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I wanted to take this opportunity to write about our most recent cruise experience upon the ms Oosterdam November 7, 2004. This was a most disappointing cruise experience. I booked this cruise 7/20/04. I made a great effort in planning this cruise so that my partner would have the most exciting experience of his life, Planning the details with the cruise consultant required a lot of my time and his for that matter, details from the fact that David loves bananas and requesting that they be available in our stateroom on a daily basis as part of the ?fruit bowl that was to be in our cabin, Arranging a special spa treatment for us both, Asking that David?s Birthday cake be delivered to the cabin and NOT in the dining room, because David embarrasses easily, planning excursions, just making sure we had the best Vacation we could on Holland America.
Day one after arriving on board we made our way to the our stateroom because I wanted David to see the difference between our accommodations from our first Holland ship the Ryndam where we were guests in a B class stateroom and now we are in a SS class. He was really excited about being in the larger cabin, and had no idea that we would be having fresh fruit in the cabin for a healthy snack, there was no fruit available at that time, which didn?t concern me at that time because we had entered the cabin before the announcement that the cabins were ?officially ready?. So with David excited we made our way back up to the Lido deck to have a first day cocktail and toast our Vacation! To our surprise once up on Lido Deck we saw Ramon the bartender from the Ryndam that gave us such a wonderful experience, we ordered our drinks and caught up with Ramon. Just until the announcement that cabins were ready.
We made our way back to our cabin and to my surprise there were no flowers or fruit waiting for David. I eventually had to request fruit and flowers from our steward. Which we received late the next morning. Consisting of one banana, one apple one pear and one orange, very disappointing especially after telling the cruise consultant how much David liked his fruit. After unpacking I made our way up to the Spa to confirm and book our reservations for our message and facial experience that I had pre purchased. I scheduled it for 1:30pm the next day after our brief stay in Nassau. We also took a tour of the spa facilities and eventually signed up so that both of us could take advantage of unlimited use of the Hydro pool and sauna facilities. The $250.00 couples package. The next morning I went to the spa for a sauna and hydro pool treatment and found that the pool was filthy, grime on the chrome resting bars and rust looking substance floating in the water. Very disappointing. Upon arriving at the spa later that day for an afternoon of pampering, we were greeted at the front desk and shown to the ?relaxation room. We received the massage but was told that they didn?t have time to do the facials because they didn?t know we were to receive one, and then were asked to make another appointment later in the week to receive the facial, needless to say I was disappointed because the whole idea of the pre package was to have a spa experience not a massage and facial, the staff at the spa made no apologies for the mix up, this was most disconcerting for me because once again my partner was disappointed. So now David and I both had two separate times for our facials His Thursday at 3:00pm mine Thursday at 4:00pm. Once again a couples experience was not to be had and once again no real concern was shown by any member of the staff. Later the appointments were changed again to accommodate both of us at the same time Saturday at 5pm.
It was almost like ?hey we have your money don?t bother me?
Dinner aboard ship that night was horrendous food that had a nice presentation but no flavor, Cakes delivered to our tables that were supposed to be delivered to our cabin, cream that had gone bad and curdled when poured into our coffee. I could go on and on but needless to say the food had no flavor, I remember one night I had the Peppered corned sirloin steak, but there was no taste or appearance of peppercorn. Our wine steward took our order for six bottles of wine to be served over several nights of the cruise, more often then not the wine had no ice bucket and was place on top of the table, I had to pour refills my self, I had requested that one bottle be delivered to our state room for consumption at our discretion, It was delivered but with no cork screw. St. Maarten was a disaster, we were schedule for a tour of the island but there were not enough buses available to take us at 12:45pm and when the time reached 1:30 and buses had not arrived we decided to go back to the ship with out our tour, when I mentioned to the tour staff how disappointed we were, she said well? I?m sorry? but we had to ask for a refund and when I mentioned that this was a busted port stop as far as we were concerned she just looked at us, with no real concern for our satisfaction, It was a crew member from Princess Cruise line suggesting that we take a water taxi over to the downtown section of Philipsburg. The next morning we had breakfast in the dining room and .well let me just say, I?m still waiting on my V8 Juice ? so disappointing.
Enough was enough I decided to express my concerns to the Hotel Manager, when I made my way down to the front desk and asked to speak to the hotel manager. I was given excuses but when I insisted, out came the Guest Relations Manager, not who I asked to speak with, but I went ahead and expressed my concerns about the attitude and professionalism of the staff, the tasteless food aboard the ship, the cleanliness of the spa the fact that our cabin bath room smelled moldy, her response was ?yea, yea, yea? very condescending. I mentioned to her how disappointed we were about the suite life thing that I though we were getting when I originally booked my cruise in July, shortly after that time Jeph informed me that that was only for S Class and Penthouse guests, and he apologized to me for the misunderstanding, we had talked about and how that Marketing should do a better job distinguishing suite life from ordinary suite amenities; she offered to give us access to the Neptune lounge, which we never received.
And what really sent me over the edge was our day at Half Moon Cay. One of the biggest things for me personally on this vacation was my beach time, to my surprise Staff members allowed 4 service animals to run around unleashed and swim in the ocean. They showed no concern for this action I need not tell you that I didn?t pay the money that I paid for this cruise so I could swim with DOGS. I left the island about 20 minutes after I arrived.
After returning to the ship I made my way down to the front desk and requested that all gratuities be removed from our bill and that we would be tipping those individuals that we felt were deserving, we were informed that we had the right to do this but the baker might not receive his tip! Just another example of how the staff aboard this vessel isn?t interested in guest satisfaction. Acquaintances of ours that we made on board had purchased beverage cards for the island but were not able to use them until close to 12 noon because there were no beverages available.
You don?t throw a part then wait for your guest to arrive before going to the store for supplies. They mentioned to me that they got 3 cokes that afternoon, which made them some of the most expensive beverages on record almost $7.00 a can. Day 4 and 5 the fruit bowl was never refilled. So David had No fruit. The evening of day 6 the fruit bowl and flowers were removed from our stateroom and the mini bar was locked. I really felt that was a tacky thing.
The last night in the dining room was just more of the same, after tipping our waiter and dinning room assistant, we ordered coffee I had an espresso and David ordered regular coffee. It took almost 10 minutes to receive our coffees and then the order was incorrect they had delivered 2 espressos, when I tried to correct David?s order it took another 5 to 6 minutes and once again the cream was curdled.
I reported this to our cruise consultant from the airport in Dallas Texas, when I was able to finally get someone at Holland America on the phone, and he tried to find a resolution, I wrote him a letter which he said he would walk up to Guest relations department. That was on the 16th of November. As of this date I have not heard from Guest Relations. We previously cruised with Holland America because of the high standards that are set, unfortunately this was not the case on this cruise, and I not only cancelled our next cruise which was booked before this cruise.and I have also stopped our plans for our European Vacation with Holland also. (This would have also included another couple.)
Just to recap... The staff was unprofessional, the food was tasteless, the spa and bathroom in our cabin was not as clean as it should have been, Crew members passing the buck, and No one wants to take responsibility. This over all experience has really soured me on Holland America, What is supposed to be a five star Luxury Cruise Line to me was more like what we would receive on Carnival Cruise Line.