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Much has been written about this cruise, its itinerary, etc... My comments are few and pointed. The Panama Canal is all that it is made out to be. I am so glad to have made the trip for this reason alone. TIP: if you go on this cruise, book an Aft Balcony stateroom on the 4th, 5th or 6th level. You will be able to look right off your balcony at the entire operation and NOT have to contend with the hundreds of other passengers assembled on the bow for a view of the canal. Excursions - disappointing. We love to snorkel. The Catamaran Snorkeling trip out of Aruba was the worst snorkeling excursion we have experienced in our cruising. One mediocre site and a crew that talked way too much. No food. Not a good value. There was no other snorkeling available through HAL. We booked our own trip in Curacao - it was excellent. Panama, the country, was terribly unkempt. Not unusual for a developing country, but, if a country wants to promote tourism, and cruises are bringing people ashore, then there should be attempts to clean up the roadways that cruisers are taken down. I travel a lot, and the Panama I saw was among the dirtiest and unattractive places I have seen. One other positive. Half Moon Cay is a private HAL beach in Bahamas. Simply a fabulous beach. Service: There is no incentive for waitstaff to do a great job. HAL automatically charges you $11 per day per guest as a "tip" that is later distributed to the staff. My experience on other cruise lines was that the staff worked hard to form relationships, and then, at the end of the week, it was fun to celebrate with those staff, sharing an envelope of tip money. The HAL policy makes for average service. In fact, we did not even go to dinner in the main dining room a couple of nights, too much time and not enough personal satisfaction. Ok, one last thing. I am 52. I think I am younger than 52. The average age on this trip was probably well over 70. There were very few people my age or younger on this ship. Is that a bad thing? Not entirely. But, I did miss the energy of having younger people on board. I will likely not do another HAL cruise for this reason though. I would have liked more youngsters, you know, 30 and 40 year olds! If you have never seen the Canal, then this is a very good experience. Otherwise, skip this one and try something else.  

Canal Made the Trip!

Zuiderdam Cruise Review by KYMike

Trip Details
Much has been written about this cruise, its itinerary, etc... My comments are few and pointed.
The Panama Canal is all that it is made out to be. I am so glad to have made the trip for this reason alone. TIP: if you go on this cruise, book an Aft Balcony stateroom on the 4th, 5th or 6th level. You will be able to look right off your balcony at the entire operation and NOT have to contend with the hundreds of other passengers assembled on the bow for a view of the canal.
Excursions - disappointing. We love to snorkel. The Catamaran Snorkeling trip out of Aruba was the worst snorkeling excursion we have experienced in our cruising. One mediocre site and a crew that talked way too much. No food. Not a good value. There was no other snorkeling available through HAL. We booked our own trip in Curacao - it was excellent. Panama, the country, was terribly unkempt. Not unusual for a developing country, but, if a country wants to promote tourism, and cruises are bringing people ashore, then there should be attempts to clean up the roadways that cruisers are taken down. I travel a lot, and the Panama I saw was among the dirtiest and unattractive places I have seen.
One other positive. Half Moon Cay is a private HAL beach in Bahamas. Simply a fabulous beach.
Service: There is no incentive for waitstaff to do a great job. HAL automatically charges you $11 per day per guest as a "tip" that is later distributed to the staff. My experience on other cruise lines was that the staff worked hard to form relationships, and then, at the end of the week, it was fun to celebrate with those staff, sharing an envelope of tip money. The HAL policy makes for average service. In fact, we did not even go to dinner in the main dining room a couple of nights, too much time and not enough personal satisfaction.
Ok, one last thing. I am 52. I think I am younger than 52. The average age on this trip was probably well over 70. There were very few people my age or younger on this ship. Is that a bad thing? Not entirely. But, I did miss the energy of having younger people on board. I will likely not do another HAL cruise for this reason though. I would have liked more youngsters, you know, 30 and 40 year olds!
If you have never seen the Canal, then this is a very good experience. Otherwise, skip this one and try something else.
 
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Cabin Review

Cabin 5186
Cabin 5186 - GREAT VIEW OF PANAMA CANAL. Huge deck for a balcony stateroom.
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Port & Shore Excursion Reviews