Disembarkation Denied for Amsterdam!

I am booked on the Zuiderdam on April 22 for the transatlantic repositioning cruise that ends in Copenhagen.     

I requested that we be able to disembark the ship in Amsterdam two days early and was surprised to learn that the request for disembarking at that port has been "waitlisted". With this request being made seven weeks prior to sailing, I was shocked to learn that there even was a limit on the number of disembarkations. We have air travel booked from Amsterdam to Milan on May 8 and have made vacation plans to spend two weeks in Italy. The thought that we might not be able to disembark in Amsterdam absolutely never crossed my mind. 


We have over 300 days of cruising over the last 17 years and I have never heard of such an allocation! A Customer Service agent at Holland America told me that the number of disembarkations is determined by the local port authorities and that HAL has no control over that number.  She explained that the port authorities set aside  a certain amount of time to do the disembarkations and therefore limit the number. In my opinion, the agents should be present for as long as it takes to process ALL PASSENGERS who wish to disembark the port! I would expect that Holland America might put forth more effort try to resolve this unfortunate situation on our behalf but, so far, I  have not heard back from their "Ombudsman". We have been approved to disembark in the Zeebrugge on May 7 in case Amsterdam simply will not allow us to disembark at their port. This means we will have to miss one additional day of our cruise and find a hotel for the night as well as take the train to Amsterdam all because the port authorities can't be troubled to process two additional disembarkations!  This is seems absolutely outrageous to me! Has anyone had a similar experience and what was the outcome?



Tags: Europe - Northern Europe Amsterdam Netherlands

15 Answers

Unfortunately, you are dealing with Government entities, not corporate entities. The cruise line can only do so much.

Have you tried appealing to the local port authority to see if they can guarantee that you may disembark there?

I personally have not had this issue. The only time I needed to leave a ship early was a family emergency and was able,to get off the ship. However, this was in an American port. I have heard about the ports limiting the amount of people disembarking from a port that in not the termination of the cruise.

DBRebel is correct, it is the port authority’s decision and the cruiseline has very little they can do. Hope it all works out for you.

I hadn't either until our last cruise we ran into a similar situation: Here is what happened, not sure if the fault was due to local immigrations or the cruise line: "Cruise involved one sement of a world cruise, 47 ports, five segments, 111 days. We originally purchased the second and third segments, 49 days. The third ended in Dubai. I had arranged and paid for air transport back home from Dubai when I first booked, about 11 months before embarkation. Our flight left at 9:30 AM in the morning of our second day in port at Dubai. That turned out to be a bad assumption and mistake. Unfortunately, Princess said we couldn't get off the ship that day that early since our flight left before 11:30 AM. After much discussion, Princess allowed us a "cruise deviation" under which we could get off early. They provided us no help or advice as to how to get off but did offer a lot of worrisome suggestions, like: "You are on your own" and "It is up to you to arrange with immigrations at that country when you get off our ship". So we canceled the second segment.

OldGreyWolf: Yes, I contacted the Port Authority of Amsterdam and did receive an initial response the next day (still waiting to hear from HAL). The reply in Dutch (thank goodness for Google Translator) said they will give a definitive answer by April 20, two days before we leave on the cruise. I'm hoping to hear from them sooner than that as I don't think this request requires anything really time consuming on their part. Just a simple "yes" or "no" but, being "government", all bets are off as to if or when I will hear from them again!

Actually, not just a simple decision on their part -- they have to find if any personnel are available to work that location, will it require overtime pay, do they have the funding for overtime, etc.

Very interesting. I didn't realize there was so much behind the scenes and beforehand that needs to occur for early debarking. You can learn a lot when you lurk. Big Smile

HPScottie - welcome to the forum. Hope everything works out.

BDRebel: I understand your point. However, they will be processing a certain number of people off the ship and, really, how many more above their "quota" would result in overtime or documentable expense? Many folks on this cruise are continuing on to the Baltic for another 10 days. There can't be that many more people who want to disembark in Amsterdam like we do. I would think they would want to disembark as many as they can in order to boost their local economy.

Good luck HPScottie. I hope things resolve on this one for you.

HPScottie - don't get me wrong, I am hoping you are able to fulfill your plans.

I just want to make sure that, since you are working with the government, they have their own rules and are not necessarily dependent on the opinions of the "customer".

I do not pretend to know the reasons the government makes the choices they do, but when their decision is made it is difficult to get them to change it.

(Another guess would be that they have a quota system allowing X number of passengers entry into their country).


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