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Maasdam - Cruise Ship Review - Passenger Reviews

Holland America Line's Maasdam cruising Scandinavia This class of four handsome 1,258-passenger vessels built in the mid 1990s has the sharp look of a classic ocean liner, with a sweeping foredeck and lovely tired decks at the stern. The Maasdam is spacious, yet intimate in size and has a lovely traditional feel without being stuffy. Like the rest of the fleet, Holland America Line's Signature of Excellence enhancements in recent years have kept the Maasdam and her sisters looking fresh and modern.

Public Rooms & Activities on Maasdam
Public spaces include the popular Explorations Café, a combo Internet center, coffee shop and well-stocked library. A row of comfy chaise longues connected with CD players and headphone stations face the sea through floor-to-ceiling windows, while other clusters of couches and chairs invite reading and resting.

Evenings, options include the dimly lit and atmospheric piano bar; a new lounge called Mix for a great martini, glass of bubbly or anything else that tickles your taste buds. Dancers head to the Ocean Bar for its live band, while the Crow’s Nest nightclub up top becomes the ship’s disco at night. The ships’ two-story showrooms have cozy groupings of banquettes and movable chairs on the first level, a rare set up these days. A casino and small movie theater, that doubles as the Culinary Arts Center demo kitchen, round out the entertainment venues.

Kids are entertained too in a bright, windowed playroom decorated like a giant paint box. For older kids there are video games and a karaoke machine, while teens are privy to Oasis, a secluded patch of deck with a wading pool with a waterfall, deck chairs and hammocks.

Exercisers will appreciate the roomy ocean view gyms and large aerobics area, plus the combo basketball/tennis/volleyball courts up on the Sports Deck. The redesigned Greenhouse Spa sports thermal suites with a hydrotherapy whirlpool and heated tile loungers. There are two pools, one with a sliding glass roof when cruising in cool climes like Alaska, and one aft with great views of the ship’s wake.

Dining on the MaasdamDining On Maasdam
When it comes to eating, choices include the elegant, two-story main dining room at the stern, with a pair of curved staircases sweeping down to the lower level for grand entrances. The Pinnacle Grill for steaks and seafood is much smaller and more intimate, while casual diners can always head for the indoor/outdoor buffet restaurant, complete with a taco station and burger grill; and evenings, a new Italian section called Canaletto.

Staterooms On Maasdam
Roomy standard cabins on the Maasdam are at least 185 square feet and feature super comfy bedding, plus a flatscreen TV and DVD player, makeup mirror, massage shower head and bathrobes. Outside cabins on the Lower Promenade Deck face the wraparound promenade deck, where walkers have great views of the sea (special reflective glass prevents outsiders from spying in).

Ship Information
Maasdam belongs to Holland America Line's Statendam Class of cruise ships. Holland America Line names its ships after something very important to the country of Holland - its dams. The "Maas" in Maasdam stands for the Maas River in Holland.

Holland America Line's ships are characterized by elegant design and many lounges - quiet as well as lively ones. With the "Signature of Excellence" initiative Holland America ships now include a Culinary Arts center presented by Food & Wine magazine (it's like being in the studio of a TV cooking show), the Explorations Cafe powered by the New York Times, and cabin amenities such as perhaps the best beds in the cruise industry - the Mariner's Dream Beds.

Ship Facts
Year Built 1993 ♦ Ship's Class: Statendam Class ♦ Year Refurbished 2006 ♦ Country of Registry Netherlands ♦ Tonnage 56,000 ♦ Length 720 ft - 216 m ♦ Cruising Speed 22 knots ♦ Passenger Capacity (double occupancy) 1,258 ♦ Passenger Capacity (incl. upper beds) 1,621 ♦ Passenger Decks 10 ♦ Officers and Crew 580 ♦ Officer's Nationality International ♦ Crew and Hotel Staff Nationality International

Total 629 ♦ Suites with Balcony 149 ♦ Lanai cabins - with extra lanai doors opening up directly to the outside promenade deck 38 (coming April 2011) ♦ Oceanview with Balcony 0 (none) ♦ Oceanview without Balcony 314 ♦ Inside 128 ♦ Accessible Cabins (all categories) 15 ♦ Holland America Line's cabins are among the best one can find, with spacious, thoughtful and comfortable design. Amenties in all cabins include luxury bedding, refrigerator, extensive satellite TV programming, and complimentary room service.

Cabin Amenities
TV with music channels ♦ In-Cabin Movies ♦ In-Cabin Internet Access ♦ Private Safe ♦ Minibar ♦ Hair Dryer

Traditional 1st and 2nd Sitting Assigned Table Seating ♦ Optional Open Seating - "As You Wish Dining" lets you choose the venues and style that suit you ♦ Formal Nights ♦ Specialty Restaurants: Pinnacle Grill, Canaletto ♦ Specialty Coffee Bar: Explorations Cafe powered by New York Times ♦ 24 Hour Room Service Available

Maasdam's pool area with the retractable Magrodome roof in a closed positionPublic Rooms
Bars and Lounges ♦ Library ♦ Internet Center

Showlounge ♦ Casino ♦ Disco/Nightclub ♦ Card Room/Game Room ♦ Video Games Arcade

Sports and Activities
Outdoor Pools ♦ Sports Court ♦ Fitness Center ♦ Jogging Track ♦ Promenade Deck wraps around the ship

Spa and Wellness
Full Service Spa ♦ MedSpa Services ♦ Sauna or Steam Room ♦ Beauty Salon ♦ Yoga ♦ Pilates ♦ Fitness Assessment ♦ Health and Nutrition Evaluation

Children and Teens
Family Cabins ♦ Organized Age Specific Activities ♦ Children's Pool ♦ Outdoor Children's Play Area ♦ Youth Staff ♦ Dedicated Teen Center ♦ Teen Programs ♦ Teen Staff ♦ Group Babysitting Services

Other Facilities and Services
Duty Free Shops and Boutiques ♦ Dry Cleaning and Laundry Service ♦ Business Center Services ♦ Medical Center

She Wears It Well — Maasdam Gets a Makeover

Fine dining on Holland America Line's Maasdam 2006 by Ralph Grizzle. An award-winning travel writer, and recognized cruise ship expert.

Holland America Line spent millions of dollars upgrading its 14-year-old Maasdam. Is the old ship now like new?
She was once young and beautiful, a maiden who dazzled all with her good looks. But time passed, and though the years had been kind to her, she began to show signs of wear. She no longer stole the glances of admirers and passersby. In the presence of younger, prettier and more fashionably dressed girls, the old dame carried on with dignity and grace, but she had lost a bit of her glitter. And so she did what any gal would do to restore her youthful vitality and looks: She went for a makeover.

Built in 1993, Maasdam is the second oldest ship in Holland America Line’s fleet. And while a girl going on 14 may not be old in human years, she is old in cruise ship years. Cruise ships rarely operate more than 25 years, and typically they need ‘mid-life revitalization,’ as ship architects haved coined the term, somewhere around 12 years into their life cycles.

The Makeover
In the spring of 2006, Maasdam, one of four 1,258-passenger ‘S-Class’ ships, cruised into Freeport, Bahamas for a three-week makeover that incorporated the major enhancements in HAL’s $225 million Signature of Excellence initiative. Aside from upgrades to the five areas that HAL says its guests enjoy most – dining, accommodations, service, activities and destinations – SOE, as the initiative is known, also creates a sense of continuity for those who frequently cruise on HAL ships.

And as someone who has cruised on all four of HAL’s Vista-class ships, I felt an immediate familiarity on Maasdam. One of the changes during the ship’s drydock was that the Lido Buffet was upgraded to feature food stations instead of one long buffet line. I walked into the Lido to my favorite dining station, where sushi and Asian food is served on Vista-class vessels. The Asian station wasn’t in the exact location as it is on Noordam and her sisters, but it was nearby. I felt at home.

Public Rooms Upgraded
Maasdam also modernized to include Explorations Cafe – an attractive coffee shop/library/internet center powered by the New York Times, Culinary Arts Center presented by Food & Wine Magazine, refurbished Crow’s Nest observation lounge, and an expanded Greenhouse Spa and Salon, which features more treatment rooms, a thermal suite and hydro-pool, as well as a new spacious fitness facility.

The Youth Center was upgraded with SOE amenities that provide a full youth program for toddlers, tweens and teens. Carpeting was replaced throughout the ship, and the main dining room got new chairs. Of course, the latter additions are part of regular drydocks. Maasdam, like other ships in HAL’s fleet, is upgraded on an annual basis. And it shows. ‘I’ve worked on a lot of ships, and for a ship of this age, she’s the best maintained,’ Julian Brackenbury, Maasdam’s beverage manager, told me over a coffee at Explorations Cafe.

Large Oceanview Cabin on Holland America Line's MaasdamStaterooms
I booked stateroom 620 on Main Deck. The sense of continuity created by SOE is evident here too, with such enhancements in place as plush Euro-top Mariner’s Dream Beds, flat screen wall-mounted LG TVs (which make for more room on the desk), DVD players and deluxe waffle/terry cloth robes. Other items featured in staterooms are magnifying make-up mirrors with halo lighting, massage shower heads, professional hair dryers and complimentary fruit basket.

The Appeal Of A Small Ship
Because Maasdam was built before balconies boomed on ships (the only balconies on Maasdam are in suites), people wanting expansive views of the sea and passing scenery tend to congregate in the lounge and on the outer decks. The absence of balconies is made up for by something Maasdam has that the new megaships do not have: a smaller size. With only 1,258 passengers, Maasdam never felt crowded or crunched, and getting from one end of the ship to the other did not require that you pack a lunch.

Bottom Line
HAL’s SOE initiative and its investment in the refurbishment breathed new life into an old dame. The rejuvenated Maasdam got what many wish for: a makeover that she certainly wears well.