Jump to content
Cruise Critic Community
bakcd

Experiences from May 14 sailing of the Maasdam?

Recommended Posts

Please share your experiences of the first Alaska Explorer cruise.   Since this anew approach by Holland America, I am curious as to what to expect.  How where the speakers, how many a day and the entertainment?   Did they have the Orange Celebration?   Was the Pinnacle open for lunch?  Has the cost or the menu changed?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

bakcd:

The 1st 21 day Alaska cruise of Maasdam in May started  May 7 and ended May 28.   You may want to change the title of this topic or start over.   

The 2nd 21 day Alaska cruise of Maasdam  started May 28 and will end on June 18.   There is a live blog being written by a woman on the current cruise.

You 2 & we are both sailing on the  3rd 21 day  Alaska cruise of Maasdam which starts June 18 and ends July 9.      

So far not much info from the 1st cruise that ended on May 28....  

Edited by Cruisin Kay D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just returned from the 1st 21 day Alaska Cruise. It is hard to condense 21 days into anything resembling a short and concise reply, but I will try by answering your questions one by one over the coming days. To give you an idea of my perspective; I have cruised 6 times on Hal, always on the smaller ships. This was our 6th cruise to Alaska, two previous cruises were for 14 days on the Maasdam and the Zaandam. 

The most important question is the EXC indepth program. There was a Biologist, Gloeta, she was outstanding. Her presentations were highly informative and entertaining. Unfortunately for the current cruisers she is off the ship for now but will be returning later in the summer. There was a geologist. There was an outdoorsman who spends most of his time as a guide in Alaska. There was an adventurer who has hiked all over the world. There was a native Alaskan wood carver. He spent most of his time in the Atrium on deck 6 doing carving. There was a musician, who also did Alaskan poetry presentations with her husband, the above mentioned outdoorsman. We had two chefs, each was onboard for about 10 days. They did presentations in the theater. We attended the first chef's dinner and wine pairing in the Pinnacle Grill. It was excellent. They are rotating the specialist throughout the summer. Just because they were on the previous cruise does not mean that they will be on the next one. Presentations took about 45 minutes with question and answering sessions following. They followed each other hourly throughout the day. There is a HAL staff member (Kay) who has the job of making sure the presentations do not run over and overlap the next one. Apparently there was some feedback from the previous journeys regarding the overlapping presentations. All in all, the presentations were very diversified and informative. They are making an active effort to improve each succeeding cruise. If you are looking for an adventure park at sea, this is not the cruise for you. If you want to cruise to out of the way ports, relax at sea, and learn about the land in which you are traveling, you will be delighted.   

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I forgot to mention the photographer whose presentations included instructions on getting the best picture and time lapse photography.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you, Jakers, for taking time to reply.  . This is our 7th Alaska cruise, 6 have been with Holland America, we enjoy the relaxing HAL cruises.   It appears there should be something for everyone when it comes to the lectures.  The guest chefs will be a new twist and something to look forward to.   I did see that regional cuisine was offered on the menu the first evening, hopefully that will continue throughout our sailing.

 

I am am hoping they will also bring in guest entertainers some evenings.  We have always enjoyed the Maasdam an are happy they have found a reason to keep her as a part of the fleet.   

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
20 hours ago, Cruisin Kay D said:

bakcd:

The 1st 21 day Alaska cruise of Maasdam in May started  May 7 and ended May 28.   You may want to change the title of this topic or start over.   

The 2nd 21 day Alaska cruise of Maasdam  started May 28 and will end on June 18.   There is a live blog being written by a woman on the current cruise.

You 2 & we are both sailing on the  3rd 21 day  Alaska cruise of Maasdam which starts June 18 and ends July 9.      

So far not much info from the 1st cruise that ended on May 28....  

I don’t know why I only counted back 2 weeks rather than three, it must have been one of my many senior moments.   I really do not know how to edit the topic.

 

I was happy to hear of the variety of lecture topics shared by Jakers.   It won’t be long before our questions will be answered.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

jakers,

 

Do you recall who the maitre 'd was on your cruise, in the dining room?  Also, the Pinnacle Grill manager?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, scluvsrain said:

jakers,

 

Do you recall who the maitre 'd was on your cruise, in the dining room?  Also, the Pinnacle Grill manager?

Sorry, I did not pay attention to the maitre 'd. The assistant was at our table every night making sure that any problems were taken care of. Luckily, I don't know who the Pinnacle Grill manager was. The one night that we ate at the Pinnacle Grill, we were unimpressed. Everybody at our table ordered some kind of steak and without exception there was a problem. No flavor, not tender, and not cooked to order. It goes without saying that if you are going to run a steak house, the cook should know how to cook a steak. We were very disappointed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I know that it has been talked about in other threads, but there is a mistaken belief that the cast productions were only eliminated on the EXC In Depth sailings so that they could bring the specialist on board. The two things are unrelated. Holland is moving away from cast productions in order to differentiate themselves from other cruise lines. Nightly shows were at 7:00 pm for late dining and 9:00 pm for early dining. The performers included the usual mix of singers (individuals and groups), magicians, comedians, jugglers, and BBC movies. Shows ran 45 to 50 minutes and without exception were worth the time.  Two crew shows were done after 11:00 pm. Throughout the three weeks, performers came and went off the ship. No performer was on the ship for the entire trip. Some performers were only on the ship for a week. The band was comprised of contract musicians from other venues on the ship. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What a disappointment to read you had a bad experience in the Pinnacle.   Did you go for lunch?   We will be sure to order something other than steak when we go and may have to limit it to our free meal.   

 

Any insights on on the new ports?

 

Carol

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We were also on the first 21 day loop.

 

Outside of the extra talks, and certainly in Alaska, the EXC concept only looks like a lot of branding and nothing else has changed. For example, there wasn't any difference in the excursions that I could tell.

 

Also, a lot of the talks overlapped with the port days and were not repeated on Sea Days, so it wasn't possible to attend them. On one of the early sea days the geologist only had one 45 min talk. That doesn't seem like an intensive enrichment program to me.

 

For the new port stops, most were excellent. Port Alberini and Astoria were great, both were big enough to have interesting things going on. And hadn't been overrun with cruiser tourist traps, as the Astoria bus driver said, "No diamonds international here". And we got lucky with weather and visiting when a local market day was setup.

 

The rest you have to like the sleepy, small town Alaska vibe.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • SAIL-AWAY GIVEAWAY - Enter for a chance to win a $3,000 Norwegian Cruise Line Gift Card
      • Forum Assistance
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Member Cruise Reviews
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...