Rotterdam Cruise Review to Europe - Western Mediterranean


2-3 cruises


Helpful Votes

2 out of 5

Horribly Run Ship

Sail Date: May 01, 2007

Reviewed: 9 years ago

Traveled As: Couple

Room Type: Oceanview

My husband and I were traveling on the Rotterdam on its European Capitals cruise from May 14 30, 2007. We chose this particular cruise because we were on our honeymoon and loved the itinerary. This was our first cruise, and most likely our last in a long while, on Holland America (HAL). We stayed in room 2500. We would not recommend that anyone stay in this room. We did try to get another cabin, but was told there wasnt another available. This may have been because they had already upgraded someone out of our cabin before placing us in it, but they did say the cruise was completely full. Our cabin was at the very front of the ship. Therefore, every morning we were in port we woke up between 5:30 7 in the morning to the sound of the anchors and the side engines docking the boat. In addition, for the whole 16 days of the cruise most toilets were clogged (ours included). We kept getting notices acknowledging that the toilet was backed up, but the problem didnt get fixed. The lady across from us told us they were having the toilet problem on the previous cruise also, for a combined total of 30 days of half working toilets for half the boat. On a final cabin note, when we arrived in our cabin we had to request our complimentary fruit basked and room service cards since they werent in our cabin.

We chose this cruise for its itinerary. The itinerary was incredible! However, we had planned our travel plans through the itinerary we received with our tickets from HAL. What we found when we were on the boat is that our arrival and departure times changed, meaning we arrived later (up to an hour) and departed earlier (up to an hour). We had found out by talking to some nicer crew members that the captain was trying to save gas, due to high gas prices. In one particular port it meant that my husband and I were unable to make the shore excursion we had planned for ourselves (it was not a shore excursion we had purchased through HAL). In the other ports our times were cut so short that we were unable to do everything we had planned. In addition, in Le Havre the boat failed to mention that a free shuttle was available to transport passengers from the boat to town, which meant that many people even people in wheelchairs actually walked the mile to town. Finally, in Santorini the Rotterdam arrived at the same time as 4 other cruise ships. As a result everyone who got off the boat early ended up stuck in line for nearly 2 hours for the cable car. The boat did not give anyone a heads up about the line until 10am (we arrived at 7am). The alternative was to walk up or take a donkey up, we walked while dodging donkey poo and donkeys literally running down the hill at you. Several passengers from the cruise walked or took donkeys and as a result one person slipped on poo and broke her arm and another was run over by donkeys and broke her leg. HALs make up for this unmitigated disaster was a free wine glass of cheap bad wine for all passengers at the seated diner.

I would not say our stay on HAL lines was horrible, but it wasnt the most pleasant cruise we ever took. I was very disappointed because my parents have been loyal HAL cruisers and recommended the ship to us for our honeymoon. As a result of our experience my husband and I will hesitate to ever cruise on HAL again.

Pros: The Itinerary

Cons: The ports of call were cut short

Recommends Rotterdam? No.

Service and Staff
Most staff were gruff (especially the captain), there seemed to be almost a total lack of the ability to speak English (or something other then their native Asian tung). Some of the staff were very nice though (The Port Director, Cruise Director, Musical Staff and Librarian were the nicest and most accommodating people).
Food and Dining
our server would often forget parts of our meal, and it seemed that we were always the last to be served, which meant we were the last to leave our section of the dining room. We did eat at the buffet dinner a few times. At high time since HAL believes in serving all food the lines could get very backed up. In addition, at dinner the servers serve your drinks; however, if you sit in the wrong spot in the Lido Deck you never get a drink. On HAL you have 24 hours room service (which when we ordered it at night it took 50 minutes for delivery), but that is your only choice for food during odd hours. The grill on board closes at 6pm and there is no food for a half hour. At the same time the buffet closes at 8pm and there is no food available again until 11:30pm. It would be helpful if they had a wider array of food choices available at the caf during these odd hours. I will say one nice thing about HAL food service is that if you make special requests for food they do try to fill it
Cabin / Stateroom
Broken toilets, in the front you hear the ship side engines and anchors every morning (plan on waking up VERY early). Otherwise it was clean and in working order.
because we had a late seating dinner we were to attend the late show, but the shows usually started at 10:30, which was quite late for the early itinerary we had. The shows we did goto were ok (missing them didn't make us feel bad).
Ship Quality
The ship was clean, The toilets were broken for half the ship for the entire cruise, Many things on the ship were broken (lights, rails, chairs). They seemed to have alot of leaks as well we kept passing wet spots in the hallways.

We were surprised to find that the hot tub closed up at 10pm. My husband and I had chosen a late seating dinner, which meant we werent out of dinner until 9:30. We love cruising because after dinner we like to relax in the hot tub; however, on this cruise we were unable to do that.

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