tHE MAASDAM WAS 8 HRS LATE GETTING IN TO NORFOLK , VA ON 4-10-05, not sure why but the was some mighty steamed people at the pier waiting to board. I think she was then scheduled to leave around midnight,
I think any reasonable person will excuse delays and late arrivals for the unforseen problem or unexpected rough seas. However, when it is a frequent occurence for well over a year and the ship is very late arriving and departing on a regular basis, even after itinerary changes, then I think HAL has no excuses left to give its pax.
I had been very interested in this cruiseport when it was first announced, but would never book a Norfolk cruise now, knowing the Maasdam cannot comfortably complete the itinerary it has scheduled.
Maybe when the new cruise port is built they will be able to draw in some newer and larger ships instead of the older ships although engine problems (mechanical stuff) can happen to any of them. It sure is nice not to have to go far from home to take your cruise just hop in the car drive a few hours and you are ready to cruise. I hope it will all work out for the best!
Let's hope the Maasdam does not arrive too late into Norfolk; we are booked on the Maasdam, bound for New England @ Canada on May 12th. As it is, Celebrity's Horizon and Radisson's Navigator are pulling out of Norfolk this year.With the new terminal that is due for completion, let's hope that it makes it easier for all cruise lines that depart from Norfolk. I must admit it is nice to depart from Norfolk which is only ten miles from my home!
I was on the 3/31/05 Maasdam cruise which arrived back at Norfolk at 4:10 pm on 4/10/05 and yes, there was a problem with one of the engines and the captain had to shut it down. The seas were very rough that last night and the captain had to reduce the speed to avoid damage to the ship. So, we arrived very late to Norfolk. My husband and I waited two hours before our number was called to disembark the ship which was 6 pm. As we were walking to the awaiting buses we saw all the passengers up on the Nautilus covered deck standing there watching us. Believe me, both groups of passengers weren't too happy.
The Maasdam is an old ship which in my opinion should be retired. We are experienced cruisers with Holland America Line and have been on four of HAL's other ships and our belief is that this ship does not meet HAL standards and will do harm to HAL's reputation to say the least. My husband said he won't sail out of Norfolk in the future but will return to Florida to sail. By the way, our balcony cabin cost double the amount versus a balcony cabin on a HAL ship out of Florida. With this we received a cabin with a toilet that broke down for the first three days, the water was turned off for four hours the second day, the sink had a large crack right down the middle to the drain and the shower tub was moldy with thick caulking all along the edge. An old ship.
There are people who love the Maasdam - broken toilets and all. I can't overlook all of the many, many small details that a HAL ship is known for that were sorely lacking on this ship. If you who are reading this are also experienced cruisers and like and expect the excellence of what Holland America Line offers - go on a different HAL ship.
Yours was the only seriously late return - others were an hour or so later than scheduled - if you insist on returning exactly to the minute, I sugest you take a bus a few blocks -- and stay off the ocean. The San Juan visit has been shortened, so steps HAVE ben taken to remedy late returns. The Norfolk port is a great asset to those who want to avoid a three hour flight to Florida - anyone who sails should allow for a few hours slippage - only an arrogant twit would expect to sail a couple of thousand miles over a ten or eleven day period, visiting several ports (they would complain if there were fewer ports) and book a flight leaving two hours after scheduled return.
Get a life - enjoy the vagaries imposed by the open sea -- if you can't stand a little variation, you should limit your travels to those wicker chairs pushed along the Atlantic City boardwalk.
I'm with you, Geoff. One has to be flexible when they are on a cruise. One should focus on the excitement of seeing the various ports, meeting new people on the ship, enjoying the activities while at sea, and being generally positive about cruising. Cruising is what you make of it and a thing like a little delay in arriving at a port or returning from a cruise sometimes cannot be helped. I would rather a ship be a little late than to have engine trouble or to encounter rough seas!
I was also on the 3/31/05 Massdam Eastern Caribbean. This was my first experience with HAL, and it was wonderful. (I've posted a full review here.)
Everyone has a different experience. I personally did not mind being late, nor did I hear any complaints. They took care of the hotel and air change fees. Free cocktails too. I got 10 more hours of a great trip.