Did you have AC issues on Zuiderdam?

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#1
5 Posts
Joined May 2012
We were passengers on the October 18th cruise to the Panama Canal abroad the Zuiderdam. We did not have air conditioning in our aft-facing cabin for the entire trip. In fact, according to the front desk supervisor, all the aft facing cabins on deck 6, 7 & 8 had air conditioning issues. In reading the forums I’ve noticed this seems to be a recurring problem. Holland America’s response to the problem was pathetic while on board and non-existent since we’ve been home.

They pretty much brushed it off while on board saying the engineers were working on it, then after several days, stating that it was as good as it gets. I don’t believe cruising the Caribbean without AC (with a cabin temperature ranging from 84-89 degrees) is acceptable considering the prices we paid for the privilege to cruise on their ship.

I believe Holland America is taking advantage of the fact that each individual passenger thinks it’s a unique problem and that the passenger was just unlucky enough to choose a cabin with an AC problem. The majority of us don’t wish to spend our vacation arguing and complaining at the front desk over something that is beyond their control and trust that we are dealing with a reputable company. If in fact they are aware of an ongoing problem it is inexcusable that Holland America continue to ruin our vacations. Our expectation is that we are dealing with a reputable company who will provide us with the luxury vacation we paid for, not camping in the tropics!

My point: I’d like to know your specific experiences. We were in cabin 7145 for the October 18, 2013 Panama Canal cruise. Please share your information. Maybe if we gather enough specific information we can at the very least make future cruisers aware of areas to avoid on the ship. And maybe Holland America will pay attention that as cruisers and Cruise Critic members there is a forum through which they will be held accountable.
#2
SW Florida
6,154 Posts
Joined May 2002
You didn't mention toilet problems, so consider yourself lucky I suppose. AC problems and non-functioning toilets have been frequent on several HAL ships, but with so few CC members compared to the total number of pax most pax are unaware that they are being sold cabins that continue to make for a miserable cruise. It's inexcusable, but almost impossible to hold the cruise line financially responsible. The contract you sign is all in the cruise line's favor, it would cost more to sue than most people would be willing to risk, and way too many people are willing to be satisfied with a pittance of future cruise credit and not fight for a refund or partial refund of what they paid for the cruise they sweltered on or were forced to find a bathroom 3 decks away in the middle of the night.
#3
Beautiful BC, Canada.
6,785 Posts
Joined Feb 2008
Oh dear. The Zuiderdam has had ongoing air conditioning and plumbing issues for several years now, but I thought most of the problems had been resolved. I was on last year for the repositioning, my cabin - 4166 - had a seldom-functioning toilet for 22 days, but the a/c was alright except for the day they turned the whole system off in Grand Turks. (And let's not forget the day the whole ship had no plumbing. Getting off the ship to find a working toilet in Mexico was rather ironic) The a/c was spotty all over the ship. I was on again to Alaska this year, all was OK but of course a/c is not an issue in Alaska. I'm booked again for next April through the Panama - I would be very upset if we had no a/c then. It seems they just cannot fix this problem, and they should more upfront and honest with the customers, and not use the standard excuses.
#5
Santa Cruz, CA
803 Posts
Joined Oct 2005
Originally posted by startwin
but of course a/c is not an issue in Alaska.

It is if you're in an OV or inside cabin, no matter where you cruise!

We were on Veendam - Canada/New England in late September - the A/C did not work in our OV cabin, and it was very hot the entire cruise, even though the outside temps were quite cool. We were also given the runaround when we complained, only to discover later that this was an ongoing problem in the cabin we were in and others nearby.

Apparently the issue and lack of resolution are not limited to just one ship.
#6
Ontario, Canada
3,913 Posts
Joined Jun 2006
Originally posted by startwin
Oh dear. The Zuiderdam has had ongoing air conditioning and plumbing issues for several years now, but I thought most of the problems had been resolved. I was on last year for the repositioning, my cabin - 4166 - had a seldom-functioning toilet for 22 days, but the a/c was alright except for the day they turned the whole system off in Grand Turks. (And let's not forget the day the whole ship had no plumbing. Getting off the ship to find a working toilet in Mexico was rather ironic) The a/c was spotty all over the ship. I was on again to Alaska this year, all was OK but of course a/c is not an issue in Alaska. I'm booked again for next April through the Panama - I would be very upset if we had no a/c then. It seems they just cannot fix this problem, and they should more upfront and honest with the customers, and not use the standard excuses.
Annette, out of curiosity, why would you want (once again) to book a cruise on the 'Zuiderdam', (on a hot/humid) Panama Canal cruise, with the (ongoing) 'issues' that this ship is experiencing? Why not try another HAL ship for this itinerary? I did this cruise on the 'Westerdam' this year, and had no a/c or plumbing issues!
#7
6,568 Posts
Joined Jun 2013
When you head close to the equator like a Panama Canal cruise, a lot of ships have "problems with the A/C.
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#8
New Cumberland,PA, USA
30,129 Posts
Joined May 2000
We recently got off the Veendam where we heard many complaints about cabin A/C. In our cabin, on most days, we could not get the temperature below 74 (I have an accurate thermostat)...which was OK for us, but not idea. 2 of the 4 couples at our table complained that their cabin was much too hot (one had their cabin changed). On nearly every HA ship we have cruised (we have about 300 days on HA) there have been numerous complaints about A/C (too hot) and plumbing issues. Not sure why this is an issue on HA ships. I should mention that we have cruised 14 different lines (over 60 ships) and while A/C and plumbing problems happen on any ship, it just seems like its a more common issue on HA.

Hank
#9
Cape Coral FL
3,680 Posts
Joined Apr 2003
I hope they fix the A/C and toilet issues before I board her on Dec 9th! I now know why the aft facing cabins are still available....
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#10
North Carolina
8,824 Posts
Joined May 2009
We go in 6 weeks! You DO NOT want to be around us if the A/C does not work! We are in a VB gty...
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#11
Beautiful BC, Canada.
6,785 Posts
Joined Feb 2008
Originally posted by GeriatricNurse
Annette, out of curiosity, why would you want (once again) to book a cruise on the 'Zuiderdam', (on a hot/humid) Panama Canal cruise, with the (ongoing) 'issues' that this ship is experiencing? Why not try another HAL ship for this itinerary? I did this cruise on the 'Westerdam' this year, and had no a/c or plumbing issues!
Not sure why I should explain, other than to say "just because") but if you read my thread on that particular cruise, you'd also know we had a helluva good time, and there was lots that we liked about the ship. And we are going with some of the same crowd again which is a bonus. Cruising with HAL is a bit of a crapshoot in the past few years, all the ships seem to have their own problems, including the Westerdam - which does not come back to Vancouver, which is an added attraction in the Zuiderdam. Nothing like cruising back to your home port with no flight involved.

And to add to Hliltner's comment - I agree, we've never had any a/c or plumbing problems on any of the ship we've sailed on other lines. It seems to be quite unique to HAL.
#12
13,105 Posts
Joined Dec 2004
I do not think that there is any mystery around it.

I suspect it all comes down to preventative maintenance-the willingness to spend money maintaining a ship to a standard that prevents as many possible
repairs and maintenance issues while at sea.
#13
6,568 Posts
Joined Jun 2013
Originally posted by iancal
I do not think that there is any mystery around it.

I suspect it all comes down to preventative maintenance-the willingness to spend money maintaining a ship to a standard that prevents as many possible
repairs and maintenance issues while at sea.

Where does one find data, not anecdote to support this "poor maintenance" conclusion, since all the CC forums for other ships do indicate they too have A/C-plumbing issues from time to time as well.

I think having to go to the environmentally required low-flow vacuum toilet systems was as problematic as the first generation of low-flow toilets were for home owners. But that is anecdote too. Plus apparently passengers still putting things down toilets, like handiwipes etc, that they are warned not to.

A/C problems still needs a lot more objective data since temperature perception is subjective even when the objective temperature registers the same. But agree, if it is subjectively a problem it is a problem. No arguments there because one wants to feel cosy and comfortable whether it is enough heat or enough cool and finding the right mix or the rapidity of the response to the room controls is a fine art.
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#14
13,105 Posts
Joined Dec 2004
If you review the posts, I do not think that it is much of a secret that Veendam and Zuiderdam have had ongoing A/C issues in certain sections of the ships for a long time, perhaps years.
#15
New Cumberland,PA, USA
30,129 Posts
Joined May 2000
Originally posted by OlsSalt
Where does one find data, not anecdote to support this "poor maintenance" conclusion, since all the CC forums for other ships do indicate they too have A/C-plumbing issues from time to time as well.

I think having to go to the environmentally required low-flow vacuum toilet systems was as problematic as the first generation of low-flow toilets were for home owners. But that is anecdote too. Plus apparently passengers still putting things down toilets, like handiwipes etc, that they are warned not to.

A/C problems still needs a lot more objective data since temperature perception is subjective even when the objective temperature registers the same. But agree, if it is subjectively a problem it is a problem. No arguments there because one wants to feel cosy and comfortable whether it is enough heat or enough cool and finding the right mix or the rapidity of the response to the room controls is a fine art.
Excuses excuses excuses. Sometimes that is what we hear on this forum from cheerleaders for their respective cruise lines. So lets please clear the air (and perhaps HA can learn to cool the air). We have a very accurate electronic thermostat that is part of our travel clock system. When that thermostat says its 76 in our cabin (with the cabin thermostat always on the coldest setting) there is nothing subjective about it! It is just too hot! We prefer to sleep in 68-70 temps and the reason they have cabin thermostats is so that passengers can customize their cabin temps. But on several HA ships we sometimes think the cabin thermostats are there as a decoration more then a working device . And I should mention that the while our cabin would not get cool, the main show room was often freezing. This latter was sometimes amusing when a few passengers got deck blankets to bundle-up during the evening shows...and one passenger would wear a winter coat with scarf and gloves at some of the shows (guess he was trying to make a point).

As to HA toilets, we had an experience on the Westerdam (spent 39 days on that ship in the past year) with toilets that sometimes flushed on a delayed-action basis. This was just dangerous! Let me explain. DW would go to the bathroom and flush...but nothing happened. 10 minutes later DW or moi might decide to use that same toilet...but no way would you sit down because it was likely to flush at any time...with no notice. We all know the jokes about sitting on vacuum toilet while it flushes....and we did not want to find out if the jokes were true. So this sometimes meant having to leave the cabin in the middle of the night to go to a public rest room since the toilet had still not completed its flushing cycle and was like a ticking "vacuum bomb." And it was always "fun" to wake up at 3am to the sound of our toilet flushing....the button having been pushed hours earlier.

Hank
#16
6,568 Posts
Joined Jun 2013
Thank you for explaining you had an occasional delay flush toilet, which is a quirk we have seen on all ships that use this system. Important to be precise when reporting a "non-working" toilet. But we have been down this route before. Done with this. But I do appreciate the more apt description of the issue.
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#17
1,501 Posts
Joined Sep 2011
Originally posted by iancal
If you review the posts, I do not think that it is much of a secret that Veendam and Zuiderdam have had ongoing A/C issues in certain sections of the ships for a long time, perhaps years.
Yes... That's why it's so puzzling that you were even considering going on this ship this New Years.
#18
13,105 Posts
Joined Dec 2004
We were considering Zuiderdam.

We had previously had a wonderful cruise on Westerdam.

Did not realize there was an ongoing A/C issue on Zuiderdam until it hit our short list and we started to do some research on it.

We usually short list a few cruises and then do a review of posts to see what comments/issues/commendations are out there on each of the ships. That is how we ended up on Westerdam. It is also why we decided to avoid Veendam. We attach as much or more importance to the ship as we do to the cruise line.
#19
6,568 Posts
Joined Jun 2013
Originally posted by iancal
If you review the posts, I do not think that it is much of a secret that Veendam and Zuiderdam have had ongoing A/C issues in certain sections of the ships for a long time, perhaps years.
Veendam gets both too hot and too cold reports. I'll bring my in room temperature register too on our upcoming Veendam trip, which I dragged along on a prior Statendam cruise because of similar complaints.

That is when on the Statendam trip I found how subjective the perception of the exact same temperature could be. I had to even take the thermometer out to the balcony to see if it was working because while it registered exactly the same in-cabin temperature, some days that felt subjectively cooler and some days that felt subjectively warmer. Room temperature is far more art than science is all I could conclude. Plus pay more attention to the humidity readings which may be the culprit far more than the exact temperature as we know from normal outdoor weather.

I also wonder if they keep the show room temperature down (very chilly on the Rotterdam too) when there are show rehearsals going on those same days? Just like the dining room needs to be kept a good working temperature for the working staff in their heavy uniforms more so than for us who just sit there, with bare arms and open collar shirts.
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#20
Canada's Capital
6,764 Posts
Joined Oct 2009
Originally posted by Hlitner
As to HA toilets, we had an experience on the Westerdam (spent 39 days on that ship in the past year) with toilets that sometimes flushed on a delayed-action basis. This was just dangerous! Let me explain. DW would go to the bathroom and flush...but nothing happened. 10 minutes later DW or moi might decide to use that same toilet...but no way would you sit down because it was likely to flush at any time...with no notice. We all know the jokes about sitting on vacuum toilet while it flushes....and we did not want to find out if the jokes were true. So this sometimes meant having to leave the cabin in the middle of the night to go to a public rest room since the toilet had still not completed its flushing cycle and was like a ticking "vacuum bomb." And it was always "fun" to wake up at 3am to the sound of our toilet flushing....the button having been pushed hours earlier.
I've experienced the delayed flush when finishing a chapter or article I've been reading. Other than a lot of noise, however, I didn't notice anything untoward. Nor have I read elsewhere anything about vacuum bombs or related jokes. As I'm curious now, can you share a bit of background?