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J. Higgins

Age: 68


Number of Cruises: 7

Cruise Line: Holland America

Ship: Ryndam

Sailing Date: October 20th, 2004

Itinerary: Mexican Riviera

Following is what we encountered, endured, and suffered through:

1. At some point during 7 of the 10 days, none of the toilets on the ship – both those in the cabin and in the public areas – would flush. Typically this would last from 1 to 5 hrs and, as you can imagine, made for some unpleasant odors throughout, and potentially some health issues as well.

2. The service was very inconsistent, and we weren’t sure if they were not trained, or just poorly trained. For instance the restaurant staff was far from professional. They would occasionally take orders from the men first, and then even serve the men first, leaving the ladies to sit there and wait.

During dinner, for the whole trip, we never got drink or bread refills without asking for them, often more than once. Then to compound it, the meals themselves were mediocre at best.

3. The staff throughout the ship would not yield as you approached if they were walking towards or past you, a big no-no from a professionalism standpoint. We would have to step back to let them pass.

4. For breakfast and lunch from the buffet, you were fortunate to get warm food, and hot was out of the question. This not only lowered the enjoyment of the meal, it makes one wonder about the health risk associated with food not maintained at the proper temperature.

5. The iced tea, coffee and ice machines did not work most of the trip.

6. By the pool they made a deal about getting food, specifically tacos, but the taco machine didn’t work until late in the trip, and then it too was never hot.

7. The air conditioning system was intermittent at best, and you never knew when you went to a show if you needed a coat or would be uncomfortably hot. Several people had trouble in their cabins with the temperature, but we were fortunate there. There were two days that the air conditioning did not work properly in the Crows Nest to where it was too hot to be in there. One of the servers in the Crows Nest told us that someone in Engineering had told him they still had a ‘punch list’ with 300 items on it that needed fixed throughout the ship.

8. There were always 1 or 2 elevators that did not work, then we heard that one of them had dropped two floors with someone on it.

9. The live shows were of such quality that people would leave during them.

10. We had an ocean view cabin, but the window was so dirty you could barely see out.

11. Service while sitting by the pool was virtually non-existent. They advertise that you will be ‘served lemonade while poolside’, which was a joke. You never saw a server, and we had lemonade once when I went inside and got it.

12. The phone system was intermittent in some cabins. It was 4 days into the trip before we could communicate by phone with our friends in another cabin.

13. There was an ugly occurrence while boarding a tender at one of the ports. The water was somewhat rough and the tender would move away from the ship and then stop abruptly when it reached the end of the tie-line, and then stop abruptly again when it would move back and hit the ship. We were being literally thrown around the boat, and a lady who boarded after us went over the back of one of seats and caught herself with an arm on the floor. I thought she had broken her arm because it was at a strange angle, and while I was trying to get myself stabilized enough to go help her, imagine my horror as she started to get up and her arm stayed on the floor!! She had an artificial arm and it had knocked her prosthesis off. The really troubling part of all this is that no one from the crew said while we were boarding, “be careful, hang on”, or offer assistance. Nor did anyone rush to help her get up. This is a serious safety issue that needs to be addressed by someone or some agency.

14. The ship had been in dry-dock and was obviously not ready for passengers yet. Yet throughout all this no one came on the intercom and publicly apologized, until the last night when the captain made some very quickly passing comment about the problems as he thanked us for coming. An apology needed to be forthcoming long before then.




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