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Rotterdam Penthouse - New York to Montreal

Discussion in 'Holland America Line' started by MARKandROGER, Mar 7, 2003.


    MARKandROGER Guest


    My partner and I are quite new to the crusiing world and have booked a Penthouse on the Rotterdam for the New York to Montreal cruise. We don't know what to expect and if there are any real perks to booking a Penthouse Suite rather than a outdoor suite with a balcony. Except for size of course.

    If there is any one who has cruised on the Rotterdam in one of the Penthouses, maybe you could let us know what we should expect and any suggestions.

    I have heard that there are special embarkation and disembarkation cards. Are these also for the ports that we enter each day?

    Does anyone know if HAL has a really excellent Bottle of Port, we enjoy each night to have a glass after dinner. Or should we bring our own and pay a corking charge?

    We noticed that the penthouses on the right side of the ship (when facing forward) were already sold, are they a better accomodation, or a better side?

    We have tried to find photos of the suites on the Rotterdam, but HAL is not very useful in that department. Is each Penthouse suite on the Rotterdam a different color scheme?

    Thanks all for any help, suggestions or comments...

    Post Edited (03-07-03 23:39)

    MARKandROGER Guest

    Thank you for the links.

    I have searched HAL website, but don't find a lot of information on their services or Penthouse Suite perks. I have on your suggestion e-mailed Holland America with some questions. I hope that I might be more successful in writing them, as phoning them was unproductive.

  3. sail7seas

    sail7seas Guest

    All of the perks of a Penthouse Suite are available to Category "S" Suites as well.

    You will have wonderful service in the Penthouse....and in an "S". The Penthouses are beautiful, very spacious and extremely comfortable.

    Rotterdam is a wonderful ship....she and Amsterdam are the flagships of HAL.;

    Yes...there is priority embarkation/disembarkation.....but "S" Suites also enjoy that "perk".

    MARKandROGER Guest

    Thanks sail7seas!

    I am a little surprised that the "perks" for the Penthouses are the standard perks for the deck. I would have thought there would have been a few extras other than just the space.

    Did we make a mistake in paying for the Penthouse, or should we have taken the S category and tried for an upgrade?

    Or do they upgrade people into the Penthouse? Some airlines for example use it as a promotional tool, and some absolutely refuse to. What about Holland America?

    On a different topic, we asked to be sat on a table for eight in the cetnre area of the dining room. We thought it would have more drama and more air circulation. Do you think that is correct? Do you think we will get on one of those tables?

    Again thanks

    Post Edited (03-08-03 10:59)
  5. sail7seas

    sail7seas Guest

    It is HIGHLY unlikely you would get an upgrade to a Penthouse....if one can judge by us. We have never chosen to book a Penthouse but have enjoyed "S" Suites on more than 30 HAL cruises and we have never asked for nor been offered an upgrade to a Penthouse. Not a complaint as if we wanted to stay in the PH, we would have booked it....just telling "the facts".

    My husband also enjoys port wine and the best he has had on board is just a Sandeman. If you are looking for a very fine port, I do not think it is customarily stocked.

    The perks for the "S" ...and Penthouse, are pretty terrific. The best in the industry. There is little to nothing you will lack for and I do not think you made a mistake booking the PH. It is a very beautiful accomodation.

    I honestly cannot think of anything we felt we needed/wanted that SHOULD have been included as a "Perk". We are more than satisifed with the extras that are "included" when you book the better accomodations.

    Your request for table location/size sounds good....That request would place you on the lower level of a very lovely two tier dining room. The center of the upper level is open space and the tables encircle this open space which looks down onto the first level. If it is at all possible for the Maitre D' to accomodate your request, I would be quite surprised if your request was not granted. Be sure you TA makes it known to HAL what your preference is. Do Not Wait until you Board. By that time, table assignments have already been made.

    Enjoy !

    MARKandROGER Guest

    Thanks again sail7seas!
    Full of great information like usual!
  7. ShipMaven

    ShipMaven Guest

    I've sailed in the Penthouse Suite on Statendam, Volendam and Ryndam a number of times, as well as in the regular Suite on Veendam and Maasdam. I'm booked in a Penthouse Suite on Rotterdam later this year, and the Penthouse Suite on Volendam in May.

    Essentially, they are all the same except for decor (at 1126 sq. ft. including verandah). As Sail stated, the perks are the same as for the Suites, but I can assure you that word quietly and quickly spreads through the ship (meaning Officers, Staff, Crew) as to who is occupying the PS or, in the case of the Rotterdam, the 4 PS's.

    Among the perks are priority embarkation/debarkation and boarding of tenders; complimentary laundry, pressing and dry cleaning; stationery with your name(s) and PS or S number; complimentary hot and/or cold hors d'oeuvres in the afternoon; invitation to the Officers lunch and/or dinner as well as cocktail party for Suite guests. The Rotterdam has a Concierge lounge (Neptune Lounge) with Concierge on Navigation Deck that is for the exclusive use of S and PS guests. The Concierge can book alternative dining reservations for you, spa appointments, shore excursions, etc. You can have Continental breakfast in the Lounge, light snacks throughout the day appropriate to the time of day as well as fruit juices, coffee, tea, etc. On the morning of debarkation, you may keep your luggage if you so desire, and stewards will accompany you off the ship with your suitcases.

    As you enter the PS into a foyer, there are a galley (kitchen) and powder room to one side. You then proceed into the dining room, and the sliding doors that open onto a large verandah (the verandah is the same size as those for the Suites - holds a large round table with 4 chairs, 2 chaises longues and a coffee table, with plenty of room to spare). The dining room table can usually hold as many as 8 people. There's a side bar/buffet that has crystal ware, bar ware, silverware, etc.

    The living room holds an L-shaped sofa, cocktail table, several chairs, a built-in desk with a small window that looks out onto the verandah - the other windows are about 3/4 height floor to ceiling. All sorts of direct and indirect lighting. There's an entertainment center with TV, VCR, stereo/CD system with speakers placed strategically through the living and dining areas. The bedroom is at a diagonal angle, with a king bed that cannot be separated into two twins. Lots of counter space and drawers, with another TV and VCR. The marble bathroom is larger than some cabins on other ships - with a large Jacuzzi (water flows either from a regular spigot or from the mouth of Neptune - a frieze on the wall), separate shower with numerous water jets, linen shelves with stacks of fluffy towels, double sink, separate commode area with another sink. Then there's a huge walk-in closet with enough drawer and shelf space to accommodate a wardrobe for a world cruise, and PLENTY of closets.

    Throughout the PS are a number of art works - paintings and sculptures - that add to its elegance and beauty.

    I always entertain my friends when I'm in a PS, and have had private dinners for as many as 18 people at one time, or as few as 8. HAL is outstanding at catering such parties.

    I have no idea why the starboard (right) PS's are gone on your cruise while those on the port side (left) are still available - heading from NYC to Montreal, the port side would be the preferable side!

    Hope I've helped. Bon Voyage. I'll be sailing Montreal to New York. :)
  8. sail7seas

    sail7seas Guest

    :thumb Everything Maven says.

    Most of us would not have 18 persons aboard with us to have for dinner :grin

    We never travel as part of a group and doubt we'd go out of our way to invite folks we met aboard for dinner....but who knows....maybe we'll give it a go one day. We've been in the PH a number of times and they are very beautiful and certainly hugely spacious.
    Maybe if we can find a legitimate way to deduct the price as a "tax write off", we'll book the PH :grin but can't imagine what would qualify.

    As Maven says, the crew knows immediately who is in the PH's as well as "S".....and it does, indeed, make a difference. Subtle as it may be.

    MARKandROGER Guest

    Dear ShipMaven,

    Now that was a full description, THANK YOU! :)
    It sounds like we are going to have a great time.

    Your description should be used on the Holland America website to describe what they are selling, because YOU I understand, Holland America did not paint such a nice picture! Why don't they give better information on their accomodation and services?

    As far as inviting friends for dinner, we don't have any joining us on that cruise, being a "male couple" and only being in our early 40's, I expect we won't make many friends on the ship either. I hear average age is +60 and we will be the youngest. But I guess with the Penthouse, we can be happy just being by ourselves!

    If I may ask another question, is the smoking on the ship pervasive. Or is there lots of real non - smoking areas throughout the ship, bars, casinos etc..? We are non smokers, one us an ex-smoker (you know how militant they can be), the other had a parent lost to cancer so its a touchy subject.

    As far as it being tax deductible sail7seas, isn't it? We are Canadian, so maybe we can write it off as education? Just kidding, it has to come from after tax dollars too, even for us Canadians!

    We did get a 63% discount off ithe rack rate, is that the best that we could have gotten? Or is that considered about normal? Would we get an even better rate, once we have travelled with Holland America? Do they usually discount the Penthouse(s) further if they don't sell out and the date gets closer?

    No one has commented on the topic of Port wine that we would like to have each night if possible at the table after dinner. Can we buy our own bottle, and have it corked? Or do we buy the bottle from what they have on the ship? II expect it is cheaper by the bottle? Does the ship keep the opened bottle from night to night until we are finished?

    Another question, I am very susceptible to motion sickness (very), any suggestions?

    I do have an electronic watch gizmo that I bought on Alaska Airlines which sends electric pulses into my hand gently that is supposed to help me from getting ill, and this cruise is going to be the first real water test. I did try it on a plane, where it worked just fine between London and Zurich in January, where the plane "rocked" and "bucked" for 10 miniutes and I was pefectly fine afterwards, though at the time, I was sweating just a little!

    THANKS everyone for your input, we really :):):) appreciate it, look forward to your answers to my new questions too.


    Post Edited (03-09-03 11:46)
  10. sail7seas

    sail7seas Guest

    A 63% discount is better than excellent....it is quite remarkable for a PH. After your first HAL cruise, you will become a "Mariner" which is HAL's name for repeat cruisers. Normally, a Mariner gets a small additional discount for future cruises.

    I mentioned in one of my previous posts that my DH also enjoys Port and the best he has been able to have on the ships has been Sandeman...so, if you desire a fine Port, I doubt you will find much stocked on board. You may wish to bring a fine bottle with you which is permitted by HAL, unlike most other cruiselines.

    The chances are that you may be among the youngest pax ....only on that particular itinerary. For some reason, the Canada/New England cruises often attract a somewhat more senior passenger mix. Have no idea why as that is a lovely itinerary.

    On Caribbean or European Cruises, you would find many folks your age, as well as both younger and older.

    You will probably meet loads of fellow pax and enjoy their company....as I am sure they will enjoy yours. HAL has always had a somewhat more sohphisticated, well traveled, well -dressed and well-mannered type passenger than some of the other lines. We have met so many wonderful people on the ships of HAL....including couples such as yourselves. We were very fortunate to meet a particular couple that we enjoyed tremendously and by sheer good luch actually have seen them through the years on one ship or another. We are always delighted to meet up with them again. I cannot imagine that you will not have a wonderful time....and meet loads of nice people,., if it is your choice to socialize. Some folks are happy to remain private and to themselves and others are eager to meet others. Whatever pleases you, is exactly Perfect! It is your vacation to enjoy your way.

    I know you'll have a wonderful time.

    Post Edited (03-09-03 12:25)
  11. peaches

    peaches Guest


    Of course you'll make friends. I wouldn't want anyone to whom age or orientation makes a difference to be my friend anyway. If you are worried about any of this nonsense, book me in a suite near your PH and I'd be glad to be your friend. Have a great cruise! We plan to be in a Rotterdam suite in just the next couple of weeks.
  12. Suki

    Suki Guest

    We love the Rotterdam!

    As the plebeian poster in this group, I'd just like to add that we have been cocktail party and dinner guests in a Penthouse Suite - wonderful experience! HAL spares no effort to make it memorable for all.

    Why not take your special Port (maybe a white?) on board and pay the corkage fee?
  13. MARKandROGER

    MARKandROGER Guest

    You are all so nice, :):):)

    I am amazed at the amount of cruise information and interest there is by cruise enthusiasts like yourselves. You are all great. Thanks for the info.

    As far as the cost of telephone calls go, well, though we are in a Penthouse suite, we are Canadians at a rate of 1.50, that's a big discount on the American Dollar, so we have to watch our pennies! Hee Hee... Spend the Thousands, so we have to save the dollars.....

    As our Dutch friends tell us, save a dime, then a dollar, and then travel travel and travel.... So that is what we are going to do, occasionaly we want to enjoy ourselves in a style that we will have fond memories of. We want to be able to think back when we are older and cannot travel and remember a few wonderful experiences, and know that we don't have regrets. Thus the Penthouse. Besides if I am going to be sea sick, I should do it in style, right? :)

    Peaches, you are right, Roger and I think that way, if they don't like us, that's there loss not ours. Life is too short and we intend on enjoying ourselves, whether by ourselves or with people who are open minded and judge us for who we are not our orientation. Sad however, there are many who are closed minded, even in this 21st century.

    As far asyour suggestion of the suite near ours is concerned, sorry, but the budget is shot with our "snooty accomodations".... :) Maybe next time?

  14. MARKandROGER

    MARKandROGER Guest

    Heh Suki,

    We had to look up "plebeian" to find out what it meant. So that must make us lower than proletarian!

    Mark and Roger this time (he looked it up)!
  15. peaches

    peaches Guest

    Okay, guys, be that way. We still may meet on the Navigation Deck some day. Let us know how everything went - I know it will be great!

  16. Suki

    Suki Guest

    Date:   03-09-03 21:53

    Heh Suki,

    We had to look up "plebeian" to find out what it meant. So that must make us lower than proletarian!

    Mark and Roger this time (he looked it up)!
    Not at all!!!!!!!

    'proletarian' is of politics which I don't discuss. I used 'plebeian' meaning that we can't afford to cruise in Penthouse or any other suite for that matter! Wish we were on board and we'd buy you a drink :)

    Canada, eh? Know all about the exchange rate! Ouch!
  17. MARKandROGER

    MARKandROGER Guest


    Roger and I have discussed your offer at length, if You book on our cruise, we would be honoured to buy you that drink!

  18. sage

    sage Guest

    We were on the Rotterdam last December, and we had such a wonderful time that we are going again with some friends we met while on board this December. We are also going to splurge and are in a Penthouse. I'm so glad that you made the inquiry, as I agree that they don't give you a full picture of the suite anywhere. Now we are even more excited about the Penthouse and wish we were sailing sooner. Last December, my 30 year old brother went with us, and he fell in love with the ship and found plently to do each night, so don't let the age factor frighten you. Please post and give a full review when you return.
  19. MARKandROGER

    MARKandROGER Guest

    Absolutely, what comes around, goes around, I will provide a complete viewpoint once we get back from our cruise. I am so grateful for the Cruise-Addicts venue and its contributors, it has helped me so much in feeling good about our cruise in May, Penthouse and all! I hope we can make a difference too.


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