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twoatsea November 13th, 2004 09:27 PM

Just returned from Zaandam cruise
Had a great time (in fact, going again on 12/11 - love the Z).

ship missed Ocho Rios because she was called upon by the coastguard to conduct a search mission; this occured not long after we left Georgetown. about 3am found 3 cuban refugees on a homemade raft; supposedly they had been at sea for many days; they were taken to sick bay. 7 hrs were lost during the search, therefore no time for O.R. (personally i think all ships should boycott Jamaica until they fix their crime problem, but that's just me.) the Bahamian government refused to accept the refugees from Half Moon Cay, so they were removed from the ship at about 10pm on friday nite when a u.s. coastguard boat pulled along side & made the transfer. the 3 were to be "processed" in Miami.

so we had 3 days at sea instead of 2 (we received port charges refunds); seas were rough & very unpleasant for some on the ship (imagine how the Cubans felt). naturally there were some complaints about missing Jamaica & the extra sea day - possibly the complainers thought the refugees should have been more gracious & stayed on their raft....or possibly they thought HAL should guarrantee a smoother ride....better yet a partial refund.

anyway, here are some comments i have which are based on what i have read on this board:

1. yes, meatloaf is on the menu. ordered it along with mashed potatoes & gravy - yum, yum (but then I'm just a hick from Indiana). enjoyed it so very much....afterall, i didn't shop for it, cook it, or clean up after it - sounds like a good meal to me!

2. dh & i cruise numerous times a year. don't eat in the dining room anymore. haven't liked the service for some time; so don't know if it is better or worse. that's one of our reasons for sailing hal; have a buffet for all meals; buffet offers most of what is available in the dining room & if we want something not offered, we can order it from room service - great! service in the lido seemed the same to me. we rarely have been offered assistance with our trays or offered water, tea, or coffee - but that is not a problem for us - we are at a buffet. so, this time the service was exactly the same. also not a problem for us that we are not "luxury" dining; can do that as we want on land.

3. the staff was still as wonderfully pleasant as they have always been to us - what a treasure hal has in its staff! we left the auto tip on & love the convenience & tipped our cabin steward extra - he was too good for words. as discussed on this board, the auto tip may not be "fair", tipping may be an American mistake, etc., etc. however, our tipping was based solely on our interactions with real hard working people, not policy, so it makes sense to me.

4. embarkation & disembarkation was a breeze - which is all we have ever experienced with hal.

5. the ship was spotless, but then we didn't do an actual inspection.

6. we love the bright carpet & love the massive organ.

7. was on the Maasdam in July - got half of a lobster tail (actually got 4 halves because that is what I ordered! so splitting them in half is not really a problem.) however on the Z got whole lobster tails (2, dh got 4).

8. this is serious - did not have escargot on lobster night!! my dh loves it!! (maybe we should not sail hal!!! - NOT!)

9. desserts are not as good a quality as in the past. used to have whole cakes, such as carrot cake, chocolate cake, etc on the dessert buffet. now have the cheap stuff like at a Ponderosa buffet (not knocking P., the price is cheap!). but naturally we got enough to eat - just meant we had to eat more ice cream & cookies - such a sacrifice!

10. have been to the islands so much that we don't do tours any more. we love to walk so we do that on our own - which we did at georgetown & cozamel.

11. never took the tender to h.m.c. (hate those tenders) because we can do a caribbean visit if we want. but did so this time because of the comments on this board. we enjoyed, got in the water - love that caribbean water. the water was cold (never could get my shoulders in) - i think it is highly disappointing that hal did not have it heated. were pleased at the large number of lounge chairs available (for free). went back to the lido for lunch (would have ate on the island but they didn't have bbq pork ribs, didn't want hamburgs, hot dogs).

12. our cabin was outside on the lower promenade, where we always get - our favorite spot is sitting outside on that deck. didn't get quite enough of that because of the wind & rolling seas, but then we will be back soon.

13. went to the movies twice - both times theatre was full. will be too bad if the movies are no more.

14. did our review at the end of the cruise & dropped it in the slot. rated everything very high, gave a few comments. hope the high rating helps the staff - as i've always said - hope their bosses "say it with money"!

oh well - back to reality - wintering in florida in the disney area - such is life! anyone have any questions, let me know.

Krazy Kruizers November 13th, 2004 09:38 PM

Thanks for posting your review.

To miss Jamaica - no big deal.

It is normal procedure when a cruise ship picks up extra "passengers" to have a problem getting them into the USA.

gullgeorge November 13th, 2004 09:45 PM

Thanks for the review.

Will be going on the "Z" 11/27 and had been looking for a recent review. This will be our first sailing on hal but our 14th cruise. We always enjoy the days at sea so we would have been happy for the extra day.

twoatsea November 13th, 2004 09:54 PM

oops, forgot an item that is discussed frequently regarding hal:

15. the ship was full of "old" people. some actually had the nerve to bring wheelchairs, walkers, canes - can you imagine! so, we suffered in the wonderful calmness & quiet. another reason why lately we are only sailing on hal --- not for the "old" people, but the quiet! but then again, maybe we need to rethink hal - afterall, don't forget the rough seas, the missed port, the cold caribbean water & the horror of meatloaf!

but since we all should make lemonade when given lemons, we forced ourselves to converse with "them". don't want to impose my suggestion on anyone who is prone to avoid old people, but amazingly i've had some very interesting conversations with old people during my travels - met a scientist who worked on the atom bomb project with oppenheimer (sp?) during ww2 (& no, he doesn't feel guilty for his role in creating the atom bomb that killed so many), a lovely couple who lived for a year in italy in order to experience another culture (want to do that one day), grandparents with their son's family who live in new zealand (we still email), a woman who works for the u.n., a very nice scottish couple who think tipping is such a silly American nuisance, and on & on. amazing how old people were once & sometimes still are real people with interesting lives - amazing!
that's all i can think of regarding our trip - but really there is so much more, it's in there somewhere - i'm just having a senior moment!! hehehe

sail7seas November 13th, 2004 10:03 PM

Thanks for your review. Happy you enjoyed another HAL cruise and one aboard Zuiderdam.

We have had some wonderful cruises on Zuiderdam, including last month. I'd be happy to return to her anytime BUT only if they recitfy this business about NO PORK RIBS in the lunch at HMC. What's up with that???

Krazy Kruizers November 13th, 2004 10:08 PM

We will be on the Zuiderdam this May.

But since prok ribs are a no-no for DH - no big there. He cheats a lot on other food items so he can afford to miss them.

twoatsea November 13th, 2004 10:11 PM

sorry if i mislead some of you, but we were on the zaandam, not the zuiderdam. i though "zui" was abbrev. for zuiderdam & "z" for zaandam...? anyway, haven't been on the zui. prefer the smaller ships, but who knows - maybe one day. happy sailings all.

sail7seas November 13th, 2004 10:16 PM

You clearly said Zaandam in your subject. My error. Sorry.

I believe these are the abbreviations that HAL uses:
ZUDM = Zuiderdam
ZADM = Zaandam

sail7seas November 13th, 2004 10:18 PM


Originally Posted by Krazy Kruizers
We will be on the Zuiderdam this May.

But since prok ribs are a no-no for DH - no big there. He cheats a lot on other food items so he can afford to miss them.

:) I hear you KK. I play it straight and narrow so I can cheat on the ribs!! I'd rather eat fish in the dining room every night and have my one lunch of ribs per cruise. :) If I'd been really careful all cruise waiting for my ribs at HMC I would have been so bummed!!! :)

Krazy Kruizers November 13th, 2004 10:23 PM


The last few times we wer abele to at HMC, DH opted to have lunch ashore just so that he could have his "omega 3 oil". He has just keeps wishing HAL would have soem kind of fish on the island. (I keep telling him to dream on - no fish on the island - never has been - never will be).

sail7seas November 13th, 2004 10:27 PM

I don't think we'll be getting any omega 3's at HMC.

I LOVED when we had the salmon from the grill on Maasdam this summer on our Canada/New England cruise. They set up the grills at Lido pool one lunch time and it was soooo good.

Krazy Kruizers November 13th, 2004 10:32 PM

We also loved those BBQ's at lunch time when the Maasdam had them. We fortunate to have them twice on our cruise.


When we went out for dinner, one our favorite dinners prepared lobster ravioli's for us tonight.

sail7seas November 13th, 2004 10:42 PM

While DH enjoyed a large piece of prime rib, our friend Ed had the same, his wife Fran had baked stuffed shrimp and I was disgustingly disciplined and enjoyed a nice grilled chicken breast with sauteed red pepper, mushrooms and artichoke hearts.....hold the sauce please. We all enjoyed our meals. :)

I would be very happy if HAL Chefs would add some sort of interesting chicken vegetable grill type entrees to the menu. The sauce could be added to those who want it and held for folks like me.

Seeing as we have heard increasing talk about changes to the menus, I hope there are more to come. The menus on HAL have gotten tired IMO and are more than ready for a change.

Wouldn't it be great if they sent out an e-mail survey seeking suggestions for what we'd like to see added/omitted?

Krazy Kruizers November 13th, 2004 10:45 PM

We would cetainly welcome a survey!!!

Although I am not as big a fish eater as DH, we would difinetly vote for more fish and bigger fish portions than what we got on the Statendam.

Krazy Kruizers November 13th, 2004 10:47 PM

And yes. DH has gotten me to eat more healthy foods the last few months - yes, now I do eat wheat toast in the morning and wheat waffles.

Don't forget to add cimmamon to your diet!

elmorejj November 13th, 2004 11:45 PM

Getting away from food and back to the thread of the Zaandam, thank you for your honest review. We have sailed 4 times on the Zaandam and will be on for BtoBs Dec. 11th and Dec 18th. Can you answer a couple of questions for me, What are the names of the groups playing in the Ocean Bar and the Crows Nest? Is Sonia Marie still playing in the piano bar? Do you remember any names of the bartenders? I`m sure some of the same ones we had in Ap/May are still onboard. Hope to bump into you in December....jean :cool:

houchin November 14th, 2004 09:52 AM

Glad you injoyed yourself, we are on the Zaandam, Western cruise Dec. 4th, I see you didn't eat in main dinning but wonder if you can tell me in what order casual, informal, and formal nights were, on your cruise and, if any, what night was dutch night? I still don't know if they have reverted back to our original itinerary Cozumel, Ocho Rios, Grand Caymons, the last I heard we lost Georgetown and were having a extra sea day.

twoatsea November 14th, 2004 12:51 PM

thanks to everyone for their responses. some had questions:

houchin -

1. sun. & thurs were the formals nites; sorry don't remember which were the informal.

2. did not see any mention of dutch nite (may have been, but didn't notice). we did look at the dinner menu every day for the dining room (just in case they were having something we wanted that was not on the buffet) & read the daily activities paper, but did not see dutch nite mentioned. didn't see anyone wearing the hats either.

3. we also were advised before our cruise that georgetown was a lost stop; because of the severe storm damage to the island. however, we did dock there; the island was prepared once again to receive ships. carnival & disney were also there. was advised the island had severe damage & indeed we did see some remaining. however, the damage did not seem any worse than here (florida disney area). even so, i can imagine the small island was too damaged for thousands of more people. before we got off of the ship, we were advised that there would not be any rental cars or scooters available; all are being used by the residents who lost their vehicles in the storm. also the island tour was not available from the ship - don't know why since it was available on the island for $15.

Jean/Elmorejj - sorry i can't give you any info on the bars & bartenders - we don't do alcohol & therefore don't do bars (except the crows nest view when we leave a port). glad you enjoy the Zaandam - she is our favorite. we've never done a back to back; sounds great. however, we probably never should do it - we would eat so much that they would have to roll us off the ship!

Everyone regarding the BBQ ribs - although there were no pork or beef ribs on the hmc, there were lamb ribs. Pork ribs were served at the pool side BBQ one evening (the inside lido pool). don't remember which evening. the pork ribs were excellent - absolutely yummy; also served steaks, hamburgers, hot dogs, pork chops (looked smoked), chicken, plus salads, etc. that nite, no lido buffet of course.

miss the ship already. had to make my own bed this morning, stepped on the scales & discovered I had brought back quite a bit of the ship food, so I got lousy bran flakes with skim milk for breakfast & exercised for an hour & a half. looks like lien cuisine for lunch. gotta take off this extra weight so i can enjoy putting all it back on in december!

what a life!!!

DJP November 14th, 2004 03:25 PM

Zaandam Cruise
Thanks so much for the review....DH and I are sailing on the Zaandam next Saturday. I really appreciated reading a current review and it sounds like you had a grand time. This our first HAL cruise, but our 8th cruise total, and we are looking forward to experiencing a different cruise line (have previously sailed with Norwegian, Royal Caribbean, and Carnival -- loved them all!). I just posted a thread that our itinerary has been changed back to include Grand Cayman. Sorry about the Jamaica stop being cancelled, but for humanitarian reasons I would forego the stop.

OCruisers November 14th, 2004 06:31 PM

twoatsea .... Enjoyed reading your review!

Do you really never eat in the main dining room any more? :confused: Gosh, has the service become that bad ....?

Thanks again for your time to tell us about the cruise!

Happy Sailing! OCruisers :)

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