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View Full Version : Zuiderdam comments 7/3 - 7/10 cruise


Shirt-man
July 11th, 2004, 09:54 PM
We are finally unpacked from our first cruise on HAL on the Zuiderdam on 7/3 – 7/10.We have been on Princess (3) AND Celebrity (1) before this cruise. I will do a quick comparison for those that care. Food was better than Princess and about equal with Celebrity. Nightly entertainment was on par with the others. Embarkation was not as smooth as others but the reason was their computers were down for a while and you can guess what problems that can cause in this day and age. They worked through it with only minor problems. Disembarkation was as smooth as everyone else. They all have this down to a science. Service was good and maybe a little better in certain places. (Dining room) Our room steward was not one of the best we have ever had but okay. The ship seemed a little more crowded even though the total numbers were smaller that the other ships we had used. The Zuiderdam’s public areas have a cramped feeling to me. The Neptune Lounge for suite guest was fantastic. The service there was the best we have encountered on a cruise ship. The food served in the lounge was also excellent. If we travel HAL again I hope we can afford a “S” suite again.
The main problem and it was one that made this trip not as enjoyable as some of the others was that the air conditioning was not holding it’s own, especially on port days. The crew was even commenting on how bad it was. We had a “S” suite (cabin 6167) on the rear of the ship and we even keep our curtains closed during the day and it still got very hot in our cabin. They really need to fix the problem. All our tablemates also felt that this was a problem they should correct.
Another problem was that they had a group “Focus on the Family” of 700 that all were given late seating for dinner and this put 300 people on the wait list for late dining that never changed. So there was a large group who weren’t happy other this. The “Focus “ group seemed to dictate some of the happenings on the ship. This group even caused the dinner seating to be changed so that all of the late seating would be at 8:30. We wanted to eat at 6:15 so it wasn’t a problem to us. I also feel that on sea days there were some activities that were not offered because of this group. They had meetings on sea days that used space resources. It just felt as though some things were missing. Can’t really say what but I would guess if we could compare the activities with another cruise we would see some things missing. You can check out this site for more groups that appear to be traveling on HAL. www.inspirationcruises.com
Enjoy your cruise……..

Agbacker
July 12th, 2004, 12:21 AM
Shirt Man -

I agree that on departure day and on the St. Thomas day, the AC got over loaded and it took a while to cool down. Most of the week it was fine. I did see that the *******es who were in adjoining cabins near us on the Rotterdam deck, kept their verandah doors open and their room door open to the hall. That zapped the AC really quickly a couple of times. There are always a few negatives in the bunch.

We met some great people from the Focus on the Family group and never heard a negative about them. We commented that they seemed to stay to themselves and we hardly ever saw them. We too were at early dinner seatings while they had their meetings in the evening and still asleep at 7:45 AM when they had their morning meetings, so we didn't run into them too much.

I agree the Neptune Lounge was really a great addition. We too will go for the S class suites when we can afford them. It sort of ticks me off to see that others got upgraded to what we were paying higher prices for..... that's the way it goes.

Krazy Kruizers
July 12th, 2004, 08:26 AM
:)

Glad you had a good cruise for the most part.

We have been on a couple of cruises when there were large groups. They literally took over the ship. Too many times lounges were resevered for cocktail parties, etc.

Do try HAL again.

:)

dst
July 12th, 2004, 10:00 AM
Thanks for your posts; we leave on the "Z" July 24th. Can you tell me if you did the Western Caribbean and if you did were there any spots not to be missed? How was the pool area on sea days?

Ellya
July 12th, 2004, 01:01 PM
Our experience with the Western Caribbean cruise was awesome! All the ports were wonderful with lots of choices of things to do! We found the Lido pool to be busy with children throughout the cruise. The aft pool is too deep for many kids and usually only had adults in it. The only exception was one evening, even through the adult swim hours of 3-5, there were kiddies splashing away in the aft pool because for some reason the Lido pool was closed.

Giorgi-one
July 12th, 2004, 03:58 PM
My comments are based on 12 cruises (NCL, Celebrity, Costa, RCCL and Princess) this being our first cruise with HAL. In general we had a good time but were very disappointed with HAL. There was nothing about this crusie to justify all the hype about HAL being the best mass market cruise line or a premium cruise line. Except for the Pinnacle Grill, there is nothing special about the Zuiderdam.

Embarkation - Grade A - We had no problems. Arrived at about 12 noon and were on the ship in less than 1/2 hour.

Cabin - Grade C - We had aft balcony cabin 6154 close to shirt man. Balcony was nice size but the rest of the cabin was the smallest balcony cabin I have every had (very narrow). Closets were poorly designed with shelves spaced about 2 ft apart. I don't usually stack my clothing 2 ft high but had to on this cruise since I only had one shelf. No light in closet or shower/tub added to poor design. TV was hung from wall above vanity and my wife almost knocked herself out three times.

Pinacle Grill - Grade A+ - Best Alternative restaurant I have experienced. Don't miss this if you must sail on the Zuiderdam. Book first night by phone for on ly $10 per person.

Lido Buffet - Grade B - I am not much for buffets, but the few times we ate here food was good, not great.

Ice Cream - Grade F - Do not confuse what HAL serves with ice cream. You don't even need taste buds to tell the difference between this stuff and the homemade ice cream served on Celebrity. Stick with the frozen yogurt which is probably made from a mix which even HAL couldn't mess up.

Breakfast Pastries - Grade F - Essentially non-existient. Sometimes one or two selections in the Lido if you get there early enough. When I asked for pastries in the Vista dining room I was given a basket of rolls one of which had some raisins in it.

Dinners in Vista Drining Room - Grade C - My wife and I eat anything, so picky was not the problem. Entree selections were poor and desert selections and quality were poor. Did not serve rack of lamb at all and served filet only on lobster night. Definity below Cebebrity and Princess and toss up with NCL. Portions on the small side, soup bowls half full, etc.

Service in Vista Dining Room - Grade C - We had late seating. Service staff appeared to be in a track meet. Obviously understaffed. Barely finished in time for shows. Service at lunch time was much more relaxed and enjoyable.

Traffic Flow in Public Areas - Grade F - Most ships have two aisles thru public areas (one on each side of the ship). Not the Z. A single aisle winds thru the public areas. You actually have to walk thru the shops. Worst area was the photo gallery where passengers for second dinner seating were lined up while passengers from first dinner seating were looking at their photos. The highlight of my evening every night!

Ship Cleanliness - Grade A - Even stairs and promenade deck were always clean.

Ship Condition - Grade B - Some wear and tear (probably from ignorant passengers) was apparent.

Rugs - Grade F - There are many beautiful commercial carpets available. This was not one of them. Replace the rugs! Also saw service personnel using vacuum without rotating brush. You cannot clean carpets with this type of equipment.

Air Conditioning - Grade F - Definitely problems. Worst was on informal night when men were supposed to wear jackets. Everyone removed jackets in Dining Room and left them off for the remainder of the evening.

Entertainment - Grade B+ - Pleaseantly surprised. Solo acts were very good and singers/dancers were good but not on par with NCL. Costumes and special effects/lighting were excellent. No ship's orchestra.

Captains Welcome Reception - Grade F - Reception started at 7 PM. We (and several others) arrived at 7:20 PM and were told that room was at maximum capacity. I could care less if I ever meet the captain. As the comedian said, Do you meet the bus driver when you travel Grayhound? However, when you invite 900 people to a party, you should hold the party in a venue which accomodates 900 people. DUH!

Private Island - Grade B+ - Very nice, clean facility. Lunch was the usual barbeque fare. Obviously built to generate revenue since nothing but the air and water are free.

Disembarkation - Grade A+ - HAL uses many numbers and calls passengers a few at a time. Less than 15 minutes from when our number was called until we were in a cab on our way to the airport.

ekerr19
July 12th, 2004, 04:21 PM
Giorgi-one-

I can see from your review, the Zui hasn't changed much at all since we sailed her last August. We encountered many similar problems, my biggest peeve was the same - the Photo Gallery has to be the most poorly thought out concept ever - especially when the ship is full. The shops run a close second. Talk about congested & difficult to navigate.

We loved our Cabin, we got a great price on the Suite - but thought the whole Concierge Lounge concept just so - so. Others love it - maybe if we go again we'll give it another try.

After our Zui cruise, we made up our minds - ENOUGH - we are going elsewhere - Princess, Celebrity, Radisson - I don't care... but no more HAL. Then our TA called with a great deal on an Easter Break cruise for us & the kids onboard the Maasdam. We thought about it, the price was fantastic - and decided to give it one last go.

We were happy that we did. It was a wonderful reminder why we love the S-Class ships so much. It sounds like you disliked the Zui for many of the same reasons we did - you may want to consider an S-Class if you come across one with great pricing. It is like night and day, as far as we are concerned.

Those Zui lovers out there, please don't flame - but I just don't like the layout (at all) or decor of that ship - those that love it - well, people like us just leave more room for you! ;)

Tatka
July 12th, 2004, 04:37 PM
I don't understand. Opinions are so polar about Zuiderdam! :confused:

1) I understand food is a very subjective thing and tastes are different but it's strange that it receives from C- to A !!!

2) Temperature: I've read reviews that A/C was fixed on Z and now it's freezing cold in public areas and cabins!!! In the other review it got grade F and definitely has a problem.

I never felt so weird about my upcoming cruise...It feels like I am going to the Mars and don't really know what to expect! ;)

ekerr19
July 12th, 2004, 05:13 PM
Tatka-

Last year, we did the same cruise you are going on - we left around 8/20, I believe...

I was excited about the Zui - couldn't wait to get onboard. I don't know exactly what it was - maybe the attitude of other pax in the Concierge Lounge, we arrived in the middle of a fight between two ladies - the poor concierge was beside herself and I couldn't get out of there fast enough, or the fact that the ship was completely filled to capacity. The Suite (we had 7053) was beautiful - all we could have hoped for & more. We went to have lunch in the Lido and what a zoo! Kids running all over the place, crowded lines, tables full of dirty dishes...

The capacity of the ship played a part in our dislike, I'm sure. We don't like big crowds and the Zui always felt crowded to us, there were also over 400 kids on board - mostly older teens - who took over the hot tubs & pools, which didn't make for a super fun cruise. The decor was much different than that of other HAL ships and I kind of liked it at first. It got a bit old for me towards the end, the bright colors, the cow spots, the disco - all overwhelming. I did like the internet cafe quite a bit.

The other thing - the weather - but that's the time of year we chose. It was very hot and humid in the Caribbean (we had the same itinerary as yours) and the islands were jammed packed with people. The A/C on our cruise was not functioning well at all, either.

Lastly, the dining room - the servers were stretched so thin, we finally had to comment to the Maitre D' - several times we waited 15-20 minutes (we always arrived on time) for menus. We had an upper level table for four, the noise levels were high - and the lighting was super bright - we felt like we were in a cafeteria. Definitely not the typical HAL ambience we were used to.

We did like the "party" atmosphere and the bit younger crowd - lots of dancing & staying up late. These were not the drunken, obnoxious partiers - but the kind you can hang out & have a great time with. On one of our Noordam cruises, 11:00pm rolled around and it was ghost town.

If you've never been on HAL, you have no other comparison. I wouldn't worry about it too much - everyone has their likes and dislikes - somebody posted they didn't care for their cruise on the Maasdam and I absolutely love that ship. If you like a younger crowd with more kids, a party-type atmosphere, a larger, newer ship; then you will probably like the Zui.

I don't mean to detract from the ship - especially for those with upcoming voyages. We've just had much better experiences than the Zuiderdam.

dst
July 12th, 2004, 05:14 PM
Tatka: I would have to agree with you. We are sailing July 24th and I have heard so many different opinions. The sad thing is that this is our first HAL cruise so I really worry that HAl is not up to RCCL (my favorite).

The only thing that we decided is that we are going to go and have a good time. Some of the things on here seem very petty, I think if I don't have to cook, clean, make my bed then all is good!

I'll try to give a fair reveiw when we return.

Tatka
July 12th, 2004, 05:28 PM
Thank you ekker19.... I still hope I like Zui more than you did. :) I am not a big party goer but my son will probably like disco. And I love watching people having a good time.


Some things that keep me calm:

1) I read some pretty bad reviews before my cruise on Century...(how service/food etc slipped). I loved that cruise.

2) I didn't care much about Splendour of the Seas food but ship was beautiful as was our cruise overall.

When we returned home I went to read reviews on www.cruisereviews.com <http://www.cruisereviews.com> and was shocked!!! For some people cruise was disastrous from the beginning to the end. (actually worst in their life!) Service/food/ship etc.

I am trying not to believe everything I read....

But again how can A/C not be working and freezing at the same time? This is actually very important to me as my husband as somewhat overweight and will have big problems without A/C.

ekerr19
July 12th, 2004, 05:34 PM
Tatka-

A good attitude to have, no doubt.

I think the problem with the A/C is found on many ships. They will repair one area, then another goes out... on the Zui we found it mostly to be the dining room - we had second seating and the stewards were literally running through the room - most other public areas (as well as the cabin) were comfortable. The dining room was way too hot, almost every night. If you have first seating, it may be a lot cooler.

If you do have a problem with A/C in your room - notify the Front Desk or Concierge right away. We've always had our cabin A/C problems addressed promptly.

I hope my post above did not frighten you - as you said, what one person found to be horrible, another liked. We still made the best of our cruise - it just wasn't our favorite.

superstein61
July 12th, 2004, 06:56 PM
This is my kind of thread - people discussing positives and negatives.

I thank all of those who posted your reviews and your honest opinions - it always helps !!!!

We sail on the Z at the end of this month - so I will also be able to judge everything for myself. But I always realize nothing is perfect - and there will be things I like and things I dislike. That seems to be what I have read here from several of you. HAL did some things well and some things not so well.

It doesn't worry me for my upcoming cruise - just helps me temper expectations. Besides - I chose the Z for its itinerary and price - nothing else

I recall when I sailed on HAL for the first time two years ago and heard all the superlatives about service here. I was quite disappointed to find that service ok but nothing to write home about. On a par with NCL and behind Disney.

It didn't ruin my cruise at all - but the expectations some laid out here IMO were not realistic. Thanks folks for the realism !!!

gammaf
July 12th, 2004, 07:49 PM
We had a great time on the Zui at the end of May to the 5th of June. We had a balcony cabin on the Navigation deck and it was wonderful. I have no complaints. It was very hot outside but our Ac worked great! The food was great and the service excellant. It was well worth the money we paid and all of the Western ports were wonderful. So please, do not take these board to heart. It is hard to please everyone all the time. Just go with the expectation that you will have a great time and run with it!! You will see the Zui is a great ship.

Tatka
July 12th, 2004, 08:27 PM
We had a great time on the Zui at the end of May to the 5th of June. We had a balcony cabin on the Navigation deck and it was wonderful. I have no complaints. It was very hot outside but our Ac worked great! The food was great and the service excellant. It was well worth the money we paid and all of the Western ports were wonderful. So please, do not take these board to heart. It is hard to please everyone all the time. Just go with the expectation that you will have a great time and run with it!! You will see the Zui is a great ship.
That's what we are planning to do. :D

After all not that long ago (about 8-10 years in our our early twenties) camping in a tent seemed to us as a great vacation. ;) Although I think we got spoiled on X Century...oh well.

Thank you for your very positive review... I love Caribbeans and cruise itself makes it even better and more fun than 7 days spent at the same resort even the best one.

superstein61
July 12th, 2004, 08:34 PM
. So please, do not take these board to heart. It is hard to please everyone all the time.

Gammaf - I am not sure what you mean when you say this.

Are you doubting the others opinions?

Or just saying make the best of it?

Or ???

Just curious - as I like to see a variety of opinions, and hear the good and the bad. Sure, everyone's point of view will differ, but sometimes certain things will click - and sometimes certain themse will present themself. Nothing wrong with that IMO

sail7seas
July 12th, 2004, 08:53 PM
We totally enjoyed two sets of b-to-b's on Zuiderdam; first in April and then in August.


We were on Rotterdam Deck and loved the Neptune Lounge. Our a/c worked fine in our cabin on all four cruises. Our cabin stewards were all wonderful. We sat at the same table for all of the cruises and loved the location and found the a/c in our section fine. That is not to say someone may not have been warm somewhere else in that large dining room (two levels), but we were very comfortable. DH wears a tuxedo on formal nights; jackets on Informal and sometimes casual and he never felt too warm.

We thought the food excellent and enjoyed Lido more than any Lido on any other HAL ship we have cruised. I love the layout of it and the flow was great. We always sit outside though....we would take our trays and go the rear of Lido and sit at the outside tables.



I would return to Zuiderdam anytime without hesitation.

npeters
July 12th, 2004, 08:55 PM
Tatka-

Last year, we did the same cruise you are going on - we left around 8/20, I believe...

I was excited about the Zui - couldn't wait to get onboard. I don't know exactly what it was - maybe the attitude of other pax in the Concierge Lounge, we arrived in the middle of a fight between two ladies - the poor concierge was beside herself and I couldn't get out of there fast enough, or the fact that the ship was completely filled to capacity. The Suite (we had 7053) was beautiful - all we could have hoped for & more. We went to have lunch in the Lido and what a zoo! Kids running all over the place, crowded lines, tables full of dirty dishes...

The capacity of the ship played a part in our dislike, I'm sure. We don't like big crowds and the Zui always felt crowded to us, there were also over 400 kids on board - mostly older teens - who took over the hot tubs & pools, which didn't make for a super fun cruise. The decor was much different than that of other HAL ships and I kind of liked it at first. It got a bit old for me towards the end, the bright colors, the cow spots, the disco - all overwhelming. I did like the internet cafe quite a bit.

The other thing - the weather - but that's the time of year we chose. It was very hot and humid in the Caribbean (we had the same itinerary as yours) and the islands were jammed packed with people. The A/C on our cruise was not functioning well at all, either.

Lastly, the dining room - the servers were stretched so thin, we finally had to comment to the Maitre D' - several times we waited 15-20 minutes (we always arrived on time) for menus. We had an upper level table for four, the noise levels were high - and the lighting was super bright - we felt like we were in a cafeteria. Definitely not the typical HAL ambience we were used to.

We did like the "party" atmosphere and the bit younger crowd - lots of dancing & staying up late. These were not the drunken, obnoxious partiers - but the kind you can hang out & have a great time with. On one of our Noordam cruises, 11:00pm rolled around and it was ghost town.

If you've never been on HAL, you have no other comparison. I wouldn't worry about it too much - everyone has their likes and dislikes - somebody posted they didn't care for their cruise on the Maasdam and I absolutely love that ship. If you like a younger crowd with more kids, a party-type atmosphere, a larger, newer ship; then you will probably like the Zui.

I don't mean to detract from the ship - especially for those with upcoming voyages. We've just had much better experiences than the Zuiderdam.
ekerr19,

Going on the HAL cruise on Aug 21. Do you remember what it was like on the beach at HMC? Thinking about renting a clamshell. I don't want to rent a cabana (too much $$$$) but was wondering if it was stifling on the beach in August.

Thanks,

Kay D
July 12th, 2004, 09:05 PM
HI to those recently on Zuiderdam -- I need your help -- never been on HAL!!

I have been offered cabins 5096 or 5098 for an Oct cruise -- 5098 adjoins the central elevators on Verandah deck on port side; 5096 is 1 cabin away from the central elevators.

Can people on glass elevators see into the balconies? Or is side of elevators opaque so that those 2 balconies have some privacy?

Anyone have a photo of the side of ship showing the central elevators.

lknick
July 12th, 2004, 09:28 PM
Can people on glass elevators see into the balconies? Or is side of elevators opaque so that those 2 balconies have some privacy? Yes, they can see into the balconies closest to the elevators.

No, the side of the elevators are not opaque.

Now, what will you be doing that will make people want to look at you?

ekerr19
July 13th, 2004, 02:16 PM
NPeters-

Regarding the weather at HMC in August. I recall it being very nice, not too hot - we love HMC, it is one of our favorite places to go, even if just for a few hours. We had the Cabana on last cruise (Maasdam) and didn't feel it justified the expense. There are plenty of shady areas that are not on the beach, but if you want to spend a lot of time near the water, you may want to see about the clam shell. Having been diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma on two years ago - I try and avoid lengthy exposure to direct sunlight, which is very difficult for me as I love the ocean & beach.

Superstein-

I knew it would be impossible for someone not to post "ignore the bad things they say" and I'm sorry someone feels that way. I am not trying to put a damper on anyone's upcoming Zui cruise - that's why I don't always like posting how I feel if it's not positive - I get the "well, she's just negative - don't listen to her" which is not the case at all. Oh, well - you know what I'm saying. Thanks.

gammaf-

Our Zui cruise was our least favorite & I have tried to be constructive in presenting my reasons why. I do not expect others to feel the same, just because I have an opinion doesn't mean I'm trying to get others to jump on my "bandwagon", so to speak, very far from it - you loved the Zui and you shared that - why is it wrong for me to say I didn't? Again, I'm not trying to ruin anyone's upcoming voyage - each person is different - I'm sure those with an open mind will have a great cruise regardless. We made the most out of ours - certainly didn't let a few negatives detract from the fact that we were, after all - on vacation.

WJBonds
July 13th, 2004, 02:51 PM
I too like this thread with the very diverse opinions. After 14 cruises, I have learned that the only opinion I can count on is my own.

I have been on lines as luxurious as Crystal and as plain as Dolphin. Everything from an up and down inside to the Captains suite and never once did I have a bad cruise.

We all have our own tastes and agendas. As long as the food is hot, the attendants helpful, and the air-conditioner on, I know that I will have a great time.

RevNeal
July 13th, 2004, 03:35 PM
ekerr19,

I don't think that gammaf was suggesting that you shouldn't share your experience and opinion regarding the Zui. It's just that gammaf liked the Zui, and was sharing his/her experience while, at the same time, doing precisely what you did ... encouraging someone and expressing a hope that they will have a good time.

Everything I've seen and read about the Zui gives me HUGE moments of pause. I'm very partial to the S and R ships, and while I will be trying out a Vista ship (probably the Westerdam), based upon what I've read and heard about the Zui I have no interest in cruising on her. However, if I were to cruise on the Zui I suspect I would enjoy her (and the cruise) anyway. :) I'm easy to please. My parents, on the other hand, are not. My mother is a clean-freak and noise-phobic, while my Dad is a stickler for etiquette and protocol (it's those 2 stars on his shoulder boards). They tell me that they think they wouldn't like the Zui at all, and this dislike might really upset their cruise-experience. So ... they're sticking to the ships they know (at least for now).

In short, everybody is different when it comes to their likes and dislikes and their appreciation for variation. I gathered that gammaf was giving a different experience and opinion and offering a word of encouragement.

ekerr19
July 13th, 2004, 03:54 PM
Revneal-

No problem here. I just saw the sentence "So please don't take these boards to heart" - which is fine, but my belief is the whole point of the boards is to share our experiences - good, bad or otherwise. When gammaf says not to take these boards to heart, does that mean the good too? I don't think so - but that's just me.

If you are partial to the S-class, like we are - you may not enjoy the Vista class as well. I love the Noordam - I am a minority in that regard on this board - that's ok by me. I try and share based upon my actual experiences without really sugar-coating anything, but also giving credit when credit is due. Nothing that happens onboard a ship truly hampers my cruise experience, however many people like hearing all the detail - good, bad & indifferent.

Giorgi-one
July 13th, 2004, 05:05 PM
I have been on 14 cruises and have enjoyed them all. But some cruises were absolutely fantastic. How can you say that nothing that happens onboard a ship hampers your cruise experience? Your cruise experience is the sum total of everything that happens on board the ship and every negative item reduces that experience just a little.

Jacqueline
July 13th, 2004, 05:32 PM
Something to bear in mind is that doing a Caribbean trip on the Z in the summer- or for that matter any of the mainstream cruiselines (Princess, RCi, X) Chances are very high that the weather is going to be very hot(heck I found it very hot in March !) very humid and packed to the gills with families, kids, teens, etc.This changes the onboard dynamic fairly drastically.
I agree with the poster that said having realistic expectations makes the likelihood of an enjoyable cruise that much greater. All the mainstream cruiselines rank themselves as *premium* which just sets one up for dissapointment. All this talk about being treated famously on X or having the world revolve around you on Princess leads some to believe the ads ! When they find out that they are on of 2600 on a packed ship and cant get a seat by the pool or in the showroom reality sets in...

But getiing back to the original review, which was very fairminded. I can definately see where having a such a large group onboard could really affect the experience.
I also agree that the Vista class ships ar not for everyone. But you will see the same dichotomy on other cruiseboards- some like the Sun class on Princess and feel the Grand class is to large-- and so on.
Its great that there are so many choices out there.

ekerr19
July 13th, 2004, 05:49 PM
Jacqueline-

Well, said, thanks. We cruised the Western Caribbean in August (again-our choice) not really expecting the heat & humidity to be so severe. It did detract from the experience a bit - we are not used to it all... I just learned a valuable lesson - I won't book the Caribbean in the summer again. Now I know why it was such a steal! :D

RevNeal
July 13th, 2004, 07:42 PM
ekerr19,

I just saw the sentence "So please don't take these boards to heart" - which is fine, but my belief is the whole point of the boards is to share our experiences - good, bad or otherwise. When gammaf says not to take these boards to heart, does that mean the good too? I don't think so - but that's just me.

I like to read about other peoples' experiences and opinions, regardless of them being positive or negative. However, after reading a bunch of negative comments about a ship or a cruise, and after seeing several people jump, screaming (metaphorically), overboard, I tend to begin to believe that what I am going to experience is going to be negative, too. I expect it NOT because of what I have experienced in the past, but because of what others have told me to expect because "that's the way it is now." After ten cruises I know that I shouldn't expect my experience to be the same as another's, but after a while the negative drum-beat gets to be so loud that it becomes hard to discount it sufficiently to be able to go and hope for a good time.

For eample, after 911 there were some people here who were spinning the "doom and gloom" message big-time. Everything on HAL had gone to pot, the service was awful and the food was horrible: all HAL ships were ratty garbage scows where inside-cabin passengers were forced to row for their gruel. :D That kind of thing. Anyway, after several weeks of this kind of thing I actually began to believe it. I was new on this board, and didn't realize that some people are prone to hyperbole. As a result, the three months prior to my cruise in January 02 were reduced to a period of fretting and worrying about whether or not I would enjoy the trip. Indeed, I was nearly convinced, just prior to the penalty date, to cancel my cruise due to this fear!!! But, I didn't ... and then I suffered for those last two and a half months, afraid that I had made a big mistake. I went on the Volendam in Jan 02 expecting to find my cruise experience ruined, and was pleasantly surprised to find that everything was fine. Sure, there had been a few cutbacks, but it was still the same HAL I had known for 8 years. She ship was not a garbage scow, and I didn't have to row. :D

To put this simply, I shouldn't have "taken to heart" the drum-beat of "doom and gloom and agony on thee." Sure, one should be aware of the poor experiences of others, but at the same time one should discount the blanket hyperbole and emotionalism and go, eyes-wide-open, aware of the potential for change and decline while not worrying about or anticipating the worst. That is how I understood gammaf.

I love the Noordam - I am a minority in that regard on this board - that's ok by me.

I'm part of your minority. My first HAL ship was the Nieuw Amsterdam. I loved that ship!

RevNeal
July 13th, 2004, 07:45 PM
I won't book the Caribbean in the summer again.

Repeat after me:

Alaska, New England, or Europe in the Summer
Caribbean, Mexico, or Hawaii in the Winter

:)

gammaf
July 13th, 2004, 08:03 PM
Superstein61:

I just meant that they are so many negative things said about the new Vista Class ships, the Zuiderdam, etc, that each one of us should just go and have a good time and form opinions then. I read all the posts before we went and I was scared to death to go. But when we got on, I was immediately put at ease. It is all in what you make it. Just go and have a great time! We loved the Zuiderdam and would sail her again. She is worth it.

gammaf
July 13th, 2004, 08:06 PM
Thank you RevNeal:

I was not suggesting that people do not share their experiences. I was mearly suggesting that one try to be optimistic so others are not scared off and do not have the chance to form their own opinion. We loved the Zuiderdam and will sail her again, but I will tell you, I was upset and torn by what was said about her on the boards and wondered if I should cancel our trip. I was glad that I did not listen. So whomever is going, go and have a great time!!

superstein61
July 14th, 2004, 12:57 AM
Superstein61:

I just meant that they are so many negative things said about the new Vista Class ships, the Zuiderdam, etc, that each one of us should just go and have a good time and form opinions then. I read all the posts before we went and I was scared to death to go. But when we got on, I was immediately put at ease. It is all in what you make it. Just go and have a great time! We loved the Zuiderdam and would sail her again. She is worth it.

Gammaf - Thanks , I agree with you somewhat here

I was mearly suggesting that one try to be optimistic so others are not scared off and do not have the chance to form their own opinion

This is the area where we disagree. I guess I would rather have everyone be realistic (instead of solely optomistic or pessimistic). that way I can draw my own conclusions.

I have read good and bad about the Z - and it didn't scare me off (I leave in a few weeks). But it did help prepare me. I realize everything won't be perfect - and I also realize I am going to be on vacation and enjoy myself no matter what. But I guess I just prefer hearing in advance the good and the bad so I can properly set my expectations.

Anyway - thanks for the clarification

RevNeal
July 14th, 2004, 02:15 AM
I was mearly suggesting that one try to be optimistic so others are not scared off and do not have the chance to form their own opinion.

I agree. It is possible to share one's opinion and experience, being truthful in sharing the good, the fair, the not-so-good, and the bad, and yet still be positive and express a hope that someone else will find it different or more to their liking.

Frankly, I find it sad when I read someone writing: "Oh, the X-dam is just a horrible ship ... you'll hate it." How does that person know that someone else will hate a ship, or find it horrible, just because they (and some others) did? Sure, they might have a similar experience ... but not necessarily. I know a lot of people who didn't like the old N-class ship, but I loved the twins. Likewise, there are people who love the Vista class, yet based upon many of the highly negative reviews I've read of the Zui I'm not so sure I will. Eventually, I'll find out for myself; but I'm afraid I'll fret about the cruise and worry about it for many weeks prior.

vjb223
July 14th, 2004, 05:39 AM
I have never met a cruise I did not like, over 70 under belt and weight shows it at least that is what I tell my dr. blame it on the cruise line not me..

your good time is what you make it, the people are wonderfu,crew also. I do not have to make the bed or do the dishes and now with the cat. S I don't even have to do the laundry. What more could you ask..vjb

ekerr19
July 14th, 2004, 12:36 PM
I have been on 14 cruises and have enjoyed them all. But some cruises were absolutely fantastic. How can you say that nothing that happens onboard a ship hampers your cruise experience? Your cruise experience is the sum total of everything that happens on board the ship and every negative item reduces that experience just a little.

Georgi-one-

I guess that's where I'm different than you... there are things that happen that I may not like - but overall we try & turn those things around into something positive, keeping in mind many things are truly beyond our control. If it's too hot in the dining room one night, or the service is exceedingly slow - does it detract from my cruise experience? Not at all! When I said nothing, I suppose I should have clarified, but we still enjoy the fact that we are on a ship & on a vacation. The small things tend to loose some significance, but I am still able to factually report them when reviewing or discussing the cruise.

ekerr19
July 14th, 2004, 12:41 PM
Repeat after me:

Alaska, New England, or Europe in the Summer
Caribbean, Mexico, or Hawaii in the Winter

:)

Revneal -

It took awhile, but it's starting to sink in!

Also, thanks for your kind words in the above post - I understand about the negativity on the boards - I try to be pretty careful to be factual and state "it's only my opinion" and I certainly don't want to put a damper on anyone's upcoming voyage... anticipating a cruise is one of life's finer pleasures! :D

Seayalater
July 14th, 2004, 12:48 PM
I came to the HAL thread because we just cruised Caribbean Princess and while it lovely and HUGE, the food wasn't as good as Celebrity.
I want to plan another cruise for next year and am considering HAL, only the Z seems to be the only Caribbean itinerary that will work w/school schedules.
This post kinda is scaring me away.

Maria

ekerr19
July 14th, 2004, 01:04 PM
Why let it scare you away? People like different things for different reasons... there are many folks out there who love the Zui - more so than those who don't. It is my kids favorite ship! Hopefully, you have read the positive reviews of the ship - not just the comments on this thread...

Tatka
July 14th, 2004, 02:02 PM
Why let it scare you away? People like different things for different reasons... there are many folks out there who love the Zui - more so than those who don't. It is my kids favorite ship! Hopefully, you have read the positive reviews of the ship - not just the comments on this thread...
What did you kids like about this ship? (I am interested because we are going with 12 years old)

ekerr19
July 14th, 2004, 02:23 PM
Tatka-

My kids loved the layout of the ship. They also thought the Club HAL program to be fantastic. Even my 15 yr. old (14 at the time of the cruise) participated in the teen program. There were many kids on board and they all seemed to get along really well. The kids made friends they still are in touch with by email.

They liked the newer decor, the Lido buffet, the fact that there were younger people, louder music and many activities for them.

We had a Suite and had to put an end to the tours of the cabin, though. A couple times we came back to the room and had a balcony full of teens (we didn't mind - just thought it'd be better if they visited when an adult was present).

Our kids never went into the Neptune Lounge except to rent and return movies - I read another post about kids taking over the Neptune, our kids avoided it like the plague (they thought it was kind of like a library - too quiet) and hung out by the pool and at the Lido.

We bought some awesome photos of our daughter (11) that I've never seen done on any other ship - they posed her on a white canvas backdrop (one with her hair spread out all around her) and the finished photo looked like she was suspended in air... very cool & different.

If you have any other questions, I will be happy to help answer them! :)

Tatka
July 14th, 2004, 02:40 PM
Thank you ekker19! :)

We won't have problems with other kids filling our Suite. We have inside cabin.;)

It will make me very happy if my son will have a great time. He loved it on Celebrity last year...He didn't participate in many activities of the kids club but loved pizza party (on both formal nights) and he met lots of new friends...(Even had a romance I think :D).

ekerr19
July 14th, 2004, 02:47 PM
Thank you ekker19! :)

We won't have problems with other kids filling our Suite. We have inside cabin.;)

It will make me very happy if my son will have a great time. He loved it on Celebrity last year...He didn't participate in many activities of the kids club but loved pizza party (on both formal nights) and he met lots of new friends...(Even had a romance I think :D).

Tatka-

Our son had a shipboard romance too! It was his first real romance (according to him!) they are still in touch by email - emailing weekly. They plan to meet again on another cruise sometime in the future. I think it's pretty neat they've kept in touch this long.

Tatka
July 14th, 2004, 03:16 PM
This is Mike: http://community.webshots.com/photo/87890932/87891350xFPINE

This was "romance" place , I guess. (near the disco)
http://community.webshots.com/photo/87890932/87891224VEmaBa

Sorry about quality. These pictures were taken with the reagular camera and then scanned to post. ;)

ekerr19
July 14th, 2004, 03:18 PM
Tatka-

How cute! Thanks for posting these... your son is quite handsome!

uncialman
July 14th, 2004, 04:27 PM
Yes, once again, the Zuiderdam has become the cause of much divisiveness. As I have previously stated, my wife and I thought that there were too many negatives with the Zuiderdam for us to reccomend her to HAL devotees. There are so many ships of similar size that have done much better jobs with space than HAL has with the Vista Class ships ( the thought of dining on the mid-top floor of the Zuiderdam would be enough for me to skip eating there entirely).

What I do think, however, is that there are some cruisers that like some of the attributes of the S and R class ships that had hoped that HAL would "contemporize" herself for the younger demographics. These folks love the Zuiderdam and her "big shipness". However, many of us loved the HAL S and R ships because they were quiet, comfortable, quaint, classy and spacious. While HAL has claimed that there is more space on the Zuiderdam than on her other ships, I must say that I have never felt so cramped on a ship before (And this includes RCI ships, Carnival ships and the mega-Princess Grand Class). I mean, when the dining staff has to move to the Explorer lounge to serve flambe because the dining room is too cramped, you know there is a design problem.

The biggest dissapointment is the feeling that HAL is becoming just like every other contemporary WLCL line. I guess I will have to just start cruising Celebrity or saving my money for Crystal and Raddisson.

uncialman

DFD1
July 14th, 2004, 04:56 PM
This is an interesting and very whorthwhile thread. It seems that the Zuiderdam has become the most debated ship in the fleet. This has been true almost since she was launched. The feelings about her seem to run higher than with any of the others. Perhaps it is because she is one of the new Vista class and she is such a dramatic depature from what we have all come to expect from HAL. DFD1

(28 cruises on 22 different ships since 1966)

RevNeal
July 14th, 2004, 11:29 PM
DFD1,

I can give you a specific reason why the Zui gives me BIG moments of pause. It's one word: Children. :)

I enjoy cruises where the number of children is kept to a minimum. It's not that I don't like children ... it's just that I would rather not have swarms of them aboard ship. I have to deal with kids in large numbers on Sundays at church. For some reason the youth and children of my congregation really like me. I can't imagine why ... I've tried being sour, and it doesn't work. They like me, and so I have to like them back. And that's ok. It's part of being the pastor of a Church with families. But ... when I get away on a cruise I want peace and quiet. Children are, sadly, generally antithetical to peace and quiet.

Ellya
July 15th, 2004, 04:05 AM
Well, back to at least one of the questions....the air conditioning on the Zuiderdam seems to be inconsistent. It is a very large ship and perhaps complicated by folks leaving their balcony doors propped open. Our cabin was too cold with the air on its original setting, but just right after we adjusted it to our liking. We noticed the steward always pulled our curtains closed so they must try to keep the ship cool that way. The hallways near our rooms seemed warm, although we were never there long! The larger rooms like the Queen's lounge and Vista lounge were too cold for me and I needed a sweater if I was staying there long. The dining room seemed ok to me (we were on the main floor) but we noticed the ceiling covered with saran wrap! When we asked why, our steward explaned that on earlier cruises people in the corners on the lower floors were too cold, so they blocked some of the vents this way. I assume they will continue to work on this. The only public area that seemed overly warm was the Lido (and it was tolerable) and I attributed that to the fact that there are large doors at both ends leading to the pool areas which were constantly opening or propped open. As others have said, go with an open mind and have fun. Sometimes I think that when people enjoy something frequently (whether that be frequent cruisers, annual passholders at Disney etc) they become overly critical. Not that they mean to be, just that they are somewhat accustomed to the usual things and pick up on things that to others would be minor. So, no worries.

voyeurism26
July 15th, 2004, 09:12 AM
Its great to hear the the negatives and the positives about the "Z". Many on this thread are correct by saying they never heard so much controverasy about a ship before. This is very true.

Last year when we went on our Zui cruise (Sept.25th 2003) the comments were worse. I too had seconds thoughts about going on this ship and this is coming from a person that prefers HAL over others. Mind you we have been on NCL, and Celebrity and other HAL ships in the past and we are not "newbies" when it comes to sailings.

Once we got onboard, I was more critical about the Zui then others I have taken in the past. What I found was that many who speak about the Zui give mis-information and over tell the reality of the ship. Everything that I read about the Zui prior to my sailing (Sept. 25th 2003) was not true.

We found that we had a great time. We are from South Florida and love A/C and we did not find a problem with A/C throughout the ship. The food is very good, some service was great and some okay in some area's of the ship,but nothing compared to what was said in these threads.

We enjoyed the Zui so much that we are going back in September of this year and we can't wait. Am I concerned about going back and letting the negative threads deter my opinion? Nope! This time I will not be critical and I will not let negative threads sway my decision and make me as critical about the Zui. One of my favorite sayings that I picked up on this board is a bad day on land is a great day at sea.

RevNeal
July 15th, 2004, 12:22 PM
What I found was that many who speak about the Zui give mis-information and over tell the reality of the ship.

In addition to your experience of the Zui's food, service, and AC, what other areas/subjects suffered from what you believe to be misinformation? I'm particularly interested in the swarming packs of rabid, noisey, messy, wild, inconsiderate sub-humans that people sometimes like to call "children.

Also ... perhaps it might be a bit more charitable to say that your experience didn't match with the experience others? :) One person's experience may appear to another person to be "mis-information," and yet both are being honest and truthful in expressing their experiences.

ASM
July 15th, 2004, 12:48 PM
My experience on the Zui last August was quite different than the ones written about here. It was hot and humid in the Wes Carib, naturally , but the AC was fine throughout the ship--and I'm extremely hot- natured. The food was very good- no complaints. Prompt service. There were children aboard but not masses and not unruly. I didn't use the pools much so can't say about them. No noise, no lack of privacy, no crowded feeling most of the time. The photo gallery is definitely to be avoided at mealtimes. Ridiculously crowded. But the rest of the ship was not and it was fully booked, I believe. One does not have to go through the shops to go anywhere. I would happily sail her again. Very relaxing. SS cabin on Nav deck was wonderful, quiet, extremely well-serviced by Bambang. I almost backed out of the Zui because of this board and am so glad I did not. I will always take everything here with a grain of salt. After all, we're all different, right?

ekerr19
July 15th, 2004, 01:05 PM
In addition to your experience of the Zui's food, service, and AC, what other areas/subjects suffered from what you believe to be misinformation? I'm particularly interested in the swarming packs of rabid, noisey, messy, wild, inconsiderate sub-humans that people sometimes like to call "children.

Also ... perhaps it might be a bit more charitable to say that your experience didn't match with the experience others? :) One person's experience may appear to another person to be "mis-information," and yet both are being honest and truthful in expressing their experiences.

Well said, revneal! What bothers some people doesn't affect others in least, and I think it's important to keep that in mind. I don't think anyone should cancel their cruise based on the opinions of the posters on these boards.

You don't want to sail with a lot of children - I completely understand - I think the Zui had the most kids on board that I've ever seen - our sailing had about 400. There seemed to be many older teens, ages 15 - 18, which made access to the hot tubs almost impossible. They hung out there all day & night. Keep in mind, we sailed in late August, school had not started yet. I've read other threads indicating a non-existent kid population, particularly in Jan-Feb.

My biggest issue with the ship is the size - it is just too big for my taste. It was at capacity when we sailed and we really noticed it.

RevNeal
July 15th, 2004, 08:03 PM
Keep in mind, we sailed in late August, school had not started yet. I've read other threads indicating a non-existent kid population, particularly in Jan-Feb.

Because I prefer to avoid a large swarm of kids I generally don't cruise during the time of the year that they're out of school, regardless of the ship. Hence, I cruised Alaska in September. I also take longer cruises, where children are far less common. IF I were to ever cruise on the Zuiderdam, it would be during a time when most kids will be in school. However, for now I'm going to avoid the Zui.

My biggest issue with the ship is the size - it is just too big for my taste. It was at capacity when we sailed and we really noticed it.

And that's a second issue for me. I prefer the size of the S and R class ships. I'm willing to try out a Vista ship (the Westerdam or the Oosterdam), but I'll do so during a time of the year when most kids will be in school.

voyeurism26
July 16th, 2004, 12:51 PM
I am not really sure of the point your making regarding my "quote" concerning Mis-Information.

However, last year it was written the ship was extremely dirty for a new ship, the decor was horrible and the vibration in the dinning made dishes fall off the table and people couldn't talk to each other due to the load vibration noise...children running rapid throughout the ship, the ship is too big, the food is worse, the service is lousy...but when we arrived on the ship for our Sept. 25, 2003 cruise non of what has been written was true.

Thus, taking the belief everyone's view is different, what I may think is NO big deal, others may think its the end of the world and it ruin there cruise vacation. That is why I posted my reply regarding making your own decisions.

-V26

superstein61
July 16th, 2004, 04:49 PM
Also ... perhaps it might be a bit more charitable to say that your experience didn't match with the experience others? :) One person's experience may appear to another person to be "mis-information," and yet both are being honest and truthful in expressing their experiences.

Agreed !!! Do wonders never cease :)

ekerr19
July 16th, 2004, 11:51 PM
I am not really sure of the point your making regarding my "quote" concerning Mis-Information.

However, last year it was written the ship was extremely dirty for a new ship, the decor was horrible and the vibration in the dinning made dishes fall off the table and people couldn't talk to each other due to the load vibration noise...children running rapid throughout the ship, the ship is too big, the food is worse, the service is lousy...but when we arrived on the ship for our Sept. 25, 2003 cruise non of what has been written was true.

Thus, taking the belief everyone's view is different, what I may think is NO big deal, others may think its the end of the world and it ruin there cruise vacation. That is why I posted my reply regarding making your own decisions.

-V26

V26-

I think it's important to keep in mind that although you did not experience any of those things on your cruise, others may have... we cruised about a month before you - and we found many of those things to be accurate.

You are certainly entitled to post that you found the cruise & the ship to be outstanding - I'm glad it was!

For those of you who had positive experiences - great! That should take nothing away from the fact that some of us didn't - if we post such, why should we be discredited? Just because we didn't have a "great" experience?

I think that's the point that some of us are trying to make... yours was great, ours wasn't... we don't deny you by saying "oh, she's wrong, the ship stinks - don't listen to the positive comments, they're just trying to make you think your cruise will be great! When you get aboard, you'll see, you'll absolutely hate it"

See what I mean? :)

I'm glad you had a great time & shared it on these boards - that's what it's all about.

Lois R
July 17th, 2004, 09:44 AM
:) Good morning, Very interesting review and replies too.

I have a question...I will be sailing 9-11...most (operative word) most schools are back in session....do you think (educated guess)the amount of kids are going to be less than in the summer on this ship...as on most ships?....I have sailed the Caribbean in the middle of January, the middle of May and the middle of July(never again). I am thinking the middle of September should be sort of like January...and I don't mind kids either.

This will be the largest ship I will have been on to date. For me, this cruise happened on short notice...was supposed to be going on Horizon to Bermuda.
Now, I know the Horizon is very small (compared to the Zuiderdam and a lot of others as well).
So, it will be a new experience for me....and I am looking forward to it. I don't know if she will be "too large" for my taste or not....the photos I have seen of her are appealing to me...and the price point was awesome:D .

Again, for me, it is nice to read different opinions about things...makes me realize how different we all are ....and that doesn't make me right and you wrong..or vice-versa....it says we are different...and can you imagine if we were all the same?;) Things would be too boring (in my opinion:) ).

joerey
July 17th, 2004, 10:53 AM
After reading all thses posts about this ship, I feel it is time for my two cents worth. We sailed the Zuiderdam last sept. Before we left I had read all these posts about how bad it was. Vibration, smells, dirt and poor service to name a few. I have been on 14 cruises from Seabourn to Ncl. This was my first on HAL. Trust me this was about the best cruise I have ever been on. We had an ss suite. Bambang was our steward, enough said there. Service in the dining room was superb. We also went to the pinnacle grill and we felt the food in the dining room was just as good. Room service on time and hot. We loved the piano bars and the crows nest. We went to one of the piano bars on monday night ordered drinks, the waiter gave me my check and said thank you Mr. Joe. We went back two nights later, the waiter remembered our names and what we were drinking.That is just one example of the kind of service and treatment we recieved.Needless to say we will be on the Zuiderdam again on Sept 11th this year.
The only negative thing I could say about this cruise were a few of the pompus arrogant passengers who treated the staff like their personal slaves.
We sometimes forget that the waiters and stewards are from third world countries. They work tremendous hours for little pay and poor living conditions. I am continually amazed at their attitude,work ethic, commitment and their willingness to go the extra mile. A kind word, a warm handshake makes both passenger and staff feel good, and virtually guarantees superb service.
For all you people who complain about the kids. Don't travel in the summer.

taszmom
July 17th, 2004, 01:04 PM
In regards to kids, I think a few years back you could say it was "safe" that ships wouldn't have a lot of children onboard during off season while school was in session. I believe that this fall this is not the case. I had trouble finding triple occupancy space on, Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Princess & Celebrity ships for the Caribbean this fall. The prices this summer was more than I wanted to pay. I think that due to the prices going back up after the travel lull following 9/11, that parents are choosing to take the kids out of school to take advantage of the lower pricing in the fall. I'm not saying that the ships will be overrun with children, but you will see more children on the ships "off-season" than previous years. I, for one, have done exactly that. I couldn't pass up the great pricing on the Zuiderdam for 10/2 - We are booked in a Verandah at a fantastic rate and our DD's cruise fare was free.

Lois R
July 17th, 2004, 02:35 PM
:) Joerey, hi...we have a nice Roll Call going for the Sept 11th sailing....we would love you to join us:D

tas, thanks for your input about the kids:)...I appreciate it.