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dmill

Zuiderdam opinion from 1st time cruiser

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Hello all.

 

I have been reading this forum for a while now and some of the reviews about the Zuiderdam made me nervous about the ship and cruising in general, so I wanted to give my opinion of the whole experience.

 

Personal information: My wife is 32 and I am 43 years old. We live in the Northwest and have been married about 2 years.

 

This was me and my wife's first cruise and I would like to say I think if anybody has any complaints about the service or the general attitude about the staff of this ship, I believe that they are simply expecting too much and are a little bit too spoiled. I have never had any hotel, restaurant, or resort go so far to try to please me in all my life. Each and every staff member that I had any contact with was friendly and bent over backwards to try to make us happy. The food was fantastic and the service impecable. Each meal was something to look forward to and the one dinner we ate in the pinnacle grill was probably the best I have ever had, and I have eaten at a few upscale resaurants. Any one having reservations about going on this ship, should not worry. It was a wonderful experience. The age group on the ship varied quite a bit also. It was not just older people, although the most memorable person on the ship was a lady that was in her 80s along with her friend and grandsons. They were our table mates and they became our friends that we looked forward to seeing every night.

Having said all that there were some things I did not care for. Although it was a wonderful experince, I do not know if it is the type of vacation I would want to do on a regular basis.The whole trip is time structured(eg. dinners, shore excursions, immigration). It seems that there was never enough time to do all the things that I wanted to do. We like to stay active(scuba, parasail, ect.) and I like to be able to explore an area more to see what it offers. It seems that no more do you get a feel for a place it is time to leave, it always seems that you are watching the time. This is saying nothing against the cruise, it is just that I do not know if it is for me.

 

Well I hope this helps someone and thank you for the information that I have received from this forum.

Dmill

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Thank you, Dmill, for your comments.

 

 

I'm happy you enjoyed your cruise on Zuiderdam. We think her a wonderful ship and fully enjoyed five cruises aboard Zudm.

 

Cruising is not the perfect vacation for everyone. I think it wonderful you tried it, you enjoyed and are wise enough to know that it is not necessarily the perfect vacation for You. Perhaps someday when you want plain relaxation or for any number of reasons feel the need to be less active, you may 'return to the sea'.

 

In the meantime, Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us.

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We just stepped off Zui on Saturday (our second time on her, 4th time with HAL). It was a terrific cruise. We hadn't been on since the change in the tip structure - if anything, I would say that the staff is friendlier, more helpful and nicer than ever, if that was possible. The crew was great! Now trying to plan when our next cruise should be...

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It is about time someone said that!! I agree with you. It seems that some people expect the world out of every staff member aboard. I do expect and appreciate good service, but some people are spoiled. What we need to all remember is that the price you pay for a cruise can vary tremendously by what type of cabin you have booked. Some folks are paying thousands of dollars for the same seven day cruise that I may pay $600 for. They need to remember they are going to get the same service as I do. And just remember, you can't stay at a budget resort for $600 bucks a week and have all of your eats and entertainment provided. Cruising is for most people the best travel deal around. I get good info from these boards because I do cruise and travel a great deal, but the level of expectation that some cruisers have is ridiculous.

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Dmill,

Thanks for sharing your positive notes. I had a wonderful experience on the Zuiderdam as well! So much so that I can't wait to get back on her. Glad you had a great time.:) Nancy

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My wife and I cruised on the Zui last year, and this summer we are returning with our two teenage boys, 18 and 16. We have booked two adjoining cabins with balconies. It will be their first cruise and I'm sure that they will be very excited to be along. We found the Zui to be just right for us, with excellent service, activities, food, ports and atmosphere.

 

We can't wait to return!

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I'm going on my second Zui cruise on April 9. Loved it the first time, and I know I will have a fabulous time on the second one! This will be my foruth HAL cruise, and the first for DD and her BF (Am I doing this computerese thing right??) Great post, dmill, and thank you!

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Welcome to the boards. I agree totally with your view concerning expectations. Some have expectations that are far too high and are bound to be dissapointed. We were pleased with our cruise on the Z and found that the service was outstanding.

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dmill,

Thank you for sharing your review with us, and I too always felt the port times were too short :) Welcome home!

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It seems that no more do you get a feel for a place it is time to leave, it always seems that you are watching the time.

 

We've always said that we cruise to discover places we want to go back to (and also those we never wish to see again!).

 

Of course you probably also fell victim to "first timers disease" - the desire to do everything, all the time. That does lead to a severe sleep deficit. And the only cure is to cruise some more. It does get better over time.:)

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First Time on Holland America and would like to know if they have laundry service. We have been on Carnival several times so this cruise line is a first.

Betty

Zuiderdam 5-07-05

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First Time on Holland America and would like to know if they have laundry service. We have been on Carnival several times so this cruise line is a first.

Betty

Zuiderdam 5-07-05

The Zuiderdam, as with all of the Vista Class ships, does NOT have self-service laundry facilities. :( Previous cruisers have mentioned an "all you can stuff" launder and fold option that is offered around mid-cruise. IIRC it was $10 for a small to medium laundry bag (HA provided).

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Hello all.

 

Having said all that there were some things I did not care for. Although it was a wonderful experince, I do not know if it is the type of vacation I would want to do on a regular basis.The whole trip is time structured(eg. dinners, shore excursions, immigration). It seems that there was never enough time to do all the things that I wanted to do. We like to stay active(scuba, parasail, ect.) and I like to be able to explore an area more to see what it offers. It seems that no more do you get a feel for a place it is time to leave, it always seems that you are watching the time. This is saying nothing against the cruise, it is just that I do not know if it is for me.

Dmill

 

Your comments on time structure and exploring are somewhat connected. I believe that many people who cruise frequently are more intertested in relaxing on the ship than seeing every port. After a while, you have been to most of the ports and there is not much new to see. IMHO, the best part of caribbean ports are the beaches and I never tire of those. But, you don't need to be on a schedule to to to the beach. Leave the ship around 10 AM, grab a cab to the beach and return around 3 PM. Still plently of time to shop for souveniers at most ports. As far as dinner, you always need reservations for dinner at any good restaurant. Most ships have alternative restaurants you can book for times other than your regular seating time if you wish. Also, most ships offer the choice of casual dinner at the Lido where you can usually get the same food as they serve in the dining room. You could also try NCL and Princess which offer "Freestyle" and "Personal Choice" dining where you can eat almost any time you want between 5 PM and 10 PM.

 

We are going to an all inclusive in May and we still need to make reservations for dinner every night and book excursions in advance which have specific times.

 

Just for the info, what vacations would you consider which are not time structured for dinner and activities, neglecting the requirement to get back to the ship before it departs?

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My wife and I are also going on April 9th/05 on the Zuiderdam. Hopefully we can get together. We are in cabin 7062 and if I can remember, I will hand the CC sign on the door......hope HAL lives up to its good name..........

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dmill

Thank you for your post on your first cruise. They say that the cruise lines have people who are responsible for reading these reviews. I certainly hope that HAL has taken notice to the overall excellent reviews of the staff and service on the Z and make some effort to at least compliment the current staff and crew. As for cruisin, my wife and I enjoy them just to relax and take it easy. We will continue to cruise on the Z on a regular basis until HAL under estimates the value of very good service and allows the standard to drop.

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Thanks for your review and glad you enjoyed the Zuiderdam. I must agree with you and others here as well. Sometimes people's expectations are way too high on what a cruise experience should be. The crew are there to be sure you have a wonderful cruise, they aren't slaves as I have seen some people treat these great crew members as.

 

I have always received excellent service onboard and have always felt more like a guest vs. a passenger onboard all my HAL cruises. I know the Zuiderdam will be a great cruise for me, a week and a half away!!!!!! Can't wait.

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Georgi-one,

 

As an example of a non-time scheduled vacation, I stayed at a hotel in mexico and was able to walk out of the hotel and find a number of restaurants available within walking distance to eat at. If you go out and lay on the beach you have people offering immediate activities (fishing, parasailing, diving, ect.). There is no looking at your watch to see what time you have to be back at the hotel and if you end up taking a taxi into another area it is no big deal. It just seems that I felt too "hearded with a crowd" when on shore excursions on the ship.

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Georgi-one,

 

As an example of a non-time scheduled vacation, I stayed at a hotel in mexico and was able to walk out of the hotel and find a number of restaurants available within walking distance to eat at. If you go out and lay on the beach you have people offering immediate activities (fishing, parasailing, diving, ect.). There is no looking at your watch to see what time you have to be back at the hotel and if you end up taking a taxi into another area it is no big deal. It just seems that I felt too "hearded with a crowd" when on shore excursions on the ship.

 

As I said, I agree you need to be aware of ship departure time, but we do not usually find that to be a problem. We never do shore excursions but you can also take excursions in Mexico which are very similar to ship excursions (bus each way, etc). I believe that if you continue cruising, you will see that the time-schedule problem becomes less important since you are not always in a hurry to get off the ship at every port. Also, we try to schedule cruises that spend more time in ports. For example, I just cancelled a Princess cruise which was leaving several ports at 3 PM. My wife doesn't get up until noon sometimes! Also, we always avoid the "herd" at the poor. We book balcony cabins and spend most afternoons on the balcony, sipping wine order room service, short power naps, etc.

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I've always looked on cruising as a good way to get a taste of a variety of places. You can always do a land vacation later at one of the ports you especially like. My husband and I fell in love with Grand Cayman on one of our first cruises and then did a land vacation there so we'd have more time do everything we wanted to.

 

There's also no law that says you have to get off the ship at every port. One cruise stopped at Antigua. When I researched it, we decided there really wasn't anything we especially wanted to do there, so we stayed on board and had a lovely, relaxed day on the ship. At some other ports, we've gotten off for just an hour or two to walk around. There are few activities on the ship during port hours, so this is great relaxation time.

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