HAL needs fine-tuning and then some by MshaerSail date: / Traveled as: Couple
Ship: Nieuw Statendam
HAL Statendam 1. Nice stand-alone shower in our Neptune suite but where is the niche or at least a soap-dish to put a bar of soap or your own shampoo/conditioner? There’s a niche at the foot of the bath-tub. Of no use. 2. Breakfast ending @ 9:00am in Dining Room or Club Orange is too early. Anyone who eats breakfast after that, has to go to the buffet, which ends @ 10:30am. Beware all you late risers, they start closing stations in the buffet @ 10:15am. 3. Smoking policy needs to be redesigned and reinforced. Our breakfast on the balcony was interrupted by cigarette smoke wafting over from the next-door balcony. We complained and the Concierge knocked on their door to politely remind them smoking on the balcony wasn’t allowed. In contrast, on a recent Celebrity cruise, the same thing happened. Security, not Concierge,knocked on their door with a warning that if they did it again, they would be escorted off the ship at the next port. Celebrity also extended a $600 future-cruise Certificate to each of us, for the inconvenience. Other cruise-lines take their no-smoking policy more seriously. While in port in Jamaica on the Statendam, an announcement was made for smokers not to smoke on-deck as we were bunkering. Smoking should not be allowed on deck period. Rather, a designated area for smokers if you absolutely must. The Dutch cafe is mid-ship but the stench of cigarette smoke is noticeable as it wafts from the casino located forward. The casino had a “special event” no-smoking Wednesday. It shouldn’t be a special event. We even detected the smell of cannabis. This lax policing of smokers also creates a fire-hazard and leads us to not look at or cancel future bookings on a HAL ship. In fact I think I will cancel the Koningsdam in April and no longer leave an opening in our schedule for the Ryndam in 2021. We have 9 cruises booked through the next 2 years and that will now be on Crystal, Celebrity, MSC and Princess. 4. If Club Orange is offering exclusive dining in an upscale atmosphere to higher-end passengers, it fails miserably. Its cold and country-kitchen style decor is not sumptuous or elegant or in any way indicative of what one would hope-for or expect when paying to stay in a Neptune or Pinnacle Suite. To make matters worse, the food is terrible. Just today alone, the so-called “full-English”breakfast didn’t come close to the real thing. Blackish baked beans, a small hash-brown patty you find in any buffet and a small greasy fried-bread. At dinner, the shrimp cocktail had tiny shrimp unexpectedly soaked in mango sauce and was inedible. As was the anchovy in the Caesar salad, dripping in its canned oil and couldn’t be eaten. Club Orange doesn’t come close to other cruise-lines offering similar private-dining to its preferred customers. MSC and it’s Yacht Club, is just one example that stands in stark contrast to Club Orange. I could go on extensively but should ask a silly question. What’s with the seven (7) large TV screens in Club Orange that you would normally find in a sports-bar showing football or hockey? There was just one thing on all the screens throughout the two week cruise, the Club Orange logo 🤷🏼♂️ Regardless of what we ordered, it was always full of oil and grease. Even the vegetables. I kept having to wipe the oil off my lips. Three times I had to send the food back. Eating at the buffet is a better bet than eating in Club Orange. How sad is that 🥴 5. The lay-out of the casino needs to create more space around the tables for players and others to navigate freely and there needs to be more than just one $25 minimum-bet blackjack table. Instead there’s a bunch of $6 tables, which is strange in itself. Why not $5 and $10 minimum-bet tables instead, that coordinates better with chip denomination. 6. We arrived for embarkation and as my wife had broken her leg, she needed wheelchair assistance. Fortunately she was able to walk with the support of a cane, albeit very slowly. Just as well because she had to walk more than 200 yards to get to an available wheelchair inside the terminal. She was then expedited past main line-ups, along with other wheelchair users which was good, until we got to a wheelchair holding area where all users were seated to wait for a ship’s crew member to arrive with a ship’s wheelchair to take us to our cabin. Problem was there were many waiting and only 3 wheelchairs available to take each passenger in turn to their cabin and back again to pick up another. It was to be more than 2 hours before we were taken to our cabin. Ridiculous. We weren’t expecting to board as quickly as we would have, had we gone through our Neptune Suite line, but the wheelchair hand-over from terminal to ship was very poorly managed. Passengers in the wheelchair holding area waiting to board, were actually encouraged to make their own way onto the ship by foot “if they possibly can”. 🤷🏼♂️ 7. BB King Blues/Rolling Stones/Billboard areas are part of a prominent music theme throughout the ship. Conspicuous by its absence therefore was no karaoke 🤷🏼♂️ as you’ll find on most any other ship. It’s fun and popular and belongs on a ship with a musical theme. 8. Suggestions: 1. Offer a wider variety of proven fare in the way of cakes, pastries etc that go well with coffee at the Grand Dutch. 2. Change the hooks in the bathroom so they are more practical and user-friendly. What you have now is a large round chrome piece with a small end-hook. If you try to use the large rounded chrome area, your item(s) will slip off. Only the small hook at the end is useable and so small it will only accommodate say a belt loop and a single garment at best. 9. Install a freezer in the Neptune lounge, similar to what you would find in a convenience store where you can dip-in and pull out a Haagen Daz ice-cream bar and suchlike. Your suite passengers will love you for it. 10. On-board Wi-Fi needs updating so as to compete with other cruise-lines where Wi-Wi is faster and/or more reliable. 11. HAL responded to my question is there a self-laundry area on the Statendam? W e were advised no but we can have our laundry done for a fee. Once on board we found laundry service was free for Neptune Suite guests. We’d have packed differently, had we been advised accurately. Best thing by far? The crew are all excellent without exception. No baggage, no attitude, all very helpful and looking to be of assistance regardless of topic.