Holland America Line, Maasdam

Photo: © HOLLAND AMERICA LINE

By - November 1, 2018

Ports of Call: The 28-night cruise from San Diego to Lima and back aboard the Maasdam included Cabo San Lucas, Huatulco and Puerto Chiapas, Mexico; Fuerte Amador, Panama; Salaverry (Trujillo) and Lima (Callao), Peru, overnight; Manta, Ecuador; Puerto Caldera, Costa Rica; Corinto, Nicaragua; Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala; Manzanillo and Puerto Vallarta, Mexico; and returning to San Diego, California.

Embarkation/Disembarkation: Both were done in a professional and rapid manner with little to no waiting. Lunch was available upon embarkation with the usual options of hot and cold foods from the buffet on an upper deck. Cabins/staterooms were ready for occupancy in the early afternoon and made available in the order of suites, balcony rooms, ocean-view and inside rooms.

Stateroom: The Maasdam is an older ship, built in 1993 and refurbished in 2016. Our Vista Suite, a traditional balcony-type cabin, included a sitting area, private veranda, a tub with a shower, and plenty of closet space for longer cruises.

Services/Amenities: Food on board was of a high quality. The Maasdam has a limited number of dining options due to the size of the ship, including the main dining room, a buffet on a top deck and two specialty restaurants. There were also six bars and lounges. Service in the main dining room was slow, with two hours the normal duration for an evening meal; for older passengers and large tables, this was acceptable. Crew served an afternoon tea at 3 p.m. each day.

Services included a beauty salon/barber shop, a spa, eight elevators, Cellular at Sea (for a high price), self-service laundry and laundry/dry cleaning services for a fee. For relaxation and entertainment, passengers can enjoy pools and a hot tub, a library, a casino, a disco, a movie theater with multiple shows daily, an outdoor movie screen, a video arcade, shops and a showroom for evening entertainment and lectures for large groups.

TOP TAKEAWAYS:

◆ All events were well-organized and started on time.

◆ The crew members’ smiles and care for the passengers were remarkable.

◆ First-rate entertainers came from all over the world.

◆ Lectures, held almost daily, focused on the people, history and culture of upcoming ports of call and not on excursions that could be purchased.

◆ My wife enjoyed the craft classes held on at-sea days. The price of sewing classes included taking home the sewing machine!

◆ Internet prices were high and speeds were slow due to the satellite connection, something all cruise lines need to improve.

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