Berlitz Cruising & Cruise Ships 2017 (Berlitz Cruise Guide) (2016)
Ship: 346 out of 500
Accommodation: 141 out of 200
Food: 247 out of 400
Service: 281 out of 400
Entertainment: 68 out of 100
Cruise: 263 out of 400
Overall Score: 1346 out of 2000
Size: Mid-size Ship
Cruise Line: Holland America Line
Former Names: none
IMO Number: 8919257
Builder: Fincantieri (Italy)
Original Cost: $215 million
Entered Service: Dec 1993
Registry: The Netherlands
Length (ft/m): 719.3/219.3
Beam (ft/m): 101.0/30.8
Draft (ft/m): 24.6/7.5
Propulsion/Propellers: diesel-electric (34,560kW)/2
Passenger Decks: 10
Total Crew: 557
Passengers (lower beds): 1,266
Passenger Space Ratio (lower beds): 43.8
Passenger/Crew Ratio (lower beds): 2.2
Cabins (total): 632
Size Range (sq ft/m): 186.2-1,124.8/17.3-104.5
Cabins (for one person): 0
Cabins (with private balcony): 150
Cabins (wheelchair accessible): 6
Wheelchair accessibility: Good
Cabin Current: 110 and 220 volts
Casino (gaming tables): Yes
Slot Machines: Yes
Swimming Pools: 2 (1 w/sliding glass dome)
Hot Tubs (on deck): 2
Self-Service Launderette: Yes
Dedicated Cinema/Seats: Yes/249
Onboard currency: US$
This ship has Dutch-style decor for mature-age cruisers
Overview. Holland America Line (HAL) constantly fine-tunes its performance, and its regular passengers, almost all North American, find its ships comfortable and well-run. HAL continues its strong maritime traditions and keeps its vessels clean and tidy, although the food and service components still let the rest of the cruise experience down.
The Ship. Maasdam is one of four almost identical ships, along with Statendam, Ryndam, and Veendam. Although the exterior styling is rather angular (some would say boxy - the funnel certainly is), it is softened and balanced somewhat by the black hull. There is a full walk-around teak promenade deck outdoors - excellent for strolling, and, thankfully, there’s no sign of synthetic turf. The sunloungers on the exterior promenade deck are wood, and have comfortable cushioned pads, while those at the swimming pool on Lido Deck are of white plastic. There is good passenger flow throughout the public areas.
In the interiors of this ‘S’-class ship, an asymmetrical layout helps to reduce bottlenecks and congestion. Most of the public rooms are concentrated on two decks, Promenade Deck and Upper Promenade Deck, which creates a spacious feel to the ship’s interiors. In general, the interior styling is restrained, using contemporary materials combined with traditional woods and ceramics. There is, thankfully, little glitz anywhere.
Some $2 million worth of artwork was assembled and nicely displayed to represent HAL’s fine Dutch heritage and to present a balance between standard itineraries and onboard creature comforts. Several oil paintings of the line’s former ships by Stephen Card, a former captain, adorn stairway landings. Also noticeable are the fine flower arrangements in the public areas and foyers - used to good effect to brighten up what to some is dull decor. Atop the ship, with forward-facing views that wrap around the sides, is the Crow’s Nest Lounge. By day it is a decent observation lounge, with large ocean-view windows; by night it turns into a nightclub with extremely variable lighting.
The atrium foyer is three decks high, although its light-catching green glass sculpted centerpiece (Totem by Luciano Vistosi, composed of almost 2,000 pieces of glass) makes it look a little crowded, and leaves little room in front of the front office. A hydraulic glass roof covers the reasonably sized swimming pool/hot tubs and central Lido area - whose focal point is a large dolphin sculpture - so that this can be used in either fine or poor weather.
This ship has a large, relaxing Leyden Library, a card room, an Explorer’s Lounge (good for afternoon tea and after-dinner coffee), an intimate Piano Bar, and a casino. The casino features gaming tables and slot machines. However, note that part of the casino is open, and passers-by can be subject to cigarette smoke (yes, smoking is still permitted), so non-smokers should hold their breath.
HAL’s many repeat passengers seem to enjoy the fact that social dancing is always on the menu. In the final analysis, however, the score for this ship ends up a tad under what it could be if the food and food service staff were more memorable - more professional training might help.
Niggles? An escalator travels between two of the lower decks, one of which was originally planned to be the embarkation point, but it is almost pointless. The charge to use the washing machines and dryers in the self-service launderette is petty, particularly for suite occupants, who pay high prices for their cruises. The men’s urinals in public restrooms are unusually high. Sadly, the ship is now looking decidedly tired and dated, like the towels.
Accommodation. The accommodation ranges from small interior cabins to a large Penthouse Suite, in 17 price categories. The interior and outside standard cabins have twin beds that convert to a queen-size bed, and there is a separate living space with sofa and coffee table. Although the drawer space is generally good, the closet space is very tight, particularly for long cruises, although more than adequate for a seven-night cruise. Bathrobes are provided for all suites and cabins, as are hairdryers, and a small range of toiletries. The bathrooms are quite well laid out, but the tubs are small units better described as shower tubs.
On Navigation Deck, 28 suites have accommodation for up to four. These have in-suite dining as an alternative to the dining room, for private meals. These are spacious, tastefully decorated and well laid-out, and have a separate, good-size living room, a bedroom with two lower beds that convert to a king-size bed, dressing room, plenty of closet and drawer space (walk-in closet), marble bathroom with Jacuzzi tub, and separate toilet/washroom with bidet.
Penthouse Suite. The largest accommodation, this is located on the starboard side of Navigation Deck at the forward staircase. It has a king-size bed and vanity desk; large walk-in closet with superb drawer space; oversize whirlpool bath (it could seat four) and separate shower enclosure; separate washroom with toilet, bidet, and washbasin; living room with writing desk, large TV set, and full set of audio equipment; dressing room; large private balcony (with teak lounge chairs and drinks tables, dining table, and four chairs); minibar/refrigerator; and a pantry with large refrigerator, toaster unit, full coffee/tea-making facilities, and food preparation area. There’s a separate entrance from the hallway, a guest toilet, and floor-to-ceiling windows.
Dining. The Rotterdam Dining Room, spanning two decks, is located aft. It is quite large, and has a grand staircase, panoramic views on three sides, and a music balcony. Both open seating and assigned seating are available, while breakfast and lunch are open seating - you’ll be seated by restaurant staff when you enter. The waiter stations are very noisy for anyone seated near them.
Other dining options. The 66-seat Pinnacle Grill is located just forward of the balcony level of the main dining room on the starboard side. It serves Pacific Northwest cuisine such as Dungeness crab, Alaska salmon, halibut, and other regional specialties (reservations needed, cover charge applies). A Bulgari show plate, Rosenthal china, Riedel wine glasses, and Frette table linen are used. The Pinnacle Grill is a much better, more relaxed dining experience than the main dining room and worth it for that special celebration.
For more casual evening eating, the Lido Buffet is open for casual dinners on all except the last night of each cruise, in an open-seating arrangement. Tables are set with crisp linens, flatware, and stemware. A set menu includes a choice of several entreés. It is also open for casual breakfasts and lunches. Again there is much use of canned fruits and packeted items, although there are several commercial low-calorie salad dressings. The beverage station lets it down, for it is no better than those found in family outlets ashore in the United States. Additionally, a poolside ‘Dive-In at the Terrace Grill’ features signature burgers, hot dogs, and fries.
Passengers have to use the Lido Buffet on days when the dining room is closed for lunch, which is typically once or twice per cruise, depending on the itinerary.
Entertainment. The Showroom at Sea, in the forward part of the ship, spans two decks, with banquette seating on both main and upper levels. It is basically a well-designed room, but the ceiling is low and the sight lines from the balcony level are quite poor. The production shows are passé, but individual cabaret acts are sometimes good.
Spa/Fitness. The Ocean Spa is located one deck below the navigation bridge at the very forward part of the ship. It has ocean views and includes a gymnasium with all the latest muscle-pumping exercise machines, including an abundance of treadmills. There’s also an aerobics exercise area, large beauty salon with ocean-view windows to the port side, several treatment rooms, and men’s and women’s sauna, steam room, and changing areas.