Very Bad HAL Maintenance.....or is it just me?

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#1
New Cumberland,PA, USA
27,737 Posts
Joined May 2000
We are just back from the Voyage of the Vikings cruise on the Rotterdam. It was a terrific cruise (we might do it again), most of the crew exceeded all standards, and kudos to HAL for the great itinerary. But now, for the negative...and its very negative. We have cruised on over 70 different vessels of 14 cruise lines (over more then 35 years) and have never.....ever,,,been on any ship in the condition of the Rotterdam! Lets just talk about a few (there were many more) issues. How about 8 buckets in the Lido, to capture the leaking water from the deck (above) during a rain storm (we watched the Captain step around the buckets so he could get his food). For more then 2 weeks we saw several buckets near the forward staircase on Deck 3...which were capturing a water leak from pipes in the ceiling. One crew member told us the reason it took nearly 3 weeks to fix this leak was that the plumbing staff was so busy fixing plumbing problems in passenger cabins...that this was low priority. And then we had the windows in the Crows Nest....many of which had multiple towels arrayed at their base to capture all the leaking water (this is a long term issue). And then there was the aft "birdbath" (which used to have a real pool) which had cracked and peeling paint...and was filthy...for nearly the entire 38 day cruise (we saw 3 crew members finally cleaning the area 2 days before the end of the cruise. And there were also several cracked windows in the MDR. At least one of these windows (forward Starboard side) was cracked all the way through....but HAL did finally replace that during an overnight in Rotterdam. The aft of the MDR had a lot of evidence of previous water leaks (from the large aft windows. There were significant stains (water and otherwise) on carpeting all over the ship! There was still some evidence of the mold smell at parts of the aft MDR....which we first noticed more then 4 years ago on the same vessel. Perhaps to maintenance situation was best summed up at dinner one evening when one of our tablemates (a 5 Star Mariner) remarked,"If one were to take this ship on a first cruise...they would never return to HAL."

Lets be clear that the ship was able to get us to all but one port (Halifax was skipped due to high winds). The issues I cite above certainly did not cause any significant safety issues. HAL will always use their usual excuse which is "the ship will soon go into drydock" but we think this is just a lame excuse for a deferred maintenance program that appears to be among the worst in the industry.

Before folks flame me (and I am a 5 Star Mariner) please accept that I am only listing a few issues (there are many more) that we encountered on this cruise. As a frequent HAL cruiser, we would probably return to this ship if it was on an itinerary we enjoy. And yes, we are physically capable of stepping around major and minor water leaks and ignoring stained carpets. But having spent more then 3 years of my life on many different ships....we have never encountered such lousy maintenance. Personally, I think it just shows a disrespect for the customer...that defies explanation.

Hank
#2
Napa Valley
1,355 Posts
Joined Aug 2007
That's why they should look at the condition of every ship and send them to drydock when needed. Right now they schedule them for dry dock once every 2 years..
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#3
Hamilton, Ontario
1,921 Posts
Joined Jul 2010
I hope you let HAL know about all these things on your survey. They need to know that people do see these things and it could put people off ever trying a HAL cruise again.
Glad you enjoyed your cruise in spite of those issues.
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Koningsdam April 2,2017 13 days Transatlantic Ft. Lauderdale to Rome
Koningsdam October 24, 2016, 16 days, Trans-Atlantic from Rome
Nieuw Amsterdam Nov 22 2015, 21 days B2B2B Caribbean
Royal Princess Mar 29/15 10 day Southern Caribbean
Nieuw Amsterdam Nov 30 2014 14 day B2B Eastern/Western Caribbean
Regal Princess Nov 23 2014 7 day E. Caribbean
Zaandam July 11 2014 Alaska - Tracy Arm 7 day
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Maasdam Dec 6 2013 - 14 day Southern Caribbean
Maasdam Apr 1 2013 Eastern Caribbean 11 day
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#4
Montreal, Canada
533 Posts
Joined Jun 2005
HAL gets the most criticism of all the mainstream lines except Carnival, yet routinely delivers a 5-star cruising experience. I hope they take your concerns seriously.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
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#5
107,623 Posts
Joined Jul 2001
JMO -- but I would write a letter to the president detailing everything.


Many of the survey's are never read.
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Cruising is a wonderful way to enjoy retirement!
Stopped counting a few years ago -- have done over 140 cruises.
#6
2,494 Posts
Joined Feb 2006
I have the general impression that under previous management the Capex/Maintenence budgets for the HAL fleet (by Carnival Corporation) had been severely curtailed and the rather patchwork interiors and lackluster condition of the ships are evidence of that. I am hopeful that under Mr Donald's (Carnival Corp) and Ashford's (HAL) leadership that the parent company has decided to increase the Capex budgets and we will see many of these issues become fewer and farther between. Given the recent revitalization of the Westerdam I am optimistic that HAL is headed in a more positive direction.
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#7
Centerville, Ohio, USA
8,757 Posts
Joined Apr 2002
I have long wondered if the required dry dock schedule for the CCL Corporation branded ships is really adequate. Dry dock times too short to truly fix what needs to be fixed?

As I grew older, I found that I needed to visit my doctor more frequently. Would this analogy not also apply to a ship with regard to dry docking needs?
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52 cruises: 31 Holland America, 4 Princess, 4 Carnival, 3 Pacific Far East Line, 2 Cunard, 2 Royal Viking Line, 1 each: Celebrity Cruises, NCL, Royal Caribbean, Sitmar, American Hawaii, Home Lines
#8
Centerville, Ohio, USA
8,757 Posts
Joined Apr 2002
I had no maintenance complaints during my July cruise on the Amsterdam. All was good from my perspective in that area.

But, if one follows the blogs of those who sail on the World Cruise, there have frequently been mentions of buckets in the hallways, etc. due to water leaks. The OP mentioned Deck 3 in particular. And, whether it was the same location or not, I do recall reading that the pipes in the ceiling above that Deck have been a past issue.

Another example of accepting the lowest priced bid of a sub-contractor to build that particular system of the ship?
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52 cruises: 31 Holland America, 4 Princess, 4 Carnival, 3 Pacific Far East Line, 2 Cunard, 2 Royal Viking Line, 1 each: Celebrity Cruises, NCL, Royal Caribbean, Sitmar, American Hawaii, Home Lines
#9
Texas
183 Posts
Joined Dec 2015
I second Hank's assessment. My review should be available here tomorrow and I completed the HAL review also. It was an embarrassment. John and I would often whisper "I didn't mean to say that the Enterprise should be hauling garbage. I meant to say that it should be hauled away AS garbage!" Trouble with Tribbles, Star Trek


Only a superb itinerary would drag me back to HAL and if you tell me this is the future of the industry then I will find another way to travel
#10
2,494 Posts
Joined Feb 2006
Having sailed on ships built from many different shipyards I have always felt that the Fincantieri built ships seem to be built to a lesser overall quality that the ones that are built in Finland, Germany (and to a lesser extent France). The fit and finish just doesn't seem to be of the same standard.

That said ALL ships will eventually suffer from worn seals around windows, plumbing woes, aircon issues, etc, but it seems the Italian built ships are more prone than some others - just my opinion
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Equinox 7 night Western Caribbean 12/2/17

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Carnival - Elation 09/12, Freedom 07/14, Glory 03/13, Imagination 11/99, 11/02, Liberty 09/13, Victory 08/00
Celebrity - Century 10/11, Constellation 03/04, 05/13, Infinity 03/06, Mercury 12/04, 09/10, Solstice 12/08, 11/10
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#11
11,925 Posts
Joined Dec 2004
We like HAL but we will not entertain a cruise on HAL's older ships. Most especially those that are up for sale.

Our reasoning is simple. HAL is a great cruise line but we are risk averse. Why on earth would we take the risk of sailing on one of these older ships when we can greatly reduce the risk of a bad cabin/ship experience simply by selecting a different ship or cruise line.?

That is not to say unfortunate things can happen on other cruise lines and other ships . They can. We just think that there is a greater risk of them occurring on HAL's older ships. Either because of age, maintenance standards or a combination of both.

I have no doubt that the HAL boosters will come out with all sorts excuses and comments. All the way from it never happened and you are misrepresenting the facts to 'we sailed on that ship 14 months ago and it was the best cruise we have ever had'. IMHO, HAL is taking advantage of their most loyal customers. At some point the rose looses it's bloom.

I do not think letters to the President will help. I have no doubt that everyone from the President, through the exec ranks, fleet operations, and shipboard operations know the issues. The bottom line is budget-either it has been cut or has not been increased sufficiently to deal with upkeep on those older tubs.

When a line of business is not meeting it's goals-revenue, profit, or growth, HQ or the parent company step in to 'help' them attain the goals. Code for expense cuts, staff reductions, and management churn. Perhaps Carnival Corp is 'helping' HAL management to reach it;s goals. In the short term.
#12
2,025 Posts
Joined Jun 2001
I think it's sounds awful and you were very kind in complementing the rest of the trip. I have a hard time over looking maintence issues.

I thought the Noordam was way past her prime this summer. Yours sounds dreadful
#13
1,807 Posts
Joined Dec 2010
Originally posted by Hlitner
We are just back from the Voyage of the Vikings cruise on the Rotterdam. It was a terrific cruise (we might do it again), most of the crew exceeded all standards, and kudos to HAL for the great itinerary. But now, for the negative...and its very negative. We have cruised on over 70 different vessels of 14 cruise lines (over more then 35 years) and have never.....ever,,,been on any ship in the condition of the Rotterdam! Lets just talk about a few (there were many more) issues. How about 8 buckets in the Lido, to capture the leaking water from the deck (above) during a rain storm (we watched the Captain step around the buckets so he could get his food). For more then 2 weeks we saw several buckets near the forward staircase on Deck 3...which were capturing a water leak from pipes in the ceiling. One crew member told us the reason it took nearly 3 weeks to fix this leak was that the plumbing staff was so busy fixing plumbing problems in passenger cabins...that this was low priority. And then we had the windows in the Crows Nest....many of which had multiple towels arrayed at their base to capture all the leaking water (this is a long term issue). And then there was the aft "birdbath" (which used to have a real pool) which had cracked and peeling paint...and was filthy...for nearly the entire 38 day cruise (we saw 3 crew members finally cleaning the area 2 days before the end of the cruise. And there were also several cracked windows in the MDR. At least one of these windows (forward Starboard side) was cracked all the way through....but HAL did finally replace that during an overnight in Rotterdam. The aft of the MDR had a lot of evidence of previous water leaks (from the large aft windows. There were significant stains (water and otherwise) on carpeting all over the ship! There was still some evidence of the mold smell at parts of the aft MDR....which we first noticed more then 4 years ago on the same vessel. Perhaps to maintenance situation was best summed up at dinner one evening when one of our tablemates (a 5 Star Mariner) remarked,"If one were to take this ship on a first cruise...they would never return to HAL."

Lets be clear that the ship was able to get us to all but one port (Halifax was skipped due to high winds). The issues I cite above certainly did not cause any significant safety issues. HAL will always use their usual excuse which is "the ship will soon go into drydock" but we think this is just a lame excuse for a deferred maintenance program that appears to be among the worst in the industry.

Before folks flame me (and I am a 5 Star Mariner) please accept that I am only listing a few issues (there are many more) that we encountered on this cruise. As a frequent HAL cruiser, we would probably return to this ship if it was on an itinerary we enjoy. And yes, we are physically capable of stepping around major and minor water leaks and ignoring stained carpets. But having spent more then 3 years of my life on many different ships....we have never encountered such lousy maintenance. Personally, I think it just shows a disrespect for the customer...that defies explanation.

Hank
Thank you for your ballanced review of your experience, but not downplaying your experience and also not denying that these water leak issues should be addressed as soon as possible, it should be mentioned that leeks do occur. What some people seem to forget is that a ship is not a stiff structure and has a lot bending and stretching capacity, otherwise it would break instantly when travelling through the waves. There are solutions to apply flexing parts with the plumbing on board of ships, but never will this be a 100% certainty that this will hold forever, but neither does your plumbing at home and your house does not flex! I know of the long standing problem with leeks in the Lido on Rotterdam during (heavy) rain. Water downpour on the upper deck has probably issues in the water drains of these decks, being clogged in difficult to reach areas (just guessing here), still no reason not to address this issue, certainly in the longer run. As far as window leaking goes, the same stretching and bending is applicable there, glass is much less flexible as the surrounding structure. Also these things must be addressed properly, but would require removal of the actual glass pain and replacing the surrounding kit or rubbers and such removal of a large window can only be done in port I assume.
Again, not downplaying your experience, but also this is not isolated and unique to older ships, I myself experienced a water leak in the MDR on Koningsdam in perfect weather during her premier voyage! Also I think it happens not only with HAL, more recently the Sun Princess suffered a mayor pipe burst in Australia last week, footage can be found on the web, where hallways and many cabins were seriously flooded.
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#14
Miami, Florida
140 Posts
Joined Jan 2017
Most people understand the simple problem that as machines like automobiles, airplanes, and cruise ships get older, more and more maintenance and repair is required to keep them in good operating condition.

At some point, the owner of an ageing car/airplane/ship needs to decide if he is prepared to spend the extra money to keep his ageing machine in good operating condition - or get rid of it and purchase a newer one.

Strangely the HAL Management people have found a third option. Keep the old one, but pretend that no additional maintenance is required.

When I worked at HAL, Captains and Chief Engineers regularly received some very nasty emails from their superiors, questioning the increasing maintenance costs for the older ships.
Although a 12 year old could probably figure it out, the "suits" at HAL claimed that they were unable to understand why a 20 year old ship would require more repair and maintenance than a new ship.
They steadfastly refused to increase maintenance budgets as the ships aged. Requests for repairs and other maintenance were denied, as there was no budget for them. Drydock plans always start with very promising plans for renovation and repair, but the majority of the plans are cancelled before the drydock begins. By refusing to increase maintenance budgets for ageing ships, HAL Vice Presidents protect their yearly bonuses.

Now you see the results.
HAL's VP of Technical Operations still gets a new car every year. But the older ships cannot fix broken windows and leaky pipes.

Next time you speak to a HAL Captain or Chief Engineer, ask them about the current Carnival/HAL policy on spare parts for HAL ships. You may be quite surprised at their answers.
#15
Indianapolis, IN USA
1,475 Posts
Joined Jul 2015
Originally posted by Krazy Kruizers
JMO -- but I would write a letter to the president detailing everything.


Many of the survey's are never read.
I totally agree. I write a letter after every cruise. 85-90% of my missive contains compliments naming outstanding crew members, etc. The last paragraph lists items of concern, and occasionally totally unacceptable situations. I always receive a reply, usually with an offer of future cruise credit commensurate with the issues. I only ask for compensation if there is a more serious issue, but they usually offer even if unsolicited.
#16
Victoria Harbour, ON
2,613 Posts
Joined Nov 2007
The impression I get from reading posts about dry dock is that there is more re-arranging of interior spaces then actually fixing things that need maintenance. I have been on a ship that just came out of dry dock & the crew are fixing things that should of been done in dry dock, i.e. broken windows, rust, painting, broken parts on the out side decks in one case the aft elevators had where out of service while they replaced the cables which took three - four days. They don't spend enough time in dry dock to truly fix what's broken.
Allan
#17
The Big Easy
18,948 Posts
Joined Oct 2006
Originally posted by Hlitner
But having spent more then 3 years of my life on many different ships....we have never encountered such lousy maintenance. Personally, I think it just shows a disrespect for the customer...that defies explanation.
No flames here. I had similar feelings when I cruised Oosterdam.. I'll go one step further. This might be total coincidence but from what I've experienced, I think Carnival Corp in general do not maintain their ships as well as the lines under the RCCL brand.
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Paul
Sunward II 11/88, Seaward 8/92, Seaward 4/96, Norwegian Sea 11/01, RCI Monarch 10/02, RCI Enchantment 10/03, RCI Majesty 5/04, RCI Adventure 10/04, RCI Explorer 10/05, RCI Majesty 5/06, RCI Freedom 9/06, RCI Explorer 5/07, RCI Adventure 10/07, RCI Navigator 2/08, RCI Navigator 8/08 (Med.), RCI Majesty 11/08, Celebrity Solstice 4/09, RCI Enchantment 7/09, RCI Radiance 11/09 (Mex. Riv.), Celebrity Solstice 4/10, RCI Majesty 6/10, RCI Majesty 8/10, RCI Oasis 10/10, RCI Radiance 11/10, Celebrity Century 1/11, RCI Allure 4/11, Nor. Sky 6/11, RCI Majesty 9/11, Nor. Sky 9/11, Celebrity Summit 11/11, RCI Liberty 2/12, Nieuw Amsterdam 5/12 (Med.), RCI Majesty 8/12, RCI Oasis 10/12, RCI Majesty 11/12, Nor. Dawn 12/12, RCI Liberty 2/13, RCI Majesty 4/13, Celebrity Millennium 6/13 (Alaska), RCI Enchantment 9/13, RCI Allure 11/13,Celebrity Constellation 1/14, Ruby Princess 2/14, RCI Liberty 4/14, Caribbean Princess 5/14, Zuiderdam (Alaska) 7/14, RCI Vision 8/14, RCI Liberty 11/14, Regal Princess 4/15, Oosterdam 10/15, Celebrity Eclipse 12/15, Nor. Escape 4/16, Carnival Liberty 10/16, Koningsdam 11/17
#18
2,836 Posts
Joined Sep 2001
A couple years ago there was a lengthy thread called the Rotting Rotterdam. The physical plant was bad then.

Filling out surveys and writing letters means nothing to Carnival Corporation, especially when the customer plans to book again. The old guard loyalist customer base is a cash cow to TPTB. The only effective measure is to vote with your feet.

I'm a fairly easy going consumer of goods and services. I know my favorite restaurant can have an off night, the best steakhouse in town can serve a gristly steak, stores and businesses make mistakes.
But I do not tolerate a shoddy physical plant in any business setting. Especially in hotel services. If the front of the house looks bad I don't want to know about what is going on behind the scenes.
#19
Leicester, United Kingdom
634 Posts
Joined Jul 2007
I re-christened it Rottendam last March! Never again for me on this Dam ship. So many leaks, including my stateroom. And the stench at the Seaview Bar was unbearable due to blocked drainage.
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#20
Florida
578 Posts
Joined Jul 2014
Thanks for the thread. The maintenance issues you described are concerning. I will never forget the Transatlantic we took, on the Maasdam, where she lost engine power one day away from the Canary Islands. This was almost 3 years ago. When the ship started to list, the Captain came on and told us not to worry; we would not hit any rocks. Yikes. We did regain power about an hour later, but that's one maintenance issue that had us thoroughly alarmed. When we arrived in Europe, HAL had engineers boarding to "sort out" the problem. They did, evidently, since we had no further problems.