hallway...together with the soggy towels - I would then have phoned the Front Desk and reported my action and the reason for it.

It does (very infrequently, in our experience) happen that all Stewards are not completely fluent in English - but they do really try. I have problems with their names, never mind any kind of conversation in their language. Wonder if they greeted you by name.

In all fairness, regarding things being unavailable at breakfast, did you by chance always arrive 10 or so minutes before the stated closing time? Those fellows are limited as to the time when lunch must be available......the early risers appear the moment the curtain is open - sometimes they are even lined up ........waiting. We're all guilty sometimes of expecting the impossible.

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