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Betty Brooks

Age: 56


Number of Cruises: 6

Cruise Line: Holland America

Ship: Zuiderdam

Sailing Date: February 8th, 2003

Itinerary: UNKNOWN

Being disabled and traveling with a service dog, I wanted a cruise ship that did not cater to children or teenagers. The stateroom was comfortable with a balcony that my dog loved to watch the dolphins. However, be aware that to see St. Thomas you have to take a tender in to port. If you have hip, knee, back or balance problems getting on and off a tender in rough water is unsafe. Holland America and the cruise agency conveniently forgot to pass that along. The food can only be described as "lousy". While at their "private island" Half Moon Cay, the chef had to dump the potato salad out as it was spoiled. When returning to the tender port to return to the ship, I took a nasty fall. Not one HAL crewmember lifted a finger to assist me. Had it not been for several passengers lifting me into the tender, I probably would still be on the dock. When we arrived back at the ship, and the passengers were assisting me from the tender to the ship, several people advised the crew members I had been injured. The crew members just looked like "so what - no understand". I was assisted by the passengers to my stateroom where I fell into bed and woke up over 7 hours later. Since I had slept through my assigned meal seating I went in search of food and potty break for my service dog (who got more attention and love than me! Hmm). I went to the purser's desk to advise them of a hazardous situation at the dock at the tender port on this "private" island. They paged the nurse, handed the phone to me, and Nurse Ratchet wanted to know why I was just reporting it now, who did I think I was, and I had to go to the infirmary to make a report. Once I got there her sarcastic attitude turned me off completely. Then some guy in jeans and a polo shirt said "follow me". I asked him who he was and he said the doctor. He spent all of 5 minutes and offered me a Tylenol. Nurse Ratchet kept bellowing at me about how much did I have to drink (ice tea), was I drunk when it happened (check my bill - one bottle of water and one diet coke.

They were uninterested in the hazardous situation on the gangplank down to the tender dock. If a cruise line is going to cater to a more mature audience, then perhaps their medical crew needs an attitude adjustment and work on a more positive bedside manner. Holland America Corporate headquarters in Seattle, customer relations, could care less about this. Once they have your money, make sure your affairs are in order because most of the crew barely understands English, there is no food available after 10pm, and the crew all have selective hearing (my dog is more friendly than any of their crew members. My advice: Don't waste your time and money on Holland America.

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