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  #1 (permalink)  
Old July 28th, 2003, 10:49 AM
Jan R.
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Default Tell me about the Rotterdam VI !

I'm booked on the Rotterdam VI out of NY in May 2004. I would appreciate any info regarding this ship.

We've sailed with HAL before (Westerdam in '98 and Veendam in '99) and were very pleased with the ships and service. But it's been 5 years. Any noticable changes?

Also, can someone please give me a straight answer regarding tipping on HAL?

Thanks for your help !

Jan R.
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  #2 (permalink)  
Old August 8th, 2003, 05:09 PM
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Location: Brooklyn - Dyker Heights-Bay Ridge - NYC By The VZ Bridge
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Default Re: Tell me about the Rotterdam VI !

Hello Jan R. (Fellow Cruiser)

I think that we may both be on the same cruise next year.

Could you tell me are you going to be perhap's on the May 17th or 27th, 2004, Rotterdam VI to the Caribbean?

I would like to give a rundown on the Rotterdam VI which we took this year to the Caribbean 12 day cruise on Mother's Day in May of 2003.

We have been dedicated Cunard Cruisers on the QE2 till this year when my wife and I joined my parents on it for the first time. Last time was in the 80's on the Rotterdam V.

I are very much sold on the ship after the 3 day of 12 and knew we wanted to return possibly on something in the future and will next 5/27/03 to the caribbean.

Please tell me which one and I can definitely give you my first and lasting impression of the ship and the cruise.

We were suppose to about 3-4 years old be on the Westerdam with a AAA Travel group but cancelled to due death close in the family, but heard it was great.

We do have very go feeling about HAL and also of the ship. Yes, there are circumstances that happen on all cruises but I believe that they can be resolved by the staff onboard.

Hope to hear from you.

Ed S.
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  #3 (permalink)  
Old August 11th, 2003, 08:36 AM
Jan R.
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Default Re: Tell me about the Rotterdam VI !

Hello Ed,

Thanks for your reply. My husband and I are booked on the 5/17/04 sailing and we are really looking forward to it.

Tell me about the service? We were always impressed by HAL service but were wondering if it has changed over the past few years.

We agree with you that things can happen on any cruise. The few minor problems we've encountered were always handled promptly and courteously by the staff, both on HAL and Celebrity. I think the key is how we approached the staff. For the most part, all it took was a pleasant attitude, a please and a thank you, to get a satisfactory resolution.
Not all passengers may agree with our approach, but we find it works well.

What was the average age group on your last Rotterdam cruise in May? My husband and I are in our 40's and on our last 10 day HAL cruise, we were the youngest by about 30 years! This age gap may bother some, but it didn't bother us at all.

And what is your opinion about the food? Both at dinner and the buffet? Did you try their specialty restaurant?

Any additional thoughts, observations or opinions (good and bad!) you may want to share about the Rotterdam would be greatly appreciated.

Again, thanks for your reply and I look forward to hearing from you.

Jan R.
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  #4 (permalink)  
Old August 12th, 2003, 01:18 AM
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Location: Brooklyn - Dyker Heights-Bay Ridge - NYC By The VZ Bridge
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Default Re: Tell me about the Rotterdam VI !

Dear Jan R.

I also thank you for your response.

I will be responsing to you in about 2-3(4) days. I want to gather all the information right and give you concide blow by blow details about our cruise and experiences to benefit you knownledge. I am very good at retaining information for future reference.

I will also cover all your questions and other subjects.

Yes, about the service, the ship, the food (the different meals) and the different restaurants especially the new Odyssey Restaurant which had been renamed.

We are booked on the 5/27/2003 and are already eager and looking forward to the next cruise especially on the Rotterdam particularly.

I feel bad that you will be coming off the ship in NYC when we will be heading to the pier to board and not get a chance to hear your response until our return. But that's the fun of the message board to interchange experiences and opinions ( Good & Bad ).

The next email I will address the problem(s) that we encountered and how they were addressed by the Front Desk.

By the way, do you know your room assignment?

We have requested and have been assigned the same room as in May 03 thru our AAA agent thru HAL and it's been confirmed (Vernad Deck 6106/6101). You can do this if you contact the company fast and early. Funny, we were concerned after 9-11 which we both personally experienced up close on that day in Lower Manhattan and the potential military action in Iraq pending if we wanted to book a cruise this year. We did book very very late and these were the only two left on that deck and lucky we got them and love them very much and were hoping to return to them one day.

We both are in our very early 50's. At the beginning we felt that we were the youngest one's onboard. Quite a number of people were boarding with canes and also priority boarding with wheelchairs. But later on we did see other's that were our age and even younger but not that many. It was to early for childern since school was still in session on the mainland. But, those Senior Cruisers did teach us thru our observations that they were young at heart especially at night in the casino and also the many...... dance floors. They really lifted their feet.

Please allow me once again time to gather and review my information that I brought home from the ship and create a interesting email that will hopefully inform you of the ship you will be boarding on 2004.

One thing that I must add....... what I will be telling you is what we experienced on the 5/03 cruise can possibly change by the time you and I will be boarding our individual cruises in 2004. I will be hoping & praying that it will remain the same and be a repeat of this years so we can both enjoy what I observed and experienced.

I will be monitoring this and other cruising internet message boards from now till near the cruise date to see others impressions and experiences which will inform me of any changes. I suggest you may also may wish to do so.

Till my next extensive email,
Regards,
Ed & Bev S.



Post Edited (08-12-03 21:40)
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  #5 (permalink)  
Old August 12th, 2003, 02:03 AM
SF Sharon
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Default Re: Tell me about the Rotterdam VI !

"can someone please give me a straight answer regarding tipping on HAL?"

Yes. Reward the excellent or very good service you will likely receive at the end of your trip by putting cash into the white envelopes that are located at the Front Desk, and put the name of the person you wish to tip on the envelope. This should include AT THE LEAST the following people: your waiter, your assistant waiter and your cabin steward. You can also include a note or make a note on the envelope thanking them if you wish, and give the envelope personally to the waiters and either give the envelope to your cabin steward or leave it on your pillow (BEFORE THE BED IS TURNED DOWN on the final evening). If you order beverages regularly from the same person (e.g. in the dining room), figure out what the tip would have been if it had been added to your bar bill as on other cruise lines), tip that person as well, whether the beverages were alcoholic or non-alcoholic. If you bring children, tip for the service they received, also.

Holland America will not give you any guidance about the AMOUNT to tip, but in your disembarkation talk you will hear about HAL's tipping policy (our cruise director read a letter from the head office), comment cards, etc.

If you need guidance about amounts you might wish to tip, you can take a look at several other cruise lines' brochures and adjust the amounts to what you feel is appropriate.
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Old August 12th, 2003, 08:05 AM
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Default Re: Tell me about the Rotterdam VI !

Dear Jan R.

I would like to send this information to your personal email address if you would like to share it, as we may wish to exchange questions and answers with this information.

Would like also keep in contact till the cruise date come close. If I get nay new information thru the internet or my agent I would past it on to you.

Did you book thru a travel agent, HAL or AAA? I know that HAL do give breaks to Mariners. U can also get breaks thru AAA. They get blocks of rooms and sometimes give pretty breaks on trips when they initate a contract for the trip. When we were on the last cruise we had about 4 AAA groups from NY-LI, Mid Atlantic, NJ and also another one I can't remember.

Working on the information for you.

Regards,
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  #7 (permalink)  
Old August 14th, 2003, 11:42 AM
Jan R.
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Default Re: Tell me about the Rotterdam VI !

Thank you SF Sharon for your response.

On my last HAL cruise in '99, I don't remember them ever offering white envelopes for gratuities.

However, that may be because I took HAL at their word when they said "no tipping required" and never bothered to look for them....duh. What can I say? I was new to cruising back then.

Now I know better and will be sure to seek them out and follow the same tipping guidelines used on other lines.

I'm with you. I often include little notes thanking my cabin attendant, waiter etc. along with the gratuity. And I'll be sure to do this on my next HAL cruise as well.

I only wish HAL would change their policy and include gratuities for their bar service. I find it much more convenient and it assures me that the server gets a proper tip. I know alot of folks like it the way it is, but I find it doesn't diminish the quality of service at all. But that's just my opinion.

Thanks again!

JanR
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  #8 (permalink)  
Old August 17th, 2003, 07:51 PM
GENE7
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Default Re: Tell me about the Rotterdam VI !

TO ALL,

The Rotterdam VI Is one of the better ships in the HAL. My wife and I sailed on her twice .Both times we crossed the Atlantic , the northern route and the southern.
We toured both times with her, once in Europe and once in the Med. before the crossings. You will enjoy her for her wonderful features including some of the best art that I have ever enjoyed on a ship. The food was very good at all times and service excellent.


Concerning tipping ; we Tip the cabin steward, our waiter, his assistant and all we feel who gives great service. We keep some cash to tip the waiter in the reservation dining room after each meal.Also If you use the spa and
you receive special attention one should tip there. How much? We know for certain that Holland America personel are paid much more than others paid on ships who require set tipping. Back to how much, it varies with how well we are treated.
Holland America DOES NOT have a no tipping policy as many ads. claim. They have a NO REQUIRED TIPPING POLICY, a big difference!! Tip when you are given GREAT SERVICE.
Envelopes are to be had at front desk.

I perfer they keep the no required tipping policy for it does insure better service and it places HOLLAND AMERICA a notch above the required tipping cruise lines.

By the way we have sailed 304 days on Holland America ships We LOVE HAL.!!

You all have a great sail! GENE7
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  #9 (permalink)  
Old August 23rd, 2003, 11:49 AM
SF Sharon
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Default Re: Re: Tell me about the Rotterdam VI !

JanR, you're welcome. :-)

As for tipping spa personnel, I do that only for superior service, and I think it would be better if we take further tipping comments to a thread about tipping, such as "HAL's tipping policy may be changing".

I would really like to know more about the Rotterdam VI, and how she compares with the rest of the fleet, especially the Amsterdam.
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