5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
I wanted to express that this was a relaxing cruise, the activity was limited , but the food was excellent, excursions were good, entertainment was okay, the room was spacious, loved being on the top floor, the wait staff ... Read More
I wanted to express that this was a relaxing cruise, the activity was limited , but the food was excellent, excursions were good, entertainment was okay, the room was spacious, loved being on the top floor, the wait staff "Herman" any time dining located on floor 2, Herman was a wonderful server with a big smile, very helpful and tentative to me, the bartenders were wonderful. The candy man who was the greeter he always had a smile. The pasties were delicious and nicely displayed; Oliver in the bar was excellent he knew what I wanted to drink before sitting down. Oliver works in the Crows Nest. The towel staff and the pool area was supreme. The piano bar and BB King great music and dancing all night long. I learned a lot during the cooking demonstration well presented and demonstrated. The crew members who help you on and off the ship are great. The photographer Andrew was wonderful and Wayne in the Jewelry shop was full of hugs and smiles. Sung who worked in the perfume store beautiful girl. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2019
We choose this cruise because it was a transatlantic combined with the Baltic ports, which we wanted to see, besides we were twice before in the Zuiderdam and had a fantastic time with great music and entertainment. This time in 26 ... Read More
We choose this cruise because it was a transatlantic combined with the Baltic ports, which we wanted to see, besides we were twice before in the Zuiderdam and had a fantastic time with great music and entertainment. This time in 26 days we had music at the Ocean Bar twice, one great show with Ikos Lakis and his Saxsophon which was as always magnificent. The rest of the shows were comedians than couldn't make anyone laugh, a piano player which was just o.k.. The Pinnacle Grill was the best food in the ship, as always. Excellent food and service. The dinning room food was o.k. twice I had to send my salmon back be cause was not even half cook. The best part of the dinning room were the servers, as always excellent service. My husband went a few times to the Lectures which he enjoyed. I went to American Test Kitchen which was very good. The ports. Bermuda was o.k. Pria de Vitoria was empty, not much to do. The Baltic stops were fantastic Amsterdam, Sudden, Belgium, Cherbourg France, Tallin, Berlin, Kiel, and the best by far 2 days in St. Petersburg, all amazing ports. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
We had a sort of family cruise. Ended up only being 5 of us. This cruise was a good value for 11 nights, onboarding very easy, although I arrived on a red eye so first in line does help. First cruise with Holland, 10th overall, ... Read More
We had a sort of family cruise. Ended up only being 5 of us. This cruise was a good value for 11 nights, onboarding very easy, although I arrived on a red eye so first in line does help. First cruise with Holland, 10th overall, Princess, NCL, Carnival, Royal Carib.I'm mid 50s but it was like an Alaska Cruise, I felt young and thin Manicure/pedicure was great. Young gal said this was actually the youngest group she'd seen in 4 months. I did miss the energy of the other boats but Everyone was super friendly, staff and cruisers. Room was large. Ship is going in for refurbishment and that is good. It's needed. Now to food. Honestly, it was ok. I didnt like the Lido because there was a line for everything. I get cutting down on germs but it was a pain waiting to ask for most anything hot. Not just omelettes and waffles. Dining rooms always better. My favprite breakfast dining room is still Carnival, go figure. Dinners were nice, but not as good as Princess, Carnival or Royal. Similar to Norwegian. Workout area was also subdued machines weren't individual tv/music, so not at nice. Would I go again. Entertainment was nice. Not as lively again and not as much to do, but you can only do one thing at a time anyway. Would I go again. Sure. What's not to love about doing whatever you want , someone cooking for you and chocolates at night. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2019
We were looking very much forward to this cruise starting with 11 days in Central America and the Panama Canal. After that we did cross the Atlantic ending up in Copenhagen. When we were checking in, we were very well taken care of by ... Read More
We were looking very much forward to this cruise starting with 11 days in Central America and the Panama Canal. After that we did cross the Atlantic ending up in Copenhagen. When we were checking in, we were very well taken care of by a Norwegian man. Entering the ship was a little less pleasant. The staff showing you onboard was not at all polite. Ok we expected to have a glass of champagne, when getting onboard, but no. For the first time ever on cruises (first time with HAL) there wasn't a glass of bobbles as a welcome. Our cabin was not ready yet, so we went up for some lunch. After lunch we went down to our cabin and could get in. The first thing we did was trying to put something in the small bedside table. The top drawer. In there there was some used napkins. We were surprised, but removed them. Then we found out, the small tabel in front og the sofa was really dirty. We called the cabin attendant and he came and we told what we were disappointed about. He found a wet cloth and wiped away the dust on the foot of the table. The top of the table was sticky, so we wanted that clean as well. We then saw, there was a table knife in the chair placed in front of the desk. When we got our suitcases and was unpacking we found some chocolate under the bed. Not at all ok cleaning. We didn't feel it was done at all better than what they was supposed to do every day, yes even worse. We thought it had to be reported to the head of the cleaning of the cabins, so we went to guest relations and a very polite and helpful young man from Austria took report and said he was very sorry. Later the head of cabins came and required the two cabin attendants to do a full and complete cleaning of the cabin. He offered us a bottle of wine as compensation. Later the guy from guest relations came with some fine chocolate as well. The temperature in our cabin was terrible, above 25 degree Celcius. A man from the repair department tried to mend it, but no matter what we did with scale there was no change. He would do something with the entire system, but when we came back after dinner, there was no change. We went down to guest relations again and they regretted and would send a new man. We said that otherwise we would come back to guest relations and sleep on the floor, as the temperature was fine here. The temperature was after a couple of days better, but we could still not regulate it. And some days later, we had the same problem again with too high temperature. Later in the cruise - on the second cruise - the opposite was the case with the temperature. One day it was less than 16 degree C. We complained again, and now it wasn't easy to get the temperature higher. Finally - five days before we ended up in Copenhagen - they managed to fix the aircondition. We could raise and lower the temperature. What a relief. But like the rest of the cabins it was not possible to turn off the airconditioning. Old ship! One day while we were laying on a sunbead by the pool we saw a man in the spa. He went in with his clothes and shoes and what was even worse, he was all the time spitting in the hot water. I went and told him to stop spitting as it was a source to people getting sick, if he had a disease. It would explosively grow in the very hot water. The man started screaming, that I was insulting and bothering him. He was really screaming. There is no pool-attendants at all by the pool, only waiters trying to sell drinks. Is that ok? we don't think so. The man went up of the spa and went to one of the waiters and talked to him. What they were discussing we don't know. After a while a very polite and pleasant man came and asked what happened. I told the story and he said they would make a report and I would get a copy. They knew who the man was. Later a couple of officers came. The went to the ladies from the beauty salon and talked to them. Then they came and asked for my version of the incident. They also said a report would be made. While they were talking to me an elderly American lady went into the spa and she was wearing outdoor sandals in the spa. No-one said anything to her. For several days we did not see the man in the spa, but some of the last days on the cruise he was back. He was still wearing jogging clothes and shoes when he went into the spa, and no-one of the staff did say anything. No-one was taking any notice of what was happening in the pool and spa. That is absolutely not ok and not something we have experienced before on cruisen on other shipping companies. On the first part of the cruise there was a show team onboard. This is also what we are used to from other cruises. The team disembarked in Fort Lauderdale, but we were sure a new team would board to the next cruise. No. Only entertainers was there. Some very good and some quite poor and without any experience. Only a couple of nights impressed. The wine, beer and drinks are very expensive. A drink-package is around 50$ per day for the cheapest. Much more expensive than what we have experienced elsewhere. On for instance Celebrity the drink package is included if you have an outer cabin or veranda cabin. The staff gratuity is not included in your ticket. You have to pay 14,5$ per person per day. Take that into consideration when you compare prices for different cruises, as it is included in some cruises, for instance in Celebrity cruises. All the staff in the dinner room is from either Philipines or Indonesia. Most are very polite and helpful, but many are not good enough understanding and speaking English. Some of the wine waiters do probably never taste wine, being Muslims. How can you then advice what is good for the food? The ship is built in 2002 and it seems as if there has been no upgrading since then. It is "tired" and really needs some renovation. We will most likely not travel with Holland America line again. We will choose Celebrity or something even better. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
My wife and I chose this cruise because of a special promotion and it being a Panama Canal cruise. The ship itself was well maintained and the overall service was good, at best. The Captain and the crew were quite visible during the ... Read More
My wife and I chose this cruise because of a special promotion and it being a Panama Canal cruise. The ship itself was well maintained and the overall service was good, at best. The Captain and the crew were quite visible during the cruise and friendly. Service in the Lido Market was quite remarkable as compared to the dining room where if you arrived 45 minutes late, you weren't served. This is in light of the fact that the next seating was 2+hours away. Instead you're relegated to the open dining and wait another hour to be served. The quality of food throughout the ship started out very good and progressively deteriorated day to day. Squash and red peppers were mixed in everywhere and it was apparent that nothing went to waste because it kept turning up. Horrible combinations like sweet potato and apple soup! Except for pizza, there was no quick food available at dinner-anywhere. All of the food was portioned out by servers and you basically had to beg for extras. Very little cheese offering and no antipasto selection. Black olives only and dished out by the teaspoon. Off ship, the excursions were overpriced and undervalued but that seems to be industry wide. Tired of hearing guides lament how poor they are and rely on our tips. Guest entertainment was good but the "house" shows were quite boring. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
This is about our 12th cruise, we previously cruised on Carnival and Disney, but mostly with Royal Caribbean. We had just tried Disney in 2018 but found that their experience just did not warrant their more expensive pricing. We cruised ... Read More
This is about our 12th cruise, we previously cruised on Carnival and Disney, but mostly with Royal Caribbean. We had just tried Disney in 2018 but found that their experience just did not warrant their more expensive pricing. We cruised many times on Royal and consider the Allure our "home" ship. But nothing on Royal really appealed to us, so we decided to branch out. We were celebrating our 33rd anniversary on this cruise, I'm 57 and my DW is 60. We stumbled up this cruise when I searched for Panama Canal. This cruise leaves from Florida, reached the canal, goes through the Gatun Locks and then returns to Florida. We have seen the original canal, but were very interested in seeing the new one. I also saw an excursion for a dome car train journey across the isthmus and that sealed the deal, Zuiderdam here we come! We were also excited to re-visit Aruba and Curacao and thought 5 days at sea would be some nice time to relax. We had no interest in Puerto Limon. Overall, i'd give it 3.5 out of 5. There was many great things about the cruise, but a lot of misses too. We had Neptune Suite 7069, midship near the Neptune lounge. It would compare to a Grand Suite on the Allure, It had plenty of space, lots of closet space, not so much in drawer space. The balcony had a table & 2 chairs and 2 loungers. We spent a lot of time out there. It has a flat screen TV with a few live TV channels, mostly news and ESPN for the Caribbean, not the US (think soccer, soccer and more soccer). Lots of movies and a few TV programs you can run like a DVR with no charge. Several Marvel and DC Movies, Mary Poppins Returns, Coco, Frozen, and come classics like Romancing the Stone. Lots of BBC Planet and the last 2 seasons of Big Bang Theory. This ship also had 2 documentaries on the Canals. Embarkation was a breeze, we were on the ship right at 11:30. Now, and we were aware of this, the age demographic for HAL is actually older than we are. This means you will encounter people who just aren't mobile and you need to bring your patience to deal with canes, scooters, wheel chairs and crowded elevators. If you are expecting to spend lots of family time on pool activities, and those sorts of things, then HAL is not for you. I think that is what I missed the most, there were times when there just wasn't enough things to do, other than trivia and bingo. By the 5th sea day, we were kind've bored with not a whole lot to do, and thus, things like America's Test Kitchen were so crowded as to be uncomfortable or you had to be there 45 minutes in advance and just sit there waiting for it to begin. Alright, let's talk food. Now, I know, food is very, very subjective. We rated it fair. We opted for My Time Dining. Several nights we didn't even try the dining room as service was very slow and/or nothing on the menu was attractive. We led us to the Lido or to Room Service. The Lido was hit, mostly miss. Breakfast was okay as you could order eggs specifically for you. Lunch was okay, really, nothing memorable comes to mind. The Dive In bar had great burgers and hot dogs, but their fries were embarrassingly bad. If you have to coat a potato to get a crispy fry then you don't know how to make fries and the Dive In fries are coated and I don't like those. And, really, how often can you have that for lunch? Once or twice was okay, but that was all I could stomach. The dining room food was just okay, as was the service. On the 2 nights we were sat by ourselves, the service was almost non-existent. It would take between 20-30 minutes between courses, and when our entree was served, they never came back and asked us how we liked it. Twice on My Time Dining we arrived at the dining room only to be told it was a 45 minute wait and that we should have made reservations! Really, "My Time Dining", see the My Time part of that? This means we don't know in advance when will dine! Never had this issue on Royal, we would show up and be seated within 10 minutes. And, as I previously said, if you seat us at a table for 2, this does not mean you can just serve us at your convenience. We had much better service when we were lucky enough to be seated with 4 to 6 others. The evening entertainment was very, very good. HAL has the "music walk" and all three stages are worth visiting. Our couple of Megan and Ethan in the Billboard Onboard lounge were really outstanding. We went every evening they performed. Lincoln Center stage had great musicians too. The evening stage entertainment had more hits than misses (one night it was just a movie), but we enjoyed the 3 singer and dancing shows. Island Magic Steel Drum gets a special mention too, wow, they blew us away. The service from our room attendants was spotless. We took one excursion, the dome car train ride across the isthmus. This included a stop at the new visitor center where we had the good fortune of catching a ship just entering the top canal on it's way to the Atlantic. The train ride was amazing. What wasn't amazing was that after the train ride we were unwillingly dragged to a mall with a duty free store that no one wanted to visit and where no one brought anything and it added 2 hours to our trip. This stop was not in the tour description and left us with a bad taste after what had been a truly memorable time. We did things by ourselves at Aruba, Curacao and Limon. Half Moon Cay is a great stop, too bad on board time is an early 2:30 so you don't really get a whole lot of time there, especially since it is a tender port so you have to allow transit time. We had great attendants for our room, no problems there, If you are Catholic, both Sundays offered mass, actually, mass is offered daily. Disembarkation was a breeze too. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
This is our third cruise on Zuiderdam so we knew what to expect from the ship and were looking forward to seeing the Panama Canal up close and personal. We were given the opportunity to upgrade from our usual Neptune Suite to the Pinnacle ... Read More
This is our third cruise on Zuiderdam so we knew what to expect from the ship and were looking forward to seeing the Panama Canal up close and personal. We were given the opportunity to upgrade from our usual Neptune Suite to the Pinnacle Suite and jumped at the chance to experience this once in a lifetime deal. It did not disappoint. Embarkation and settling into our suite as a breeze. There are lots of activities on the ship from the Microsoft classes to musical performances to the EXC presentations. You can find something to do or do nothing with ease on this ship. There are a number of areas of the ship that we have found that were quiet and comfortable for relaxing and reading during the sea days. We occasionally visited the casino and really enjoyed the fact that it is one of the only HAL non-smoking casinos. We purchased a couple of excursions from HAL and both were well put together and done perfectly. Panama Canal transit was narrated by a naturalist with lots of facts about the history of the canal. We stayed on the ship for the whole day, most of it spent on our balcony, marveling at the engineering of this historic endeavor. Disembarkation was also perfect as we were escorted off the ship by the Neptune Lounge staff with our luggage waiting for us. Grabbed a porter and went through customs and to the garage and were on the road back to Ohio by 9am. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
Overall, we loved our cruise. We took advantage of $49 for 3rd and 4th guests to take two of our grandchildren, ages 11 and 13, and along with cruise credits obtained via CCL stock ownership and monitoring price reductions on our cabin, ... Read More
Overall, we loved our cruise. We took advantage of $49 for 3rd and 4th guests to take two of our grandchildren, ages 11 and 13, and along with cruise credits obtained via CCL stock ownership and monitoring price reductions on our cabin, the final price including tax and port fees was very reasonable. This was our 15th cruise, our third on Holland. The kids adapted well, even though there were few children on board, and they were well behaved and popular with the crew and other guests. The cabin was a little crowded, but functional. Pros: Service was outstanding. Our room steward Frank was very smart and talented— always smiling and a very hard worker. He was fluent in English, impeccably honest and the best towel animal maker we have seen. He was assisted by Ami, who was not so communicative but a good worker. Food service people were terrific. On the breakfast Lido buffet, the cooks were attentive and consistent. Our granddaughter is gluten free, and Sous Chef Antonio personally attended to making pancakes for her. The Burger joint was consistently good. The grandkids liked it and loved the pizza place where our granddaughter got gluten free pizza without any trouble. Nearly every evening, we went to the main dinning room. The staff was fantastic. Our wait staff included Samuti and Heri of Bali, both excellent servers and just great guys whom I would be proud to count as friends. The Maitre d’ and Assistant were also very attentive and made sure everything operated well. Consistently, the food was excellent. We had one lunch in the Pinnacle Grill and the food was also very good, but the service was a little slow compared to what we became used to in Main Dining. I might add, the kids loved the ice cream, sorbet, etc. We did the kitchen tour, and it is impressive how they maintain such high quality for so many. On the Spa staff, I recall Anina of the Republic of South Africa who is a good communicator and a fine young lady with a beautiful spirit. I enjoyed our conversations. On the Excursion Desk, Lannay of the Netherlands was excellent. She helped us as we needed it. and assisted in a matter that should have been resolved by Guest Services. The only truly incompetent person we ran into was a woman in Guest Services. We asked for clarification regarding credits we should have received for my wife as a CCL shareholder. The woman kept concocting nonsense about us trying to claim credits through a travel agent or a previously booked cruise— simply not true. We finally got clarification from her boss, a ship officer Joras of the Netherlands, an excellent officer. We received all the credits we believed we were due, and our faith in Holland service was restored. Some people asked us if our grandkids could have a good time with so many older people aboard. This was not a problem. They are homeschooled and have learned to get along with all age groups and even made friends with kids their age aboard, playing chess, ping pong and puzzles. They also really enjoyed the entertainment, including the Musical stage presentations, the magician James Cielen (talented and funny with cute dogs) and the master pianist Hyperian Knight whom my grandkids liked a lot. Also, the Lincoln Center group was great, a very talented group of young people. I personally liked BB King Blues Club and many others. We did two excursions, the Caves of Curacao, much better than expected, and the Costa Rica Tropical Rain Forest, the favorite of the kids. Perhaps my only complaint is that the morning “news” was provided via a summary of the New York Times, which I had not read for years. It is a shameless totalitarian socialist propaganda rag. So I chose to ignore it, and my days were happier for the absence of news. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We chose this cruise because of timing as we wanted to cruise in April. We were a little worried about cruising with Holland American because of their reputation of being geared toward a much older crowd then we were used to. Yes the ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of timing as we wanted to cruise in April. We were a little worried about cruising with Holland American because of their reputation of being geared toward a much older crowd then we were used to. Yes the average age was much older, but don't let that deter you as the cruise was excellent. Accommodation: We had a balcony room on the 10th deck. The room was about average as far as size and comfort goes. However, the room stewards were the best we have ever had. Our every need was met instantly and with a smile no matter what time of day. Our room location was perfect as it was above the lido deck so all that noise was below us and the crows nest was right outside our room. The crows nest is a bar with panoramic views at the bow of the ship. Dining: Lido deck buffet: great selection of food. There was italian, asian, mexican, sandwiches, pizza, hamburger\hotdog grill, a great salad station and of course deserts. The food quality was very good compared to other cruise lines and we have been on quite a few cruises. Main Dining room: the main dining room was pleasantly designed. The diner food quality and selection was outstanding. I would rate the quality better then other cruise lines, but not by much as we have experienced good main dining room food on other cruise lines. The waite staff were exceptional. We are breakfast in the main dining room but I would recommend the buffet as the selection on the buffet was better. Pinnacle Grill ($ dining ): we dined at the pinnacle grill twice during the cruise. The food, in my opinion, was not worth the $35.00 charge. Don't get me wrong the food was good, but not $35.00 better then the main dining room. However, David, our waiter was outstanding. On board experence: Days at sea got a little long as other cruise lines offered more events to occupy your time. Biggest complaint would be the lack of music in the pool areas. Holland American is in partnership with American test kitchen and offer many cooking shows and they were outstanding. The BB King lounge was the only choice you had for live dancing music. The band, B B King All Star band might be the best band I ever heard on a cruise and they played every night. Excursions: All I will say is you should book your excursions from a site such as Viator. The excursion we booked from the ship was poor. However the excursions we booked through Viator were outstanding. Shopping on board: same as all cruise lines. Overall experience : Outstanding! This is the smallest ship we have ever cruises on and I doubt we will ever cruise on a large ship again. The personal touch you receive on a small ship is remarkable and something everyone should experience. Holland American does personal touch better then any other ship we have been on. DO NOT let the average age deter you as it is something we did not even notice nor did it effect the fun we had in the slightest. If you are a 20 - 35 year old party animal this is not the ship for you! We are in our 50s and we had a wonderful time. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
We arrived in Florida amid a flood of other cruisers. Definitely not accustomed to thousands of other confused people charging 0r standing around. We had finally located our luggage at a different.station, other than on the banner. At ... Read More
We arrived in Florida amid a flood of other cruisers. Definitely not accustomed to thousands of other confused people charging 0r standing around. We had finally located our luggage at a different.station, other than on the banner. At least Four cruise ships were departing on the same day..Holiday Inn at hollywood had a shuttle waiting for it and Candlewood hotel, we loaded up..Dispite them doubling their rates for rush at HI, they serve a decent breakfast, and accomadations were very nice.. Mind you there is not much else close here and 8 lanes of high speed traffic in front if you want to cross the hwy...I believe one 4x4 pu tried to see how close he could get, defintely did NOT slow down, There is NO crosswalk for protection. Ok, we paid $15.00 each for the ride to the port #21. and tipped the driver. I was satisfied with the process of checking in and forming groups to board..We were in a SY suite for our cruise and it was nice too, except for the heavy deck doors. the one next door #8076, closed loudly and disturbed me in the evenings. I turned in a request to have their closer and shock tested and repaired, but Hal did not fix it.So it reminded me of a cheap thin motel room when slammed..They were seniors next to us and I did not speak with them about it. The hot water controls were great in the Jetted tub and shower, you could get very hot water if you soaked. I did use the hot-tub on the rear of the ship, there were about 5 . The food was hit or miss after breakfast, which was great and so was the room service. By this I mean you could get great Fish and vegs, but their pasta sauce was not flavored enough, simular to Ragu..Pizza and Pasta was there all the time and hot served any time. There was a huge salad available at all meals, built with care by an attendant and plenty of vegetarian food.Ice Cream was served all day and lots of flavors, Seniors Love their Cold deserts.The whole ships crew worked hard to please anyone..The Steelband performance was the best, and second was the Magician show.. The port stops were nice, we enjoyed Willenstad, Curacoa in the old dutch section...We stayed on board at the canal, and went exploring in beautiful Costa Rica. This was our Diamond anniversary, and we were recognised at Gala Dinner..Thanks to HAl and the crew, especially a very efficient Captain, We will book another cruise with them soon...Jonyyuma Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
Panama Canal was the reason we chose this cruise....I found it very acceptable for an older ship....We stayed in an outside cabin...of course, smaller cabin but was sufficient...room stewards were very good as were our dining room ... Read More
Panama Canal was the reason we chose this cruise....I found it very acceptable for an older ship....We stayed in an outside cabin...of course, smaller cabin but was sufficient...room stewards were very good as were our dining room waiters...Food was very good..the entertainment in BB Kings lounge and Billboard Lounge was absolutely wonderful...Now the negative .....we took a shore excursion in Panama..Aqua Clara locks and area tour....it was terrible...They drove around old housing of former base(about 20 mins) then they took us to Aqua Clara locks and left us there 2-21/2 hours....it was interesting to see ships go through these locks...it is about a 1 hr tops stop....the food at the concession stand was out of food only chips, ice cream and drinks were available....then we were driven to port in Colon to sit until ship arrived.....Definitely not worth the money......In Cartegena, we took the gem stone making tour..it was an acceptable tour until you had to go through the jewelry store to exit...Pretty high pressure to buy emeralds...Maybe they should have paid for the tour so they could get the chance to sell us their emeralds? Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We went on a Panama Chanel Cruise in March 2019. Here are our good and less impressive experiences from our trip. Stateroom: We lived in a veranda on the 10th floor. Beautiful view. The stateroom was really nice. We were supposed to be ... Read More
We went on a Panama Chanel Cruise in March 2019. Here are our good and less impressive experiences from our trip. Stateroom: We lived in a veranda on the 10th floor. Beautiful view. The stateroom was really nice. We were supposed to be 4 people in our cabin why they arranged 4 beds the first evening – 2 regular beds, one bed coming down from the ceiling and the sofa was changed to a bed. The last bed made it difficult to get to the veranda but it was only arranged as a bed at night time – not optimal but I prefer that solution compared to the solution with 2 beds coming from the ceiling as we have experienced before as you almost need to be an acrobat moving back and forth in the stateroom. As we were only 3 they only arranged the bed from the ceiling at night and moving around even at night was no problem at all. The bathroom was great and big with a nice bathtub. There was a nice TV with plenty of both life TV, movies and more available. The TV was somewhat small but did it’s purpose. The staff was friendly but not very effective e.g. they never removed dirty dishes from the room – we needed to put them outside the stateroom to avoid the smell and have our small stateroom properly organized. Dinning: The food was generally okay – great during gala nights but below expectation other nights. It was a big disappointment we were charged extra on gala nights to get an extra serving!! We ended up with anytime dinning but ended up eating most night at the same section i.e. getting the same servers which was nice. The afternoon tea in the dining room was really nice The buffet on the Lido deck was nice but that section was severely under dimensioned. At most meals we had to walk around for a long time to find a table. It was also understaffed, or the staff was not properly trained – you were lucky to get a drink 5 minutes after asking. Resulting in us going after our drinks our self. The drink section was poorly arranged making it difficult to get a drink – had they swapped the drink machines and the glass/cups then more people would have been able to get drinks at the same time!! In our opinion then they utilize the boat poorly – there are many areas where there was almost nobody – why not remove many of the redundancies at the buffet, make more tables and then more food options other places on the boat?? My son went many times disappointed to get an ice cream – the ice cream shop opens and closes with the rest of the buffet – why??? The had a great Dive-In shop with fantastic burgers and hot dogs – my oldest sons favorite. Unfortunately, the Dive-In was next to the buffet so no seats Entertainment: We were disappointed by the entertainment. Some of the shows at the main theater were spectacular others were okay but disappointing they substitute an evening with a movie shown in poor quality – really!! The varieties of activities were below expectations – everyday was almost the same which is nice if you like bingo, trivial and cooking show but … They had some sport activities which we liked to join – some of them were great and some of them – yeah it seems like they forgot – nobody showed up to organize. We somehow got an activity going but … We knew Zuiderdam is a smaller boat, but the entertainment director could have done better e.g. ice sculpturing, magic show, parrots, juggler and a lot more. Amenities: The two pools were nice and deep enough to swim and play though small. There were many hot tubs which we enjoyed as well They had a giant chess board – we played it once risking our health – the board was not properly fastened and very slippery – again one of the many small but important details which would not cost them much to ensure was proper, but it was not taken care of Two nice table tennis located in a corner giving as little wind as possible – very nice The Explorations Central on deck 10 was impressive. Great view, games, books, monitors showing details about the boat and how it was operated. Large interactive touch screens showing highlights of the destinations and tour description. We really enjoyed that a lot. The HAL club was nice – fairly small but there were less than 10 kids on the boat so it did its purpose at our trip – not sure how it would work on a trip with more kids?? The staff there were amazing. My boys did not spend much time there, but they were always in the middle of some activities they were excited about when I picked them up. I enjoyed staying there for a little while following the activity waiting for a good time to break off – big respect for the staff there They could easily have utilized areas almost vacant throughout the cruise for more exciting activities – a strong recommendation from us. Overall: A nice trip with interesting destination but too many shortcuts from Holland American making the trip overall disappoint and not worth the money – we will search other cruise lines for our next cruise. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
Our family chose the Panama Canal 10 day cruise with Holland American. We had 6 adults and 3 children. We planned this cruise a year in advance. When we got to Port Everglades in Ft. Lauderdale 2 of us had passport cards and were not ... Read More
Our family chose the Panama Canal 10 day cruise with Holland American. We had 6 adults and 3 children. We planned this cruise a year in advance. When we got to Port Everglades in Ft. Lauderdale 2 of us had passport cards and were not allowed to board the ship. The passport cards would not work, so if you are planning a cruise that requires a passport do not get the passport card and note you can not fly internationally with the card. Holland America does not post passbook cards are not accepted for international cruises. There were a least 5 couples that had this issue and were not allowed to board. If this situation happened with just myself and husband we would have cancelled and got 100% refund for the cruise. This totally ruined the cruise for us. We had to go to Miami Passport Agency the next day with a 8 hour wait for emergency pass port book, then fly to Aruba to catch the boat there. With hotel expenses, fees for the pass books, air fare $1600 later. We got assistance from the Port Director not Holland American. It was on a Sunday and you could not get a hold of anyone at HAL. It was very frustrating. The Port Director was fantastic, she told us step by step what to do, so we follow her directions to the T. She called us everyday to check our progress. We did not hear one word from HAL, at that point they had our $6,000 and did not care at all. When we got to the Port at Aruba we still were not listed on the manifest to enter the ship. We had to wait for the Port to get all the information to them. Never again will we cruise with HAL. The ship was clean, the crew was fantastic but the management at HAL could care less once they got your money. Buyer beware. Also make sure you check your bill after the cruise.We found discrepancies, so unless you check thoroughly you will be billed for additional items or not get refunds from drink cards. Also we were charged $14.50 per day for gratuities that we were not aware of. I felt like we were nickle and dime for everything. Just include it in the cruise price. Holland American totally ruined cruising for us in the future. Very sad because they were a great company 6 years ago. I am a very positive person and I always shake off any hurtles I experience, but this one was more than I could gut. Aruba was beautiful, safe, very friendly and the family had a great time there. We will do a family vacation there. Please be very aware if you plan a cruise with HAL. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We recently returned from a partial Panama Canal transit aboard the Zuiderdam. This was our tenth cruise on a Holland American vessel and as always we were very satisfied with the voyage and especially the service. On the one occasion ... Read More
We recently returned from a partial Panama Canal transit aboard the Zuiderdam. This was our tenth cruise on a Holland American vessel and as always we were very satisfied with the voyage and especially the service. On the one occasion when we complained of an issue, after resolving the issue, Holland America staff made multiple attempts to follow up to ensure we satisfied and even sent a complimentary bottle of wine as an apology. We had a very large Vista suite cabin #6076 midship on the port side. From our spacious balcony we seemed to always be on the side with the port view so the view was much more interesting. I also must note however the continual creaking of the boat when there was any sort of sea motion. It did make a good night’s rest a little harder. Highlights of this trip was the cave excursion in Aruba and the train trip across the isthmus of Panama, which included a stop at the visitor centre for the new larger lock complex. We appreciated that the captain periodically opened the bow area for passengers to get a better view of what was ahead when sailing. Food and service were up to the usual HAL standard. We were a little disappointed with the entertainment as many of the shows were the same as we saw on our last cruise a year ago. However, I must single out the steel band that performed twice during our trip as being excellent. We very much enjoyed the performers on the Lincoln Centre stage, though the Billboard pianists were nothing special. There were many other interesting shipboard activities during the several sea days, most particularly America’s test kitchen and the lectures done by members of the excursion team. As always, the excursion team themselves functioned extremely well for the duration of the voyage. We ate most nights in the dining room, with two nights at Pinnacle. All meals were very tasty but in most cases not too much food. We used the Lido only for breakfast and lunch but most times went outside as the inside dining areas are both crowded and noisy. I heard some people complaining about the relatively sedate nature of evening activities during the voyage, but if you want dancing and late night entertainment, you are best served by a line such as RCC or Disney that caters to a younger demographic. HAL has changed their internet packages to be based on data used rather than time online. I liked this approach better as our data needs are low. Prices have also been reduced though response time still needs improving. We have booked three additional cruises on HAL ships over the next 18 months so I think that tells you all you need to know about our ongoing satisfaction with this line. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We chose this particular Panama Canal cruise for the itinerary. The ship stopped in Aruba, Curacao and Costa Rica, in addition to traveling through the canal, which were all new ports for us. After reading reviews, I did not expect a ... Read More
We chose this particular Panama Canal cruise for the itinerary. The ship stopped in Aruba, Curacao and Costa Rica, in addition to traveling through the canal, which were all new ports for us. After reading reviews, I did not expect a "new" ship, but since it had been in dry dock less than 2 years ago, I figured it would be okay. My husband and I have taken about 10 cruises over the years, and this was our first Holland America cruise. The cruise before ours had a norovirus outbreak, and we received an email the day before embarkation alerting us to a late embarkation due to their need to sanitize the ship. A bit disconcerting to say the least, but we preserved. As a result, embarkation was a bit hectic due to the larger crowds boarding the ship at the same time. The embarkation agent forgot to give us the activities planner for embarkation day, which we did not realize until much later, when we did not find any information in our cabin. After asking our room steward for the activities information we kept hearing others speak of, it was only then that we realized we were missing information. That did not start us off on the right foot, but we let that go and had a nice evening. The first stop was Half Moon Cay, the private island of HAL. There was another ship on the island that day as well, so it was extremely crowded. The ship arrived around 8:30, and after disembarking and being tendered over at 10:00, the clam shells we had signed up for (and paid for) were nearly gone. We had to walk a VERY long way down the beach, speak with a variety of (grumpy and inattentive) personnel at stations along the way to continue to direct us to some open clam shells. We stayed on the beach for a couple of hours -- which WAS beautiful -- then decided to head back to the ship. The thought of fighting for a meal with so many on the island was unappealing. Not the most auspicious start to our much anticipated cruise. Recommendation for Half Moon Cay - many of the loungers are under trees and are nicely shaded. Save your money and do not get a clam shell. We would not have had to walk so far if we wanted a free lounger in the shade. The next day was a sea day, and we attended a wonderful wine tasting. The day was really relaxing and enjoyable. The following days at the various ports of call were fine and we enjoyed Aruba and Curacao. Going through the Panama Canal is an experience not to be missed. We THOROUGHLY enjoyed the experience, and we very happy with the day. We opted to get off the ship in Colon "just to say we were in Panama." We spent about 10 minutes there and got back on the ship. Not a nice place, to say the least. Unfortunately, it was POURING rain in Costa Rica. We did go on a canal tour, but honestly, it was pretty miserable due to the weather. It was raining so hard, it was hard to see into the jungle at times, and we were just plain wet. No one's fault, to be sure, but it did take much of the enjoyment away from that day. Overall, the cruise was enjoyable, and we met some wonderful people with whom we dined with and enjoyed our time with on sea days. Our experience in the main dining room was EXCELLENT. The staff was warm and accommodating. We had anytime dining, and never had to wait more than 5 minutes to be seated. And as the cruise went on, we went to dinner with a group of other couples, and were easily and quickly accommodated. The food was varied and tasty. I think there was only 1 night that I was underwhelmed by the choices for the evening. The wine stewards were helpful and accommodating as well. We had ordered a wine package which we felt was a good value. However, there were some problems that HAL needs to address, and we did tell them so in our survey response to HAL. 1. Maintenance: It was VERY disruptive the amount of maintenance that was ongoing during the cruise. There was the smell of paint/varnish several times when sitting and relaxing on our veranda. Also, one day after arriving back on ship, we grabbed a meal in the Lido and went to sit outside to enjoy our meal. Amazingly, there was LOUD banging and sanding/sawing going on right above the area where the tables were -- so that option of where to sit outside was totally out of the question. WHY?? And to our shock, one day when we had just arrived in a port and were readying to leave our cabin, all of a sudden a man was on our veranda hosing down the entire deck, and he was opening all the dividers and washing all the decks on our side of the ship. No warning given at all by anyone. All the cushions were soaked, as was a beach towel we had left on a chair. We were flabbergasted to say the least! If maintenance such as this needs to be done - and it so disruptive to those of us who have paid a considerable amount of money to enjoy a vacation - this ship should spend a week out of rotation to be attended to. Much of this was "routine" maintenance, not something that broke while at sea. We found this unacceptable that we were forced to endure noxious fumes and "wet paint" as well as sanding/noise etc. on various decks. 2. Lido Dining: Okay, so Lido is the buffet/cafeteria style dining. I do understand one has to pack some patience for the buffet, We went there for lunch when on the ship, and for breakfast on days when we were heading out early for an excursion. . But the drink stations were woefully inadequate - there were only 2 for the entire dining room. That means only 2 water filling spots for a ship that had 1,700 people on board. Waiting in line for a glass of water, from machines that trickled out water (thus the line) and the ice machine that was frequently empty, was inexcusable. We did discover that the staff in the eating area inside would bring you water (they had pitchers), but they were busy with lots of folks, and it was hard to get them to focus to get to your table. We really did feel that we had to "work too hard" just to get a glass of cold water during dining times. Also, while in ports where we had early calls, they did open the Lido earlier than usual so we could get breakfast -- the problem was they only opened half the available stations, so the lines were VERY long, and the staff was fairly inefficient. This made for a stressful start to a vacation day - as we were on a time schedule to make our excursions. Fellow cruisers: We are in our late 50's and had plenty of company. There were very few younger than us, however, and there were plenty older. Disembarkation: We opted to take our own luggage and leave as soon as they allowed as we had a morning flight. This was the quickest disembarkation we ever experienced. From the time they let us off the ship to arriving at Ft. Lauderdale airport less than 30 minutes. No stress at all! Overall, in spite of some "head shaking" worthy circumstances, we really did overall enjoy our vacation. We chose to focus on the positive. Interesting ports of call, meeting wonderful people whom we hope to remain in contact with, and for the most part, very accommodating and caring staff. Was it the best cruise experience we ever had - no - but honestly, when we reflect back on the trip, it was a good trip overall, one that we were happy we took. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2019
We have always wanted to see the Panama Canal, and this cruise checked all the boxes. We embarked the ship at Fort Lauderdale, the process was quick and efficient. We went to our room, cabin 5013, dropped our carry-on and proceeded to the ... Read More
We have always wanted to see the Panama Canal, and this cruise checked all the boxes. We embarked the ship at Fort Lauderdale, the process was quick and efficient. We went to our room, cabin 5013, dropped our carry-on and proceeded to the Lido deck. On our Alaska cruise, we purchased the hydrotherapy spa; we again purchased the hydrotherapy spa on this trip. After our muster station and safety review, we departed from Fort Lauderdale on time. Our overnight sale was smooth and uneventful, we decided to eat at the Lido restaurants as we had been traveling since 2 AM. There were a lot of options to choose from. We arrived at the Half Moon Cay, Bahamas on the second day and took a tether to shore. We purchased a Clam Shell Lounge, a good Investment to have a shaded area during the day. After a full day on the beach, we returned to the ship. We enjoyed dinner in the main restaurant; we purchased a bottle of wine, if you do not finish the wine, the will cork the bottle and provide it to you at any restaurant on board. The next day we were at sea and enjoyed the day at the hydrotherapy spa and exploring the ship. The next day we arrived in Aruba, we booked the CATAMARAN SNORKEL & BEACH GETAWAY. An enjoyable experience. We returned to port, and my wife said she wasn't feeling well. We returned to our cabin, and my wife fell ill. By the late afternoon, she was in full gastrointestinal distress. We had planned a dinner on the island, however, due to the gastrointestinal illness, we were unable to visit the island. The following day, we arrived in Willemstad, Curacao, we had planned to go on the CURACAO BEACH EXPRESS, my wife was quarantined to the room and insisted I go by myself. The resort location was beautiful and I was able to do some snorkeling off the beach. I return to the ship and again tended to my wife. Another day at sea and we were unable to use the hydrotherapy spa due to gastrointestinal outbreak on the ship. We learned the ships was in the midst of a novirus outbreak; many passengers were affected. I too became ill, experiencing vomiting and explosive diarrhea. Day 7 brought us to the entrance of the Panama Canal. Fortunately, we were cleared and we're able to enjoy our THE CANAL EXPERIENCE FROM GATUN TO COLON experience. Our guide was excellent and we spent time in Old Panama City and time at the Gatun Canal. On day 8, we arrived in Puerto Limon, Costa Rica. We booked the Jaguar Rescue and Rain Forest trip. An excellent trip and extremely rewarding. The tour guides were extremely knowledgeable and patient. We returned to the ship. We arrived 10 minutes before the scheduled all aboard timeline. The next two days were at sea and we're less than optimal. During our trip, we were unable to participate in the gala dinners and lost several days of enjoyments due to the novirus outbreak. Buffet were restricted; one morning, we waited 20 minutes for toast. That same evening, 30 minutes at the pasta bar in the Lido. On the last night, the Lido Bristo ran out of shrimp and beef tenderloin. Never have we experience this on any other cruises. The Alaska cruise on Holland America was the exact opposite of this trip. The thermal spa package was an additional $306 for 11 days, due to the novirus outbreak we were unable to use the package for 6 days due to quarantine. No refunds or credits were offered. We made the best of a bad situation; our memories of our Panama Canal cruise will be of gastrointestinal destress and many trips to the washroom facilities. I'm not sure how many people were affected by the outbreak, i did drop off my questionnaire at the medical center and there was approximately 30 people waiting for assistance. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2019
My wife and I thought Holland America was a step above and tried the Panama cruise. First the ship is in disrepair ie: broken windows, window seal deteriorated causing windows to fog in main dining room, burnt out bulbs throughout ... Read More
My wife and I thought Holland America was a step above and tried the Panama cruise. First the ship is in disrepair ie: broken windows, window seal deteriorated causing windows to fog in main dining room, burnt out bulbs throughout especially at the elevators and Old wooden deck chairs on deck three of which 50 percent were broken. Attitude of the Hotel manager was not his problem. Staff throughout the ship in restaurants, cabins, bars etc. A 10 +++. The main dining room meals were over cooked much of the time during dinner hour though breakfast was fine. First night of cruise turkey was served bright pink ( scary !). One night tuna was so overcooked , it was like saw dust and most left it on their plates uneaten. On another evening the wiener schnitzel was served and waiters came around suggesting that we add gravy before we even tried the dish and through the gravy was not part of the menu the waiters were trying to correct another bad meal. Now the Pinnacle Grill was a great experience but we were forced to pay the extra charge to have good food compared to main dining room and we ate there four nights. Entertainment was very good and we enjoyed every performance. The shore experience in Costa Rica called canal tortuguero was a 100% waste of time. When we arrived by bus, there were bathrooms on the second floor of the building that were so unbelievably filthy that I perferred to not use since thing did not flush and one small sink to wash hands shared by men and women with nothing to wipe hands. The boat tour showed two iguanas,three birds and a couple monkeys. The second part of the tour was a banana plantation which consisted of the bus pulling off the main road to point out a few banana plans and return us back to the ship. So much for a plantation. Holland America charged 100 plus dollars and does not care how bad it is. Now it explains why Holland America does not even get mentioned in many ratings and independent reviews. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
We have sailed on well over 20 cruises with most main cruise lines. Carnival, Princess, NCL, but mostly with Celebrity which we have elite status. Celebrity did not offer a partial Panama Canal transit, so we opted for HAL on the ... Read More
We have sailed on well over 20 cruises with most main cruise lines. Carnival, Princess, NCL, but mostly with Celebrity which we have elite status. Celebrity did not offer a partial Panama Canal transit, so we opted for HAL on the Zuiderdam with 22 of our friends and family. To a person, we all said we wouldn’t book another HAL cruise, as we were disappointed with the lack of activities that interested our group. Most of us are around 65-70 and one couple in their 30’s. PROS: Boarding the ship was the easiest we have experienced. We parked the car at Park N Go (great experience) and were taken to the ship about 11:30. We checked in immediately and were group #13 to board. They were boarding 9 when we got there and were called in no more than 5 minutes after using the restroom. The best part was the rooms were ready immediately so we could drop off our carry on before seeking a libation and lunch. It was especially nice since we brought on 2 bottles of wine and a 12 pack of water in a small roller bag. The luggage was delivered to the room within a couple of hours. The ship is lovely. Not fancy, but clean & well cared for. The only place I noticed wear and tear evident was on our cabin balcony. There were rust spots and the one deck chair really needed to be replaced. The crew were great. Very helpful. Always smiling, good service. By far HAL’s biggest asset. Several of the crew mentioned that HAL really treated the staff well, and they have many long term employees. The captain was very visible around the ship and seemed very approachable. A+++ for the crew . Best entertainment I have seen at sea was the Island Magic steel band. They played two days. The first was a mix of show tunes and classical. I know, classical steel drums, right? It was just awesome. If you have the opportunity to see them, don’t miss it. We did not purchase a drink package. However, at various hours and at different venues, there was Happy Hour, which meant buy one drink, get the same for $2 more. We took advantage of that, so that kept our bill quite reasonable. We enjoyed all of the ports. The itinerary was good. The excursion talks were very good and interesting. Half Moon Cay is awesome. I did have a very good lunch there on jerk chicken and salads. Curaçao is beautiful. We did a Tuk Tuk tour through Viator that was really fun. Aruba is fun, but we arrived late due to windy conditions. Panama was fantastic. Don’t miss the Panama rolls served on deck 4, the bow of the ship, during the transit. Costa Rica was very interesting and we enjoyed our Canal our there. CONS: I know food is subjective. We are not fussy eaters. I had heard that HAL food was pretty good. We were disappointed in the dining room food and selection. I can’t say that I had one memorable meal, and had several that I’d like to forget. I know you can always order something else, but I just won’t do that. The food was served hot, which is good, but sometimes that meant things were dried out, like the potatoes. We went to the Pinnacle Grill one evening. Even that was hit or miss. My steak was good, my husband’s and our friend’s were rather tasteless. LIdo food was much better and the hamburgers and fries from Dive In were really good. I didn’t lose any weight, but it was just disappointing to look forward to a nice dinner and not having one. Our biggest complaint and why we will not do another HAL cruise was the lack of activities that we enjoyed. No music around the pools, no dancing in the evening, no silly games to participate or watch others do. The gift shops were closed for the first 5 days of our trip for remodeling. So no shopping. And when they did open, a lot of the shelves were empty. Finally, on the next to the last day of the cruise, there was a deck sale. It was all items you could have used during the cruise like hats, coverups, totes, jewelry. People were flocking all over that. The casino is small and the slot machines weren’t paying much. Most evenings there was only one black jack table open. BB King’s was good, but not always playing when you were looking for entertainment. Anyway, all 24 of us were always trying to find something to do, so for the first time in over 20 cruises, I was bored. We were bored. As I mentioned, we are no spring chickens, but this cruise definitely skewed much older than us. I suppose the 10 day itinerary and Panama Canal was of more interest to that crowd. We didn’t see much of the cruise director and the port shopping guy wasn’t very interesting. SUMMARY: We had a nice time but if asked, I wouldn’t recommend a HAL cruise to a friend. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2019
This was my 25th cruise and my first with HA my sister was her first and having nothing to compare with she is more leaneant than I am With ther evaluation of the cruise. I had the impression that HA are trying to updgrade the services ... Read More
This was my 25th cruise and my first with HA my sister was her first and having nothing to compare with she is more leaneant than I am With ther evaluation of the cruise. I had the impression that HA are trying to updgrade the services with newer way of doing things so they picked up a little bit from each cruise lines offers them but do not quite master the process. From my perception still a long way to go to top certain cruise lines with more cultural feartures. Example: there were beautiful art work on the ship why not offer a free showing on what they represent, something on the authors or artist; meanings etc. Ship’s 10th floor is not easily accessible so if you want to purchase shore excursions you have to find them first. Why not put them on the 1st floor with information desk and newpapers? Cabins: Our room was super clean and maintained that way all through the cruise with Faisal and Oom our room stewards. Those who complain about an obstructed view need to know that there is an extra cost to get the non obstructuve view. Beds very comfortable, lots of movies, information on flat screen tv; lots of closet space; bathroom with bath, lots of how water, and shower big shower head. The ship showed its age in many places but inside cabins and some areas have been redurbished in 2017. On our balcony, there was rust and the oustside chairs extremelly stained and one was covered with a more stained fabric made us wonder how much it would cost to buy new ones considering the cost of the trip. Dining: Main dining room on the 2nd and 3rd in the back of the ship made it easy to travel from our room to the dining room as we were 8th floor in the back so an elevator hop and we were there.The dining room director Alfan and his assistant Krisna went out of there way to please us. I am scealiac and found it very difficult to find food with no gluten as the menus did not indicate in what there was gluten I was sick at the beginning and was asked to choose the meal for the next night something I did not want to do so chose to eat at Canaletto ($15 each night extra) on the 9th floor next to the Lido. A small restaurant, no more than 75 places, with Denise as the Lido manager who made sure with the executive chef that my food was not contaminated with other flours.and his team in the dining room. I am not a fan of cafeteria food and could not eat at the lido when I missed the dining room lunch I would have a salad with all kinds of ingredients: very good but always the same very little variety. Pineaccle is the other specilaty restaurant grill meat and sea food. We went twice but returned very quickly to Canaletto. Be aware that if you choose the select dining approach you will be asked to eat before 6pm or after 8h30pm. There are no other timeframes that can be provided. I always choose that on other ships and never had a problem to eat at 6h30 ou 6h45. At the Canaletto I was able to eat at the time I wanted to. Entertainement and activities: Music awesome and for every taste. Classical offered live in a small salon where a sign was showing quiet please live performance The Classical musicians were fabulous and did play a variety of offerings even accompanied documentaries of Planet earth I did not miss those! 2 pianist and awesome signers Aidan and Meaghan who sang wonderfully and asked for requests. Aidan immitated Elvis and Meaghan had more of a country signer voice sang Patsy Kline and other great signers wonderfully. Too bad this music was next to the casino we could hear the bells and all noises coming from there. The entertainers are very dedicated in involving everyone. We were encouraged to sign with them and some danced. Test kitchen during the day with lots of information from the captain. Other that Royal C, I have not seen a captain so present he was very reassuring a no nonsense person with a nice sense of humor. Safety: There was constant maintenance going on. Buzzing and drilling, cables hanging from the ceiling as well as mineral wool on the floor. My sister slipped and hurt herself quite badly we should have been instructed that the front of the ship which was opened for the crossing at Panama was wet! Wood treatment with epoxy next to the pool is at the height of the day when people were sunning and swimming had a strong chemical odor; elevator stopped from the 9th floor to the 6th never heard why no notice at all! Unacceptable. The drill took more than 45’ I could assuredly tell you that with the quantity of challenged and less mobile people on the ship it would be disastreous if there was an evacuation. Service: Intended to go the morning stretch but never found the so called gym! Trying to make my way there past the pool everything became a commercial fare: was asked to do an imprint of my feet. Anti aging talks were commercials for skincare. They even do botox and fillers! And teeth whitening! Bought my sister a good oil and get for her back after the accident got so much pressure to have her go in for assessment and massages and accupuncture...just decided to short cut them when possible. If you own a time share you will get my jist as they pressure you to buy another one and go to meetings by promising all kinds of free promotions that lead into a big expense. There were no passenger participation activities! Specifically no talent show., trivial pursuit or other. This was the first cruise I was on where they didn't have, at the very least, Karaoke! Very different that other cruises. Our Shore excursions: two 3 hours excursions with Holland were okish and quite expensive nothing Special to write about would not repeat the experience or encourage it. Having been on that cruise with Celebrity I had done the zip lining in Costa Rica, the Panama City tour which are very good. Colon should not be a port stop it is extremelly dangerous, lots of drugs and promiscious night life looking for the balcony looked like a ghost town with run down hotels and buildings. I am sure there were other places we could have stopped to pick up the people who took the shore excursions. Love the Fort Lauderdale tour. Gatun lake it so beautiful. Embarkation and disembarkation: Other than river cruises, this was probably the best and most efficient disembarkation i have ever experienced. Cannot say I will not be going on another Holland America Cruise, but not on the Zuiderdam! My next cruise will be on Royal Caribbean or Celebrity. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
As a three-star mariner with Holland America, I have enjoyed many of their ships over the years. The latest improvements did away with the wonderful library and great coffee bar. Explorations Café is now up on deck 10, with nice places ... Read More
As a three-star mariner with Holland America, I have enjoyed many of their ships over the years. The latest improvements did away with the wonderful library and great coffee bar. Explorations Café is now up on deck 10, with nice places to sit, but no books to browse. The "passenger exchange books" shelf had a dozen or so books in foreign languages, but none in English until I left a few had brought along. The bar here handles both specialty coffee and alcoholic drinks. One latte proved to me that it wasn't that great a cup. So it goes. The new Lincoln Center Stage was filled to capacity at each performance, with some classics on the heavy side for my taste. I loved the old piano and violin combo that played more Strauss and standard melodies. Billboard on Board with its twin pianos was crowded at each performance, with standing room across the way in the casino for the overflow. The area shared by B.B.King's All-Stars (evenings) and America's Test Kitchen (daytime) also has more people than seating. The permanent lounge seating at the back of the room is fine in the evening. Folding chairs are added for the daytime cooking shows, with those in the lounges seeing only heads and backs since the closely lined up chairs are quite a bit higher. The food in the dining room is still very good every evening (and breakfast and lunch). The Dungeness crab benedict was wonderful, and on the breakfast menu every day. The one evening of surf and turf featured perfectly done lobster. Wine prices have continued to rise, but asking $79 plus 18% for a bottle that retails for $15 seems a bit over the top. My big disappointment on this cruise was the scenery from my ocean view cabin. Cabin 4114 gave new meaning to the term "obstructed view". From my floor to ceiling window, I could view lifeboat #16 and its davit....a bit of sky above, and looking directly down could see those walking on deck 3 below. Not a bit of "ocean" aside from the time they lowered the lifeboat to use as a tender at one port. The room itself was fine, and my steward was outstanding as always. Lots of hanging closet space but no drawers other than tiny ones in the bedside tables. Nice tub with shower in the bathroom, and lots of storage space. Now if they would just give loyal passengers a few complimentary minutes of internet time like the other cruise lines do, I would continue to be a happy camper on Holland America. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2019
there was many disappointing things on the cruise. And a lot of excellent things. The staff was amazing her room stores were exceptional everyone seemed very friendly. The food was very average gnome memorable meals. We had prime rib one ... Read More
there was many disappointing things on the cruise. And a lot of excellent things. The staff was amazing her room stores were exceptional everyone seemed very friendly. The food was very average gnome memorable meals. We had prime rib one night was very good, had steak it was tough and seasoned odd. Breakfast want anything special. The entertainment on mainstage was OK the comedian was excellent only there one day, he was an improv comedian working off the audience which was excellent. Then to piano players a young woman and a young gentleman that played the duration of the cruise they were amazing unbelievable very enjoyable to listen to. it seems like most of the day planned activities during the day on the ship were trying to sell you some thing a spa treatment or shoe inserts. The most disappointing thing was for afternoons our cabin had a strong paint smell which they were painting in different parts of the ship and it went to do the air conditioning system . And there was a couple days they were working on the electrical system outside the cabin banging away. We called and voiced our concerns and were told they were trying to improve the ship for future cruises, didn’t seem to care about us. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
It was a good cruise. Our main attraction in selecting this cruise was to go through the Panama Canal. The ship goes through the first lock. We bought a ship tour that took us through all the locks. It was a great experience! Wish the tour ... Read More
It was a good cruise. Our main attraction in selecting this cruise was to go through the Panama Canal. The ship goes through the first lock. We bought a ship tour that took us through all the locks. It was a great experience! Wish the tour took us to see the Panama City also, as the tour was not cheap. The service, food was good. I would like to recognize Gede, Eko, KD and Mauro for their excellent service and taking care of us during dinner. Our room was serviced by 2 pleasant people. Computer classes were a hit, the instructor was pleasant and wonderful. But the space was limited. 5-10 more computers would help. Shows and entertaining was good. Enjoyed the drums show. Went to all the bingo games, thought it was a bit expensive. Adding one or two more ports would have made the experience a bit more fun. We were at sea for more than 2 long stretched days, Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
We wanted to see the Panama canal in a confortable cruise with excellent food and relax atmosphere. Embarkation and disembarkation went very well, quick and smooth. We reverved for the first time an Inside cabin and we found it a little ... Read More
We wanted to see the Panama canal in a confortable cruise with excellent food and relax atmosphere. Embarkation and disembarkation went very well, quick and smooth. We reverved for the first time an Inside cabin and we found it a little tight (150 square feet). We missed the day light. But the cabin was very clean at all time and our stewards were very attentive to our needs. We bought a wine package and we appreciated a lot to have a drink (our wine) anywhere on the ship at any time, including different bars and main dining room. Food was excellent in the dining room and at the buffet. At both places, service was incredible. Entertainment was great and we appreciated to watch the superbowl live on giant screen at the main stage. It was fun to have superbowl food (chicken, tacos, pizza,.....) in the main stage. Unfortunatly, we didn't stop at Half Moon Cay because of rough waves but we agree with captain as safety is number one on ship. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
We have wanted to see the canal for years. We always choose HAL. For us they are the best! The ship is newly refurbished, the verandah cabin fantastic and comfortable. Most of all the service all over the ship is extraordinary! The food is ... Read More
We have wanted to see the canal for years. We always choose HAL. For us they are the best! The ship is newly refurbished, the verandah cabin fantastic and comfortable. Most of all the service all over the ship is extraordinary! The food is delicious and there is a lot to do for the older adults ( us!). We went on shore excursions and enjoyed all of them! The Hato caves in Curacao were amazing, the Gatun Lake and Locks fabulous and the Tortugua Canals and Verugua Rain Forest amazing! All of the days at sea were filled with interesting things to do and the evening entertainment full and we'll done. All of the food was nicely presented and delicious. We are at the Lido a lot for convenience and there was always more than enough selection. I am a vegetarian and I had no problem finding great meals. The salad bar is awesome! Read Less
Sail Date: January 2019
The food was worse than you could imagine -- think truckstop, then go three grades lower. The problem is the sourcing of their ingredients -- EVERYTHING loaded up for an 11 day cruise in Ft Lauderdale and frozen or refrigerated, and ... Read More
The food was worse than you could imagine -- think truckstop, then go three grades lower. The problem is the sourcing of their ingredients -- EVERYTHING loaded up for an 11 day cruise in Ft Lauderdale and frozen or refrigerated, and NOTHING brought in fresh from ports visited, as I've seen on many cruises. Rancid looking shrimp, overcooked dried out chicken, beef you can't cut, slimy BBQ chick at island stop, flavorless bland food, and RECYCLED ingredients constantly -- leftovers are used for 2-3 days. Fruit unripe and flavorless. Flies all over the saladbar ingredients. Only good thing was bread. We had to eat at ports just not to lose weight. I saw things that should not be in any restaurant or ship (I've taken 38 cruises so I know). It's not the staff (which was wonderful) -- it's the company and their rules to put as much $$ on the bottom line by reusing food. Cheating practices -- We were supposed to get a credit for an excursion we did not go on. We are still waiting for this credit 28 days later. Poor entertainment, and nothing to do during the day that didn't lead to you buying something. Read Less
Zuiderdam Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.2
Dining 3.5 4.1
Entertainment 4.5 3.7
Public Rooms 3.5 4.1
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.7
Family 2.0 3.7
Shore Excursion 5.0 3.8
Enrichment 5.0 3.6
Service 4.0 4.4
Value For Money 4.5 3.8
Rates 4.0 4.1

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