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GlennG

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  1. I didn't perceive the OPs review as being 95% negative. KirkNC mentioned that the Pinnacle Grill experience was one of the best he has experienced. More important, KirkNC mentioned that "...The crew in general was as great as ever." I don't think KirkNC needs any support from me, but he was trying to giving reasons for his decision to leave the ship (and thousands of dollars) behind. The issues, documented by Kirk, are very serious, and I'm grateful that he took time to share his experiences with us. Most important to my wife and I, it provides us with information that is helpful in choosing future cruises.
  2. Thank you, KirkNC, for your detailed and specific accounts of your recent trip on the Maasdam. As a person who relies of the advice and knowledge of experienced cruisers, I have to tell you that the review of your experiences is very much appreciated and will be taken into account as we plan for future cruises. My wife and I are in a little bit of a dilemma when it comes to future bookings of Holland America Line cruises. We definitely prefer sailing on the smaller HAL ships, but in researching future cruises, we are noticing some disturbing patterns of "problems" with respect to the older ships in the fleet. The physical condition of the smaller ships seems to be deteriorating in a very significant way. Thanks, also, for your documenting your serious concerns about food. Food isn't subjective. Rotten food and under-cooked chicken are not subjective. These very serious problems are a recipe for serious intestinal problems. (Washing hands is not a substitute for serving dangerous foods.) Lastly, I want to commend you for not tolerating the conditions that you have described. Leaving the ship and leaving many thousands of dollars behind describes a person who is consistent with his values and reasonable expectations. Please be assured that you have given and wife and I some serious "food for thought." We will not be booking the Maasdam in the future.
  3. This isn't good news. I've been spending some time researching the recent reviews of the Veendam, and it appears as though this particular ship has had more than its share of problems. With the recent dry dock repairs and renovation, I thought that the Veendam would become a more favourable alternative for us in the Caribbean. (My wife and I are not huge fans of the large, new ships in the Holland America fleet.) As a bare minimum, my wife needs reliable access to elevators that actually work. Please keep us posted on the response to this troubling problem.
  4. Sorry for the ambiguity. To be more specific, I'm not wildly enthusiastic about the Olive Garden. Canaletto is probably a "step above" the Olive Garden. In my opinion, Canaletto is certainly not worth the "up-charge" that is currently levied from HAL patrons. Don't rely on my assessment, however. Most of the replies on this board have been quite positive.
  5. If you like the Olive Garden, you're going to love Canaletto.
  6. The Wyndam is right across the street from the cruise terminal. Even with luggage, you should have little problem in walking to your destination. There is a Maritime Museum close to the cruise terminal, and Little Italy is a three or four block walk from the Wyndam. In short, there's a lot of stuff to do in this small area of San Diego.
  7. I want to thank BayWatching for his thoughtful and provoking review of the Rotterdam. In February, my wife and I made inquiries about the Rotterdam, and more specifically, the Lanai staterooms. To summarize, we chose not to cruise on the Rotterdam because of the information that cruise critic members provided for us. This ship has had more than its share of problems, and we are grateful for this forum, as it provides really useful information on Holland America Line and its ships. While we always expect the "apologists" to contribute to this forum, we understand that when numerous people share the same concerns about the Rotterdam, it seem prudent for us to avoid booking on this ship. For us, personally, the alternatives on Holland America Line seem to be narrowing. We don't care for the large ships like the Koningsdam and Nieuw Statendam, so our alternatives are restricted to the Vista Class ships, as well as the Eurodam and Nieuw Amsterdam. Thank you, again, BayWatching and other Cruise Critic members who have provided such good information for us. You have helped us to avoid unpleasant vacations in the future.
  8. Thanks to all of you for responding to our questions and concerns. For many years, I just took for granted that we would never have to cope with the mobility problems associated with old age. I have to confess that, in my younger years, I did not demonstrate a lot of empathy for senior citizens and their challenges. The passing years have made us much wiser and much more tolerant. We try not to complain as old age is a privilege. Thank you, again!
  9. My wife and I have booked a Panama Canal Cruise, on the ms Oosterdam, for January 2020. We have cruised with Holland America Line for a number of years. Our personal circumstances have changed since we last cruised. My wife, specifically, finds climbing and descending stairs to be quite painful. Arthritis and the after affects of a previous stroke makes life quite challenging at times. We are concerned about her participation in the guest emergency drill. We understand (and accept) that all passengers must report to the assigned emergency stations which are still located on Deck 3. Our cabin is located on Deck 7. I should also mention that my wife, at this time, does not use a wheel chair, cane, or walker. In short, when she walks on flat, smooth surfaces, she can manage quite well. Can experienced cruisers provide any advice on whether she can use the elevators to descend to Deck 3 so that we can participate in the mandatory emergency drill?
  10. I haven't sailed on the Noordam for several years, but at that time, the Noordam was my favourite cruise ship. Consequently, it has been really disappointing reading negative reviews and reports of this particular ship. Thank you, Cooper, for providing some really detailed information on the upgrades and repairs that are planned for the Noordam. Hopefully, at the end of this process, the Noordam will remain our favourite ship in the HAL fleet.
  11. GlennG

    Pizza

    Hank, What a wonderful and creative comment! Thanks for your continued participation in the Holland America Forum. I appreciate the advice and commentary that you provide for readers.
  12. I cannot comment on the system of taxation "in their home country." However, in the context of where I live, I think that fairness in income taxation is paramount. Fairness, to me, means that all income is subject to taxation. In short, I don't like the HSC because of its inherent lack of transparency. I'm willing to pay more in an "upfront" cruise fare, with the option to provide personal gratuities to those deserving of it.
  13. I can recall a time when Holland America Line did not assign a "Hotel Service Charge." From a personal perspective, I prefer a gratuity system that is based on personal experience and interaction with specific crew members. The HSC is a little bit like a personal surcharge or tax on the cruise fare. Holland America Line, like all business, wants to keep its charges as cheap and reasonable as possible. Therefore, additional charges like the HSC, dining room surcharges, and Club Orange are necessary to offset the cheaper cruise fares. I would personally prefer that cruise fares include costs like HSC so that all employees receive a reasonable wage. Again, if I receive superior service, I have to option to provide a personal gratuity to those people. It's a more honest and upfront system of compensation for employees.
  14. Yes. The special towel folding still happens on Holland America Ships. My wife really appreciates the efforts of our room stewards.
  15. Thank you, Krazy Kruisers, for the up-to-date information. I'm really disappointed to learn that the gyms don't open until 7:00 AM. This change in opening time is going to have a negative impact on my personal schedule. Like your husband, my daily schedule is dictated by medication times. I guess that I will just have to use the promenade for my morning exercise and workouts.
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