We boarded the Maasdam in August in Tokyo for a scheduled 97 day cruise. About 70 days in we decided to disembark early (after 80 days). We told Guest Services who helped reschedule our FlightEase flight back home. We did not ask for and did not expect any compensation for our decision to leave early.
Highlights - great itinerary, best Pinnacle Grill we have eaten at in years (kudos to Denise), Canaletto was good until the raw chicken episode (see below). Our room stewards did a good job despite covering thirty cabins. The crew in general were as great as ever.
Food - we found the MDR menu to often be fairly boring with lots of repeated items, I bet they served coconut shrimp 15 times. We probably ate in the MDR 65 times and had about 12 really good meals, the rest were forgettable. We also noted the portion sizes were smaller not all bad but my Greek salad one time had a single piece of Romaine and a small one at that. For some inexplicable reason, toward the end of the cruise they dropped the ice cream flavors and cheese plate from the dessert menu. This meant the waiter had to go back to the kitchen to find out what these items were on any given night.
One day we ordered lunch, I received my starter, we then waited 45 minutes and our Ruben’s with chips had not arrived, we just got up and left. The service was very inconsistent, some days we were offered rolls or bread, some days we were offered juice ( breakfast), some days the waiter asks about allergies, some days they recommend a dish, and some days none of those happen.
Running out of things: they have run out of everything from Budweiser beer to butter at some point on this cruise. Other items- potato chips, cream cheese, cereals, crackers, bananas, yogurt, fruit, wine and more.
Serving rotten and moldy food - absolutely rotten cucumbers in Lido, rotten lettuce, moldy berries, spoiled bananas and avocado, I can’t believe they were serving these things. The worst offenses however were the black banana on top of my banana split and the semi-raw chicken Parmesan I was served one night in Canaletto.
Navigator and When and Where - it’s like no one proofs it. Sometimes they have wrong locations for events, it can take days to update the dinner menu in Navigator, My Itinerary in Navigator just doesn't work, so many mis-spellings it laughable . Plus less content in When and Where, for example a movie just has the title, no description of what the movie is about. They also dropped the weather forecast.
Lido - major problems, one of the outside doors fell off months ago, still not fixed. The AC on one side does not work and has been the way since August. Service is very inconsistent, most times we have to get everything ourselves. This did get better latter in the cruise. They have plenty of people selling drinks and specialty restaurants but not enough servers, the place is a chaotic zoo. At one time, only about half the tables had salt and pepper shakers, I asked why and they said the passengers were stealing them 🥺, they did give each table shakers a short time later. The two self serve ice makers have been broken since we got on two and a half months ago. You can get ice out but they don’t stop, this pours crushed ice on the floor.
Our room - we have a two inch gap at the bottom of our door, when lying in bed I could actually see the reflection of peoples feet walking by, we have to put a towel in the gap every night to keep out light and noise. Our bathroom door does not close properly, it’s like the frame is out of square. We have had to call at least twelve time because our toilet won’t flush, it’s not clogged, you push the button and nothing happens. Outside in our hall it always smells like sewage, it’s been this way from day one.
Sea view Pool - I went in to swim and came out with little particles of soot all over me, nice touch
Tenders - one day we bobbed around right beside the ship for 45 minutes, within 50 yards of the tender gangway, before they actually tied us up and unloaded.
Speakers - we found the speakers to be great the first 29 days (this part was in essence a WW II Cruise). Once in Australia, the speakers were still good but the breadth of topics was not good. I can only go to so many talks on crocodiles and birds. More on the history of the region, maybe on the Aboriginal people, etc would have been nice.
Gangways - on multiple occasions the gangway were ridiculously steep, I don’t know how handicap people got up them. We also had a window exploded over the gangway one day sending glass all over. Two other windows were broken and covered in plastic as well (see pic).
Initially I reported many of these items on comment cards, when our original captain was on board, they would usually respond, we got a new captain in Sydney and they no longer respond.
So that’s the short list of items. One of the funniest things is when I went to them and told them we want off 17 days early, told them they could keep the multiple thousand of $$$$ we had paid for that and all I wanted was our flight rescheduled, they did not even ask why, amazing, I guess it happens all the time! Eventually they did come and talk to us but that was after the Pinnacle Mgr told them they should.
Right before we disembarked, we did receive a letter from HAL apologizing for the problems and offered us some future cruise credits.
So that was our 97/80 day Maasdam adventure.