March 2017 - Veendam to Panama Canal, Central America
After more than forty cruises, I feel that I know cruising quite well. The influence of the Captain is measureable in several ways: staff behavior, cleanliness of the ship, and general overall ambiance of the ship. It was clear that the staff is happy to be working on the ship. They were friendly, attentive and very quick to learn passengers' names. Service was very excellent. The room stewards were prompt and efficient. The ship was outwardly, fine.
Why then does the Veendam need help? The inner workings of the ship are not the greatest! The air conditioning is atrocious! People had industrial strength fans in their rooms...some eventually had rooms changed because of the situation. Hot water was sometimes not available. Three restrooms on one deck were out of order at the same time. Fire doors opened and closed at will one time, locking passengers in the casino, hallways and other smaller spaces for up to 30 plus minutes. The Captain was very calm and explained what was happening. From his question and answer session aboard ship, I felt he was totally aware of what a great crew he had, but he also made us aware of his abilities and training. I think that Holland America selected him to handle this shi[ that needs internal repairs because they felt his personality and ability would weather the storm, so to speak! And he did. His confidence and kindness showed in the attitude of his crew.
Holland America has always been know for its attention to the elderly and the handicapped...I'm both! Did I receive the same attention, yes. Did I observe waiters with more diners in their section than usual, yes also. Did I find out surreptitiously that room stewards had upwards of thirty rooms to clean per day, yes! What a sneaky way to keep cruise fares low! Nice going...Carnival...don't think we haven't noticed!