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Rusty Scupper

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About Rusty Scupper

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    Cool Cruiser

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    South Jersey
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  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    Sunny places

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  1. We sailed on the Rotterdam in January for two weeks, then immediately sailed on her slightly younger sister, the Volendam. It was hard to believe these ships were twins operated by the same line. The Rotterdam showed extensive wear, shoddy repairs, cracked tile and plenty of rust. There was a mix of deck chairs, many like my Costco patio loungers, not teak. Worst looking Holland ship we've ever seen, by far. By comparison, the Volendam was as gorgeous as when we sailed on it 17 years earlier. That said, Rotterdam's cosmetic defects did not concern us, and the ship's staff was far more efficient than the Volendam's, making the Rotterdam the better cruise.
  2. Four and five-star Mariners have priority at tender ports and can leave at will. However, on some cruises, there are so many ranking Mariners aoard that they dispense with the priority system and make everyone get a ticket.
  3. On our past four long cruises, the gym opened at 6 a.m., sometimes earlier, usually by the head of the staff. By 7 a.m. on those sailings, the gym was packed, with no free machines, annoying the sleepyheads. Actually, I prefer to walk the deck, but 5:30 a.m. to 7 a.m. is almost always when they hose down the lower promenade. Opening the gym later would not be good, I'm afraid.
  4. In January, we sailed 21 days on the Rotterdam and a week later boarded the Volendam for a cruise that ends tomorrow. I had no problem with the Rotterdam, but it really was trending toward shabby, with a lot of rust, chips and sloppy repairs, while the Volendam is remarkably well-kept. Even the mix of deck chairs on the Rotterdam was eclectic, with the traditional wood chairs only present outside the lanai cabins. The outside doors on the Rotterdam's lanai cabins showed a lot of wear with makeshift repairs and patches. Overall, there was nothing terrible, but it was hard to believe that the two ships of similar age belonged to the same fleet. We sailed on the Statendam shortly before she was sold, and she was in better shape. On the other hand, the Rotterdam's crew and operations functioned better than the Volendam.
  5. For the past four years, we've done a Viking River fall cruise and then spent 30 days or more on Holland during January and February. In my estimation, Viking food and service are superior to Holland. The Viking dinner selection is not as wide, but there always seems to be something good. The portions are ample, and on some local-themed nights, there are endless platters of food. We've also opted for the casual alternative, which is just as good-- pretty much the same menu as in the main room, but you can have a table for two and be done quickly. If I went to a local restaurant and was offered either a Viking meal or Holland meal, I'd always choose Viking, although I certainly am fine with Holland's fare.
  6. The shows are excellent -- some of the best entertainment onboard -- and just as good as the TV shows. After the first day, when we were on the Oosterdam, you had to go half an hour early to get a seat. A chef makes a couple of dishes and gives a detailed and entertaining dialogue. They distribute recipes for what they demonstrate. Classes are free. There were one or two on every sea day. There was not audience participation -- and there were no, unfortunately, samples of the finished product. Thanks to the shows, we now enjoy perfect baked potatoes.
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