June 2014 - Statendam to Alaska - Gulf of Alaska
My family and I sailed on the Statendam from Vancouver to Vancouver by taking the north and southbound trips back-to-back on June 29. We've cruised with Holland America many times, and they've traditionally been one of our favorite lines because of the professional, warm service they provide. But this ship isn't well-maintained.
There were some high spots. Haines and Seward were terrific ports; they remain relatively unspoiled and let us enjoy some of Alaska's natural beauty. The room and dining stewards embodied the high standards of service that have long characterized HAL.
But there were too many low spots. The ship is plagued with plumbing problems. Some of the public restrooms were frequently out of order, but the bathrooms on our hall (Main Deck, 5) were out of commission for significant periods of time (4-6 hours) at least 4 days. The air conditioning didn't cool the room, either. While stewards provided extra ice and a fan, but the a/c was frequently turned off while we were docked, and some nights there was little to no air circulation. Remember, this was in Alaska--I'd hate to see it in a warmer climate. Repairs were made multiple times, but there were so many problems that it seemed that the overwhelmed crew was playing whack-a-mole. No sooner was one issue solved than another came up.
If it had just been our cabins, that would've been unlucky but manageable. It seemed that some of the elegance that had characterized the line has faded. It's lots of little things. The windows in public areas were badly smeared and sprinkled with paint on the exterior (you notice these things during multiple sea days), so it was harder to enjoy the scenery; bar service was inconsistent--sometimes we'd wait over half an hour just to order a drink, and it wasn't unusual to see uncleared tables; and it feels like cost cutting (no more hor'dourves in the bars; worn furniture in the public areas; fewer middle level managers supervising staff; no special music on formal nights) has taken its toll.
While repairmen were frequently dispatched (for us and throughout the ship), we never received an acknowledgement of our concerns from the hotel manager, and that added to our frustration. We knew not to expect all the bells and whistles that the newest ships provide, but we've sailed on ships that were older, and we've never experienced such inconsistency or so many maintenance issues.