Mechanical Problems - Zuiderdam

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#1
Bel Air, Maryland
34 Posts
Joined Feb 2002
#36 Today, 05:02 AM
WallyB
Cool Cruiser Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Bel Air, Maryland
Posts: 1

Mechanical Problems

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Mechanical Problems

I was on the August 7 -14 cruise on the Zuiderdam.

I have been on 27 cruises and I believe that I am experienced enough to declare that this cruise was a calamity. This was my second Holland America cruise and probably my last.

The Holland America Zuiderdam is a very elegant ship. The cuisine was admirable. The service was first-rate. The foremost mechanical problem on the Zuiderdam was with the air conditioning system. I was aware of the air-conditioning problems on this ship from information gleaned from the Cruise Critic web site. I should have expected it. Anyway, there wasn't a cool public room on this dam ship. They refer to the ships in their fleet as dam ships. In every room I would break out in a sweat, whether we were eating in the dinning room, having a snack in the Lido restaurant, playing cards in the casino, or watching a production in the theatre.

On Friday, the last full day of our cruise, we received a letter informing us that the crew would be working on the air-conditioning system while the passengers were ashore at Half Moon Cay. Nevertheless, when we returned to the ship there was no noticeable difference in the temperature on board this vessel.

It was very warm in my cabin all week and impossible to sleep there. I had cabin # 7111, on the Rotterdam deck. The first couple of days I repeatedly complained and on four different occasions I requested repair service for the air-conditioning. After being unable to repair the air-conditioning they placed a fan in my cabin. After sleeping with the fan on me every night, which just circulated warm air around the room, I came home with a severe head and chest cold.

Throughout the entire cruise there were two restrooms that were “out of order”. In fact the door handles had been removed from both restrooms to prevent anyone from entering these restrooms. The most essential restroom that was out of order was located on the Lido Deck Aft, between the Lido restaurant and the aft pool. Of all places to have a restroom out of order! There were many children using the aft pool and one can only image where they went to the bathroom when they discovered they couldn’t use this restroom. Also, it would have been nice to be able to wash your hands before food handling in the Lido restaurant. I observed children come in from the pool area and help themselves to food located on the buffet without even having the opportunity to wash their hands. The other important restroom that was out of order the entire cruise was located on the Promenade Deck between the Atrium and the shops.

The shipboard Internet was out of service on Tuesday evening, and all day Wednesday. I wonder if they only fixed this problem because this service generates income for the ship?

Finally, I was glad that the ship was diverted from the Cayman Islands to Nassau in the Bahamas to avoid a confrontation with Tropical Storm Charley.

Our flight was on time and we arrived home without incident. However, since I arrived home I have been suffering with a very severe head and chest cold. Thanks to the air-conditioning problems on the Zuiderdam I spent both Sunday and Monday in bed. I am feeling a little bit better today.
#2
3,960 Posts
Joined Oct 2000
Wally --

It's really unfortunate you had these problems, but remember that they are not HAL problems, but ship problems. It can happen anywhere, any time. The problems resolve themselves into three areas: (1) Air conditioning, (2) Two restrooms, (3) The internet cafe.

I think a major ship-wide a/c problem will be a bear to fix. As you said, you requested repair service for it, but you noted it was everywhere in the ship, so I assume the difficulty was up above the Sports Deck where the main unit is located. If you were up there and it was really quiet, that would indicate the central a/c was not working at all. It's pretty noisy, so you would notice it.

Two restrooms closed aren't bad, but --yeah-- you don't need one of them to be near the pool. I'm not familiar with the Zui layout, but on the other ships I think there are restrooms on either end of the Lido restaurant. If the kids can be taught that yellow food dye does not belong in the pool, they can make it thru the restaurant.

The internet cafe is a separate concession, not under the control of HAL. It doesn't get fixed any quicker because HAL makes a commission. Digital Seas Inc (DSI) and/or their parent company runs that little cash register. And you can be sure it's a license to print money.
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#3
1,437 Posts
Joined Jun 2004
The AC issue I've seen mentioned a lot lately has me a little concerned. I previously disn't read that complaint. Is this a new issue? Has anyone recently NOT noticed the problem and felt the ship was nice and cool?
#6
Massachusetts
4,548 Posts
Joined Apr 2001
Don't give up on HAL, mechanical problems can happen at any time, on any ship with any cruise line. I have been fortunate to never have experienced any mechanical problems on any of my cruises and I have been sailing for well over 20 years, so please give them a try again.
#8
Portland, Maine
782 Posts
Joined Jul 2004
Originally posted by dexter
WELL...has the problem been fixed. Anyone on last weeks' cruise please let us know.
It'll be a couple of days yet before we hear, most likely. Last week's sailing doesn't return til tomorrow.
#9
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
3,648 Posts
Joined Apr 2004
Sure hope they have it fixed for the group of us who are sailing on Saturday. Whew it'll be really hot if it isn't.
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#10
Toronto, ON
430 Posts
Joined Dec 2003
I hope it is fixed too - the only reason I can bear to go to the Carribean in the summer is because on a cruise ship you can always find a "cool" place
#12
Fullerton, CA
537 Posts
Joined Jun 2003
If the air conditioning problem is as bad as stated, then HAL should cancel a cruise to put the ship into a yard where proper repairs can be made.
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Mark
#13
81,751 Posts
Joined Aug 2000
I'm sorry you had a less than perfect cruise. Hope your next is more to your liking. Glad to hear you are feeling better.
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#14
Merritt Island, FL
10,392 Posts
Joined Mar 2004
We were on the July 24th Western Cruise and noticed that there were some warm spots but really our cabin was fine and I think that the a/c was working fine.

What people forget is that in the summer the Caribbean can be extremely hot and there is only so much that an a/c can do. It definately cooled down the rooms and ship but it was not 65'.....I don't think any a/c would be able to do that considering the outside temp. If you don't like heat why would you take a cruise in July/August in the Caribbean

Glad to hear you are feeling better.....
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#15
Texas
14,199 Posts
Joined Mar 2002
Originally posted by WallyB
After sleeping with the fan on me every night, which just circulated warm air around the room, I came home with a severe head and chest cold.
I'm sorry you contracted a cold while vacationing. That's no fun. However, contrary to popular belief, the A/C or fans had nothing to do with your cold. A cold is a virus. Fans don't cause viruses. The hygiene issue you mentioned with regard to the children and the buffet is what leads to the spread of viruses of all sorts ... including Norwalk.

Do give HAL another try.
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Jim
#16
3,960 Posts
Joined Oct 2000
The way he spoke, it sounded like a ship-wide breakdown and a rather serious one at that. Of course, the extent of the cooling is a matter of personal taste and it's also a matter of how much humidity the unit can take out of the air. A friend of mine keeps her a/c at 81-83 degrees because the humidity is reduced and that temp is quite comfortable.
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#17
3,425 Posts
Joined Aug 2002
tomoc:
What do you mean it's not a HAL problem, it's a ship problem. Is HAL only responsible for problems at headquarters in Seattle? Who would I complain to about problems on the ship?

We had similar experience on July 3rd cruise. Not every day, but off and on air conditioning. My guess is that they have a major problem and it is getting worse.

Also, there is a big difference between heat and humidity in the summer and winter in the caribbean. You can almost do without AC on many winter days, but it is brutal in the summer.
#18
1,437 Posts
Joined Jun 2004
Originally posted by dst
If you don't like heat why would you take a cruise in July/August in the Caribbean
I was kind of expecting to be hot on deck and cool off in the pool, or be hot outside and go inside to cool off. I didn't really plan on being INSIDE and have have to go get in the pool to cool off.
#19
Point of Rocks, MD
9,521 Posts
Joined Jul 2004
Originally posted by Giorgi-one
tomoc:
What do you mean it's not a HAL problem, it's a ship problem. Is HAL only responsible for problems at headquarters in Seattle? Who would I complain to about problems on the ship?
I believe he meant (at least that's how I read it) that the "problem" only affects one ship, not the entire fleet.....
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- dave
#20
3,960 Posts
Joined Oct 2000
That's what I meant. It's not a policy matter, not a fleet-wide difficulty. It's a problem with one ship, not with HAL as a company. Therefore, leaving HAL over a ship problem is a far different response than leaving HAL because, for instance, the fleet's menu choices have been cut in half and are too bland.
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